I’m not gonna lie – that was one of the most absurd things I’ve ever seen.
Full disclosure up front – I thought this episode of Shingeki no Kyoujin was absolutely ridiculous. And that’s by Shingeki no Kyoujin standards. I’m never fully sure if this series is trolling us at any given moment, but that effect seems to have expanded exponentially this season, especially over the last few episodes. And it’s also worth mentioning – there’s no excuse for a show that’s made as many gazillions of Yen as Attack on Titan to have an episode look so fucking cheap. The wide shots of the horses in motion looked like something out of the first season of Symphogear, and the ep had more still frames than the Louvre. I’m sorry – where this franchise is concerned, we have a right to expect better than that.
Can this series still make me laugh? Sure, and sometimes even when it wants to – like Ymir’s line to Christa about everyone “having a few faults”. That was comedy gold – and on purpose! But what about the rest of that surreal chase – Ymir and Christa having a heart-to-heart after Ymir spit her up while riding on Reiner’s back being chased by Erwin and his men? It’s become very hard to tell whether we’re supposed to be laughing or not, to be honest – is that Isayama winking at the audience I see, or does he think this is actually credible?
As for the nature of that conversation, while there were interesting nuggets in it, it was hard to take it seriously given the context. Ymir’s comments about “stealing a titan’s ability” certainly qualifies as interesting, as did Bertholt’s lament of “Do you think we’d do this if we didn’t have to?” To be honest I was hoping against hope that Reiner and Bertholt would escape with Eren and Ymir and Christa in tow, because I’m much more curious to see what their hometown is like than about anything going on inside the walls.
I also found myself hoping that Erwin was going to be eaten, though I knew that too was probably a vain hope. This goes back to the first season, but it seems to me that Erwin is terrible at his job. It’s one thing for a leader in his position to have people die on his watch because that position is untenable and he has no choice, but it’s quite another to have so many die because he simply makes bad decisions. Erwin’s hero moments always make me laugh (and here I am pretty sure I’m not supposed to) because this dude is incompetent.
The real bright spot of the episode for me (apart from Ymir’s one-liner) was that it was Armin who broke the stalemate at the end, after Mikasa’s usual BS got us absolutely nowhere. Of course, it was convenient (absurdly) that all of the cadets managed to wind up in close quarters on Reiner’s shoulders to turn the conversation into a class reunion, while all the experienced soldiers were still on the ground. But that was a nice moment – it’s nice to see an acknowledgement that cleverness is more powerful than mindless aggression. And the way Armin played Bertholt was like Rubinstein with a concert grand (and there was added subtext here too, because one suspects Armin was legitimately aggrieved about what’s happening to Annie – there was definite chemistry there).
I won’t lie – I’m past caring in the strictest sense about what actually happens now, because this whole story has just become too silly. I still have curiosity to find out about the conspiracy plot, and I still enjoy Attack on Titan most of the time for sheer spectacle and rollicking action (and comedy both intentional and unintentional). But actually caring, in emotional terms? I still did to a degree at the end of the first season, but that ship has pretty much sailed at this point. Fortunately though, I don’t think that ticket is required to ride this runaway train.