Shingeki no Kyojin – 15

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It’s cleaning time on this week’s Attack on Tide.

Attack on Titan is known best for being a crazy action series that relentlessly throws punches to the guts of the audience by layering despair atop of yet more despair. Character deaths, massive suffering, torture – you name it. That visceral component is what makes this show so addictive and exciting. This week abandons that for a little down time. That’s right, it’s time for some spring cleaning.

If you ever doubted that the Recon Corps was short on crazy, then episode 15 almost certainly dispelled such notions. They’re not just a little crazy…some of them border on full-time psycho. We all know the “sniffing guy” (Mike) was a bit kooky, and sure, there are quite a few odd ones. However, there’s no doubt that some of them are more than just odd. Hanji is one of the more extreme ones, and I’m starting to suspect that the other members aren’t all as they seem. Erwin explicitly states he’s hiding behind a mask, and may be the one behind the killing of Bean and Sawney. His motives? Impossible to tell from that stoney gaze. I still suspect that he may secretly be the craziest of them all.

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One of the more subtle ones is Auruo Bossard. As Eren rattled off the kill tallies of the Recon corps soldiers, he was the only one to not fall into a very marked pattern. Most of them have a very high assisted kill count (because it’s easier) and a lower individual kill count (because no one is crazy enough to take on a Titan by themselves). Auruo killed more Titans by himself than with the help of others. A lot more. He’s either a super killer or he hates helping others. Or both. Either way, the guy is some sort of frightening fighting prodigy to take down almost 40 Titans single-handedly. Compare it to the stats of everyone else and you’ll see why it’s such a big deal.

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I really liked learning all about the Recon corps. Even just little things, like how Levi likes to clean and used to be a thug. I really can’t wait to see that explained to us a little more in the future. For now, I’m content learning just a little at the time. This episode doesn’t overwhelm us with facts. It slowly lets us meet and greet the soldiers one at a time so we feel comfortable with all of these new faces. The overall feeling was quite pleasant for a change. Everyone was getting along (for the most part). There was no scaling walls and slashing the necks of Titans, but it was still interesting. Good to know this show can still hold its weight during the slower episodes that focus on characters.

We glean a few tidbits about everyone except Hanji – who gives us a whole chunk of info about herself. She talks to Eren for 12 hours straight, after all. The take home message here is that Hanji is a mad scientist and one of the best characters in the show so far. Anyone suffering from a lack of Sasha’s antics can hopefully satisfy themselves with Hanji fangirling over Titans. They look like giant sacks of potatoes anyways, so there’s not much of a difference in their interests (aside from the fact that one is something you eat and one eats you).

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Where to start with my dearest Hanji? Well, she loves Titans for one. She didn’t used to be fond of them though. Whether she developed this interest out of pure curiosity for why their decapitated limbs were lighter or out of a sense of duty is a bit hard for me to tell. She says this unique way of thinking is something she needs to maintain in order for humanity to succeed. It’s true. Not many are willing to study Titans to try and find alternate weak spots or find a peaceful solution. Maintaining the status quo won’t help humanity survive because their population is going down as is. What they need is something new. Either something clever from Hanji or something from Eren. It’s tough since they might not have microscopes or anything, but perhaps Hanji can recreate the shot given to Eren that made him into a Titan. If not, I’m sure her science will play some sort of role in helping humanity.

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Not sure which one is scarier

Unfortunately, Hanji learns absolutely nothing new about the Titans after all that time and now her samples are dead. However, we do get to see some amazing scenes with her treating the Titans like they’re actually humans. It’s funny because it’s usually the opposite that makes you uncomfortable. Usually the mad scientist dissects an innocent subject who screams in pain and you feel bad for them acting so cold. This is the case in anime like Shiki, where a callous doctor experiments on a live vampire. Despite being a creature that kills other humans, you feel bad for them because they still don’t deserve to be brutally tortured. They still have some resemblance to humans, and therefore are capable of earning your sympathy.

The difference here is that Titans are 100% bad and 0% deserving of sympathy. You would expect (and hope) that they would be treated with nothing but loathing, fear and the worst of punishments imaginable. Seeing them nailed down and harnessed isn’t disturbing because – yeah – those bastards deserve it! If it was a human, that’d be different, but we’re talking about brainless monsters here. The way Hanji is so nice to them is actually off-putting for the same (or opposite, I suppose) reason it feels bad when someone abuses an innocent subject. It’s a clever reversal that achieves the same unease, and I really liked the scenes where Hanji was doing various experiments on them. The way she started to cry when stabbing them and talked about them like they were her lovers or something was nothing short of terrifying. Hanji is messed up and I love it. She’s become my new favourite character next to Sasha and Armin. Trust me – when all the crazy people run away from someone, you know that person is grade A insane. This may be one of my favourite episodes to date because of how utterly memorable it was. Hanji’s face will haunt me tonight, I’m sure…

Preview: Back to Mikasa, Armin and the gang to see where they’re going next. Also, more Recon Corps shenanigans.

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Guess things have to get serious again


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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12 Responses to “Shingeki no Kyojin – 15”

  1. skylion says:

    This week abandons that for a little down time.

    So, Titan torture is something of a no game? Oh, Hanji enjoys her work as much as Gatchaman Hajime. I love both characters to pieces.

    However, we do get to see some amazing scenes with her treating the Titans like they’re actually humans

    As Hawkeye would say “You and I have very different memories of Budapest”

    I think she treated them as valuable test subjects, and as a proper mad scientist she freaks when her toys go up in flames.

    And for those that are interested Scotty Seany Bean!

    Can someone get rid of my double post!?

    • Overcooled says:

      If Hajime ever turns that endless energy towards “experiments” then it will be a dark day indeed. I’d love it.

      lol okay, so maybe most people don’t nail down other humans. I meant her sentiments towards them were like that of a teenage girl fawning over their new boyfriend. She just LOVES them in a totally non-professional way that goes beyond the usual, non-biased scientific relationship.

      Wow, I thought she was making up that story. But it’s real! Good to know.

      • skylion says:

        You do realize she stabbed her boyfriend in the heart, don’t you…..oh, goodness….

        I traveled England and Scotland about twenty years ago, and in Edinburgh, they did shut up about it. Every pint seemed to come with a new cannibal tale, and given how much the Scotland Home Rule thing was going on at the time, more than enough back handed comments towards the English. I did a spit take when Hanji named them. I didn’t expect it….

    • skylion says:

      Oh, one thing I forgot to mention. The writers of the manga/anime don’t know anything about science. Put one Titan under the tarp, keep one out in the open. You need a control group…

  2. BlackBriar says:

    The Recon Corps really are a bunch of weirdos but compared to Hanji, all the other members seem normal.

    Hanji has less screws in her head than I thought. I have an idea of what she’s trying to do and it won’t work. After so many years of violent deaths, it should already be clear that you can’t domesticate a Titan and integrate them with humans otherwise it would mock the countless number of people who were killed by them.

    I’m sure Erwin was the one who ordered the attack on the two Titans because he doesn’t agree with what Hanji is planning.

    This is the case in anime like Shiki, where a callous doctor experiments on a live vampire. Despite being a creature that kills other humans, you feel bad for them because they still don’t deserve to be brutally tortured.

    The big difference is the Shiki still retained their mind even after reviving and hunted humans because they are their natural food source needed to survive whereas the Titans are mindless eating machines with no need for what they’re eating so there’s no way I could ever sympathize with the latter the way I would with the former.

  3. Namika says:

    Now whole internet is infested with images of Levi in Snow White’s dress. I can’t take it anymore 😀

    Erwin gives me the creeps. The fact that he’s the commander of these crazy, messed up dudes and is so calm and collected is so off. And why would he want to exterminate Bean and Sawney? I have no idea, since they were supposedly such valuable test subjects. I wonder, what skeletons is he hiding.

    Hanji is so amazing. She’s so fun! But how other members of Recon Corps dislike her… 😀 it was funny how everybody just stood up and left 😀 And I really like the humour of this show. No chibi faces or anything like that, but how Bossard bit his tongue while bitchtalking Eren was really funny.

    Okay, things won’t stay quiet for too long. I just hope that Mikasa and Armin join the Recon Corps so that the three of them could go on that mission together. All these new characters are fun, but I miss all the kadets.

  4. lvlln says:

    What I took the kill counts to mean was that one was credited with a kill if he performed the slash on the nape that actually killed the titan, while if you were involved in taking down the titan thru distraction or injuring it, you got an assist. Kinda like how basketball players get credited with points scored, but almost no point is truly just the work of one player. So I don’t think Auruo killed 40 titans by himself, just was the one to get the kills.

    Hanji was crazy awesome in this episode. I guess I have a soft spot for mad scientists, but I feel like I can fall for her. Unfortunately, I was disappointed at how sloppy her research seemed to be, with respect to testing the titans’ reaction to sun exposure. They should have had at least one titan be a control, being exposed to the sun as normal, but in as close to the same environment as others as possible. I do find the revelation about the titans’ very low density to be nice. As she said, a creature the size of a titan simply can’t support itself physically due to the square-cube rule, and this is a nice way of filling up that plot hole (something which mech shows just tend to ignore) while also building the titans’ mystique further. Just what the hell are they?

    My money is still on a The Matrix/SAO twist where they’re all in a virtual world.

    • Namika says:

      T bet the titans are just humans that were eaten. So far, that’s the only explanation of how the hell they reproduce, because there’s heck a lot of them. Plus, the weight aspect.

      • BlackBriar says:

        If it turns out to be that way then they’ve lost their intelligence during the change. Though the Colossal and Armored Titans seem to be on higher levels.

  5. Gecko says:

    I was glad to see more details on the Recon Corps, and while they are all a bit crazy, I would rather see Eren try to just get along with them, rather than adopt this mentality he has where he pits himself against them. He wanted to join the Recon Corps, and now he has. He should be a bit more grateful he got in, even if it’s because he can turn into a Titan. At least, that’s how I saw it. Maybe it’s just me.

    I really like Hanji, though. She just wants to try seeing things a different way, and thank goodness. I was hoping someone out there would try looking at things from a different angle. I also like Erwin’s character, just because I know he’s hiding something behind his mask and that makes everything more fun. But maybe it’s just his eyebrows that I like.

  6. Irenesharda says:

    “I’ll take crazy over stupid any day.”
    ― Joss Whedon

    “Insane people are always sure that they are fine. It is only the sane people who are willing to admit that they are crazy.”
    – Nora Ephron

    “Welcome to our big old happy dysfunctional family. You are now in, and whether you like it or not, you can never get out.”
    – Hayley Williams

    Wow, what a week. I’ve had such a busy week with my new summer job that I’m just getting to watch and review everything from last week.

    So, starting with this, what did I think of this episode? well, I thought it was a very good introduction to all the new characters in the Recon Corp. We get to get closer to them and see what makes them tick.

    Its going to take me a while to remember all their names and which name goes with which face, but I’m sure I’ll get it. So far the only ones I remember is Hanji, Levi, and Erwin, but that’s just because I’ve seen them a few times before. The other, it’s going to take a while.

    Yet, while this did serve as an intro episode to Eren’s new team, (and believe me, you could feel Eren’s discomfort being the “new guy” that all of us can relate to) you can also feel the plot thickening as not everything is like it seems. Hanji’s need to humanize the Titans actually gives her some humanity, even if in the process it seems to warp her mind a little. However, when someone killed the Titans in the end, you could really feel her pain. You really want to tell her “they’re just Titans” but you know that to her, they are more than that, and it is something you yourself wouldn’t understand. It reminds me of being an animal handler and working with a rabid dog that you know will be put down, however, you still care for the dog and have become close to it in the days leading to its demise. So when the day finally happens you are in tears.

    However, the end also shows that there are definitely other forces at work here. There is more to Cmdr. Erwin than meets the naked eye, and the guy is giving me serious Col. Cain vibes. Is this guy really someone you can trust?

    And since there seems to be some sort of sabotage going on here, what is really going on behind the scenes in the political arena? Its already been proven that the Titans aren’t the only enemy, so what’s really going on?

    Good episode, I give it a 7.8/10. I will be seeing the next episode in a few minutes, so I will comment on that when the new blog review is put up. 😛

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