Shingeki no Kyojin – 12

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Tell me the secret of your silky, smooth hair!

Hello there folks! While Overcooled’s off to New York, let me get you up to speed with the usual dose of Titan rampage and things not going right for the Recon Corps. This has become one of my favourite shows of Spring, along with Chihayafuru, Snafu, Maou-sama! and Gargantia, so I’m really happy that this is sticking around for summer rather than the rest of my list, all ending by this weekend.

As highlighted in last review, we are in the middle of mankind’s most important mission: saving Wall Rose by hook or by crook because if it’s not done, the population will be further halved with more precious land loss. Failure is not an option but even when you knew it in your heart that things would not go smoothly (they never do in this series), and roadblocks would appear, Dot Pixis ups and agrees to a suicide mission involving their first prototype human-titan. Now, I like the fact that at the decision making level, we have Pixis taking full responsibility of the commenced mission rather than weak leaders like that bearded-fellow who was shitting his pants, while raising his blade against his own. This bald dude has swag enough for his entire squad and no wonder he’s at his position just because.

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His leadership doesn’t reflect on everyone in the corps (because well, there are always weak ones who cry before battle and even try to leave), but when push comes to shove from Ian to Rico and other officers who might soon be sacrificial lambs to the hoarding titans, responsibility and perseverance still exists and reflects in their action. In the end, even if their best laid plan has malfunctioned into a steaming pile of poo for all they care, they still have to shuffle off the poo for later inspected usage. Eren has the privilege of being a unique sample who just might be the answer to mankind’s long-run misery. Of course, the machine is faulty right now but would you just leave a jet plane just because few screws came loose? You will do whatever to secure the perimeter and goddamn haul the plane to safety because it costs millions of dollars! So, I was all with Ian’s decision to protect the asset rather than abandoning it.

Of course, Mikasa was doing everything possible for Eren-sama as to her anything works until his ass is safe. His berserk mode must have shattered her resolve but being the warrior able to perform unimaginable feats, titans are small fries and cutting them down in a jiffy is simple when she knows Eren’s safe. That’s her pure logic, which motivates her to function. In this episode, the rest of Eren’s so called friends were more of background noise but I was happy to see Jean give it his all. I don’t know how he always ends up stuck in tight corners with the recent acquisition of a granny-titan stalker but I can only hope he gets out of the spot rather than being a dead Jean.

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Snap out of it, Eren, you weren’t cast in inception!

While everyone tackled the swarming titans, it was Armin who took things in his hand and literally cut open Eren’s weak spot to get him back to his senses. Now let’s be honest, most of us hated this shrimp since the beginning. Always tying down the other two and getting people killed but it’s not really his fault, he just needed some confidence in himself. His development and progress became one of the most marked, which made me realize one thing about this series: every character has a story to tell and given time you will discover most of them (well, whoever are left alive as the story progresses), in a way that all their actions would make sense. It’s the same with Armin, from a blubbering shouta to an upstanding soldier, taking up the communication end of their negotiation deal and giving it his all with avant-garde solutions. Let’s face it, till now, he has been mostly successful in planning out the scenarios against titans and army both. Seeing his plan fail and most importantly when his own best friend was involved, who he worships as an idol, he took things in his own hands and went for the major kill. It’s interesting how you’d expect Mikasa to do this but Armin was better suited with a touch of nostalgia, which was strong enough to lash Eren out of his reverie.

I don’t blame Eren for dozing off though. Are you even surprised at him becoming a lethargic old man for a while? Let me remind you, two major transformations, once unknowingly, while the other to protect his family and no food intake or much rest. Give the man a break and some time for a shuteye. He’s completely drained and someone needs to fetch him Kool-aid or Dr. Pepper to power up. However, his sense of belonging and will to survive has always been overpowering. In the darkest hour, he has the knack and instinct to perform whatever is good in that particular situation. As all protagonists go through rough patches and slowmo times, let’s give this guy a break. Though, major kudos to Armin for manning up and poking Eren at the right time and I’m sure he’ll forgive the fact that he almost severed his arm in the process. He can grow it back, sheesh.

Now that he has caught his breadth, I’m sure Eren will be rampaging across town in no time. The youthful FIIIRE raised enough adrenaline flags on its wake.

BONUS MOE

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I don’t like you or anything… Bakaaaa!

In the end, however many characters bombard us on screen and then quickly move off to their death flags, the story is all about the trio and their progress in tackling their fears. For a fact, it was not really the power of family or friendship that awoke Eren but more importantly his purpose of life of new discoveries that he had shared with Armin and Mikasa when they were still living a carefree life. Previously, a lot of us questioned the fact, why Eren wanted to join the Scouting Legion but this is one of those pieces of puzzles that falls into place in identifying his motivation. He hates the existence of titans because they have walled the humans and invaded their precious vast land. They eat humans just for the heck of it, even when they don’t need to for survival. Of course, we are still clueless at the why but anyone would be pissed off with such high-handed existence. And being a shounen show, our protagonist has to have a high and mighty reason behind the wish of KILLING THEM ALL if he could. And I have to highlight, minus the loners among us, isn’t it natural for humans for wanting to discover new things? The wish becomes more acute when you haven’t experienced it at all, explained under the grass is always greener on the other side theory.

Food for thought, and I’m sure some of you have already discussed this before when Eren transformed for the first time: how come other titans go after Eren even in Titan form? Do they sense the enmity or a conscience human in him? How did the titans come to be anyway? Was it an experiment gone wrong or simple evolution? Clearly, Eren can’t be the only human-titan around. So, there’s a lot to theorize as you can see but this is the thing that keeps me hooked to the series. And for the fans out there, don’t miss the OST that has been recently released. It’s composed by Hiroyuki Sawano, the guy responsible for Guilty Crown and Ao no Exorcist OST previously and it is glorious. It should be on your playlist by tonight if it’s not already.

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Preview: The hero that emerged from a titan’s husk, beckons for mankind’s hope and survival but will the plan even work? Rico tearing up is not a good sign, is Ian or someone in her squad dead? Surely, none of us will be surprised.

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20 Responses to “Shingeki no Kyojin – 12”

  1. skylion says:

    Yeah, got the OST and it is glorious.

  2. Highway says:

    Boy, I thought they didn’t make much progress in the previous episode, but compared to this one, it rollicked along mightily. I also think this show is setting the new standard for scenery chewing. I like some of that, but it just felt like the whole episode was that.

    • skylion says:

      They got the characters doing the anime version of Milking the Big Cow. Armin’s moment was crazy awesome however, cause who woulda thunk to carve Erin out of his Titan body?

      • Kyokai says:

        I agree, progress has been slow but man, you gotta have your scenery chewing and side-character footage or how else you’ll feel terrible when the same get chewed out by random titans? Gotta put some fear and shock in you peeps.

        Loved Armin’s moment and sweet-talking. This dude has really grown on me.

  3. BlackBriar says:

    Kudos to this exceptional show. It’s not often that I’d find myself satisfied with a dialogue heavy episode. The last series that showed anything of this caliber was Zetsuen no Tempest sacrificing four episodes to nothing but pure talking yet it was all thouroughly engaging. The best thing here is that humanity’s nature is constantly put to the test to show exactly who the individuals underneath, to themselves and everyone around them.

    The mission taking a turn for the worst is doing well peeling back Pixis’ psychological layers. I admit he has good ideals but I fear he might eventually go overboard. What should be a priority is to do the best you can while trying to minimize the casualties. My confidence in his character wavered a bit when he said he knowingly sent soldiers to their death.

    As for Eren’s situation, I think it’s become clear now how his powers work. The more he uses his ability in one day, the more sloppy his senses become when he’s in Titan form then he goes berserk and his healing ability is stunted. Going into the storyline, it’s his third time transforming on the same day.

    • Kyokai says:

      I remember FMA having such episodes as well but if the talking is helping the plot progress, I’m find with that. I was curious to know why Eren is all excited to join the Recon Corps so this really did help me, along with solidifying the trio relationship.

      Leadership is a very tricky business and sometime for gains, you have to sacrifice as well. Nothing comes without a price so when Pixis declared of his knowing, I knew it his level of understanding was way above the political sissies, who hide behind the first inner wall. If not fully calculating, he knows where to place his bets on instinct and the reason he agreed upon a fresher Armin’s strategy to play roll-the-rock.

      For Eren’s part, he still has to master his skill and it seems unless he’s fully conscience, he’s unable to heal. Not to mention he’s tired as hell with too many transformations and energy juice is low. Oh and sun plays a part somehow too.

    • Highway says:

      I don’t mind shows where there’s a lot of talking but it’s done for exposition, like Shin Sekai Yori or Zetsuen no Tempest. But in this show it doesn’t feel like exposition, as there’s no new information introduced, just a lot of angst and hand-wringing.

      To me it tries to make up for not doing anything with a lot of shouting, and for me that’s not a substitute.

  4. Irenesharda says:

    “You don’t forget the face of the person who was your last hope.”
    -Suzanne Collins, The Hunger Games

    “When the world says, ‘Give up,’
    Hope whispers, ‘Try it one more time.'”
    -Author Unknown

    “God forbid we should ever be twenty years without such a rebellion. The people cannot be all, and always, well informed. The part which is wrong will be discontented, in proportion to the importance of the facts they misconceive. If they remain quiet under such misconceptions, it is lethargy, the forerunner of death to the public liberty. …What signify a few lives lost in a century or two? The tree of liberty must be refreshed from time to time, with the blood of patriots…”
    -Thomas Jefferson

    “Curiosity is the essence of human existence and exploration has been part of humankind for a long time. The exploration of space, like the exploration of life, if you will, is a risk. We’ve got to be willing to take it.”
    -Gene Cernan

    “Dreams pass into the reality of action. From the actions stems the dream again; and this interdependence produces the highest form of living.”
    -Anais Nin

    “If you want to make your dreams come true, the first thing you have to do is wake up.”
    -J.M. Power

    Nothing much happened this episode once again. You know it’s almost beginning to feel as if they are doing this battle in real time. Do you realize how long we’ve been fighting the Battle of Trost? We’ve been at it since the end of episode 4! That’s right, we went through 5 years in 4 episodes, but the other 8? In story time, it’s basically barely been a day!

    Well, even though there was not much to do, once again drama and tensions were high as everyone fights to protect Eren who can’t seem to control his Titan form. Mikasa tries to talk to him to no avail. The other soldiers deem the plan a failure and want to abandon Eren but Mikasa’s having none of that. The look that girl gave could have cracked diamond.

    The head leader decides that Eren is too important to the cause and decides they will protect him until they can get him out of the area. I was really glad someone was standing up for Eren despite what happened. It was his first time doing this consciously and there were bound to be kinks. Commander Pixie Dust agrees and just continues with the plan knowing that this is their only choice and their last chance to save Trost and possibly the rest of humanity.

    Eren it seems does have a problem when he goes into Titan mode, he sort of goes into a semi-lucid state that’s between wakefulness and dreams. When there, his body doesn’t regenerate and the Titan body reacts on instinct. Eren dreams of being safe with his family and goes to sleep. But it’s up to Armin to wake him up. He reminds Eren of his goals, of his vengeance, and of his duty. He reminds him what he is fighting for and it is only then that everything begins to come back to Eren, and with his family’s looks of approval, he fully awaken in gorgeous scene of wind and flame.

    And it’s not a moment too soon as Jean, Connie, Annie, and many of the others are out there fighting for their lives. In only the span of a few minutes, many soldiers have already died and more Titans for some reason are coming to the gate. Mikasa asks the question as to why and if they are somehow attracted to Eren-Titan. That’s an interesting question and one that I shall keep in mind for later plot development.

    I wasn’t too fond of the fact that they are trying to hint a relationship between Mikasa and Eren. To me they always seemed like brother and sister with Mikasa being the slightly older, extremely more protective one. Eren doesn’t seem to see her as anything other than family and i doubt he ever will. The guy is completely focused on his goal, and I’d have to say that any romantic hints in this series should stay as “hints”. It might be cute to have a little something between Jean and Mikasa, and perhaps Annie and Reiner, but that’s the only people I see with possible chemistry. Yet, this is one of those shows that really don’t need it.

    Well, this was another episode with not much done, but still a lot of dramatic tension. We are left with another cliffhanger until next time which I bet will also end with one as well. I’m giving this episode a 8/10.

    Hopefully next episode we will see Eren get up be a beacon of hope for the people once again.

    • Kyokai says:

      Actually, seeing the episode title Defense of Trost (pt.8) made me lol. The staff is taking its sweet time with progress but being a manga reader I know they are being TOO faithful to the manga in progress.

      For the love angle, I’ll agree with you, it would just be hints rather than full blown relationships. This story has too much other kinds of drama and it doesn’t need the romantic ones at all. Though, Reiner would be an interesting one to ship with other people later. xD

      Next episode, I hope we see lots of action and fulfillment of Armin’s original plan. Place the goddamn rock there already. Though, taking care of all the hoarding titans would take everyone’s cooperation with Eren being such a titan-magnet.

  5. Overcooled says:

    Thank for covering me, Kyo! Things really picked up for episode 12 too. I’m glad I saved 12 and 13 to watch in one go because having to live with yet another cliffhanger just wouldn’t have been good for my health.

    I never hated Armin, but I didn’t like how pointless he was. I’m still really glad he’s finally manned up though. Amongst all the Titan-slaying, it really is remarkable how they’re slowly developing these characters. Can’t wait to see the backstories of some of the most obscure characters like Annie or Sasha. Levi too! Jean might be up next though since he’s been through…quite a bit recently.

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