|Hey, there... It's been five years.|
|— Eren prepares to face off against the Colossal Titan|
The Night of the Closing Ceremony: Humanity's Comeback, Part 2 (解散式の夜 ―人類の再起②― Kaisan Shiki no Yoru -Jinrui no Saiki (2)-?) is the 4th episode of the 1st season and the 4th episode overall of the Attack on Titan anime, produced by Wit Studio and Production I.G.
In the last days of their training, Eren learns to spar with Annie as she notes the absurd system the military operates by. Eren later uses Annie's technique against Jean during an argument. After graduation, the cadets think about which military regiment they will enlist in, and Eren's speech convinces many to consider the Scouts. However, the day after graduation, the Colossal Titan suddenly arrives at Trost.
In the year 850, over two years after enlistment, the 104th Cadet Corps is undergoing a fitness assessment. The cadets are doing a run with weighted backpacks, but Armin Arlelt is exhausted and is scolded by the instructor, Keith Sadies. Reiner Braun decides to help Armin by picking up his bag. Sadies critiques the overall abilities and teamwork demonstrated by each cadet as they continue the assessment in Titan search and destroy.
Later, the cadets are practicing hand-to-hand combat as Eren disarms Reiner. As they switch roles, Eren remarks on the uselessness of learning anti-human combat as well as attacking an armed foe bare-handed. A blurry memory of young Eren standing over a man's body with a broom sticking out of it is quickly shown.
However, Reiner argues that there are situations where soldiers cannot flee and must prepare for any circumstance. He defines this as the responsibility of soldiers and the justification for teaching cadets diverse subjects such as artillery and hand-to-hand combat.
He spots Annie Leonhart avoiding practice and to show her up, has her try to disarm Eren. When Eren lunges at her, she swiftly kicks his foot out from under him and attempts to leave, but Reiner tells her she must get the wooden knife and over Eren's objections, Annie drops him on his head with a few moves. As she preps to take on Reiner (who she gives the knife to), a grave Eren tells Reiner he cannot back down. However, Reiner is quickly put into the same position as Eren and Annie turns to leave.
Eren praises her technique and her father for teaching her, but Annie believes this training is pointless as it is not a factor in their rankings. She points out the hypocrisy of having the top 10 graduates, the most effective Titan fighters, be the only ones eligible to join the Military Police and live in the safest human territory. Annie is unwilling to go along with such a farce and Reiner notes she is unfit to be a soldier.
As the cadets are eating dinner, Armin explains that the system is an incentive for cadets to familiarize themselves with the little-used omni-directional mobility gear. However, Eren is focused on Jean's discussion with Marco on the efficient use of gas in the omni-directional gear and how such an advanced technique would allow him to be ranked higher and join the Military Police.
Eren insults Jean's shallow reasoning in wanting to join the Military Police and the two almost come to blows. When Mikasa Ackermann breaks up the fight, Jean is obviously jealous of the attention Eren gets from her and tries to punch him. As Eren gets ready to retaliate, he notices Reiner and Annie closely watching the melee and using Annie's disarmament technique, quickly ends the fight to resolve the situation.
Eren tells Jean he learned the technique while Jean was not taking training seriously when Sadies enters the room to find out what the commotion was all about. Mikasa scapegoats Sasha Braus as letting out a large fart (and is later shown to compensate her with bread) and the situation quietly deescalates.
The graduation of the cadets draws closer until finally the top 10 graduates and those eligible to apply for the Military Police are shown to be from lowest to highest: Christa Lenz, Sasha Braus, Conny Springer, Marco Bodt, Jean Kirschtein, Eren Jaeger, Annie Leonhart, Bertholdt Hoover, Reiner Braun, and the best soldier of the class, Mikasa Ackermann.
As the graduates are celebrating, Thomas Wagner questions Eren's decision to join the Scout Regiment as he sees it as a hopeless struggle with many lives lost. Eren argues that the knowledge about Titans was gained at the expense of those who died and that to throw away their sacrifice would be a disgrace.
Eren angrily storms out and is comforted by Armin and Mikasa who reveal they will also join the Scout Regiment. When Eren tries to dissuade them, Armin wishes to be useful to the cause of humanity while Mikasa will follow Eren wherever he goes to protect him, the vestige of her family. The scene ends as the trio look at the sky above the Wall and see a shooting star.
Leaving through Trost District, a crowd of people eagerly await the main force of the Scout Regiment to pass, which includes Commander Erwin Smith, Captain Levi, and Section Commander Hange Zoë. They meet Hannes, who was promoted to captain, and he congratulates them on graduating before apologizing for his failure to rescue Eren's mother five years ago.
As the graduates are maintaining the cannons on the Wall, some of them, including Conny and Thomas, reveal their intention to join the Scout Regiment after listening to Eren's speech last night. Sasha, meanwhile, reveals that she stole meat from the higher-ranking officers, and forces the dumbfounded others to not tell. The graduates are all motivated when suddenly lightning hits the ground outside of Wall Rose and the Colossal Titan appears.
It quickly breaks the gate leading out to Wall Maria, and the intense heat released from its body throws the graduates off the Wall. Most are able to reorient themselves and latch onto the Wall, but Sasha saves Samuel, who was knocked out by falling debris, at the last minute. Eren rallies the graduates to prepare for battle before leaping onto the Wall and confronting the Colossal Titan.
Currently Publicly Available Information
The 10 Top Cadets in the 104th Cadet Corps
Number 10: Christa Lenz
Number 9: Sasha Braus
Number 8: Conny Springer
Number 7: Marco Bodt
Number 6: Jean Kirschtein
Number 5: Eren Jaeger
Number 4: Annie Leonhart
Number 3: Bertholdt Hoover
Number 2: Reiner Braun
Top: Mikasa Ackermann
Characters in Order of Appearance
- The omni-directional mobility gear pack in the anime appear to only hold four blades per side, as compared to the early manga's six blades in a pack.
- In the TV version of the episode, when Eren meets Hannes, the logo on Hannes' vest is shown as the logo of the Garrison, but then it is shown as the logo of the Scout Regiment. The logo is replaced back afterwards, however, and this error was fixed in the Blu-Ray release of the episode.