Shingeki no Kyojin – 17

Shingeki no Kyojin - 17 -5 Shingeki no Kyojin - 17 -16 Shingeki no Kyojin - 17 -26

It’s almost hard to believe this is the same show that spun its wheels in Trost for a lifetime of Groundhog Days…

That’s three really good episodes in a row now (and 14 was pretty solid as well) so it seems as though Attack on Titan really is over the hump.  We can go back and forth about adaptation decisions, and for me it’s a huge shame that intentional stalling effectively undercut about half of the series so far.  Commercial considerations should never trump artistic ones in a perfect world, but this is anything but a perfect world and you’re hard-pressed to find many examples in mess media where they don’t do some serious trumping.  It is, as they say, what it is.

There’s no mystery as to why this episode worked especially well.  It was a beautifully choreographed and expensively-animated action episode, and it focused heavily on the two most recognizably human characters in the cast, Jean and Armin.  I’ve liked Jean all along, but I have to say Armin has grown on me quite a bit.  If Jean is the one who looks at ridiculous events from a common-sense average guy perspective, it’s Armin who actually analyzes them.  I like the obsessive streak he has – it’s kind of fun hearing his restless thoughts constantly pinballing around in his head, especially when he second-guesses himself as soon as he guesses.  And the fact is, most of his guesses are pretty good – he’s a pretty good strategist with an ability to see both the forest and the trees.

It’s been obvious for a while that the Survey Recon Team Corps is where the real action is in Shingeki, plot-wise.  Both literally and figuratively the plot is finally going somewhere, and it’s quite interesting to watch this mission play out.  The war vs. the titans is far more interesting in open badlands than it is inside city walls, and the strategy used to deal with them as well.  Erwin’s scouting formation strikes me as clever, but effectively trying to make the best of an impossible situation.  It has obvious flaws which were quite apparent in the events of this episode, but I’ll be the first to admit I couldn’t think of anything better.  It almost seems to be as if in titan country you’d be better off in tiny groups of three or four people rather than providing a huge target an army like this provides – send Eren out with Levi and two or three others and let them try to rely on speed and secrecy.

Be that as it may, there are as always a lot of interesting mysteries in this episode, most of them surrounding the female titan with the “nice ass”, as Reiner calls her.  Intelligent titans we’ve seen before – there was certainly intent in what the armored and colossal titan did – but we’ve never seen the phenomenon this close before.  I read her actions exactly the same way Armin did – that was clearly a human intelligence, it was clearly looking for someone, and by far the most likely target was Eren.  What we can’t know of course is who the human controlling that titan is, and why.  The most likely scenario is that they’re a part of whatever conspiracy has been perpetrating this atrocity against humanity, and see Eren as the first true threat.  But then – why let Armin live, once his identity had been verified?   And why is it so important that Eren be taken alive, to the point where she kills no one until she’s sure they aren’t her target?  I might speculate that the implication is whoever she is knows Armin personally, and doesn’t wish to kill him – which would narrow the field down substantially, with one conspicuously absent person specifically coming to mind – but that’s just a guess until I have more evidence to back it up.

There are other strange things happening here, too.  Reiner (who was kind of badass here – I never paid him that much attention before) should be dead, shouldn’t he?  When the female titan squeezed him and seemed to pop his head like a champagne cork, something very weird happened.  First of all, the scene was “don’t blink or you’ll miss it” fast, but it really seemed he regenerated after he somehow escaped.  He was certainly steaming and a lot of blood disappeared – although it could’v been Nice Ass’ blood, too.  And then, assuming it was her blood, why wasn’t he crushed?  How did he get out of that one?  Unless – again – the titan knew him and didn’t wish to kill him.  And then there was Armin’s “Avenge the bastard who rushed to his death!” speech.  It was a very odd thing to say in that moment, and it seemed to stop Nice Ass in her tracks as she was about to flatten Jean.  It was almost as if Armin gave that speech for the titan’s benefit, as if knowing she’d understand exactly what he was talking about (even if I don’t, yet).  I’m struggling to think of who Armin might have been talking about but no one leaps out – which then leads back to the idea that he gave that speech for the titan’s benefit, except to convince her that someone known to them both was dead on the right flank (he was very careful to mention the right flank).

Well, all in good time I suppose.  I don’t really mind long and drawn out conspiracy plots as long as there’s movement, and the journey to get there is entertaining.  That’s the case at the moment, and SnK is transformed because of it – it’s back to being the high-octane summer blockbuster thrill ride I thought it’d be after the first couple of episodes.  It sounds as if there’s so particular need to warp the pacing in order to end the season at a logical point, so there’s good reason to help the rest of it will be as solid as the last few eps have been.  I can’t imagine the remaining eps will be as lavishly budgeted as this one – the animation (the all-fours titan chasing Petra, for example) was pretty spectacular – but this show is making a lot of money for all parties involved, so even there I think it’s fair to expect things to stay at a pretty high standard.  All in all, Shingeki no Kyojin is making what amounts to a very rewarding comeback.

Shingeki no Kyojin - 17 -8 Shingeki no Kyojin - 17 -9 Shingeki no Kyojin - 17 -10
Shingeki no Kyojin - 17 -11 Shingeki no Kyojin - 17 -12 Shingeki no Kyojin - 17 -13
Shingeki no Kyojin - 17 -14 Shingeki no Kyojin - 17 -15 Shingeki no Kyojin - 17 -17
Shingeki no Kyojin - 17 -18 Shingeki no Kyojin - 17 -19 Shingeki no Kyojin - 17 -20
Shingeki no Kyojin - 17 -21 Shingeki no Kyojin - 17 -22 Shingeki no Kyojin - 17 -23
Shingeki no Kyojin - 17 -24 Shingeki no Kyojin - 17 -25 Shingeki no Kyojin - 17 -27
Shingeki no Kyojin - 17 -28 Shingeki no Kyojin - 17 -29 Shingeki no Kyojin - 17 -30
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41 comments

  1. H

    Armin was talking about Eren. He figured that the female titan was after Eren earlier in the episode, and decided to try and fool the female titan into thinking that she had accidentally crushed Eren in an attempt to stall her (and save Jean's life).

  2. That's not far from what I guessed, but it doesn't seem like it was supposed to be that obvious if you haven't read the manga.

  3. H

    Well, Armin did call Eren by the nickname Jean gave him (suicidal idiot or something to that effect), and said that it was his "best friend" who was crushed (which can only really mean Eren).

  4. R

    Yes, Armin intentionally avoided using Eren's name.

  5. p

    Wonderfully-paced episode indeed it was, as you point out.

    It's sad, really, that the first half of the show couldn't be this well-directed. It's obvious that the director and staff are more than capable of making great episodes (if these past few episodes are any indication). As such, it's also obvious that they are holding themselves back so that they can maximize the amount of money they can make off of this, which is happening at the expense of the show's artistic value.

    Unfortunately, money trumps art in this world of ours, a sad fact that is especially true in the anime and manga industry as it is today.

    I hate it whenever a new anime adaptation is announced and I find out that the source material is far from completion. This, unfortunately, is something that happens all too often. Everyone here (you and I included) can probably name dozens of awful TV adaptations off the top of our heads that could have been vastly improved had the studios only waited a couple of months or years for the source material to finish.

    Alas, we live in a world where anime adaptations are meant to cash in on source material and to be glorified advertisements for the purpose of cross-platform promotions. In a better world, animated adaptations would be made to bring out the beauty of a source material in ways that the original medium can't.

    On a different note:

    >the all-fours titan chasing Petra, for example)

    It's actually Sasha, not Petra.

  6. S

    Yeah, most of it is promotion for the source material and some Animes are only aired to boost the manga or VN/LN and the author doesnt care about the anime or if the Anime concludes.
    This was wonderfully shown in Bakuman, where the protagonists in my eyes only cared about the Anime-Adaption to be "there, out in the open wide world" and not caring about continuevity of the Story or taking part in the creativ process.
    Even if I loved bakuman, that whole "we must make serial manga and think about the next story some weeks before," mindset was setting me off. But in the end they redeemed this with their manga that they did end when they wanted to.
    (Well Bakuman is a story about the ropes that bind you in the manga industry)

    Back to Shingeki
    Not doing a second season here would be foolish from a business standpoint. even if the manga is years from completion.

    If the do a second season or not, I can see them doing a FMA: Brotherhood in 3 to 5 Years.

  7. Won't someone please think of the children?

    I know this is what I get for speculating in the post, but still – please don't confirm or deny anything if you know the answer.

  8. E

    It's hard to admit it when I have stepped one of my feet into the hate wagon (no thanks to the awful 1st season), but the recent episodes have good pacing indeed. Next, I hope they will remove the 'what happened in last episode' recap entirely, because it's a total insult to the viewers' intelligence.

  9. S

    a total insult? Isn't that a bit harsh? It's merely a time filler, and a substantial cost reducer.

  10. q

    The 1st season wasn't awful, lol. I'm sure you think Free! is a blockbuster hit, right?

  11. p

    >Merely time fillers
    >Merely

    Time fillers are an insult to the viewer's intelligence, especially in SnK's case, where the first few minutes of each episode pretty much remind everyone of the most important points of the show (Armored and Colossal Titan remind humanity of its weakness, etc.), the kind of central story points that no committed viewer of the show could possibly forget.

    Imagine if Lord of the Rings was made into a TV show and did a SnK-type recap at the start of every episode. It would be like starting the first 2-3 minutes of every single episode with a reminder that Frodo Baggins discovered the evil power of the One Ring and that he and a fellow band of humans, elves and dwarfs have taken it upon themselves to prevent the evil lord Sauron from taking the One Ring and using it to conquer Middle Earth.

    I mean, what committed viewer of Lord of the Rings would forget such important details? Who wouldn't feel insulted (or at least deeply annoyed) if they did that every freaking episode? That's basically what SnK does.

    I can understand having quick recaps like the one SnK does if the show is, like, over 100 episodes long and if the recaps are done, say, every 25 episodes or so. After all, not every viewer may remember what happened 25 weeks ago. But it is an insult to the intelligence of the viewer to assume that they don't remember what happened one week ago, or even 2-3 weeks ago.

    So no, it's not "merely" time fillers.

    >A substantial cost reducer

    That's no excuse. Viewers shouldn't have to suffer from filler nonsense because the production team was unable to manage their finances and wanted to cut corners.

  12. E

    Awful fillers are awful.

    Free! doesn't have stupid 3 minutes / 4 minutes recaps telling us that : "Nanase Haruka, Tachibana Kamoto, Hazuki Nagisa and Matsuoka Rin are together in swimming club when they were in elementary school", because any viewer with brain knows that already.

  13. q

    I enjoy the opening recap things, as long as they do not drag on. 60 seconds of what happened thus far in the plot is not insulting at all. When they continuously repeat "Eren transformed into a titan and moved a boulder," that becomes a problem. What I do like is when they show diagrams (presumably from the manga) that show where they are in the walls and where Eren & co. are going, what the objective is, etc.

    One must remember that they are trying to market to as many people as possible, and when a new viewer turns on the show, they will almost surely have no idea what is going on without some kind of a beginning recap.

  14. M

    Another point that was suspicious in this episode is that Captain Erwin intentionally give misleading information of Eren's position to the team – Jean, Armin and Reiner gave different answers on where Eren is. It seems like Captain Erwin believes there are traitors among themselves if he can't even tell them where Eren is.

  15. L

    It's one of the things that makes his "who is the real enemy" much more relevant. Seriously, all this maneuvering that Isayama puts into the story is so delightful to watch.

  16. S

    I don't know the answer, but I think most of us are guessing the same thing. I recognize the eyes, and they're defo from one of the important first years http://lh5.ggpht.com/-DT2AsmS139E/UaGYLtFRDzI/AAAAAAADF7I/dq7r2uoHmP8/s1600-h/Shingeki%252520no%252520Kyojin%252520-%25252008-16%25255B2%25255D.jpg )

    And that answers some of my questions on just what the hell the Military Police's purpose is.

  17. Y

    As far as the Reiner escape, I didn't think it was strange (if a bit gimmicky). Seems to me the titan hesitated to crush him and he used the extra second to cut off a couple of her fingers and escape. The steam and blood is because it's the titan's blood and they steam when they regenerate.

    Unless there's some crazy plot twist, I think we all know who the nice ass titan is at this point… 😉

  18. S

    I can't tell if "mess media" was an intentional phrase, but I quite like it, just so you know.

    Also, in terms of Reiner actually looking as if he was physically crushed, Araki has used a similar technique where he made it look as if something quite literally happened, and then just saying "nope, it didn't" (back when Eren tried to attack the Colossal titan in ep 5, for example, where he actually cut into it's neck…and then it turns out he didn't and got blasted by the steam. Whatever). But there is something kinda fishy going on there regardless, yeah?

  19. L

    Correction, he /almost/ cuts into the neck, then the camera freezes and switches scenes to a distanced, frontal with a half second time step backwards. Eren then gets blasted back by the explosive force of expanding gas.

    Nowhere is it shown that Eren actually/literally cuts into the neck, then Araki makes it go *poof*. If you mean to argue that the cut may not have happened but looked as if it did, I'd say, "no, it doesn't even look like the cut attached in order to make that argument." If you want to assume it did, it'd be one faulty as hell assumption in line with your own directing preferences.

  20. S

    Yeah, you're actually totally right, my bad. I remembered it more as Eren actually hitting the neck with his blade, and then getting blasted away, but the way you described it is more accurate. My mistake.

  21. R

    Why doesn't anyone get who the female titan is? ._.'
    It's thrown in our faces but I can't mention it on any blogs until they spell it out D'X

  22. L

    It's been sent around all over the forum world, but whether from actual speculation or spoilers posing as speculation is up to your interpretation.

  23. l

    Well, it's obvious who this female Titan is now. The show has short of openly declared the identity whacked us on the head who obvious clues.

    Because of this episode, I think I know who the armoured Titan is. Just a bit more clues. Once that is confirmed, the identity of the colossal Titan is as good as confirmed as well.

  24. q

    If the female titan wasn't obvious then I don't know what to tell you… I didn't read the manga but just by looking at Eren who had the same eyes and similar hair should tell you who the female titan was. Same with what happened with Reiner.

  25. R

    "All in all, Shingeki no Kyojin is making what amounts to a very rewarding comeback."

    I so agree with you. To be honest, I didn't have any emotional attachment to AoT when it started and, therefore, couldn't feel the despair no matter what the characters faced and said. This week's episode is super entertaining to begin with, but now that there are identifiable characters — loved it when Jean's in the spotlight — the feeling is so much better and different from the action-driven episodes in the first half. I care more. I couldn't take my eyes off the screen and tried hard not to blink. I almost screamed when Jean was thinking that he's about to die and when Reiner was caught by the titan — and then my heart stopped when Jean was stunned and shocked by the supposed death of Reiner. I really like how much better AoT has got. During the first half of the show, I never felt the rush of watching the latest episode, but now that it's different — I do want to get to it as soon as it's available.

    About the female titan, I think we all have an idea of who she is, but I will wait and see how the creators are going to tell the story and reveal more secrets to us.

  26. S

    There should be a point, a consensus to be specfic, where we should be allowed to tell who the niceass titan is. Come on! most of the nonreaders know it 95 to 99 %!
    But it is not even clear, if niceass` human Host will be revealed in this season!

  27. K

    I may enjoy this second immensely more than the first one. Some characters are still blank slates but the focus on Jean and Armin improving does bode well. It definitely helps that the plot is moving way faster and it doesn't feel like we're going through the motions. It just feels like the stakes are higher and the new terrain adds more drama to the fight scenes. Seeing actually competent soldiers that don't lose their minds every second helps.

    As for the female Titan, I feel I shouldn't say it even though it's a total guess. But to me it's painfully obvious who the Titan is.

  28. p

    It's only recently that I marathoned something like 12+ episodes and caught up to attack on titan. It's draggy as hell but boy when it's good, it's bloody good. But I must rant on something…

    I wanna kill everyone on the internetz for spoiling me on who the female titan is. FFS. Seriously, the worse kind of people are the ones that read the manga, pretend they don't know what's going on, and then pretend to speculate giving out great detailed fake hypothesis with pictorial examples to support their fake arguments.

    To be more specific, fuck you animesuki attack on titan subforum. I'm avoiding that subforum completely from now on.

  29. Z

    I hear you. Some people just can't keep shit to themselves.

  30. C

    Glad I wasn't the only one to notice that Reiner is suspicious as all hell.

    As for the plot-development. I think it's progressing just fine.In a realistic story, there can't be plot-progression all the time. There's got to be down time for character development too.

    While you may not like the pacing, Enzo, I think it's incrediblyt well-done; the cadet training, Armin's rescure / Eren's death, Mikasa's emotional low-point, and whole thing with Dot Pixis were all fantastic.

    Shingeki No Kyojin has a well balanced ebb-and-flow between plot-development and character-development; which is much better than many other series which try to blend the two together poorly or focus on one while neglecting the other.

  31. K

    I have to disagree the the Trost arc is an example of just how draggy the show can be at times. And there were two characters that were developed. Mikasa, Jean, and maybe Armin. And while we got some backstory with Mikasa I wouldn't call that development. I think Attack on Titan main problem is the characters a lot just feel bland. It's improving in some regards in thatarea with the Survey Corps who have more life to them.

  32. C

    Last I checked, watching the characters train and grow is also a part of character development. We got to see them grow up a little and how they interact with new characters.

    Sorry if you don't enjoy it, but I thoroughly enjoyed the Trost arc, and I know a few people who also enjoyed it.

    And it's not like character development/growth was the only thing going on. Like Eren saving Armin from being swallowed, that was a fantastic scene, and the show (and series) is better with it than without. If that's "draggy" to you, then you're really hard to please…

    Personally, I am not holding my breath on seeing the mystery of the Yeager basement solved. I find the journey there just as enjoyable; another example being Hanji's rambling scene, I hearing about the experiments and Hanji's flavor of insanity)
    Delicious violence and insanity is delicious~

  33. N

    I am a manga reader but I think you should not say things like "it's obvious who the FT is" even if you are an anime only viewer. It's a little annoying especially when you don't read the manga and it incites people to spoil the story. I wouldn't have been pleased to read comments like that.

  34. Z

    Exactly. What is the point of such comments? Do they make the person feel 'special' or something?

  35. S

    The Nice Ass' titan identity has been slapped in our faces like that poor guy was slapped on the ground – not unlike what happened when Titan!Eren appeared for the first time. Won't say a name here but we all know who am I talking about.

  36. C

    Clearly it's a blonde Mikasa.

    No wait, it's Armim, and the Armin on-screen is an imposter spy planted into Eren's social circle from since he was young!

    IT ALL FITS.

  37. A

    It's funny because I didn't read the manga, but I think I know who the female titan is.
    Still, if I say it and I'm right, then people will think it was an spoiler.

    So, let's wait and see.

  38. C

    Was coming here to speculate on female Titan, but from all the comments it seems the answers is so obvious that "guessing" is unnecessary. TBH the first thing that popped in my mind when I saw the Titan's was its resemblance to her so in hindsight I should have expected it. If on the other hand it turns out to be a red herring then Kudos SnK.

  39. Z

    It amuses me how people come here to do exactly that despite the fact that this site is notoriously anti-spoiler.

  40. L

    I can't be the only one who noticed Reiner snitching Eren's real position in the formation to the female-titan. Please tell me I'm not going crazy or just reading too much into it.

    http://i.imgur.com/c2mtxMO.gif

  41. Z

    You are not alone.

    Did you also notice that Erwin's plan was to smoke out the person or people that killed Sawney and Bean? First, he revealed that Eren was with them and where they were headed. Then, he compartmentalized details and gave different members of the team different information. He knew they were going to be followed/attacked and that they would target Eren, and he now knows who it was based on the initiation of the attack. This show really shines in realistic use of strategy, misinformation, and misdirection.

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