Shingeki no Kyoujin – 21

Shingeki no Kyoujin - 21 -15 Shingeki no Kyoujin - 21 -22 Shingeki no Kyoujin - 21 -30

This is the sort of episode that Araki Tetsurou was born to direct.

Attack on Titan edged out Space Brothers in the recap derby this week, coming in about 3:10.  It’s irritating as hell, but at least you can see what they were saving the budget for.  After a couple of weeks of subpar (by this show’s very high standards) animation, Production I.G. threw everything including the kitchen sink at this one, and in the process demonstrated once again why it’s not just sakuga animation that makes action scenes pop, but choreography too.

I’ll confess that this sort of all-in bombast isn’t my favorite side of Shingeki no Kyoujin, but you’ll get no argument from me that it does it very well indeed.  When it comes to over-the-top Attack on Titan feels very much at-home – the action sequences were long, loud and bloody.  The emotional speeches were GAR and a little silly, and the character deaths truly significant.  Along with all that comes an admission from Smith that conventional thinking simply doesn’t work in doing battle with this enemy – they hold all the cards.  If you’re going to go down in a splatter of gore anyway, you might as well take some huge risks if there’s even a narrow chance they’ll turn the tables in your favor.

As I mentioned in the post last time we sometimes see Armin slide into the role of “designated expositor” and so it was this week.  He’s a smart kid, but when he explains things to Jean it’s pretty clear he’s explaining them to the audience (a nice symmetry, as Jean is the designated audience stand-in generally).  Of course what Armin said is pretty much what I’ve been saying for weeks – Eren is the game-changer here, and his presence has the enemy worried in a way nothing else has for a very long time.  It’s very clear from the actions of the female titan that nothing else really matters except taking Eren alive – the Recon Corps themselves (even Erwin) are strictly an obstacle to be overcome in achieving that goal.  That the Recon Corps are so obviously humanity’s best fighting force yet represent no worry to the enemy is a testament to just how bad the odds were before, and just how much of a worry Eren’s existence is.

The entire expedition sequence has really been a preamble to Eren and Nice Ass finally doing battle.  It’s been delayed and deferred and the merits of what Eren should do loudly debated, but the deaths of Petra, Auruo and Erd pretty much invalidated every decision they – and Erwin – had pushed on Eren up to that point.  At the time I might have agreed with the notion that Eren’s survival meant everything, and it’s still a compelling argument.  But equally true is that he’s really the only weapon that has a chance to inflict real damage on the enemy, and if you’re going to take it upon yourself to effectively use him as bait then you should probably be prepared to unleash him in the battle.

In the end, seeing the deaths of the squad caused Eren to unleash himself, and with a rage we haven’t seen in one of his transformations.  It seemed as if there were moments where the female titan was genuinely frightened during their battle, and indeed times when it seemed as if Eren would have the upper hand.  While his ability to retain some sense of himself during titan time is clearly progress, it’s just as clear that he’s a rank amateur compared to Nice Ass when it comes to maximizing his abilities.  Their battle royale was beautifully done, right up to the moment where she did… something (we aren’t shown what, but Eren clearly doesn’t like the look of it), and took Eren’s head clean off.  She’s full of surprises, this one.

This is the sort of episode where you’d figure Mikasa would emerge with a prominent role as all that bombast and rage is right up her street, and so it was – after a few weeks where she’s been out of the spotlight she takes over the last few minutes of the episode.  Mikasa is an incredibly 2D character so far, but somewhat like the series itself she’s predictable and does what she does very well – and that’s rage about anything that threatens Eren.  And since biting him out of his titan’s neck and swallowing him whole certainly qualifies as threatening, we saw berserker Mikasa in all her glory here.  She’s soon joined by Levi, and with Eren having at least managed to tire the female titan out (I also wonder if there’s a finite amount of power at her disposal that all that turning-to-stone and regenerating eyes slowly depletes), it appears as if her reign of terror may be coming close to an end.

Shingeki no Kyoujin - 21 -7 Shingeki no Kyoujin - 21 -8 Shingeki no Kyoujin - 21 -9
Shingeki no Kyoujin - 21 -10 Shingeki no Kyoujin - 21 -11 Shingeki no Kyoujin - 21 -12
Shingeki no Kyoujin - 21 -13 Shingeki no Kyoujin - 21 -14 Shingeki no Kyoujin - 21 -16
Shingeki no Kyoujin - 21 -17 Shingeki no Kyoujin - 21 -18 Shingeki no Kyoujin - 21 -19
Shingeki no Kyoujin - 21 -20 Shingeki no Kyoujin - 21 -21 Shingeki no Kyoujin - 21 -23
Shingeki no Kyoujin - 21 -24 Shingeki no Kyoujin - 21 -25 Shingeki no Kyoujin - 21 -26
Shingeki no Kyoujin - 21 -27 Shingeki no Kyoujin - 21 -28 Shingeki no Kyoujin - 21 -29


  1. M

    She better damn tire out already.I mean,loosing your titan form then turning back to a human in full shape then back to a titan again,focusing which parts of her body to regenerate faster as well as hardening them is just too overpowered.

    This actually worries me a bit when the eventual S2 comes.Worried that all soldiers & military tactics will turn obsolete and will barely get anymore attention in favor of turning this into titan vs titan boxing matches(which was my initial fear when I saw Eren turn into a titan in the 1st place,but I'm glad I was wrong up till now).

  2. N

    Imagine Titan Eren fighting the Armored or, God help, the Colossal Titan (both of whom, the Corps believe, are Titan Shifters). Do you really think it is even possible to win via a pure boxing match XD

  3. M

    Of course not,but what I'm worried about is the anime turning into a power up fest.I don't mind power-ups as long as they're not too exaggerated and all tactics that we've seen up till now are thrown aside…But eh,maybe I'm worrying too much.SnK ain't your typical shounen after all.

  4. c

    It's interesting that the reason Erwin can take all these rash measures such as sacrificing a number of his crew to capture the Female Titan (briefly) is because he feels they don't know what to expect from the Titans, so he just gives it his all since the end result will be the same regardless. What a leader. Wonder how someone can make themselves think this way in the first place, I mean, wow.

    I think it is correct to say that Armin is pretty much the Sherlock with Watson at his side (obviously this is an exaggeration on my part) who is Jean in this case to ask the questions that we have as Armin continues his explanation.

    Wonder what the Female Titan did that Eren was so frightened/shocked about.

    Also glad to hear that you think that Mikasa is pretty 2D right now. That's how I've been feeling too and I never really want to say much about it since it seems like not many would have a reasonable conversation about it.

  5. M

    A little disappointed in the dead recon corps for not utilizing Eren's ability sooner and instead risking themselves to go to waste. There's an air of batshit incompetence coming off the higher ups (and the mangaka himself included), but perhaps they all really are just out of their depth? – better than previous season's morons though.

    Glorious action was glorious, and I was rooting for Mikasa for once even if she did just pop up conveniently. She may just be metal foil for bombastic action, but she certainly holds her own better than Eren. It almost feels like the two could be rolled into one and cancel each other out…

    Speaking of which, I'm still down on the series for not giving Eren a chance put his blade where his mouth is and actually achieve something without his Titan uniform. Others times it's drawing blood from a rock.

  6. N

    Mind you that Eren went berserk when he turned into a Titan during the Trost Battle. Although he would be a strong ally, if he went berserk it just gets worse for them… and there is also the possibility of titans preparing a trap: if Eren is in one place for too long, FT's allies might arrive (which they can't while he moves as they originally had no idea where he was or was going)

    It is easy to say what is a right decision after you saw the results, but it is much harder to see which choice is right before you get the result. Both Eren retreating and Eren fighting were moves with their possible rewards and risks. In this case the decision they brought was wrong, but under different circumstances (the FT not being able to control eh regeneration for example) it would have been a right one. But from how much they knew, it was impossible to know which one was more likely correct.

  7. M

    That's a fair point, although I can't help but think if Erwin had been there that he'd unleashed Titan Eren in the all too likely event of more unpredictability. My frustration in Eren as an impotent MC is wearing thin I guess.

  8. l

    Well, it's fair to say that everyone in the series who thinks that retarded Eren can save them is downright batshit deluded. There won't be that much of humanity left even if he does somehow win it for them, seeing as they'd be close to extinct at the rate they're sacrificing themselves for him. I'd wager that, by the time this anime/manga is done, the number of people sacrificed in Eren's name will far outnumber the numbers consumed by even the most powerful megatitans.

  9. N

    Huh? There was no sacrifice in Eren's name.
    The whole goal of this operation was to use Eren as a bait to lure out the enemy so they could capture him/her and then learn more about the enemy, what the hell is going on and if humans could possibly win. They sacrificed soldiers for that, not for Eren.

  10. In truth, I think it's a little of both. Yes, Eren was bait for the true purpose of the operation. But Smith also seems to understand that right now, Eren is the only weapon he has that can possibly cause the enemy to lose any sleep. I think it's therefore likely he told his squad leaders to prioritize Eren's survival at any cost.

  11. R

    >I think it's therefore likely he told his squad leaders to prioritize Eren's survival at any cost.

    He did.

    In EP19, after firing his signal, Levi reminds them that it's their job to keep Eren out of danger. Eren did not know that. He thought they were just doing what they promised to the martial court: to keep an eye on him.

  12. i

    Why can't the world have more MCs like Taichi?

    I really do wish Eren didn't exist as he drags the show each week. Its almost a racial reaction to watching him and Kaiji Yuki double team in the land of dumb. I keep watching AoT because I like the rest of the show but he is a real sore thumb. He even broke new grounds by doing reverse character development, which actually all have Kaiji Yuki's characters do, and the result was as expected that he lost. I recall how Enzo felt about Kirino acting as the center of the universe in Oreimo and I feel the same way about AoT. A leaf out of Game of Thrones with the fake main character death would be nice around now.

    Besides him though the animation was spectacular. So too was how the scenes unfolded and most importantly the promise that the next few episodes will have little/no Eren or Kaiji Yuki; those times seemed to be when the show is at its utmost epic.

  13. R

    "…Production I.G. threw everything including the kitchen sink at this one…"

    You got me laughing, Enzo. Indeed, for those who enjoy action scenes, this is the episode that you won't miss. I was worried about the Levi Team last week, and now they're dead (sacrificed). It isn't hard to predict because Isayama-sensei is like another Urobutcher — he's not afraid of killing off characters that you have started to get familiar with. It's not that I am emotionally attached to the Levi Team, but I get to know them a bit and I like the chemistry that they have. Their fighting sequence is nicely done — they are so in sync, and they battle with tactics. Oh well, their role in the story is done. Once again, it shows how little the humans know about their enemy — or specifically the titan shifters — that they can consciously control their regeneration process.

    I am not too fond of how Armin is "used" here — it's like the author is putting words in his mouth, and it's not a good use of a character with potentials. However, it seems like this is a common trick with Isayama-sensei. Mikasa is another good example — she's the bodyguard of the protagonist, and she has to be a fighting genius. I guess we will see the prowess of another fighting genius — humanity's most powerful soldier — next week, which is fine, as this is what AoT is good at.

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