Shingeki no Kyoujin – 24

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For fans of Shingeki no Kyoujin, it’s going to be a frustrating couple of years.

If there’s anything that Attack on Titan has excelled at portraying, it’s the matter of just how fucked humanity is in this scenario.  I mean, if the survival of the entire species (well, obviously not since a chunk of them are clearly behind this entire conspiracy, but most of it) depends on a complete and utter knob like Eren, things are pretty desperate.  Yet it does, and they are – and while I might be giving Isayama too much credit (it wouldn’t be the first time I’ve been accused of that) I’ve come to believe that he’s quite aware of what a pathetic excuse for a savior Eren is, and makes it a major component of the story.

We had our usual mixed bag of Shingeki this week (way too many lingering close-ups of bugging eyeballs continue to be an irritant) but as has mostly been the case lately, the overall presentation was highly entertaining.  It was an odd narrative choice to present the anti-Annie planning as flashbacks at the beginning of this episode, and frankly mostly unnecessary – I’m not sure it added anything in that it went down just about exactly as most viewers probably thought it had.  But once the episode hit the streets (along with several soon to be former members of the Recon Corps) it flew by in a flash.  There are a lot of questions that surely aren’t going to be answered until the inevitable second season, but planting a couple of titans right at the heart of the interior will surely speed the process along a bit.

I’ll say this for Eren: at least he’s consistent.  Whenever he’s tried to apply his judgement to any problem he’s almost invariably come up with the wrong answer.  He was wrong when he argued against all evidence that Annie couldn’t possibly be the female titan – although “argued” is probably the wrong word, since he offered no actual arguments to the contrary.  But I think the sight of him biting himself repeatedly, unable to transform, and then (yet again) bursting into tears as his colleagues were being killed around and above might have been a low ebb for the character.  To be honest, having seen what Eren had seen by that point I find it a little hard to take that even he would be so hesitant simply because the enemy was Annie.  It’s not as though they were ever shown to be especially close and even if they had been, well – does the imminent threat to his real friends in concert with the atrocities he’s seen her commit not suffice to outweigh it?

As usual, things improve when the camera is pointed elsewhere.  Mikasa is as consistent in her way as Eren – she’s an overpowered and single-minded advocate for the knob in question, and can be relied upon to always do her thing.  But I always enjoy it when Shingeki teams up Jean and Armin, as it did here after Jean abandoned his Eren disguise (I certainly don’t blame him for being pissed off at being called “Eren”) and joined the fray.  The common-sense twins, these two are – and the two who’ve come closest to having something resembling a true character arc.  For Jean this is an interesting moment, because he’s seeing first-hand the organization he set out to join, the Military Police – and it isn’t a pretty sight when they encounter actual danger.  Armin, meanwhile, has grown into a decisive and very ballsy soldier.  He’s always (conveniently for the plot) been the one with the big ideas, but there’s not much hesitation in him now – when he decides, he acts.  And he’s doing so with a fair amount of dexterity, too, which I guess proves that all that training and fighting for his life has turned him into a passable combat specialist in addition to being the brains of the outfit.

There’s yet another backup plan in place to capture Annie, a repeat of the one that was used in the giant forest – and again it fails, as she manages to break free of the traps Erwin had laid for her with ease.  Erwin strikes me as a pretty good but not great strategic thinker – he deserves credit for being secure enough in his authority to listen to a green rookie like Armin – but clearly, it’s his commitment more than any special brilliance that makes him relevant in the struggle.  Plainly spoken, nothing Erwin has tried has really worked – it’s really only Eren and his (occasional) ability to transform that has the ability to change the game.  Again, credit to Erwin for being smart enough to understand that – but what a quandary for him and for the struggle he leads, having to wager everything on an unreliable child with an even more unreliable talent that he may or may not be able to rely on when the chips are down.

The action scenes with Annie are really good, as they usually have been in the last string of episodes, and the episode works best when it doesn’t step back too far from the chaos.  Next week is of course the final episode, and while the manga readers presumably know exactly where the anime will leave things off, for the rest of is it’s the largest remaining question.  I’m not expecting any answers to the big questions, but it’ll be interesting to see where things with Annie end up.  No matter how her fight with Eren turns out, there are titans inside Wall Sina – a wall which has no breaches that would have allowed their entry.  How exactly does the conspiracy cover that up or, failing that, explain it?  Even if Annie were to kill Eren and the entire Recon Corps (which won’t happen, of course) in a sense they’ve already won a sort of victory by blowing the lid off the conspiracy in a way that likely has never happened before.

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Shingeki no Kyoujin - 24 -28 Shingeki no Kyoujin - 24 -29 Shingeki no Kyoujin - 24 -30
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22 comments

  1. D

    The anime sure is doing… interesting things with Eren's character.

    I really do suggest you read the manga when you're done, Enzo. The adaptation is highly entertaining, but it leaves/changes a few things that I think are really key in the series. It also left out a couple of important Annie scenes that would have this episode make more sense to an anime only watcher. And whilst Eren's manic face was pretty funny to see, the nature of his transformation was quite different in the manga. Hell, you even see the beginnings of an interesting character arc in it for him.

    Fun episode, though.

  2. N

    Completely agree with you. Enzo I suggest you to read the manga at the end of the anime. Eren's characterization is awful. You would understand his relationship with Annie better.

  3. S

    Agreed, they really do quite a terrible job characterizing Eren– he's much less competent here, and he falls into his berserker-kill-all-the-titans-rage, which…is honestly a step back from where his character was in the direction of going, and definitely a much simpler characterization than the one presented in the manga (the anime also tries really, really hard to make the viewer hate Annie, so there's that). I think some of the missing Eren/Annie scenes will come next episode, but you should start reading from chapter 31 onwards if you want to get a better grasp of things from the manga standpoint.

  4. R

    I disagree with Nero and Salmon about Eren's characterization being different in the anime. The only important thing missing is one Eren/Annie scene from the training camp that may come up tomorrow.

    What happened here is that the anime-original portion of this episode (everything after Mikasa declares that this is a cruel world), shed Eren, Annie and Erwin in a worse light than in the manga.

    – They stretched too much Eren's hesitation.
    – Annie letting herself become distracted and following Armin with a killing intent was bordering out of character.
    – Both Jean easily dropping his disguise without orders, and Hanji's pathetic trap make you doubt about Erwin's competence.

    Then again, the mangaka is very involved with the production, and all the differences so far were greenlighted by him or even suggested by him. So, all these are probably what he had in mind while creating the manga.

  5. R

    By tomorrow I meant next week. haha

  6. s

    Armin and Jean may have a little more substance than the other cookie cutter cast but they they're still two dimensional characters (24 eps in). It's a good thing that Titan is riveting enough in the sense of scale and chaos to make me ignore that from time to time

  7. L

    I wrote on A-suki that I thought Eren was mis-weighing his friendship with Annie and her killing spree from before, but I think you said it better.

    But if you didn't already know, the ten minutes between Armin/Mikasa running off and Eren transforming was pretty much all filler, which meant Eren's decision wasn't as quick as it was in the manga (it was pretty fast). So the end result made Eren look more indecisive and unreliable.

    I've called Eren a bitch before, and this week's no exception. But we know this, Isayama knows this, and Eren sure as hell knows this from the beginning (his reliance on Mikasa) to the current manga chapters.

  8. G

    The manga does not make Erin quite so whiney and useless as he is in the anime. Wonder why the anime makers decided to make him such a crappy MC?

  9. E

    From what I have read all this time, isn't this anime a bit different from some other anime adaptation because the mangaka has control over it, and the anime original plots are also his ideas.

    Now I am confused with what's all these comparions. You could say that they are made by the same person, right?

  10. L

    You can argue it's canon filler, but it wasn't in the original work, no matter how you slice it. It's as filler as some of the storylines in GoT, which also has some filler, yet GRRM has a hand in the writing.

    The comparison is just to give anime-only viewers a different taste from what the manga readers experienced before the anime aired, and to give opinions on the change.

  11. h

    As a manga reader, this episode bothered me a bit. Although Eren did hesitate to fight against Annie, this issue did not drag nearly as long in the original. In fact, he transformed almost as soon as Mikasa and Armin went out to fight alone. I don't think I like how pathetic Eren was portrayed as a result of the change.

    To be fair, though, aside that, the rest of the anime additions (i.e. most of the episode) were quite good. The fighting scenes, were excellent. A conclusion of sorts for Jean's character arc (he seeing what he would have become) was a nice addition too, considering he was originally absent from he whole thing in the manga. Also cool to show Erwin having more than one backup plan with the traps.

  12. h

    Oh, and about Eren's friendship with Annie. The anime messed this one a bit a long time ago, actually. The omitted a scene of them bonding up over their martial arts training (Annie offered to train him, in fact). To be fair, the scene was quite small (3 pages long) and Annie was then absent for many chapters (the training arc was a flashback in the manga, thus after Trost). Still, it showed the two were friends of shorts, which makes Eren's hesitation more understandable.

  13. r

    You summed up exactly my problems with this episode, although I'm not as positive towards the crazy action sequence. Even at just a few pages, that missing scene shows that Eren is one of the only people Annie sort of opened up to back then, and that he probably knows her fighting style the best out of any of the other recruits. But the manga doesn't have him needing -another- pep talk before getting his ass moving. Plus they cut out his sweet uppercut.

    I really don't like anime Eren, but I still like manga Eren.

  14. G

    Armin is the Shikimaru (Naruto character) of this series. A guy that is quiet and yet is able to grasp the situation and develop plans to fix whatever the bad situation happens to be.

  15. N

    Armin>>>>>>Shikamaru.

  16. q

    SnK >>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>> Naruto

  17. i

    Yeah I had enough this week. I'm not going to even bother criticizing SnK as I've dropped it now but I will say that everyone else sees something in it that I don't. What I see is a too serious and silly survival anime, without characters I can like and a plot I can predict. In all honesty the spidey animation aside nothing is worth it for me and I've always been more sensitive in the ears than eyes.

    To everyone who enjoys it, go ahead but I can't watch an anime where I have to pause it every few seconds to roll my eyes.

  18. e

    I don't think you're giving Erwin enough credit – just because none of his plans have worked doesn't mean they weren't very good – I think the mode of travel for the troupes when moving throughout wide areas, the "human radar", and the deception he used in trying to lure out and then capture the female titan in the last arc were both brilliant – that they weren't incredibly effective is more a statement on the bleakness of a situation than it is on his intelligence.

  19. q

    Absolutely, Erwin is the most intelligent character we've been introduced to thus far.

  20. I don't think that fundamentally disagrees with anything I said, really. He's a pretty smart guy, as I said (and have always said) but nothing he's done has really made a major difference.

  21. Z

    Results results results. I don't think anything anyone in the high command has made much of a difference. Pixis said so himself way back in Trost.

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