WARNING: The following contains spoilers for Attack on Titan Season 4, Episode 14, "Savagery" now streaming on Crunchyroll, Funimation, Hulu and Amazon Prime.
Even in the penultimate episode of the final season, Attack on Titan goes ahead and gives Levi another top-tier fight against Zeke as the Beast Titan. Their memorable fight back in Season 3, Episode 54 "Hero" never left Zeke's mind, or ours. It was an epic clash between a fearsome Titan and the single most powerful human on Paradis, Levi. In Season 4, Episode 14 "Savagery," Levi gets another shot at Zeke and doesn't put it to waste. While both production studios do a great job adapting the manga, there are notable differences in their style. So which studio gives us the more impressive battle between Levi and Zeke?
The initial battle back in Season 3 Part 2 was a central piece of that entire season. Everyone knows that Levi is arguably the most powerful human in the anime, besides maybe Mikasa. So to see him in action at his full capacity was a sight to behold. Wit really showcased their goods in this scene, with excellent animation and great camera angles, among other things.
With extravagant flourishes on Levi's already impressive moves, Wit's animation in this scene is at an all-time high. Watching how they animate his slips past and around the Beast Titan is really fun. Additionally, Wit decision to keep the blood in the foreground of the shot was a great idea -- it adds depth to the scene and makes Levi's slices that much more gory. The music, though catchy, doesn't stand out too much, which really highlights the visual cues. It also doesn't help that Levi and Zeke talk through most of the fight, which hides the music underneath. Wit's use of camera angles also makes this fight stand out, pulling the contrast between how big Zeke is and how tiny Levi is. It makes for a great battle.
While Wit's battle was earlier in the anime, MAPPA's is in the final episodes leading to the series finale. By the very nature of an epic conclusion, MAPPA's version was a lot more cinematic. It relies on a dramatic song to help build the atmosphere, which makes Levi's polished moves seem even more impressive as they flow with the music. MAPPA's animation style is also a little more fluid, making the Beast Titan's heavy movements seem more 3D.
The overall feel of Season 4's fight is much grander than that of Season 3's, but that could also be due to the stakes being much higher. But besides that, MAPPA's animation is incredible and really brings out the electricity of the scene. It chooses dramatic angles to showcase Levi, both while he's attacking and while he simply listens to Zeke. It really focuses on dramatizing Levi's feelings, especially since he just killed his entire squad that had been turned into Titans. It uses slow focuses on his face and relishes in the cuts he snags on Zeke. The Season 4 Levi and Beast Titan fight was a testament to both MAPPA and Levi as a character.
Both Wit and MAPPA maximize their talented animators in both fight sequences to vividly bring to life the battle between the anime's best fighter and one of its toughest Titan opponents. At the end of the day, it's MAPPA that ultimately creates a more cinematic experience. It's also important to remember that they were working with a longer scene, which creates more opportunities for dramatization, and a higher-stakes situation. While Wit is home to an excellent team of animators, MAPPA just had more space with this scene to be creative.