Shingeki no Kyoujin – 28
It’s a pretty solid return to form this week for Shingeki no Kyoujin, as we leave behind Sasha and the series’ more fetishistic elements for the most part. The focus here is mostly on the mystery, which is generally when this series is at its most interesting, and there’s a lot more creepy than straight-up gore (in fact, there’s almost none of the latter). That whole “Okaeri” thing with the titan who dropped in at Conny’s house was definitely disturbing.
Krista Lenz isn’t a character that’s been in focus a whole lot so far, but she’s apparently pretty important since the Order of the Walls was ordered to monitor her (or at least that’s very strongly implied here). Her scout team is, of course, out looking for a hole in the wall (hopefully, they’d be able to tell the difference between it and a hole in a wall). But they’re not finding one – and neither is Conny and Reiner’s team, whom they meet up with after having done a complete circle in search of it. That of course leads to a rather obvious question – where the hell are all these titans coming from?
Yes, Attack on Titan is pretty circular with the whole “what the hell is going on here?” thing, but that is a big part of the series’ charm. Each eye-drop of information doled out is certainly a piece of the puzzle, and a picture is slowly taking shape. Walls made of titan skin? OK, why not – and plugging a gap in a wall actually seems like pretty good career placement for Eren. Plus, it’s nice to see somebody recognizing Armin for his intelligence. The world in this story is so fucked up that these people really can’t afford not to be listening to the few smart people in the room, and Armin is definitely one of them.
Shingeki no Bahamut: Virgin Soul – 02
Truth be told, I’m not going to be able to cover Shingeki no Bahamut in a digest post for long if it continues to be anywhere near this good. I’m swamped in both RL and blogger mode, Saturdays are nucking futs (at least until I pop a few bubbles, and even then) and it was just too easy to group the two “Shingeki” series together as I try and play catch-up. But this season of Bahamut is off to a really good start – the premiere was strong, but this week’s episode may have been the best of the entire series.
Honestly, “Virgin Soul” seems to pretty much have all the components to be a terrific show. First off, the visuals are really strong – and as bad as this season has been for visuals, that really stands out. MAPPA may end up outsourcing a bunch of episodes as they did in the first season, but for now it probably ranks behind only Bones’ Boku no Hero Academia sequel in terms of art and animation quality – sakuga city. But it also has the makings of a crackerjack story – dark, complex, morally ambiguous. And there seems to be a major role for most of the important players in the first season in that story, though we’ve yet to see how Favaro is going to fit into it.
It figured the Rag Demon was likely to be Azazel, but we have that confirmed. Considering where he was at the end of his arc in the first season, this is a logical progression for him. His companion, Mugaro, is still a mystery, but he’s clearly a boy of great powers as he’s able to nullify the king’s Onyx squad and rescue Azazel late in the episode. Chaorice notes that he’s “the child we lost track of two years ago”, and calls Mugaro the “holy child” – so perhaps he’s an angel (they haven’t weighed in yet this season).
I liked Nina better this week – partly because she was used more in moderation, and provided a much-needed lighter counterpoint to an extremely dark episode. Rita, in whose lab she wakes up, seems to be working with Azazel (who calls him “Nag Demon” in the ep’s funniest moment), who’s desperate to enlist Nina into his cause. But it’s not entirely clear what Nina is – she doesn’t see herself as a demon, certainly, though she’s suitably horrified when Azazel shows how “les miserables” are living in the city’s slums. She definitely doesn’t want to be Azazel’s weapon, because she doesn’t want to turn into a dragon anymore. But with so many ikemen in the capital, for how long can she hold out?
Really, though, it’s Kaiser whose story is the most poignant thus far. Once again he finds himself torn between duty and justice. He clearly knows Chaorice is evil, and what he’s doing to demons an atrocity. But he’s a man of honor who’s sworn an oath, and he sees no right in Azazel’s path of revenge. We seem to be careening towards all-out war between humans and youkai, and Kaiser is the sort of man who’d see it as his duty to try and prevent that. But right now, he’s just a good man caught squarely in the middle – and those kinds of characters (and their stories) often make for outstanding anime.