Attack on Titan is a show full of twists, turns and evolutions (and spoilers, so don’t read if you don’t want them!). The show constantly takes what you thought you knew and makes you question it, and it makes scenarios you hadn’t thought possible come about in a natural and believable way. ‘The Rumbling’ is one great example, and it ties into the one we’re talking about today. The team-up between the ‘Marleyan Warriors’ and the ‘Scouts’ in season four of AoT as they try to stop Eren from commencing his plan to flatten the world. For those who don’t know I shall give a brief and grossly simplified summary of ‘The Rumbling’. Eren, the former protagonist of the show has discovered that all the major military powers in the world are going to try and wipe him and his people out. Eren decides the only way to protect his precious friends is to wipe out everyone else, so he sends an army of over 600,000 titans that are all 50 meters tall to quite literally flatten the rest of the nations of the world. No one would be spared, and this unparalleled act of genocide is what leads to our team up.
Speaking of, what makes team-ups so awesome? For me much of it is also what makes other aspects of story-telling so effective. Hype. A ton of team-up potency has to do with the hype we’ve built up imagining just how effective or powerful these forces would be if they teamed up, and certain factors increase that hype. The likeliness of the team-up, the dynamics at play, and the effectiveness of the team-up. These three factors are flawlessly executed here. It’s what makes the joining forces of the ‘Warriors’ and the ‘Scouts’ so awesome, and why it will always stick out to me as the pinnacle of what an awesome team-up can be.
Let’s start with the likelihood factor, and why that’s relevant. If two people team up 100% of the time you expect it to happen and it loses the specialty. In essence they become a single unit in our mind rather than individuals teaming up. If we see a team of people in a squad working together, but we’ve only ever seen them as a team than there isn’t a wow factor when they work together. It’s what makes the Avengers and Justice League feel like a team up, they usually do their own thing. Even if they’re on the same side we don’t usually see or expect these characters to battle the same foe. But the likelihood factor gets even lower when it’s between enemies.
It’s one thing for heroes with differing views but similar moral compasses to work together, but what happens when you have two groups that have been at odds for years work together? Groups with world-views and life experiences incomparably different to one another, who hate each others guts and up until this point have been trying to kill one another? You get the most unlikely of alliances, and you get something truly special. Something you’ve always wanted and wondered what it would be like but never in your wildest dreams expected to happen.
Dynamics of a team up is more difficult to quantify than the likelihood of one. The nature of their teaming up stems from a common enemy, but both sides view that enemy in completely different ways with differing desired outcomes. The Warriors wish to stop Eren at any cost and are more than happy to kill him to do so, whilst the main cast believe his actions are misguided and that they can convince him to stop if they can just talk to him. Or more accurately they’ve convinced themselves of that. Not only that, but the two sides can’t even share a peaceful campfire meal the night before their big battle together without threatening to kill one another and calling out the other’s sides for their hypocrisy and skewed views. It leads to growth from both parties that wouldn’t have otherwise come up, and even with their icy relations we see both sides risk their lives in the following fight defending one another.
Lastly effectiveness, and boy howdy does this team up work well together. They take on hordes of highly trained ‘Yeagerists’ (yes that’s their name) and manage to come out on top. Rather than describe the sick fighting I will let the gifs speak for themselves.