Shingeki no Kyojin 02 – METANORN

Shingeki no Kyojin – 02

Shingeki no Kyojin 001

Mmm, I love all-you-can-eat buffets

Shingeki no Kyojin simply isn’t ready to stop making you feel miserable. That blanket of absolute despair is still smothering every part of the show, even after the brunt of the Titan’s attack is over. I have a feeling this desperation, pain, and hopelessness will continue for the entirety of the season. After all, no matter how strong they get, there is never much hope when you’re fighting a tank over 100x your size. To this I say….NEATO. o(*゚▽゚*)o

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How do you remain hopeful when tens of thousands of people have been devoured by Titans and the “lucky” survivors are barely getting by? Shingeki no Kyojin relentlessly shoves this grim reality into your face, never giving you even a small glimmer of hope to hold onto. I don’t know why, but I expected things to at least get a little better once the Titan’s rampage had died down. It didn’t. Even without monsters hunting you down, there are the very real and equally dangerous problems of starvation and overcrowding. Although there are no swells of dramatic music, no blood-curdling screams, and no heads being chomped off, this dooms the city just as much as the Titans do.

I found the cold, hard reality of still having to struggle to even survive despite having escaped from the main danger to be really depressing. It’s like once one trial is overcome, there’s always something else horrible around the bend to take advantage of your weakened state. I think most of Shingeki no Kyojin might be like this…a series of tragedies even Urobuchi Gen would cry over.

But I love it. I love how you can actually feel that helplessness. A lot of the time you will see a character fall, but you know they’ll just get back up again. Furthermore, “impossible” battles against stronger enemies almost always end up with the good guy winning anyways, so you feel like it didn’t take too much effort. The heroes are so strong that in the back of your mind, you expect them to win before the battle even begins. They always win. Kirito will win every duel in Sword Art Online, which means no matter how much they build up his opponent to be a powerhouse, they never really seem all that strong since Kirito will inevitably take them out.

Shingeki no Kyojin 004

I’m waiting for the title of the show to appear in flames now

However, the Titans are shown as being so insanely powerful that it’s hard to even fathom even a whole army taking one out. The odds are stacked against Eren and his friends and I can feel it. Even their resolution to train in the military isn’t that hopeful, because these are just 3 angry kids struggling hard against the current. What on Earth could they do against a Titan? It seems more like a last ditch effort than the usual exclamation of conquering the impossible such as “I wanna be the king of pirates!” or “I wanna be Hokage!”. Eventually, I think we will get to see a Titan or two get toppled by them….but certainly not yet, and not without a lot of effort.

Not only are the Titans super powerful, but the humans are super…weak. Episode 2 was almost entirely about showing how absolutely pitiful and useless people are against Titans. No, not even against Titans…just in the face of terror in general. What would you do in a crisis? It’s likely that your prediction now while you’re sitting there comfortably with your chin resting in your palm is completely wrong. Totally and utterly wrong. I’d like to think I would try to help people and do all the smart things to stay alive, when I’d most likely freeze in fear and curl into a ball. In times of peril, there are very few heroes. We see this with Hannes, who has every intention of sacrificing himself to kill a Titan. As soon as he makes eye contact with the thing he turns tail and runs. The people living in the inner wall shout “well, why didn’t you fight them off?! We would have done a good job!” because they didn’t have a sunburnt baby the size of a skyscraper looming over them. You can bet if the Titans find there way in again, the inner wall gentlemen will be pissing themselves and running twice as fast.

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The most eerie display of how weak the humans are is by far when they send 1/5 of the population on a mission and hardly anyone returns. They don’t show any bloodshed, just a huge trail of people marching out, looking like ants. The way they note that this helped the food shortage made me feel like these people were sent out specifically so the rest of the survivors could make do with bread rolls for longer. That’s kind of sick. I was struck by that more than Eren complaining about having to accept rations from others and being cared for like livestock (his favourite saying). Although I like Eren he’s a touch…dramatic. It works with the tone of the show, but sometimes he really does just need a good punch to knock some sense into him. I see Armin as being the most sensible one. He’s not only book smart, but street smart. He knows how to lie and play nice to survive. Man oh man, I can’t wait to see more of these guys next week..!!! TIMESKIP VERSION!

On a different note, I think I have to mention Eren tripping out about his father trying to inject him with something and giving him a key necklace. Apparently he’s never met up with his dad since his mom died, but he somehow has the necklace? I really have no idea what is happening or if Eren actually did get injected in the end, but it’s definitely something I’ll try to keep in mind over the next few episodes. Don’t want Eren suddenly becoming a heroin addict to pop up on me without me expecting it first, you know.

Preview: Eren sucks at being a badass.

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*training montage of Eren getting his ass handed to him*

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A neuroscience graduate, black belt, and all-around nerd. You'll either find me in my lab or curled up in my rilakkuma kigurumi watching anime.
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43 Responses to “Shingeki no Kyojin – 02”

  1. Liza says:

    So other than being amazing hair models, Titans now want to enter the realm of football! 😀

    I was so happy when Mikasa punched Eren out for all the stuff he was saying. Although I can see where he is coming from in his grief at the same time yelling at your friends, the only people you can rely on for now is not the way to go.

    I really wonder what was going on with Eren and his dad. What was in that syringe? And the key? Does it open a box or something that holds a secret weapon that can kill Titans?(thinking Shinsekai Yori here…)

    Also I wonder about Mikasa. What happened to her parents? 0_o

    • Namika says:

      He was just hysteric, that happens to people and it’s okay, as long as someone is there to slap you and tell you to stop. Way to go Mikasa~! *0*

    • Overcooled says:

      Those Titans are awfully ambitious!

      I’m glad people like Mikasa and Armin are there to reel him in, because he’s a pretty reckless boy. They’re really mature for their ages.

      I’m curious about the key and syringe too. I honestly have no clue what it means right now. It could be a secret weapon though. Although if it is I don’t know why they wouldn’t use it unless there are huge consequencs.

  2. skylion says:

    Great review, OC. I think you managed to capture the heart and soul of Sensei Zetsubo rather well there. 😉

    Without the fall, the climb back up is nothing but a trifle. A strong brave person showing that he is strong and brave is interesting, but it has no depth. And AoT is bringing us depth to go along with the Titan’s height.

    And some texture as well. Did you note the part about where Eren’s home was a set-up all along? That it was design to be a tasty morsel, so that if the giants did attack, they would be busy there, while preparations were made elsewhere. I wonder how much this kingdom of humanity has had to pay for the past several centuries to determine that the price shown in this episode is one worth paying for time and space to react? That was horrifying to me.

    Yeah, Kaji Yuki is always going to be top candidate for the High Class Whiny Little Bitch Award and Buffet. But I think this show will allow him to spread out more. Whiners and Perverts, this guy has those roles cornered.

    • Overcooled says:

      Zetsuboushitaaaa!!!!!

      I think all of this will make the actual Titan-slaying to be extremely satisfying. This fall is well worth the time spent showing everyone being miserable and weak.

      Yes, I love how they structured the wall to have little pockets to distract the Titans. Everyone just accepts it as fact so it’s described casually in narration, but that itself makes it so much more cruel. Everyone agreed that sacrificing few for the many was fine.

      Haha, Kaji Yuki is number one in those categories! He showed off his more serious voice, so maybe he’ll try being a bit more badass? …at some point? We’ll see.

  3. Irenesharda says:

    “Your pain is temporary, and hope is never so lost that it can’t be found.”
    Unknown

    “There is a saying in Tibetan, ‘Tragedy should be utilized as a source of strength.’
    No matter what sort of difficulties, how painful experience is, if we lose our hope, that’s our real disaster.”
    Dalai Lama XIV

    Actually, I have the exact opposite reaction that most people have to this show. I feel neither suffering, hopelessness, nor despair from seeing the Titans and what the humans are facing. I don’t know if it’s just my natural optimism, but I actually just feel more and more invigorated and driven and full of hope for the humans. I guess it’s just me knowing in my heart that no matter what tragedy and sadness that might befall Eren and gang, that eventually this will a happy ending in some way.

    There are overwhelming odds here, but it just makes me angry and want to fight the Titans even more, not cower in fear. Humans may not be strong physically, but they are strong of spirit as long as they remember what it is they are fighting for. I actually cheered when Eren stopped looking shocked and vowed vengeance instead.

    I have a feeling that the humans are going to have to change their strategy drastically if they are going to fight these things. And I want to see how they are going to do that.

    I too was confused as to what went on with Eren and his dad. Did he meet his dad and then forget it only for it to be in subconscious? What did his dad do to him? Will we ever see Dr. Jaeger again? Why did his dad give him the key, and when?

    Well, Eren and friends grew up in the 3 years that passed, and I will be interested in the army and meeting the new characters.

    Also, a great ED with beautiful artwork. It reminded me of that classic Christmas special “The Snowman”.

    This was a 8.75/10 episode and it’s full steam ahead!

    • skylion says:

      “Your pain is temporary, and hope is never so lost that it can’t be found.”
      Unknown

      “Pain is short. Film is forever.”

      Peter Jackson, RotK commentaries.

    • Overcooled says:

      I think you might be one of the rare few to find hope in this show. I know at some point they’ll make progress, but it feels like they have a long, hard road ahead before anything even remotely good happens. There’s still hope, but I think it’s hard to see unless you approach it from an optimistic standpoint.

      It’s really weird. He obviously got the key from him, but neither he nor Mikasa remember the meeting. Furthermore, that injection…? Ahh, it might take a while before we have that little enigma explained to us.

      • skylion says:

        I do have tremendous hope for them, after all, what is past is prologue.

        They come from a civilization that built those walls in the first place. I think about that and there just has to be volumes of potential story. These aren’t people you put down with ease. They got some stones.

        Whether or not this will be achieved thru Eren is a big question at this point, but I think Misaka is going to hit it big.

  4. Muir says:

    This show makes me feel like a piece of crap every time I watched it ._. HOW WONDERFUL (no sarcasm here)

    I went to wikipedia to see the cast of characters, and damn. I got spoiled ALL OVER THE PLACE ಠ_ಠ Spoilers for days, right in the “short description” of each character OTL I’m never going to Wikipedia again (I’ll probably break this rule by tomorrow)

    Oh yeah, woohoo for Eren and Youto~ hehe I think he’s also in Valvrave?

    • skylion says:

      …he plays a supporting character, the one that went “Hey, this one’s still alive” before emptying a clip into him…

      • Irenesharda says:

        Q-vier, or Q-4 if you prefer.

        • skylion says:

          I prefer, “That little sh*t what I hope gets a cap in his knees then his ass”

          • Overcooled says:

            Funny how that one line is enough for you to know it’s Yuki Kaji, even though it’s a different character type for him. I could recognize that voice anywhere!

      • BlackBriar says:

        That red head in Valvrave looked utterly disturbed. I guess it shows that he can sometimes escape his cursed type cast. He usually plays these whiny leads but he made an exception in C³: Cube x Cursed x Curious when he played Haruaki Yachi. It was unusual but Yuki Kaji made it work. The guy was surprisingly normal and brave.

  5. Ceyrai says:

    Watching the Titans, we were wondering how the hell anyone in that world was going to stop the normal ugly-ass obviously unintelligent ones. And then one shows up with intellect, body armor, and fire-freaking-breathing abilities. So yeah, hopelessness right there. I would agree that one of the strongest points in this show is that even you as the viewer can feel the despair and horror. I haven’t even seen a sliver of hope for the MCs in 2 episodes. I mean, not even becoming part of the army has the merits of glory and meaningful sacrifice (as seen in the first episode).

    In any case, training arcs are always fun, totally looking forward to it. I mean, as much as I’m rooting for Eren, he’s just so irrationally angry right now and that needs to be beaten out of him somehow. Training will probably take the anger and mold it to something useful.

    Also, Yuki Kaji. My sisters were all, “Hey, that voice sounds familiar.” And then we thought back to all the whiners and cowards we’ve watched from the last year. Ah, there he was. Yuki Kaji. Yuki Kaji everywhere.

    • skylion says:

      Yuki Kaji everywhere? This is an odd idea.

      I kinda feel for the dude. It seems anime wants this type of character, and it looks like he is the guy to do it. I would love to hear him doing other roles. I fear he’s been type cast.

    • Namika says:

      I think Yuki Kaji plays wonderfully. And to be honest, I like his voice, too.

      • BlackBriar says:

        The trouble is he’s doing too much of the same roles. For example, whenever I’m watching an anime for the first time, I don’t pay that much attention to the voices but if I hear a character with his voice, I immediately think “Great, this guy is most likely a coward and/or whiner”. The only roles of his I can recall being actually different are Deadman Wonderland’s You Tamaki and Shinsekai Yori’s Satoru.

        • Ceyrai says:

          I guess he just does the role very well that the big series that have the whiner/coward as the MC have to get him. I mean, I think it’s a testament to his talent that he manages to help show his characters’ development through the series, though. For example, I liked how he did Alibaba from Magi. On the other hand, his “non-whiner” roles are either from not-so-famous series or are non-MCs, so maybe it’s harder to remember that they’re Yuki Kaji, too. I suppose the next step for his career would be for him to be cast in a different archetype in a series where he’s the MC, and hope he does so well that he gets bigger, more diverse roles.

        • Namika says:

          Well, I can see where you’re coming from. I guess it’s just that his voice suits that type of characters.

          • skylion says:

            I think it may be that he is one of a few male VA willing to push his voice in that direction.

          • BlackBriar says:

            Now if only he can expand into other areas. Hearing him the same way over and over gets tiresome at times.

            • Overcooled says:

              I love Yuki Kaji because he’s an amazing actor. He puts so much passion into every role he takes on. I think he could act out almost anything he wanted to if he had the chance.

            • skylion says:

              They say that Gracie Allen was the smartest person in the room when she played opposite George Burns; and she played the pioneering airhead back in the Golden Days of Radio.

              For Kaji Yuki, it has to be a cut above. If I had VA talent, let me play Awesome McAwesomer. I think it does take talent to pull of the roles he does. And a great deal of humility as well.

  6. Highway says:

    Like I said in the podcast last week, they have done a great job showing that the humans have got *nothing*. No ideas, no success, no plans, zilch. Their best strategy, their *only* strategy, is “Wish really hard that the titans go elsewhere.”

    The idea of basically feeding the refugees to that which caused them to be refugees was brilliant and sickening. “Go win back your territory, or die trying! Either way you’re not our problem anymore.”

    Mikasa after the time-skip definitely gives a really nice image. And Eren continues to be useless and annoying.

    • skylion says:

      ..such is the making’s of the Big Damn Hero moments.

    • Namika says:

      …And grows out of being so useless and annoying.
      I hope. ;^;

    • BlackBriar says:

      This kind of setting is just a stepping stone for the zero to hero sequence. It would have been a drag if he was suddenly overpowered. I’m looking at you SAO’s Kirito!

    • Overcooled says:

      Eh, Eren isn’t too useless yet. There’s not much he could have done, really. They say he’s not very good at training but I hope that doesn’t become a huge part of who he is.

      Mikasa looks pretty badass though. Can’t wait to see more from her!

  7. Namika says:

    Oh, Eren, what a hottie you grew up to be! *0* But why is he physically worthless? Nooooooo~ I want him to be as badass as his evil facial expression.

    I loved the fact that Shingeki no Kyojin didn’t sugarcoat anything. That’s reality for you, and there’s no way someone can magically run away from it. I don’t mind feeling a bit depressed about it either.

    And I’m absolutely sure that those people were sent out for that specific and terribly nasty reason. But if you look at it from a political point of view, something like that was the only way to survive. I know, it’s sick and wrong, but imagine this scenario – food supplies inevitably run out. I’m sure that territory alone wasn’t nearly enough to produce so much food. Then, there would be hunger and riots, robberies, and other crap along these lines. The city would start crumbling and decaying from inside out. So what choice did the government have? You just can’t tell a crowd of hundreds of thousands people to bear with the terrible hunger and poverty and cohabit, that’s not how it works.

    His dreams look REALLY fishy. I’m pretty sure that the dream he had in the first episode was before the titans broke in. I think his father is a scientist and is experimenting something on Eren, or something like that. Kyaaaaaaaa~ cant wait to see what this comes to!

    • Overcooled says:

      Everyone got so hot so quickly!

      It may be a necessary evil, but it’s still depressing to think about. It may have saved more people in the long run, but having to do that sort of human sacrificing just seems too cruel.

      • Highway says:

        It probably didn’t save a net positive amount of people. This isn’t a situation like being trapped in a spaceship with the oxygen running out where less people can make a finite resource last longer, and when it’s exhausted it’s unreplenishable. In a food shortage, the weakest will die first, and as it goes the shortage eases for the rest. And really, it’s an overwinter thing until the next growing season starts. So you might lose 10% of the people, maybe in a terrible one you lose 20%. Remember that if things do start getting really bad, you’re not going to be redistributing food to those refugees. They’re going to starve first, but even then you’re maybe going to lose half of them.

        Comparing that to what they did? Send all the refugees out, and ALL of them die. That’s just cold and calculating.

        • Namika says:

          Yes, that is cold and calculating, but if you ask me, doing otherwise was shortsighted. It’s not about just how many people you lose. Some of them, probably a lot, will die of hunger. But can you imagine, what would a massive amount of people, who live in continual hunger and poverty do? Okay, a family will stand still and be quiet, because they realize that stealing, killing or anything like that won’t really do them any good. But the crowd of people is entirely different, it’s driven by instinct.

          I don’t think that it’s just because of the winter. Shiganshina district is the biggest one, so there are a lot of people there, right? If they had sent 250 hundred thousand people outside, imagine how much exactly had survived the attack? There are just too much people and the problems with food would not decrease very noticeably during summer or fall, because there would not be enough for all those people. I don’t think that the whole city got food supplies just from the inner two districts.

        • Namika says:

          This situation isn’t exactly like running out of oxygen, you’re right. Not all of the people would die from hunger, but, as I said, there would be massive riots and whatnot. All of the human being’s bad qualities will rise in their full and ugly glory, and then, humanity would really lose the chance to win against titans.

      • Namika says:

        And that’s the power of anime for you! 😀

        Yeah, realizing that sometimes losing 10 is worth saving 100 is very unpleasant, but I think it’s sometimes a necessity. Though if they showed those governors or whatever they were arguing about it and deciding to do this, even though they didn’t think that this was entirely right, it would have been so much better.

  8. Rathje says:

    Meh.

    Dark for the sake of being dark doesn’t really do it for me either.

    I didn’t like the Game of Thrones books either.

    • Overcooled says:

      I don’t think it’s being dark just because. They’re setting up a state of helplessness to make it feel like taking down a Titan will really be something amazing.

  9. BlackBriar says:

    So much sadness and despair throughout this got to me. The contrast between strength and weakness is insane. It’s like you don’t even have the right to hope for a future. I’m surprised Gen Urobuchi doesn’t have a hand in this because this depressing is something I’d expect him to envision.

    Like it was asked during the episode, I wonder how the Titans suddenly managed to destroy a structure that’s kept them at bay for over a century. Not to mention that nothing about the wall seems to have changed and except for the Titan that rushed the gate like a pro athlete, the rest aren’t bright. Surely something helped them figure things out.

    Yuki Kaji’s signature character moment: Whining and acting like an ass to his friends when he knows he’s currently powerless. He may be right but it doesn’t give him the right to put down those who aren’t completely consumed by their emotions and thinking clearly. Mikasa giving him a reality check by punching deserves a lot of cheering. The self righteous brat doesn’t seem to notice that he’s not the only one suffering and like other humans, he has limits.

    • Overcooled says:

      I keep mistaking THIS as the Urobutcher anime and not Gargantia because of the tone.

      I think they managed to break it because although they’re all giant, some of them are bigger than others. That was the first one that was bigger than the outer wall, and therefore had no issues just kicking it down.

  10. Yuushin says:

    Yep…Pretty much agreed….And since I gave in and started reading manga I can confirm that streak of misery and hopelessness pretty much continues… xDDDD
    I love how anime is going so far, pacing is great. I hope they keep it up 😀

    • Overcooled says:

      I’ve heard soooooo many good things about the manga and how it just gets better and better~

  11. anaaga says:

    Gosh, I always feel like a piece of crap after watching every episode of this show. The humans are so weak compared to the Titans, and it hurts me that the Corps has little or no progress about the Titans. The humans are so powerless hiding inside the wall, unable to do anything once they go out just like pets getting lost once they’re thrown out in the wilderness. To make it even worse, episode 2 shows that humans are actually using other humans for their own benefits. Sending out refugees just to cut the bread shortage? Such a cruel and lousy government the walls have. Even inside, the people are still being treated as livestock

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