Shingeki no Kyojin – 09

Shingeki no Kyojin - 09 -3 Shingeki no Kyojin - 09 -17 Shingeki no Kyojin - 09 -26

He’s back, whether you want him or not…

I guess this is the day for gender-bender characters in anime.  There’s Yeti (Wiseman’s antics have me more convinced than ever that he’s a snow boy) and in a series where I didn’t necessarily expect to find one, we have Hanji (Paku Romi).  To be honest it would never have occurred to me for a minute to think she might be a dude, but apparently this is the subject of considerable controversy in the rabid AoT fanbase.  I think sometimes people make way too much of small stuff like female anime characters using masculine personal pronouns – real Japanese girls do it all the time – but I think fanbases love manufactured drama like that as well.  Of more import to me is the entrance of Paku-san (which admittedly doesn’t offer much clarification on any potential gender issue) – she’s a welcome addition to any cast, and quite bosy of all a sudden.  Hopefully that means she’s healthy again and ready to be a fixture of anime casts for a long time to come.

Hanji’s entrance is part of what I take to be a watershed moment for Shingeki no Kyojin, the formal introduction of the main characters in the Recon Squad.  Chief among them is seemingly Levi (Kamiya Hiroshi, who at first impression seems miscast).  He bears a notable facial similarity to Eren but not many others – his style is the soft-spoken, suave badass.  There’s also Erwin (Ono Daisuke), Commander of the force.  We don’t get much from him but the fact that he’s more or less dramatically cuckolded by Levi and Hanji leads me to believe he’s either incompetent or traitorous, or at the very least lacking in exceptional qualities compared to his subordinates.  The most interesting element of the sequence is narrator Armin’s reveal that the Recon Squad “left on a mission that very morning” the day the titans mounted the Trost attack.  Coincidence?  I hardly think so.  The connection between humans and titans is now well-established – I think the connection to the human leadership is only a matter of time.

Apart from that, in hindsight very little actually happened this episode.  It was mostly Eren flashing back to his time in the belly of the hippie titan (and even farther back to things his father told him) and he, Mikasa and Armin staring down Kitts Verman and his artillery.  I could certainly see where the humans would be skeptical after what they’d seen – I mean, a guy emerging alive from the belly of a titan is a strange sight indeed.  However I don’t quite make the jump to why that makes them assume Eren is a titan himself.  Admittedly no explanation does present itself based on the knowledge Verman presumably has, but it seems like a huge leap of logic to go straight to that one.  In any event no one is trying to do much explaining – it’s pretty much a matter of Armin looking scared, Mikasa making threats and Eren being confused.

The inference is that nothing Eren would have said would have mattered at this point – “I’m human”, “I’m a titan” or “I don’t know WTF is going on”, whichever it was Verman was going to give the order to fire.  While Eren remembers only bits and pieces of what happened to him in the titan’s stomach (sorry) staring down the barrel of heavy cannon does seem to trigger another flashback to his father experimenting on him, this time one with considerably more detail.  The key, apparently – both literally and figuratively – is the secret basement of their old house, now squarely in titan territory.  What secrets it holds I suspect we’re going to be waiting a while to find out, but I’ll be surprised if it doesn’t prove to be a “We have met the enemy, and he is us” kind of thing. For the moment, Eren apparently remembers enough to turn himself into a titan again, by biting himself on the arm (where’s L-Elf when you need him) in order to protect Armin and Mikasa.

I suppose the intermediate crisis point for the plot is going to revolve around what role Eren is to play as a member of the human fighting forces. The return of the Recon Corps at a key moment of the standoff seems likely, and their response is going to be interesting to see.  Eren’s squad certainly knows the truth of what happened – how even as a titan he was an ally of mankind – but even if it were possible to convince the military authorities of this, I suspect the ones at the top would do anything to keep information like that from going viral.  It’s a bad spot for Eren – the grunts on the ground see him as a threat because he might be a titan, and the elite because he might reveal things they’re desperate to keep hidden.

I’m anxious about Eren being back, to be honest – I think the series was better without his vocal theatrics – but hopefully this experience will have changed the character for the better.  I’m also starting to wonder just what’s going on with the hilarious faces on the titans.  Maybe this is just the animators – and presumably Isayama – having fun with an element of the series that could have been plain vanilla.  But there’s so much variety of features and expression and some of them look so absurd on those titan bodies that I’m wondering if their facial features might actually have some kind of plot significance, unlikely as that sounds.  If human beings did indeed create the titans, perhaps there’s some importance in the templates that were used for their forms.

Shingeki no Kyojin - 09 -8 Shingeki no Kyojin - 09 -9 Shingeki no Kyojin - 09 -10
Shingeki no Kyojin - 09 -11 Shingeki no Kyojin - 09 -12 Shingeki no Kyojin - 09 -13
Shingeki no Kyojin - 09 -14 Shingeki no Kyojin - 09 -15 Shingeki no Kyojin - 09 -16
Shingeki no Kyojin - 09 -18 Shingeki no Kyojin - 09 -19 Shingeki no Kyojin - 09 -20
Shingeki no Kyojin - 09 -21 Shingeki no Kyojin - 09 -22 Shingeki no Kyojin - 09 -23
Shingeki no Kyojin - 09 -24 Shingeki no Kyojin - 09 -25 Shingeki no Kyojin - 09 -27


  1. R

    Enzo, the title of the post is incorrect. It's "Shingeki no Armin" 😛

  2. R

    You missed this one:

    >However I don't quite make the jump to why that makes them assume –Armin– is a titan himself.

  3. J

    as a fun fact about the titans, Isayama said that he took random faces of drunk people on the street as the template for them. Someone even found an uncarry similarity between one of the titans and one of the AKB48 members.

  4. Heh, that's about what I thought. I actually see a lot of Freddie Mercury in the one this week.

  5. S

    AHAHAHA, too funny.

  6. s

    I always thought Hanji was a woman; she came off as a female to me when i was first introduced to her and i think most bios regarding her state her as being a female.

  7. S

    For me, 70% of that episode was uninteresting. This series is action porn at its greatest, but I just can't stand the age long explanations or as you put it, Eren's theatrics. It just feels so slow, and then when it gets to the action it is too fast!

  8. K

    Actually I thought Kamiya Hiroshi did a great job with Levy. He comes off as a kind of a jerk at first and a neat freak but in the end we see him hold the dying man's hand despite it being bloody.

    My issue with the scene was everything was so rushed. I don't think my feelings for the character should change that quickly. It kind of takes away from the drama of the reveal of who his character really is.

  9. l

    Oh wow… called it in my comments for Episode 3:

    "From the first 3 episodes, I suspect that the titans are humans but chemically modified – could Eren's dreams about his father injecting him with something in Episode 2 be the chemical that is being worked on to duplicate whatever is making those titans? If the titans are chemically modified humans, would the effect be temporary or permanent? And if temporary, the enemy walks amongst them. If permanent, could they be convicts who are sent outside the realm, tested on, survived and now wanting revenge? The most damaging of the speculation is going to be that the effect is temporary and the enemy walks amongst them. So, I'm going to presume it is that. Hopefully I can come back to this later on to say "Obvious is obvious". XD"

    Let's see how many more questions will be confirmed. XD

  10. h

    Then it looks like elianthos and I hit the jackpot too! …from episode 2!

    I'm surprised how accurate many of my predictions were. Down to the tie-in to the leadership and social stratification, and even concluded with Enzo's "We have met the enemy, and he is us" prediction as a potential answer to the mystery.

    But it seems "obvious is obvious" has its limits, too. It seems I was premature in pointing to starvation as one of the giants' motivations. And some of the (overly detailed) predictions of exactly how one thing could lead to another — but hey, some of those are spot-on, too!

    Gah it's times like these we speculators (heh) wish there was no "original material" so we could gloat a little more over our gold, but hey. I also called out the Little Busters! mystery elements extremely early on and apparently hit super close to guessing something that comes later… but then! Damn the commenters for yes/no-ing me, damn them to Kaji Yuuki's summer home and back. I want more original series. Ones that I cannot predict at all like SnY. Boy that was… something.

  11. l

    It's too convenient to use starvation of the Titans to attack the humans, there's more to it. Thus, the additional thing I'm speculating is stated in my comment on Episode 8:

    If the Titans are people "piloting" it, it begs the question as to who created them and what is their ultimate purpose. Could it be a form of rebellion against the corrupt fat cats that govern the nation?

  12. N

    Levi is creepy as hell and has brain problems. But if anything, that gives him a real personality. You know he doesn't want to touch the hand, yet at the same time, he knows he has a responsibility to do so even if the guy was doomed and would be never interacted with again. And that speech was absolutely terrible. I think Levi's just really bad at expressing himself.

    Maybe Levi is autistic.

  13. h

    I like this interpretation. That was extremely awkward for me, too. I just couldn't shake my initial perception of him (thanks to his introduction) when he was holding that guy's hand. I was cringing inside a little, worried he'd recoil or spurn the dying man.

    The fact that he did not was only a temporary relief. That not-so-subtle introduction exposition was intentionally planted either as Chekhov's gun or a deliberate red herring. Given the nature of this series I'm inclined to infer the former as yet.

    Perhaps he simply has antisocial personality disorder.

  14. Yes, I too thought for a moment that he was going to spurn the guy, or tell him "you're nothing special – just titan feed." There was definitely something "off" in Levi's manner from the first moment.

  15. s

    Are you watching this raw because I didn't get some issues you had with the show based on the crunchyroll subs. For instance it was obvious the Commander was questioning Eren on if he was a titan or not and that the reason he was able to remember his dad was because he was injected with a memory suppression drug that would lift based on seeing the key to the basement.

  16. I don't see that contradicting anything I said in the post, though I don't watch that sub in this case. I just don't quite grasp why Verman makes the leap to assuming Eren is a titan himself because he was inside a titan's stomach. It doesn't necessarily seem like the most logical conclusion to me.

  17. R

    I watched Commie and the Commander told him that he was an anomaly, and it was his job to take care of the risks from that side of the wall.

    I don't think they were certain that he could transform into a Titan.

  18. S

    But he didn't come out of a titan's "stomach". He came out from the nape of the neck, aka the titan's only weakness. And there were several witnesses to the scene.

  19. K

    My suspicions were correct, I believe I've figured out how the colossal titan snuck up to the wall twice. I believe that he's actually a human who has complete control over his titan transformations. He walks up to the wall as a normal human, and then in a burst of lightning and smoke, like the one we just saw when Eren transformed, he changes into a 180 ft tall titan, and then changes back to normal once he's broken the wall, making it look as if he's disappeared. I've had that theory since episode 4, and I hope it's correct.

    Also, does anyone else think Hanji looks exactly like Sasha?

  20. M

    Hi Enzo,

    I found it interesting that when Eren's Titan finally fell face-forward and disintegrated, Eren came out of the back of the Titan's neck, the nape. Exactly the same place where humans have to cut Titans to actually kill them.

    Could all the Titans have humans riding them in their napes????

  21. So for all the hundred of titans the recon corps and vanguard have presumably killed over the years, they never once found a dead human inside sliced in half by their blade stroke to the neck?

  22. M

    Hrmmmm….. good point. It's their control centre though I suspect. Might still be related. Just found it interesting that's where Eren emerged from his Titan.

  23. A

    "The most interesting element of the sequence is narrator Armin's reveal that the Recon Squad "left on a mission that very morning" the day the titans mounted the Trost attack. Coincidence? I hardly think so. The connection between humans and titans is now well-established – I think the connection to the human leadership is only a matter of time."
    Even though you're right about the existing connection, is your conclusion a "little" farfetched…
    Why do you think that a agent of the titans ordered the Recon Corps to go outside?
    Isn't it a much easier explanation that the humans controlling the titans merely noticed that the Corps went out on another mission and then took their chance?

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