Shingeki no Kyoujin – 29

Shingeki no Kyoujin - 29 - 02I think even a die-hard fan of Shingeki no Kyoujin would have to admit (or who knows, maybe they wouldn’t) that there’s a kind of same-iness to it after a while.  Hints at the conspiracy, experienced soldiers die gruesomely, cadets suffer but live to fight another day.  We’re heard this record play before, and especially where the gore is concerned there’s a numbness factor to this series after a while for me.  It’s a contradiction, really – if you cut the stuff that’s just here for spectacle, I suspect you could move this story along at about four times the pace.  But if you cut out too much of the spectacle, it wouldn’t be Shingeki no Kyoujin any longer.

Shingeki no Kyoujin - 29 - 03The current focus of the conspiracy plot is of course Krista Lenz (she of the close attention of the Order of the Walls) and her friend Ymir.  Why can Ymir read the language that’s indecipherable to the other cadets, and what is this promise on the mountain with Krista she refers to?  We’ll find out when Attack on Titan is good and ready and not a moment before, but clearly, that Ymir is part of the grand conspiracy at the heart of the plot is plain well before the big reveal at the end of this episode.

Shingeki no Kyoujin - 29 - 04Certain phrases run through the mind watching this stuff play out – ” we have met the enemy, and he is us”, “the enemy within, et al.  When Conny says the titan at his house “reminds him of his mother”, it’s funny in the kind of semi-intentional manner that Attack on Titan is especially fond of, the way this series toys with its audience and winks at them at the same time.  In that sense characters like Ymir seem almost to be proxies for the author, hinting and misdirecting in the same breath.

Shingeki no Kyoujin - 29 - 01As the scope of the story has widened the characters who were initially at the heart of it have become less of the focus, so when one of them is put under threat it grabs your attention.  Rainer doesn’t die here, but all of the scouts protecting him and the other cadets do – and that leaves it to Ymir to drop the veil of secrecy in a seeming attempt to save them.  What does it mean when a character like that exposes the cadets to something they clearly aren’t ever supposed to see?  I guess we’ll find out soon enough.

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6 comments

  1. H

    The fact that such experienced soldiers are getting killed off only makes the episodes more thrilling and terrifying IMO. I have yet to become desensitized to it all and still feel that knot of stress in my stomach whenever the characters enter battle. Even knowing who is going to die and who isn’t doesn’t keep me from feeling caught up in the drama and horror of it all. I was actually really impressed with this episode because I thought that the presentation and timing were fantastic, especially concerning the moment Ymir transforms into her titan form. I have been waiting for YEARS to see that scene animated and it did not disappoint! The current events of this series really serves to demonstrate that what has been happening since the arrival of the Colossal and Armored titans is quite different from what the soldiers’ experience with the titans has been for a good number of years, hence why they seem to lose so quickly. It also goes to show that they need to evolve their methods if they hope to survive (particularly now that the Beast titan has made his appearance). This is why characters like Armin, who aren’t the strongest fighters but are brilliant strategists, become an asset. And now that they have discovered that there are titans within the walls, that these titans seem to make up these walls which are there to protect the populace, indicates that the correlation of people and titans may have been even more different long ago. Indeed there are secrets and conspiracies as have been hinted at. I find that the slow reveal accompanied by this unending war elevates the impact of new information. (I hope my comment isn’t a jumbled mess. It’s hard to put down my thoughts without giving away things from the manga that have yet to be revealed ^^. Thanks for continuing your coverage of this show.)

  2. b

    I really enjoyed this episode too! I thought the pacing was done really well, and I think this season they have toned down the constant screaming of the characters, which season one had in ounces. That is something definitely in the show’s favor as I found certain “dramatic” scenes to be quite off putting in the first season when the screams were overplayed. I can also see why one can become desensitized to the deaths, as they’re happening so frequently. Has taught me not to get attached to any of the side characters…XD

  3. “The fact that such experienced soldiers are getting killed off only makes the episodes more thrilling and terrifying IMO.”

    Hmm, this season I didn’t feel it much yet but last season definitely had a problem with the Worf Effect. What you’re describing mostly works if said soldiers are actually shown being competent and badass, and if them being dispatched is a rare and shocking occurrence. But for example the Female Titan arc was so peppered with absolutely brutal deaths right from the beginning that it didn’t give me the impression these were experienced soldiers facing a terrible threat, but rather that Erwin was an incompetent commander and everyone else a newbie.

  4. H

    I get what you’re saying and agree that it would have a much greater impact if the deaths were fewer and less frequent. What I’m talking about concerns this scene as well as the scenes with the Female Titan and the first appearance of the Beast Titan. These are all encounters with titans that are different than what the soldiers have been battling up to this point. Having these competent soldiers die so quickly and easily shows that they don’t really have the skills necessary to combat what seems to be a more evolved set of titans. That’s why it makes it creepy for me. They expect to be killing mindless titans when instead they are facing ones that have intelligence coupled with their greater size and strength.

  5. Problem is, they STILL die in spades even against regular Titans. Trost was a bloodbath, even though they were mostly cadets there. Part of it is the ridiculously dangerous but spectacular tactics they use to battle them altogether (logically, against a slow, stupid but ridiculously tough enemy the soundest thing to do would be shell them with shrapnel and explosive from afar. Just pulp ’em until their nape is gone. Or pepper the floor with landmines, then give them the coup de grace when they’re on the ground, unable to move, their legs shattered). I understand the point, but I do thing AoT doesn’t have the best balance there. In order for death to have a narrative impact you have to be reasonably sparing with it.

  6. q

    I thought the scene with Reiner going through the doors was extremely well done, I had a smile on my face the entire time in a fun, terrorized kind of way that SnK often conveys. The difference was it didn’t involve big action or destruction with the titans.

    With what you said about the experienced soldiers, it’s going to get to a point where they run out of “the best” soldiers. Right now they are just introducing new experienced soldiers and killing them off almost instantly. Maybe the show needs constant carnage and the introduction of characters is what you would normally call filler? Just a funny thought…

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