Titan, but since these posts were less about describing and commenting on the actual plot and more about my personal impressions, I figured I would attempt some sort of wrap up and general thoughts on the show.
First off, the final arc was actually pretty damned good (aside from containing one of the least surprising reveals in recent memory), and in most aspects it harkened back to the show's first several episodes, which were probably the strongest. The level of drama and action really reached a crescendo at the end, which is a positive thing. You never want a show like this to peak too soon and then meander its way to the finish line. It started strong and ended strong, and I think that left a good final impression on people (myself included) and began the painstaking countdown to season 2, which, as manga readers have informed me, could take quite a while. Isayama's manga doesn't rush the story – which is also clearly evident by the pacing of the anime – so there simply isn't enough source material at this point. The only problem is that the show's massive popularity could lead to an anime that departs from the manga plot and proceeds down its own path. While this tactic could work, it often doesn't, and the show has been so faithful to the original story that taking a different path could really change it in a fundamental way.
Overall, despite the various problems in production, I have to give this show pretty high marks. It's just very memorable and distinct – from the art style and characters to the design of the world and the way the story is built and paced. The pacing does drag a bit sometimes, but it feels less like they are stretching what they have to fill time and more like they are staying true to the source material.
So, now that it is over, was the hype machine correct? Were the insanely high expectations justified? Yes and no. Judging by the fan reaction, it seems that most people's expectations were met or even exceeded, so in that sense I guess the hype was justified. If most viewers got what they wanted, then the creators did their job.
However, it definitely fell short of expectations on a couple of fronts, most noticeably production quality. There were a few rough parts and some flat out unfinished ones. There are a couple of episodes (especially episode 13) that I have marked to rewatch once the Blu-Ray versions are released just to see the difference in the final product. Retouches for home release could definitely bump this up another notch or two, but the point I am getting at is that if you were expecting the most amazingly animated show in years, you will probably be somewhat disappointed. There are some breathtaking action sequences, but they are spaced out and many episodes felt a bit static for a show this action-oriented.