While fans are gushing over the first episode of Attack on Titan's final season's part 2, the opening itself has gotten no less praise.
The theme song, "The Rumbling" by SiM was released ahead of the premiere, and the visuals are quite fitting. The opening has a polished and deliberate look to it that was missing in the last OP, and MAPPA has filled the entire video with references and foreshadowing.
[Major spoilers for Attack on Titan final season's part 2]
All the references and foreshadowings in Attack on Titan Final Season's part 2's opening
The three protagonists
The OP starts with Eren’s eyes glowing in the dark, and here MAPPA seems to have redeemed itself from the way it animated Eren’s eyes in part 1. The OP moves onto Eren tying his hair and getting ready to head out, a clear call-back to Season 2 OP, "Shinzou wo Sasageyo", where the entire Levi squad is seen putting on their gears to get ready for a fight.
In quick succession, "The Rumbling" then shows Mikasa, who is taking off her signature red scarf, and Armin, who is sleeping inside his cell. Mikasa taking off her scarf leaving it on her table foreshadows the moment when Mikasa will finally emancipate herself from Eren and will stop wearing the scarf. This was hinted at in the celebratory artwork put up by character designer Tomohiro Kishi.
The foreshadowing of the climax of the series
The Attack on Titan final season's part 2's opening then transitions from Eren walking to a horde of Colossal Titans walking. This is known in the manga as the Rumbling, where Eren undoes all Titan-casings, leading to Karl Fritz’s Wall-Titans breaking free.
Eren then proceeds to march across the world with these Titans, reducing countries and their populations to dust. The Rumbling forms the climax of Attack on Titan Final Season part 2 and the series as a whole.
After a shot of running water, signifying the ocean separating the island of Paradis and the world, fans get to see Eren and Zeke, facing away from each other, singnifying their drastically different ideologies, against a backdrop of unraveling DNA strands and blood, highlighting their relationship as brothers.
A reminder of all that was lost
After the title card, Eren is seen walking through the same hallway where Historia had punched Levi after her coronation. In a before-and-after style of presentation, fans see Jean, Sasha, Connie, Armin and Mikasa from their Cadet days, following which the scene quickly transforms into the other four standing around Sasha’s grave.
Similarly, Ymir, Historia, Reiner, Annie, and Berthold are seen laughing with each other, also from their cadet days. The scene is then replaced by an adult Reiner looking at Gabi, Falco and their friends playing, along with Piek and Porco, likely while they were still back in Marley.
This sequence reminds the audience of how there had always been a divide between the cadets, and what they have lost. The way it was shot, the entire sequence makes it seem like Eren is looking at these two friend groups, and seeing what they were and what they are now.
Interestingly, Eren is not a part of either group, although there has always been a divide between Eren and everyone else. This is emphasized by long shots of Eren walking by himself on top of one of the walls.
Ymir and her titans
The OP then shows a glimpse of Levi in his injured state, before it shows Hange in deep contemplation. The direction makes it seem as if Hange is thinking of Levi rather than Levi actually being present. In quick succession, fans see all the Titan shifters one by one. The scene moves from a young Zeke playing catch with Tom Ksaver transitions to Zeke throwing a boulder in his Beast Titan form, to an adult Zeke looking directly at the screen.
Eren bites his hand to transform into the Attack Titan, but with the armor of the Warhammer Titan around his hands. He then attacks Reiner, whose human form is shrouded in shadows.
After shots of Piek and her Cart Titan, and Porco and his Jaw Titan, fans see Annie, finally out of her Titan-casing. As manga readers know, Annie’s casing was destroyed by Eren’s command at the same time when he freed the wall-Titans. Annie’s Female Titan form morphs into Berthold’s half transformed face, which bleeds into a sleeping Armin.
Eren had insinuated in Attack on Titan final season's part 1 that after consuming Berthold, Armin had internalized his emotions, and whatever Armin felt for Annie was not his feelings, but Berthold’s.
As Armin emerges as the Colossal Titan, his tether with Berthold and his guilt for having eaten him is blatantly presented through this sequence. Then comes a shot of the Warhammer Titan, which is followed by a call-back to Eren consuming her back in Liberio.
After the Titans are shown, the Attack on Titan final season part 2 opening moves on to the Paths converging at the Co-Ordinate, and Ymir Fritz moving through the eerie blue light as every memory of every Titan moves through her. In the next shot, the camera moves from above the cloud to the ocean.
The opening comes full circle
After shots of Piek's cannon, the camera moves back above the clouds and transitions into a shot of Eren. This could be a reference either to when Armin, Mikasa, Levi, and others fly on the airplane provided by the Hizuru to stop the Rumbling, or to when Falco’s Jaw Titan grew wings and flew with Gabi after them.
Eren’s forlorn adult face transitions into his excited younger one, with a hand brandishing a knife in the background. This is probably a reference to when Eren killed Mikasa’s kidnappers as a child. Interestingly, when Levi was shown earlier, the line “I never meant to grab a Knife” was played, which draws attention to Levi’s own past with knives.
What follows are shots of people running away from and looking at something that horrifies them, which is clearly the army of Wall-Titans. A scene of the 104 Training Corp's cadets on top of the wall at sunset is shown, this time from Mikasa’s memory, who is seen wrapping the red scarf around her neck once more.
Interestingly, in Mikasa’s memory, Eren is there, but Marco is not, and there is no clear divide between the cadets other than them standing closer to their respective groups of friends. Mikasa wrapping the scarf around her neck symbolized her acceptance of Eren, which may indicate that the anime might follow the Manga ending after all.
A shot of Armin, Mikasa, and Eren as children running towards a tree is shown, before Eren’s face transitions through the ages into his 19-year-old face. This tree is the one where the series began, and it is where the story ends in the manga.
A close-up of Eren's eyes shows the legion of Wall-Titans reflected in it, and Eren’s Founding Titan form hulking behind them. The Attack on Titan final season's part 2's opening ends with one of the Wall-Titans stepping on a butterfly, symbolizing the end of all dreams and innocence for Eren.
While the animation of the Attack on Titan's opening is leagues better than part 1, the 'wooden-ness' is still very much present. Given the tight schedule MAPPA had, it is no wonder that a lot of CGI was used. However, overall, it is a fitting farewell to the series.
While many fans speculate that the OP might indicate towards an anime original ending, the repeated use of bird-imagery suggests otherwise. Hopefully, the rest of the Attack on Titan final season's part 2 will do justice to this opening.