Maybe if we didn’t nickname her something yummy like “Potato Girl” the Titans wouldn’t eat her
|Gah, sorry for the delay. I’ve been getting a lot of important stuff done, like filling out forms and sending e-mails so I can get cool jobs to do during the school year. I have a lot of interviews coming up soon so I can’t see myself being the most timely blogger in the next while…u_u|
After being so completely enthralled by Hanji’s charming insanity, I must admit that episode 16 was a bit of a disappointment. It wasn’t a bad episode, but it certainly didn’t have the same impact. I’ll give them a break because so far the show has just steadily gotten better and better, so a little dip every now and then is inevitable. Part of why this week wasn’t as good was that it focused on some less interesting characters, all of which were feeling almost exactly the same thing.
The Recon corps are so crazy that by comparison, everyone else just seems a little dull now. It doesn’t help that we’re only getting to know some of these characters now. Armin compliments Annie by saying she must really be nice, but we’ve never seen much of Annie being anything to really appreciate that revelation. Characters like Connie, Ymir and Krista haven’t done much to earn my sympathy either. I fear it may be too late to really introduce us to these characters and make us care about them. For now they’re just cannon fodder with personality quirks. Even the fan favourite Sasha has been reduced to the standard “scared shit” rotation of faces and remarks.
The bright side to everyone being so shell-shocked is that it gives Jean the perfect chance to shine. Jean is one of the few “side characters” who has gotten a lot of attention. We’ve seen him develop into a strong leader almost as much as we’ve seen Armin grow into a fine strategist. Much like our blonde friend, Jean is not a fearless leader who drinks raw eggs and laughs in the face of danger. Jean is just as terrified as everyone else, if not more. He’s deeply traumatized by Marco’s death and he’s desperate to stay alive. Despite all this, he raises the morale of his friends ever so slightly by firmly stating his decision to join the Recon corps. He conquers his overwhelming fears by joining and trusting Eren, even against the odds.
It’s very endearing to have a character like him in a leadership position, because we see that he still doubts himself and feels guilty. He’s far from perfect, but he does absolutely everything he can. In a way, he puts naturally talented people like Mikasa to shame since he conducts himself with far much more logic than she does. Her love for Eren at this point is almost a joke now. I cringe – and laugh – every time she needlessly fusses over him. I sincerely hope she dies soon so we won’t have to deal with this anymore, but I doubt that’s going to happen.
Aside from Jean being kinda cool, the rest is a rather boring set-up of horses riding around and soldiers being terrified. Yeah, we get it, you guys are scared of the Titans. Once again, I feel like they drag out the despair a little too much.
She’s on the lookout for hot guys. You better watch yourself.
Now here’s where the real fun starts. It’s probably a good thing they prefaced this crazy-ass episode with a low-key episode to avoid over-saturating us with despair, death, and flashy barrel rolls in the air. So although episode 16 wasn’t a show-stopper, episode 17 looked even better in comparison. It was an absolutely jaw-dropping episode. You can tell which scenes and episodes they use their budget on, and this is one of them. The fighting is amazing and I really liked the way they showed just how much space was in between each different unit. It was very reminiscent of a video game cutscene, and very effective at showing just what a large-scale mission this was.
The whole mission itself is fascinating because it’s different from the usual “protect the city” strategy. They’re riding across the flatlands, and that essentially reduces their one combat weapon to nothing more than 2 butter knives and some string. It’s interesting to see them desperately avoiding the Titans and using flares to communicate across the vast expanses of field between them. Erwin’s plan is solid, but the signal flares obviously have huge weaknesses. Sasha was too frightened to fire one (I don’t blame her) and the black flares don’t exactly spell “TRACK RUNNER FEMALE TITAN” in the sky. I suppose they don’t have much of a choice given the technology in that day and age…although that feels odd to say when they have created these magnificent 3D maneuver gears.
The type of mission changing was already a lovely change of pace. There didn’t even need to be a female Titan appearing out of nowhere and wreaking havoc. That just made everything go from a 10 to an 11. The female Titan is absolutely terrifying because she’s fast, extremely intelligent, and kills people for the sake of killing them. She is not just obeying some lower instinct to gobble up people like jellybeans, but she is systematically killing people in order to achieve her goal. For now, that goal is staying alive and finding Eren. What’s even worse is that if she is as Armin says – a human in a Titan’s body – then she will have to deal with the consequences of slaughtering half of the Recon corps when she turns back to normal. I’m assuming (hoping) that like Eren, she’s just going berserk right now.
I loved watching Armin, Jean and Reiner attempt to fight her. It was a battle they could not win from the very start, yet they tried anyways just so they could help their comrades. That’s real devotion. They’ve come a long way from being scared newbie recruits and doubting themselves every step of the way. Furthermore, they now trust each other with their lives. Armin has the respect he finally deserves, Jean is praised as a leader, and Reiner…well, Reiner was always a bit of a powerhouse, so not much has changed there. All in all, there’s something really special about the panicked way they try and stop the female Titan in a last ditch effort. I truly thought Reiner died until he sprung free in the most dramatic fashion, carrying off Armin like a loaf of bread to add to his badass levels. The pacing and the timing was just so perfect.
Part of what made things flow so evenly was Armin. He immediately deduced that the Titan was like Eren, was looking for him, and wouldn’t kill anyone without seeing their face. His sharp wit saved a lot of time that’s usually devoted to characters being insufferably stupid and dicking around while they try and figure out what’s happening. Armin cuts out all of that and immediately understands the truth, which isn’t easy when you’re in the middle of a ruthless battlefield. I really see nothing wrong with Armin being the new main character here, because he’s proved himself so many times within the past few episodes.
Anyways, enough gushing about how great that episode was. I can’t ignore some of the nagging questions in my head. First are foremost, who is that Titan and where did it come from? If I had to hazard a guess, I’d say it’s Mikasa. It looks like her and it single-mindedly is trying to find Eren…which makes sense since her strongest instinct is to always find him. Eren’s strongest instinct is to kill Titans, which is why that’s usually what he does whenever he turns into one. However, it’s hard to imagine her as this Titan because how could she transform without anyone else seeing? She’s also in the preview for the next episode…as her normal, human self. So what I’m really saying is that I have no idea who it is. It’s an interesting new mystery to keep us interested, and perhaps it will be answered once they finally reach the basement and learn more about human-Titans like Eren. Ah, I can’t wait. This arc is proving to be very impressive.
Preview: The Titan with nice ass finds Eren