Shingeki no Kyojin – 05

Shingeki no Kyojin - 05-16 Shingeki no Kyojin - 05-20 Shingeki no Kyojin - 05-33

I won’t lie – my favorite part of this episode was the last 15 seconds.

I know I’ll once again take a lot of flak for comparing this series to Kakumeiki Valvrave, but despite the obvious difference in overall quality (again, Shingeki is certainly better) there are some pretty important commonalities between the two.  Most especially for me is that I find myself laughing almost non-stop when I’m not sure I’m supposed to, and that enjoyment of both shows requires a sort of all-in acceptance of the sheer absurdity of what’s about to happen.  It’s less about Valvrave-like asspull plot twists with Attack on Titan but more about the sheer preposterous, almost JoJo-level bombast witch suffuses every frame and every double-outlined character.

This is one of those shows where I’ll be very tempted to go back and read the manga once the airing is over.  I’m curious (but not so much as to want to be spoiled now, so please save your responses) as to whether this series would have been signifcantly different with a less balls-out nutjob of a director than Araki Tetsuro at the helm.  I’m sure this was never going to be a low-key story, but I could see it having a certain majestic tragedy to it in the hands of a more subtle director.  Araki simply doesn’t know where the brakes are – when he drives there’s only one pedal, and he isn’t afraid to use it.  It’s undeniably effective, and the pairing of Araki with the material has produced one of the most adrenaline-infused thrill rides in recent anime history – but as I said, I’m curious as to whether it was the only way the show could go, based on the source material.

The elements of Attack on Titan are basically very simple, apart from the fact that they’re packaged inside a very complicated and mysterious mythology.  We have Eren acting like a caricature of every bad shounen protagonist ever written, Mikasa obsessing over him, non-stop snarling and shouting and close-ups of eyes burning with rage, and utter, brutal devastation.  If this series has excelled at anything it’s at showing just how huge the gap between the humans and the titans really is.  Even if they have a weak spot – the back of the neck always seems to be a popular choice for weak spots in otherwise invulnerable creatures – the hits just keep on coming.  Not only are they huge and voracious, but their heads grow back when blown off and their bodies regenerate when cut in half.  Turns out they can move pretty damn quickly and jump, too.   Seriously – being 15 meters tall isn’t enough of an advantage?

While the action sequences are the full-on breathless rush they set out to be, it’s the mystery of the Titans that still interests me most about Shingeki no Kyojin.  We got some exposition at last in the form of a remembered lecture from military training – that’s where the info about heads and bodies regenerating came from – but it really raises more questions than it answers.  Nothing we know – in real-life or this series’ mythology – can offer a plausible explanation for why a creature exists that eats only humans but doesn’t need to eat them to survive (certainly not evolution).  Why should the Titans exist simply to wipe out humanity – and if they do, why haven’t they done it already?  That seems to be the fundamental contradiction at the center of many – I see no evidence whatsoever that the Titans couldn’t have wiped out humanity if they’d wanted to.  And while it makes sense to think they consider humanity as livestock and always want to keep a breeding population around, that makes sense only if their primary interest in humanity is as food.  And once again we see the Supertitan seemingly disappear into thin air once his work (breaching the gate) is done.

In any case, when they do attack, the results are predictable.  Great pains are taken to show us just how corrupt and self-absorbed the royalty of humanity is, interested only in their own survival (and of course, shown gorging on sweets as a contrast to titans gorging on brave young soldiers).  There does seem to be one soldier in the interior, Cmdr. Dot Pixis (Tanaka Masahiko) – whose name seems as if it came from a character edited out of ReBoot – who takes his job seriously.  But the sense is that the real enemy here is the King and the leadership of the human race – the big question is just how literally that turns out to be the case.  “Let them die!” the fat aristocrat squeals – and indeed, the troops are doing plenty of that.  Thomas and Mina are titan snacks, among others – proving that having a name doesn’t offer character armor in this mythos.  And when characters die in this show, you feel it – even with some discreet editing it’s grotesque and almost comically graphic.

This whole “attack on Trost” sequence is a riot of well-choreographed action (even if it is a bit too CGI-reliant for my taste).  Araki really does have a gift for this sort of thing, and he’s obviously got a good team working with him – human soldiers on their zip lines flying everywhere, running up walls (and slamming into them with killing force), Titans with their arms flailing and teeth chomping, swatting the humans like mosquitoes…  It’s a riot, and the oddly cute faces of the Titans (one of them looks like a jolly 60’s holdout who followed the Grateful Dead) make the whole affair even more disturbing, yet uproarious.  The sheer terror the young soldiers face at the notion of going to battle with them is very well-presented – this is not a glorious battle against a worthy foe, a la Kingdom – this is a suicide run against an enemy that never loses, and one that’s almost certain to end in a hideous death.

As for the dynamics of the lead group, for me it’s still the weak point of the series.  We see a Mikasa who seems genuinely uninterested in anything but sticking to Eren like glue, and Armin so terrified at the idea of combat that he’s barely able to move or speak.  As for Eren, I still find him pretty insufferable with his constant barrage of GAR speechifying and reckless behavior in battle.  This all builds to a scenario where Wavy Gravy is about to consume an Armin who’s paralyzed by his terror, and Eren saves him by literally pulling him out of the Titan’s gullet – only to seemingly be eaten himself, as his severed arm drops to the ground.  I don’t get a whole lot of suspense out of this cliffhanger development, as I don’t believe for a nanosecond that Eren is really dead – though I’d be lying if I said the notion doesn’t sort of appeal to me.  Selfishly, of course, that would mean we wouldn’t have to listen to him anymore but more importantly, it would be a really radical and unconventional plot twist worthy of George R.R. Martin.  It’s going to be milked for at least a week it seems, as the next ep looks to be a flashback episode for Mikasa – but I expect Eren will be back and in full voice before long.

Shingeki no Kyojin - 05-8 Shingeki no Kyojin - 05-9 Shingeki no Kyojin - 05-10
Shingeki no Kyojin - 05-11 Shingeki no Kyojin - 05-12 Shingeki no Kyojin - 05-13
Shingeki no Kyojin - 05-14 Shingeki no Kyojin - 05-15 Shingeki no Kyojin - 05-17
Shingeki no Kyojin - 05-18 Shingeki no Kyojin - 05-19 Shingeki no Kyojin - 05-21
Shingeki no Kyojin - 05-22 Shingeki no Kyojin - 05-23 Shingeki no Kyojin - 05-24
Shingeki no Kyojin - 05-25 Shingeki no Kyojin - 05-26 Shingeki no Kyojin - 05-27
Shingeki no Kyojin - 05-28 Shingeki no Kyojin - 05-29 Shingeki no Kyojin - 05-30
Shingeki no Kyojin - 05-31 Shingeki no Kyojin - 05-32 Shingeki no Kyojin - 05-34
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125 comments

  1. f

    I just finished watching this episode less than a minute ago.

    My reaction: HOLY CRAP.

    Bring on the next episode 8D

  2. k

    I'm not sure if the anime is translating the mood of despair well in this adaption. In the manga, I never found anything comical and I was always in perpetual fear of the characters dying. I kind of feel that the anime's decision to show the training arc before this arc has perhaps made Eren's death less believable. Hes given so many cafeteria speeches that it's hard to imagine the series without them.

  3. m

    Enzo you just sound like you're being nitpicky and overall very spiteful that this is a more popular show than Dansai, which is a melodramatic piece of shit. I don't see how you can attempt pick out so many conventional antics that Shingeki uses, but totally dick-ride Dansai, a show I can't even begin to understand the appeal. The writing sucks, the characters are unconvincing, and the interaction between the two leads has gone from cute to overbearing. I could go on and in more detail but I'm sure they would fall on deaf ears, that is if you really have become a weaboo HotD loving cynic

  4. A

    I agree with this.

    Every since your episode 2 blog(unironically by the time this episode has aired the series had blown through the roof in popularity) you just started having to find things here and there to complain about but yet a pandering show like crime edge is really good to you. yeah…

    Comparing this with Valrave is also dumb. Nothing in this has come close to making me facepalm as Valvrave has.

  5. You have a nice day, too. And enjoy the Kool-aid. A show being popular doesn't mean it's perfect, and not loving every aspect of a show doesn't mean you don't like it.

  6. k

    It feels like you criticize Attack on titan much more than you praise it. I'm not sure if you're doing so because you want to offer a different perspective in mist of all the praise of the show or if you just have an overall negative impression of the show. I won't deny that this anime has its fair share of flaws, but it brings alot of brilliance in return. I don't think its very fair to weigh the negatives so heavily.

  7. i

    @ Kayn swanson your earlier comment on how the manga is better is pretty on. With Kaji Yuki out of the way Eren does come off better and story is more despairing than over dramatic. The anime though does have Kaji Yuki and that removes a lot of believability just because of how he portrays most of his roles: horrendously.

    GC and SAO were popular too and so are stuff like Transformers and GI Joe, I wouldn't exactly call them eligible for a screen writers award.

  8. a

    kayn swanson, it probably has to do with the difference between coming into this anime as a fan of the original vs. being a neophyte. I can't speak for Enzo, but as a new viewer myself, this anime hasn't lived up to the expectations set by its own first episode. I can't say I don't like the show, but after 5 episodes the flaws are starting to really be a problem for me. Again this is just a personal opinion, but my point is that by judging the anime off its own merits I don't think Enzo is in any way being "unfair."

    Tangentially, this was one of the reasons SAO became rather viciously divided as it went on. Novel readers were able to plug in the holes left by the anime ("oh but there's this monologue that was cut which explains…"), but for some (many?) anime only viewers it didn't live up to its own hype (again, tremendous first episode). Frankly on a personal level I'm starting to see a frightening number of parallels between SAO and Shingeki, and not in a good way. Shingeki could very well be a much better story as a manga, but looking at this anime as an independent adaptation, it's very much open to criticism.

  9. i

    Is that what divided SAO and AW watchers? I thought it was more to do with some people wanted to watch quality and others moe girls and GAR/Angst boys.

    On the parallels I see only that Angsty yelling and the subtlety of a hammer in the face. Shingeki doesn't have a moe pandering harem… yet, so its still watchable for me and I do like it. But discussing the ANIME ONLY FLAWS is part of reading and discussing GE's post. If manga fans don't like that well clear off.

  10. R

    I have to agree to some extend with manator. You are trying to be a hipster to hard, Enzo.

    You did the same thing last season when you praise alot of Robotics;Notes, ignoring the flaws of that show, and bash pretty hard other shows with flaws like Psycho-Pass.

    There's alot of double standards in your reviews. I still like to read the reviews when you aren't trying so hard to find every possible flaw in a anime.

  11. a

    ishruns, like I mentioned, my example was just one of the many reasons SAO became divided. The moe and harem and all that I'm sure were reasons for many fans as well. But the argument of cut material filling in the anime's holes was used so often that it definitely was one of the disconnects.

    The parallel thing was just my way of saying I see some similar warning signs with Shingeki for me personally. Both SAO and Shingeki (so far) had great world building and set up, but problems on the character front. It's still early so it remains to be seen if Shingeki will address those problems, especially with next week looking like the foundational story for Mikasa and Erens' characters. If there are actually actions and reasons leading up to all of Eren's self-righteous lectures, then I can at least accept the characterization even though listening to the yelling is tiring. But I'm not sold on Eren being so much better than everyone else just because I'm told he is (I had the same problem with Kirito).

  12. M

    Agree, this is the reason i hardly ever came here to read enzos reviews. He completly ignores flaws in shows that he likes and bash minus flaws as giants in shows that que he didn't like so much. I don't really know it he does it on purpose or he didn't notice.

    I understand that the autor will always put a small amount of it tastes in his comments but Enzo is completly blind to shows that he likes and and super critic with shows that he don't like. It's ridiculous.

    Man, R;N was shit, i couldn't even count it's flaws(so many) and he talked about it as if was the best show of the season, PP wasn't perfect at all(i gave it a 7 on MAL) but it was 1000x better than R;N. R;N was a gag as so is Valvrave, again, why is he comparing a gag with a good(not perfect) action anime again? Even Crime Edge(generic show) looks marvelous compared to Valvrave.

  13. R

    Enzo's taste aside. I can't see how this show is comparable to SAO, the only thing in common is that it's very popular. Kirito would have taken out the Colossal Titan by now. But Eren got devoured in spite of all the shit he said to his team mates. He failed hard.

    I'm also baffled to see so much unjustified Yuki Kaiji hate (everywhere, not only here) when he was awarded for his roles by the Japanese themselves.
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/7th_Seiyu_Awards
    He's a good actor that happened to work on shit characters.

    I believe most manga readers agree that the SnK anime is way better than the manga. It made big improvements in the narrative, by doing better foreshadowing and introducing characters earlier so that they don't feel too "injected" as they felt while I read the manga.

  14. M

    "Enzo is completly blind to shows that he likes and and super critic with shows that he don't like."

    Isn't that what humans generally do?

  15. M

    Hopefully not respectable critics.

  16. M

    "I know I'll once again take a lot of flak for comparing this series to Kakumeiki Valvrave"

    Don't worry. I'm in agreement with you.

  17. F

    I have to agree with manator jones, your bizarre love of Dansai which is completely garbage compared to your lack of tolerance for Shingeki's hammy but still great direction is baffling.

  18. e

    I completely agree, Dansai is a pretty bad show, even worse than aku no hana i dare say. Oh and for anyone who is in need for some spoilers about crime edge: THE SHOW ONLY GETS SHITTIER FROM HERE ON OUT. so save yourself the trouble and drop it. Honestly, I'm not sure what's more ridiculously stupid this season: Enzo or Dansai Burni no Crime Edge

  19. M

    So let me get this straight. Just becuase an opinion is different then yours that opinion is by definition stupid? I say, that sounds pretty stupid.

    More importantly, what does Crime Edge even have to do with Titan anyway?

  20. Nothing new about that, MCAL – any criticism of a popular series, no matter how muted, always brings them out from under their bridges. And clearly, this is not the target audience for Dansai Bunri.

  21. E

    Butthurt, huh. I still can't understand why people love this series so much, to the point of getting mad on behalf of it. It's a fact that all characters in this series is one-dimensional and personality-less.

  22. e

    lol MCAL reply to my post again when you get a brain transplant, unless you're trolling, then by all means, bash away at Dansai

  23. M

    I've taken your advice and got that brain transplant using my secret goverment connections to nab the brain of Albert Einstein that has been kept away in cryogenic stasis for studying. (Bribing all those corrupt politicians was a piece of cake) I've read over all the comments again and have come to the conclusion that what my former brain typed down was correct on all accounts.

    So long. Farewell. Auf wiedershen. Goodbye. E=MC^2.

  24. Z

    This was hardly muted criticism though.

  25. No manga spoilers, for pity's sake…

  26. E

    I am sorry, it's really really hard not to spoil when it comes to a story you have read. :-)

  27. d

    It's strange (or not) how much you have to buy into certain stylistic conventions — which always have their own internal logic — in order to enjoy what you're viewing. Prior to episode 5, 3D Gear is meant to have a thrilling aerial dogfight quality, but seems insubstantial to say, the practicality of heavy infantry. Of course after the watching this episode with its info dump on titan mechanics, 3D gear makes a good deal more internal sense yet still appears on a certain level, irretrievably stupid. I think Shingeki may work for me so long as I can avoid think of well really anything fitting together properly.

  28. N

    3D gear is really the only way to make it possible to fight huge, quick, regenerative species that have only one weak point (before someone goes "They could have not given them such a weakpoint": there is a damn good reason for why the nape of the neck is a weakpoint). SnK is more carefully thought out and planned story that one would think at first sight.

  29. d

    The unintentionally absurd can be "carefully thought out and planned." It's precisely this which can act as a speed bump to the thrill ride. Blockbusters have never been designed to have depth. They're surface layer spectacle. Of course knowing that doesn't mean one can't enjoy the view. It just means it's better not to think very much, or at all.

  30. R

    @dirtywaterimp

    >Blockbusters have never been designed to have depth. They're surface layer spectacle.

    I think that's just your prejudice speaking.

    Your argument is basically "It sounds absurd, so it must be absurd." And deny thinking itself because the show is very popular.

    Now that the anime talked about the titans and how to kill them. Why don't you take a minute, look at the technology of the setting, their resources, the time constraints in training, and figure out for yourself a more efficient way to combat titans that doesn't involve the 3D Gear + Dual Disposable Blades "cool" combo.

  31. i

    Wavy Gravy, that's funny.

    The timing that exposition, bit sloppy as I would rather have it in the training arc, but nonetheless the ability to regenerate is one I expect to come into play here for Eren. His father's drugs, connection to the Behemoth and its appearance when Eren is particularly angsty/GAR must have a reason.

    Main group is yeah pretty cliched and boring. On Armin, I think of Black Hawk Down and the incredible brotherhood between soldiers in that movie and in real life. That's how soldiers motivate each other no baseless yelling. If Norio Wakamoto was Eren instead of Kaji Yuki I'd be a lot happier and think it was definitely like Jojo. In fact anyone is better than Kaji Yuki.

  32. i

    And what's with all these trolls?

    Dansai Bunri is a dark horse series, came out of the blue and is fresh, just not to many people's liking. Read Aku no Hana's manga before bashing it too.

    Attack on titan is a big series with high expectations coming after one of the most brilliant animes of the young decade: Shin Sekai Yori. Its natural for it to be judged to similar standards. Obviously it has to be nit picked for that. Or laughed at for being overly dramatic.

    One more thing: GAR.
    Is GAR/Angsty yelling so popular in Japan because its something the quiet people there can't really do or may be because its how kids want to be different from their yes men/women parents and reality of Japanese corporate culture?

  33. Z

    Shingeki no Kyojin has absolutely nothing to do with Shin Sekai Yori. Different genres, different directorial styles, different budgets, different source material, different audiences. It's not fair to judge them against each other at all.

  34. S

    That's bullshit. It's not fair to judge any anime different than any other, so you should be able to compare them all. I can't speak for Enzo, but I'd judge a series from the enjoyment and the connection I feel with it, and if there's something missing from a perfect score, I'd point out what and why.

    I'd rate Crime Edge and SnK pretty much on equal terms atm. I connect better with the characters in Crime Edge, but the enjoyment from SnK is equal or more. How can you not enjoy seeing an teenage-angsty and shouty GAR character slayed in the grisliest fashion possible?

  35. Z

    Yes sure you can compare them, if only to highlight the differences in what each aims to do, but it's like comparing apples and oranges.

  36. i

    Both nutritious fruit.

  37. Z

    With a different flavour and texture.

  38. i

    Doesn't change the fact that they are both common tasty fruit.

  39. q

    Enzo, I haven't read the manga, but if it's true that Eren is dead, it would kind of add to the point that this series is trying to focus on the overall situation the characters are placed in instead of individual character development (which has already been tossed out the door several times, from the mother, to various civilians, to Thomas and now to Eren himself).

    I basically had my mouth open in the last sequences of the episode in disbelief because it took such an unbelievable turn. I too believe Eren is alive and that injection in the dream he had of his father has something to do with it.

  40. R

    I find it interesting that any information about the outside world is prohibed.
    Seems like the people in higher Position prefer the population to stay as ignorant as possible about the outside world.

  41. i

    Similar to our world and pretty much every country in the world.

  42. q

    I think it has something to do with corruption in the world they live in rather than a focus on ignorance.

  43. T

    I enthusiastically recommend the manga. I was neutral about Kaji Yuki (and Araki Tetsuro; GC aside) before; after this I'd happily kick him down the Colonel's throat.

    Eren in the anime has overdosed on the Eau de Gar; a little is fine and helps the spine, but too much is cloying to the point that I can't stand seeing (and by extension, hearing) him.

    It's odd. As mentioned by Kayn swanson, the manga had a heavy undercurrent of despair. The situation is almost the same, except for shuffling the sequence of events a bit. Some bits were added to smooth the introduction of Pixis; but really that man would have had an impact even without the chess game. It's early days yet, but seeing how abrasive Kaji-Eren is, I would settle down and watch this show 'for the lulz', a not-quite-worthy tribute to Isayama Hajime.

    Seeing as some other guy mentioned Dansai Bunri, I thought I'd say that imho it really is a fantastic series. The characters are so, so ~moe~ (not my thing) and the basic premise could have been a formulaic monster of the week show, but it isn't. It's just so gloriously weird, creepy and funny when it needs to be. Iwai's and Kiri's scene in the moonlight actually made me feel for the guy while laughing.

  44. T

    Also; moe face titan. That was the scariest damn thing in the whole episode.

  45. Thanks Tsunoh. And yeah – why are the titans so moe?

  46. C

    So happy this exists!!! Defiantly one of my favorite anime this season. Sad to see hate in the comments though, if Enzo started holding back I'd have to go elsewhere for my well written critical reviews :/

  47. R

    Sadder than Enzo putting Crime Edge on the same tier than Gargantia, is to see readers coming here to read his opinions only for self confirmation.

    Try RandomC.

  48. Z

    There are plenty of other quality critical review sites out there. Please don't limit yourself to the opinions of one blog.

  49. k

    I really like the choreography overall in AoT, however its weak point is indeed its characters, but I think the story & setting makes a bit up for that. I do feel like when reading Enzo's reviews, he's only watching AoT to know more about the mythology and origin of the Titans(the same simlar questions asked in previous reviews xD),instead of watching because of the characters and their story lines.
    I myself don't really nitpick where the Titans originated from,what comes will come xD and I enjoy the development of the story each week.
    I like the characters overall, there is not much character development, Eren may not be the most likeable character,but hey Xin from Kingdom was pretty GAR too and many watchers I know where put off by Xin(typically shounen and unlikeable main character), still Kingdom was an epic anime because of its story and of course the introduction of a compelling awesome character Wang Qi.
    So yeah,personally I think the graphics, choreography,pacing, story & setting are AoT strong points, while the characters may be less developed,but we're only 5 episodes in, still 17 to go(I think) so they have enough time hopefully to make up for that.
    The pros outweigh the cons xD overall so far!

    Btw. AoT has not taken the SAO route yet thankfully, as I think the setting and dynamics have not changed, while in SAO it became a romancelike and very 'the hero saves the damsel in distress' instead of the fantasy/survival genre the 1st and 2nd episode implied it to be.
    (The 'genre-switch' did work for ZnT however,maybe because the characters were more likeable!)

  50. S

    My first thought after this ep was: is this Evangelion all over again?

    Highly unlikely enemies out to destroy humanity with such improbable physiology that one has to think they are actually some kind of metaphor. Angst and defeat and everything going from bad to horrible pretty quickly. I'm getting a bit tired of mankind's losing streak here; one would think that considering the Multiaxial Maneuver Gear an improvement over cannons involves someone, y'know, BEING ABLE to kill a Titan with it. Which we still didn't get to witness. And with all their massive body and extreme physical power, Titans are supposed to be dumb animals. Why are the Spidermen just zipping around without so much as an hint of tactic? They should have learned lots of formations and standard attack paths as cadets. What kind of army is just composed of fighters who randomly move as they please and attack without a plan, especially if this only leads to endless slaughter? And I don't think this can be a plot point – even if the upper brass was willingly leave soldiers in the dark, hell, they should come up with something themselves. Like, the slightest HINT of a plan when facing gigantic yet dumb steaming man-eating monsters.

  51. A

    Why the battle wasn't organized:

    #1. Everyone got out of formation because of the one character getting eaten and then Eren trying to play hero which causes the formation to break even more and also caused more casualties. There's a reason they are supposed to be in groups it's so they can back each other up which increases chances of survival. But our MC is hot headed and ran after the titan without including his teammates in his plan.

    #2. At this point in the series the cadets are not even officially members of their aforementioned organizations. They're all technically still trainees who haven't been given any debriefing on what they are to do except "support" troops on the front lines.

    So I hope that answers your questions on why they just fell apart. I was a little irritated too, especially at watching Eren be stupid( I understand you want to save your friend but don't leave your fellow cadets in the dark). Anyways…that's why they weren't so skilled with taking down their enemies.

  52. R

    #3. They have been 100 years in peace. The only ones with battle experience are the Recon Corps, that left the city in EP4.

  53. S

    I think there is a fundamental difference between Shingeki and Valvrave and that's the sense of danger.
    As you said in your review, Enzo, being a named character doesn't save you in Shingeki, while I am pretty sure that nobody of importance will die in Valvrave until halfway through the series.
    The stakes are much higher in Shingeki. Even if Dorssia conquers the Valvrave, it's not like they are gonna slaughter all of the JIOR civilians! In Shingeki the fate of humanity itself is at stake.
    Finally, the mistery of the origin of the Titans is much more interesting than the secret of the Valvrave. I am sad to see that you persist in comparing these two vastly different shows.

  54. M

    I dunno, Code Geass – which Valvrave owes a lot to – pulled off some pretty unlikely casualties. It's just with Valvrave the characters are so plentiful in their mediocrity it's hardly worth caring.

    But you're right, Enzo's agenda to drag SnK down with Valvrave is fruitless because the former is spiritually rooted in grimness whilst the other is clearly frivolousness. Of course Valvrave hasn't got the style nor substance to back that up.

  55. h

    If the Eotena don't need to eat (we have heard otherwise, at least) and cannot reproduce sexually despite their great numbers, they may actually be closer to zombies or werewolves. Regenerating monsters with varying levels of intelligence who bite people to turn them.

    This opens up a number of possibilities. Firstly, what if by eating people they are reproducing? It's called parsimony — link the two differences together such that one explains another in the simplest fashion. The people ingested by the Eotena, despite a few missing (but easily regenerable) limbs, are turned into Eotena themselves. Reproduction problem solved. Reasons for continued interest in humans explained.

    Second, there is the matter of the "disappearing/reappearing" Eoten. If this interpretation holds, it is conceivable that like a werewolf, transformations can be somewhat controlled. Also explains why they look like people, why some are smarter than others ("special" ones are the more advanced variety who can potentially revert), their evolution (repeated ingestion of the best candidates as artificial selection), and so forth. But this would introduce the possibility that a human within the walls could get out and turn into an Eoten. With what we've seen so far in the series about the people around Eren, this seems increasingly unlikely. However, it doesn't have to be a human who transforms (perhaps a lesser Eoten), or even some yet-unseen human characters.

    Third, it also points us back to the dad's injection. The dad may have injected Eren "for his own good" to stave off the "epidemic"/Eotenification if he gets eaten. This provides a more coherent and believable explanation for coming back later (if he does…). It's also possible the serum doesn't prevent this transformation, just allows him to control it (makes him a werewolf type rather than the typical zombie type), allowing him to gain the power of an Eoten as well.

    With extreme reluctance, I feel I must part with some of my theory in episode 2. Other parts of it may yet prove accurate (as so many have already!). They may still have been weapons created by humanity centuries ago in wartime. They could still have something to do with the ruling elite and the system that exists "in reverse". There are obviously still reasons why the police ("grandarmerie") hunts people down for possessing knowledge of "the outside" despite the Legion's pretenses of going beyond the wall to "discover Their origins and purpose." And more.

  56. R

    Read the manga and, as a mystery fan myself, I will only tell you that SnK has very solid Mystery elements (and it that plays that game fairly, leaving subtle clues and foreshadowing).

    This is just to encourage you to do more thinking like this in the future.

  57. h

    As for the actual episode impressions, I thought it was really cool. Some awesome flashbacks with Armin — does he turn out to be the main character? How daring, if so. But it's true I always thought it was odd he was always hanging around Eren during all the big moments, his voice narrates the little intro scenes, and it was his advice, his discovery, his dream, his brains… that set Eren's course. Eren blatantly admits to copying Armin's dream. In a series where solving the mysteries and unraveling the lore is now apparently just as much the focus and fighting, Armin's brains are the ideal fit. It's as if he was always intended to be reared as a "reserve main" but nobody realized it! Cue GAR Kamina dying to advance little Simon's odyssey. Armin's drill is the drill that will pierce the Heav–er, Holy Walls!

    Why all the concerted effort to remove Mikasa from Eren? There are no coincidences in good mysteries. There are in great mysteries, though (red herrings). It might fit with my theory above.

    I loved the CGI architecture. Some of the Eotena were scarier than others. Moe Eoten is moe (fan disservice 101 right there).

    Gawd the intensity when the kid's limbs got ripped off. If he survives (big if), he will never be the same. I am confident in saying that at an emotional and physical level, but hope they do something with him and his dad and his injection and his soon-to-be devastated friend (adopted sister? lover hopeful?). I can see all that angst serving to drive Armin forward a la Kamina, but I just don't FEEL it, you know? Too numb.

  58. R

    Mikasa was just assigned to a different squad. They are part of a military structure and can't disobey orders. If you think again about it, it is Mikasa the one that's being weird.

    Just look at the OP, everyone is looking down, like grieving for the lost ones/trampled flowers. Pay attention to Mikasa and where her mind is at.

    Being separated for the ones you care to follow your duty is a common trope in military settings and it's one of the many themes in Muv Luv Alternative (the VN that inspired the mangaka).

  59. W

    Seriously don't get some of you commenters. A blog is a place for the blogger to express THEIR opinion. Sure it's great if you disagree and it's interesting to have discussions about why you agree or disagree. But if you can't do that without flaming the blogger for expressing his opinion, just stop reading the blog. It's rude and annoying for readers who actually want to read Enzo's opinion.
    Personally, as a manga reader, I think much of the criticism is justified. The tone of the manga is a tad better and some of the touch ups in the anime I don't particularly like (Mikasa's glamour look, the scenes with cut-out characters on a normal background). That being said, I'm still enjoying the anime immensely and love the action scenes. Eren's voice acting is definitely too GAR for me personally though – never felt that self-righteous or annoying in the manga.

    Keep up the good work GE, some of us actually enjoy reading – and understand the meaning of – opinions.

  60. J

    I wonder how many of you just hate on Eren's voice just because of the name Yuki Kaiji

  61. S

    That's a bit like saying:
    "I wonder how many of you just hate the colour blue just because it's blue."

  62. R

    I am not Yuki Kaiji biggest fan (only like is role as Satoru in SSY), but he's doing a good job as Eren.

    It's so stupid that people see his name and instantly rage.

  63. a

    I think it's more the whiny voice when he's yelling combined with how IN YOUR FACE it is when he yells…which is almost constantly. He's fine when Eren is calm and normal, but the yelling is insufferable.

  64. R

    #parent comment

    The hate is childish.

    I think highly of him, I think he managed to portray each of his roles perfectly, fitting the visions from their creators.

  65. M

    What a solid episode. I've got to hand it to Eren – that dude's got balls of steel. I can't criticize someone who is clearly not all talk. Eren is the force of nature that this show really needs if it's to maintain a hefty momentum and edge against these giant hippies, at least for now. Other than Pixis, the majority are pussies. I have an inkling Eren shares the titan's rejuvenative gene. One can hope?

  66. t

    Oh the Araki kool-aid,it tastes so good!If ever he does something with Okada I might suffer from kool-aid overdose.

    I can only encourage reading the manga,not only to see if the source could have lead to something different under different hands (Ando over at bones would have been interesting for example) but also because going through the story again a second time after some of the plotwists really brings a new perspective on the early episodes that anyone going through it the first time doesn't have. (and I think sometimes manga readers forget this), so sure while I cringe when I read enzo write "The elements of Attack on Titan are basically very simple" , I can't fault him for saying that based on what he's seen so far.
    It's also because of that different perspective that I can't really comment on much of anything, so I'll just coment on this:

    "this is not a glorious battle against a worthy foe, a la Kingdom – this is a suicide run against an enemy that never loses"

    While you used kingdom,I just want to mention you could have just as well used Jojo,which is also all about the glorious battle against a worthy foe, that's why you bringing up jojo as a comparison raises some eyebrows (though I understand where you're coming from).

  67. t, let me respond on 2 fronts. First, a series can be compared to another in terms of a specific element. What I compare in Kingdom with AoT is different than JoJo – in the latter instance my exact words were "It's the tone that sparked the thought in me – the loud, relentless, heady mix of GAR and stupidity that defines everyone's behavior."

    Tied into that thought, my exact quote was "The elements of Attack on Titan are basically very simple, apart from the fact that they're packaged inside a very complicated and mysterious mythology." I feel as if you're parsing my words for effect here, to some extent.

  68. M

    You seem to have some misconception that stupidity defines the behavior in JoJo – I think absurdity is the word you're after. Or is that just some muted criticism aimed at both JoJO and SnK?

    I don't think this adaptation is going to fly well with you at all if you're too preoccupied in looking for subtlety to appreciate the vigor.

  69. t

    I didn't make myself clear with jojo,like I said,I understand why you make the comparison,it's just the first time you threw it on twitter (without the details) I had a hard time seeing it at first.

    I also didn't ignore the second part of the latter quote,though I admit not quoting it was a gaffe on my part,I again insist on saying that I find it a perfectly reasonable statement given what you've seen so far but even though one side of me understands that there's another that is just trying to make me spoil you with info so I can voice my disagreement with that statement.
    And it's gonna probably be even worse next week :)

  70. s

    There is some truth to what Enzo is saying about there's something off with AoT. I can understand why he would draw a bit of parallel to Valvrave due to their "dramatic" nature. It's the same with Devil Survivor. The overriding "theme" is that each is dramatic for the sake of being dramatic with a lot of flash. What makes these seem "off" while something like Jojo seem better.

    Of 3 AoT does it best due to plot situation and in story universe explanations. This is where its like JoJo. Everything crazy that happens in that universe is "grounded" in the systems that were created. ie Pillar Men are crazy powered and ripple seems like a "realistic" magic system. It's just their applications of the boundaries that enthrals the audience. To throw in another series that Enzo reviews that's setup the same way is Hunter x Hunter.

    The fault with AoT is actually with HOW the source material revealed the systems to the readers. This is something that I was surprised that none of the other manga readers pointed out. Basicly AoT is written with a "scene" in mind then a flashback happens to fill in the details (i don't know if this is still the case, i only read up through the Defense of Trost arc). Often time this causes the systems to be explained much later after the action happens. Translating this it animation as is would be TERRIBLE for story telling. Basicly you would see some sort of "ass pull" then have a flash explaining now it's not an ass pull and that character always had this trait/talent/technique.

    In that aspect, the director (Araki)has done a MASTERFUL job of rearranging some of the sequences to create a better narrative for TV. That being said, the build up and character development do suffer from shallowness due to the source not really delving deeply into characterization early on.

    Jojo: deep systems introduced logically and explained, plot situation shallow, characters relatively static but show high fight IQ

    HxH: deep systems fleshed out prior to main action, plot stimulates systems growth organically along with character development

    AoT: Incomplete systems introduce via flashbacks, plot situation does facilitate systems; too early to comment on character growth but there are indications of it

    Valvrave: Broken system with no explanations; plot situation is generic and does not really support the system (why make one super robot instead of developing the whole military when the enemy is KNOWN and does not hold a huge tech advantage?), character development is still early, doesn't look promising.

    So to wrap it all up, Enzo is right in feeling that there's something "missing" with the tension.

    On the actual criticism of Eren, I'm surprised that Enzo didn't point out that his GAR attitude actually got his squad killed probably more quickly than they should have. Ie his GAR tunnel vision made him not take in the whole situation before acting. Considering he knew about abnormal jumpers and it damns him as the shonen typical "blunt instrument" style of hero. Which only is one step up from the "emo cry baby" hero.

  71. I thought "Reckless behavior in battle" pretty much addressed that last point, but in any event thanks for the detailed comment without spoiling much.

  72. R

    Valvrave, Shingeki and JoJo are all action anime targeted towards the same demographic.

    Of course you'll find parallels in their presentation.

  73. A

    Can someone PLEASE explain what GAR is?

  74. M

    GAY misspelled. Strictly refers to a really manly character who is badass because they do badass things eg. Archer from F/SN. The term is being misappropriated by everyone here as meanging tough and angsty.

  75. R

    It's not being misused.

    A guy misspelled "I'm gar for Archer" refering to the badass qualities that made that anon go gay for him. From there, the world is exclusively used to describe those qualities.

  76. M

    It is being misused. That anon was exclusively referring to Archer's overwhelming masculinity in total admiration. People are using it negatively here to belittle Eren's volatile and assertive demeanor.

    Gar isn't intended for negative use and doesn't pertain to shouty and abrasive characters. Only the super manly(eg. Hokuto no Ken or JoJo).

  77. M

    Haha, also can't say I see much evidence for anyone going 'gay' for Eren other than Armin. The thought is amusing though.

  78. s

    GAR has also become a synonym for "hot blooded" or "raged fueled". Max has a semi point that GAR has been misused used from it's original meaning but that's the nature of language.

    From a non anime perspective, the slang "cool" went through a similar change. Originally, it was used to describe someone that was well collected and not easily rattled, ie a James Dean like character was "cool". Later on it just meant something that was "awesome", "nice", something that's "in".

  79. M

    It still stands as exclusively a term of endearment rather than blatant disparagement. Misappropriation through battered cultural use makes it no less wrong of course. As you say it happens in everyday English language all too often. The misuse of 'awesome' is a particular pet peeve of mine.

  80. K

    Am I the only one who laughed at Grasshopper Titan and whack a mole titan. That was hilarious. The sheer emotional bullet train this episode was on was interesting. This show has no stop button. And even though I could give a damn about Thomas, Mina and other guy the violence helped me feel for them at least initially. The characters are still not all that interesting. Mikasa is so one track minded and Eren is always screaming. Needs more Sasha.

    I'm still curious as to the Titans' goal. If it's not survival but annihilation then why didn't they just finish them off 5 years ago? Why didn't Big Daddy Titan just stay and stomp everything? I'm just waiting for that pay off that makes manga readers give it all this hype.

  81. k

    Btw this is completely unrelevant, but Enzo,do you read any manwah's?Are you acquainted with 'Tower of God'?

  82. I know of the work, but haven't read it, no.

  83. k

    Aah okay, if you have time, I'd advise you to try it sometime,it has a early Hunter x Hunter feel to it :) and a pretty great setting

  84. Thanks for the tip – if time allows, I'll check it out!

  85. A

    The female like Titan looked like the NASA employee in Uchuu Kyodai.

    For a second there I thought Armin would be eaten and die as a result until Eren hulked-up to save his friend. When Eren was making his speech there, I thought he would turn and slash the Titan, instead he got eaten himself. Glorious to watch but I'm skeptical. Eren must have MC and plor armor, no?

  86. V

    Shingeki No Kyoujin has a nasty habit of withholding critical information in a very unskillful way.

    While totally understandable that this is done in the name of suspense, I find the manner of which this is done to be very annoying and simply not tasteful. I read the manga (don't worry no spoiler). It's interesting enough to keep me wondering what's going to happen next, but pass certain points the theme gets TOO MUCH. Mystery after mystery after more mystery. Hopelessness on top of more grim hopelessness. Rage beyond rage. All this for what exactly, no one can tell. As the show goes on I expect to see more and more dissenting reactions from the audience.

    The premise of the setting is interesting as hell and I was sold initially. However I'm afraid the anime will not be able to escape the poor storytelling. At its heart it's a well-introduced Shounen series, prioritizing coolness above everything else.

  87. R

    As a manga reader.

    No it isn't. Be more considerate.

  88. R

    This is a manga that's published in a shonen magazine
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bessatsu_Sh%C5%8Dnen_Magazine

    Why are so many of you asking for the character exploration that's usually found in seinen works?

  89. Ah, the genre card is played.

    I will never, ever give any series a pass on poor character development based on its supposed genre – that's a larger issue and has absolutely nothing to do with this specific show. If you don't think shounen is capable of brilliant character development your're reading the wrong shounen.

    And there are plenty of seinen with cardboard characters, too.

  90. R

    But still, generally speaking, blilliant character development is not a norm in this kind of manga.
    There are certainly works that deliver it, but more often than not, Shonen action manga builds a cast of somewhat relatable 1-dimensional teenage characters and dispatch them to fight and train and fight again.

    Oh well, 5 episodes in and none of the characters got their backstory yet. next episode will get started on that. We'll have more material to talk about the characters next week.

  91. Richard, my view is that judging any series by an external set of standards of what's appropriate for its supposed demographic is a disservice to the manga or anime. I don't especially like genre labels to begin with, and I do especially like series that blur them as much as possible. How limiting would it be to try and shoehorn Chihayafuru into any one specific demographic, for example?

    Are there many shounen action series that have one-dimensional characters? Sure, you're right that there are. But there are many series in other demos that do as well, and just because some series don't excel in that area doesn't mean we shouldn't celebrate the ones that do. I think the best thing a reader or viewer (or blogger) can do is toss genre expectations out as much as realistically possible and judge the series on its own merits. Not every series sets out to do the same things, and that's a factor of course – but for me, very often I don't even know the target demographic for a series when I start watching it in cases where I haven't read the manga.

    And besides all that, half the time shows end up structurally quite different from what their supposed demographic is anyway. I've read plenty of manga that were essentially seinen by conventional definition apart from the fact that they happened to be published in a shounen magazine. And not every shounen magazine is read by the same demographic group.

  92. R

    I didn't read enough of your blogging to be confident about this but, if that's your philosophy, I feel that you toss away less genre expectations for the shows that made a personal "click" in you than the ones that didn't.

  93. R

    >The manga went from interesting to hollycrap this thing's going to the moon on a rocket powered by awesome!

    That's the only way a shonen manga can survive in the Japanese market.

    They can't possibly afford to waste early chapters on building up a narrative, that's not what Japanese kids are looking for in their magazines.

    It's either popular NOW or dead.

  94. t

    Fully agree with Enzo here.
    Reminds me of a random anecdote but in France the publisher has decided to label it a seinen showing that demographic labels don't mean much.

  95. This is certainly the first show that I've quite liked that I've considered dropping because of the caliber of comments. Between the non-stop manga spoilers and the astonishingly narrow-minded vitriol against any measured criticism of a show that's deemed above criticism by anime orthodoxy, it doesn't really seem worth it.

    Seriously, though – you have to wonder at the mentality of people who takes it upon themselves to troll an anime blog, never mind someone who makes it a mission to do it relentlessly and without pause. What does that say about how hollow and vacant their actual lives must be?

  96. c

    Didn't you get the same reactions for Fate/Zero?

  97. h

    Indeed. And they fill the void in their core with Titans. This is why any attack on Titans is felt as an attack on their core. Which, by the way, doesn't regenerate and only festers.

    I am reminded of a similar situation with E7;AO. The quality of comments was low because of the same discord between your analysis and popular sentiment (even though your respective stances were somewhat reversed). I keenly recall like contention in your F/Z posts, but not in this sheer quantity. Perhaps this reflects your blog's growing popularity, for better or for worse?

  98. There is a considerable increase in traffic over the last year, houit, and that's obviously a factor. But while I did get my share of vitriol over F/Z – and it's probably not a bad comparison, cc – almost all of that was connected to my views on one particular character. And there didn't seem to be as much outright spoiling – some of it borderline obviously intentional – as I'm getting with AoT.

    You know, it is possible to like a series without slavishly praising every aspect of it. It's comical but also sad that certain people perceive anything but unvarnished praise as a vicious attack. And of course, that so many respond with personal attacks that really have nothing to do with the topic at hand whatsoever.

  99. E

    This shows the brain quality of the fans. Valvrave has equal amount of haters and fans. But nobody are dumb enough to get into heated argument over it.

  100. V

    You can simply not read the comment section when you don't feel like braving it. I think it'll reflects badly on you if you drop a series because of the voices of people who disagree. I think there are a fair number who see your point.

    I actually found your blog from Googling vague terms on does anyone think AoT is not doing very well. AFAIK yours is the only one that stands on the side with alternate viewpoint. It's good to have some of this.

  101. Well, that's nice of you to say – and of course you're right that not even looking at the comments is an option. But of course, I've deleted a good number of spoiler comments from the AoT section every week – if I don't do that a lot of people are probably going to be pretty pissed when they read them.

  102. R

    @Enzo's parent comment

    On the spoilers issue:

    Those trolls are everywhere, not only in your blog.

    It's become memetic in /a/ to post, within the first 5 posts, the biggest spoilers of the manga in every single one of the countless SnK threads. Currently they got bored of that and are now denying real spoilers and posting false ones, trolling the trolls. It's a big disgusting circlejerk, and all communities are getting hit by untagged spoilers.

  103. I could just do a blog post and close it to comments, I suppose. But isn't that letting the terrorists win?

  104. R

    Ratter than that, you could recruit a mod or two, familiar with the anime that are being adapted to scan the comments for you.

    Another way would be to enable comment reporting/flagging (if possible). And let the users do that work for you.

  105. Z

    That system never works. People will just flag comments they personally don't agree with.

  106. q

    How about you just disable the comments for the posts for this series? I enjoy reading your reviews and come to this website as soon as I'm done watching the latest episode…

  107. q

    Or you could just stop responding and edit out the trolls/spoilers. I know you aren't serious, but there are options to your pain :)

  108. Thanks, quack. All options are on the table, but I'd like to stay with it – it's a fun show and this stuff is not the show's fault…

  109. K

    Wow this got a lot of comments

    I don't necessarily agree with you on this show (well except the fact that it is over the top) but I wouldn't want you to stop posting your views.

    People are being idiots. I know your posts are well written because you post what you feel not what people want to hear.

    And really you haven't said anything all that bad about the series so this vitriol from certain people is especially silly.

  110. t

    Enzo just found your blog for the first time and wanted to say keep up with the series, screw the people who want to argue that someone's opinion can be wrong (idiots).

    I myself love everything about the series and have not read any part of the manga, and thus I disagree with your opinion but do acknowledge that you make a bunch of great points about the weak characterization thus far in the series. I tend to ignore things like that (i.e. I loved SAO principally for the concept and ignored how laughably immortal Kirito became in the series). But I'm probably the only person who thinks that way and have come to terms with being my own source on whether a series is praise-worthy or not.

    You critical commenters should try doing it sometime, rather than lambast someone else when their opinion doesn't mesh with your own.

  111. Thanks Kim, and welcome, teacake (love the handle, BTW). It's nice to know some people understand the points I'm trying to make, and are willing to disagree in a civil manner when they take issue with them.

  112. m

    I KNOW IT'S FRUSTRATING BUT DON'T DROP IT. even though i certainly look at it with more awe than you, i need your criticism to remind me that no series is perfect. sometimes, i need i just get to mindblown to even think about the exposition's flaws.
    i would certainly encourage you to read the manga after. it's quite different. and i personally think the manga is more coherent

  113. m

    please don't drop it*
    too mindblown*

  114. A

    Man the standards for blogs are seriously high. I wish the same was for the comments.

  115. C

    Please do not drop this. I enjoy reading your blog as much as I enjoy watching anime. Do not mind those narrow minded trollers there are more people out there who looks forward to your blog post. Keep it up!

  116. K

    Wouldn't it be interesting if Eren were really dead and Armin turned out to be the real protagonist?

    Though I'm not fooled either; inevitable dues-ex-machina, wherefore art thou?

  117. S

    If you still think Eren is "..pretty insufferable with his constant barrage of GAR speechifying and reckless behavior in battle.." after the flashback episode of next week than you must really dislike him. You will also understand/see why Mikasa sticks like glue to Eren.

  118. S

    Like many others, I also look forward to your future blog posts hoping that you will continue with your priceless feedback and honest opinion!

  119. s

    wow…this blog got super popular all of a sudden…about time

  120. M

    Interesting review, got linked here from another site after shitstorm in the comment-section happened. You should read the manga: not because anime is inferior – it's actually quite bit better in my opinion – but because you simply can't avoid being spoiled (though you probably already know more than you want).
    Thing is, the biggest questions and mysteries you will encounter can be answered with three or four words, and unless you can dodge trolls like Neo enemy bullets, there's no way you will get to last episode before every single detail what has happened and what will happen has been hammered into your brain. Though, because you probably don't read the manga, second opinion is to recruit some bored guy to keep this place clean from trolls, or ignore comments all together.

    I actually had my say about the review itself. Now I think about it, you are absolutely right: when I first read the manga, no character really caught my interest. I remember categorizing Eren being stereotypical protagonist, Misaka his future wife and Armin as the annoying wimp – I couldn't even name or separate rest of the characters from each other. It was story and world that were interesting, and it did and should deliver – this is one of those rare series that got popular for a reason. My opinion only, of course.

    Next episode should give some of that color you want to certain characters.

  121. Thanks, Mal. Might I ask what that site was, just OOC?

  122. M

    /a, in topic about Shingeki no Kyojin someone quoted something how anime-only guys see this stuff and linked to your blog :3

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