Shingeki no Kyoujin – 32

This is what passes for normalcy in Shingeki no Kyoujin

Shingeki no Kyoujin - 32 - 01I suppose I have to hand it to Attack on Titan that after thirty episodes of lunacy and not infrequent illogic, it can still surprise me.  And last week’s turn of events certainly did – it takes a lot at this point, but AoT pulled it off.  It wasn’t the revelation itself (Reiner being a titan?  OK, that was one of many potential twists), but the way it was executed was so utterly whack-a-doodle that all you could do was shake your head and laugh (and rewind a couple of times to make sure you weren’t imagining things, of course).  Given a choice I preferred Annie’s coming out party – that didn’t feel nearly so random and brought a real sense of drama and pathos to the table – but this was, at least, jarring.

Shingeki no Kyoujin - 32 - 02With that in the rear-view mirror, the series was free to more or less return to what it does best – big action set-pieces and breathless insanity of a more expected kind.  I’m still not sure what Reiner did makes any sense unless there’s something more to it that we haven’t been told (always a possibility with Shingeki no Kyoujin, which left Knox’ rules dead by the side of the road long ago), but with this show I don’t think it really pays to ask those sorts of questions  You just strap in and enjoy the ride, and don’t worry too much about where you’re going.

Shingeki no Kyoujin - 32 - 04Now that Reiner and Bertolt have revealed themselves, it’s time for Eren to do what he does best – growl in outrage and leap in head-first.  Bertolt was never much of a presence but Reiner is missed – he was one of the more coherent and compelling among the cadet corps.  Because everything is personal for Eren, what Reiner’s betrayal means strategically is less important than what it means personally.  Mikasa is nothing if not single-minded – she’s concerned with saving Eren’s hide and nothing else.  Armin as ever is a few paces back, watching what’s happening and grinding his gears, trying to figure out what it all means (he seems to have found a natural place at Hange’s side, which I think offers some fascinating possibilities).

Shingeki no Kyoujin - 32 - 05As most of the Survey Corps busies itself in dealing with Bertolt’s colossal titan, Eren dives off the wall, changes to titan form and takes on Reiner’s armored titan in single combat.  The colossal one definitely has weaknesses – he’s as slow as he is huge, and doesn’t have the rock-hard protective shell Reiner has.  His secret weapon is steam – Bertolt effectively turns himself into a radiator and makes himself too hot to approach by radiating steam, leaving that portion of the battle at a standstill.  Things are much more dynamic on the ground, as the armored titan is pummelling Eren pretty good and Mikasa is powerless to do anything about it.

Shingeki no Kyoujin - 32 - 06It’s interesting that Eren remembers Annie in this moment (did we see that scene originally or is this flashback the first time?).  It must be said, Eren is much more in control of himself this time around driving the monster truck.  And he’s right – at least at first glance, it appears the likes of Annie and Reiner made a mistake in helping their fellow cadets as much as they did.  It was all part of the ruse, sure, but that stuff can certainly be turned against you later.  Reiner doesn’t want to kill Eren, clearly – his goal is to take Eren and Ymir back to wherever it is they came from.  But Eren maintains enough composure to realize that’s the case, and try to respond accordingly.

Shingeki no Kyoujin - 32 - 07Ultimately, the question must still be answered – what makes people like Reiner and Eren (and Conny’s mother) different from normal humans?  Eren’s father certainly knew (knows) but he kept that information to himself.  To a certain extent it feels like the rest of this is all just marking time until we get around to addressing that, but the sizzle is at least as important to Shingeki no Kyoujin’s success as the steak, and it’s episodes like this one that tend to deliver the most sizzle.

 

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10 comments

  1. H

    I loved this episode. They are consistently blowing my expectations out of the water this time around. I was slightly disappointed with the CG Colossal, but got over it when they didn’t focus too much time on him. I’m willing to accept some lesser animation if it means they stay on schedule and keep going with the show after this with no huge breaks. The fight itself was just incredible; much better seeing it animated for sure. I really do enjoy the manga a ton, but it does suffer from the sketchy art style at times since it can get confusing. I was overjoyed that they had the reveal scene last episode play out like it did in the manga. I remember being quite shocked by it at the time because Reiner was so blase about his confession. Plus, he had been my favorite character up until that point, so it felt like a huge betrayal (I missed any obvious clues about who he really was when I first read the manga, so I was completely blindsided). I can fully empathize with Eren’s reaction to the confession. Unfortunately for him, he is a naive person who trusts in the people around him. They’ve all trained and fought together for years by now and, as was displayed in his memories, he believed in the relationships they had forged. Knowing that all that death and hardship was caused by those he called friends perfectly warrants his angry charge into battle. Eren gets far too much of a bad rap all the time. I think people tend to forget that it’s not like he was ever trained to use his titan abilities. He wasn’t even aware that he’s a titan until fairly recently. I actually appreciate a protagonist who isn’t the best and probably will never get close to it. I like that he has a powerful titan form that he just cannot control to its full potential. It raises the stakes so much higher when he is forced to battle that way. I’m sure I’ll probably have everyone disagreeing with me here, and that’s perfectly fine ^^. I’m thrilled that you are still keeping up on the reviews for this show each week. I really enjoy reading the thoughts of someone who has not read the manga and the different theories that are raised in both your posts and the comment section.

  2. Thanks. It’s nice to hear from a manga reader who’s interested in reading alternative takes on this series.

  3. Can someone tell me where Levi went? With AoT’s roller coaster, you can’t afford to blink…

  4. Don’t put that in a comment if it’s a spoiler, please.

  5. It’s a legit question – I am not reading the manga, just not sure who else Bertholdt swallowed along with Ymir. Feel free to delete or edit.

  6. I was just cautioning anyone who knows not to answer if it would be a manga spoiler.

  7. A few episodes ago he was shown with a broken arm hanging from his neck. I don’t remember when exactly he was wounded (surely one of the actions against Annie), but that’s the gist of it, he’s conveniently incapacitated for now.

  8. He’s injured. He was banged up back in the Female Titan arc. He even comments about it back in episode 27 when they have Priest Nick in the carriage. He may be injured but handling a guy like him(and pointing a gun at him) is still easy. So it’s safe to say that he was left in the town the Survey Corps first stopped before heading out to save Connie, Historia and the others.

  9. T

    I suppose that when you don’t know the whole backstory of Reiner and the other Shifters…

  10. Sorry, that’s a bit spoilery.

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