Seeing red. Literally. Actually, you should probably get that checked out…
|If my first day at school wasn’t depressing already, watching this week’s Shingeki no Kyojin episode certainly didn’t improve my situation. Then again, I suppose the melancholy felt at the end of summer pales in comparison to watching your dearest friend’s corpse chucked out of a wagon…Hmm, I feel pretty good about myself now!|
Last week was a bit of a shock to the system as we watched Levi’s entire squad get wiped out by the Female Titan. Death is never a big surprise for this show, but the sheer amount of deaths one after the other was hard to swallow. Before now, only side characters died and I never really felt bad. The circumstances of Marco’s death were sad, but I didn’t actually miss Marco himself since he never really made a huge impact on me. Levi’s squad had just started to worm its way into my heart before ripping free and disappearing forever. Episode 22 is like a big game of “just how bad can we make you feel about these characters dying?” that escalates as the episode progresses. It’s not just rubbing salt in your wounds – it is cutting every inch of your body with a rusty shaver and then tossing you into the Dead Sea.
While I don’t even recall the names of the other guys who died, I certainly remember Petra. She’s the one I’m the most bummed out about losing. The ladies haven’t had much time to shine lately, aside from the Female Titan and Mikasa’s most recent involvement in saving Eren. Otherwise, it’s mostly been about the dudes. Petra was a nice addition to balance out all the guys ever since Sasha became a coward and the other girls faded off into the distance. She was nice, yet incredibly strong and loyal. Overall, a real quality person. So of course they dedicate the bulk of the guilt-tripping to events to Petra.
I don’t think I would have felt as bad if it was Oluo’s face we had seen as his cloth flew off. Hell, I’d roll him off the wagon even if there wasn’t a Titan chasing me. But the fact that they chose the cute, sweet girl to make us feel bad works so well that it’s almost criminal! I usually don’t like it when this show dwells too much on death and depression following the aftermath of a fight (been there done that) but these deaths hit so close to home that I was invested enough to grieve alongside them. The more uncomfortable Levi got, the more I did as well.
Levi and Erwin are experts at wearing a cool, calm mask no matter what kind of tumultuous emotions they are battling on the inside. The two of them are called cold-hearted for supposedly being immune to the deaths of others, but that’s not the case. It’s very clear that today’s events greatly rattle them, but they put on a brave face and just keep going. I think Mikasa grows to understand that when Levi jumps in to save her and hurts himself. He was taught to expect the unexpected, and it’s that level of caution that keeps him alive…unlike his squad, unfortunately. If I haven’t already praised his fighting ability then let’s put it on the record: holy shit this little man kicks ass. It took an entire squad to distract the Female Titan, but he simply anticipates her movements and then strikes with lightning-quick speed and surgical precision. Even Mikasa looks like a chump fighting alongside him. Hopefully she can learn to put a cap on her feelings when she’s in a fight so she stops making dumb mistakes – something she needs to learn from Levi.
Part of what makes Erwin and Levi such rational leaders is that they can control their feelings and make decisions based on logic instead of rage or fear. They also hide their emotions to appear calm to everyone. I love that using solely facial expressions you can tell that they’re upset, yet they have to conduct themselves as leaders and can’t afford cracking in front of everybody. This is somehow worse than seeing them break down and cry because seeing them try and bottle it up inside is so much harder on them. It’s like dying on the inside. I have a lot of respect for them carrying on and making hard choices that will save their comrades, even though it causes them a lot of pain. The fact that Levi saw Petra thrown out of the wagon at his own orders and then had to talk to her father about marriage in the same day is far too cruel. It really, really made me feel bad and I’m always impressed when an anime can make me truly feel despair.
Of course, things aren’t going so hot for Eren either. Just when he thought he had outgrown Mikasa coming to save his ass, he finds himself rescued by her once again. Not only that, but he failed. The whole mission failed and on top of that he couldn’t beat the Female Titan – even when using his trump card. How is he supposed to save humanity when he can’t beat one Titan? Eren takes all of this really hard, and he can’t stand that people insult the Recon corps while they’re still shell-shocked and fragile. The flashback was nicely timed, short, and a lovely reminder that people are still total dicks. I guess I’d panic too if I was paying for soldiers to die so much, but it still comes off as uncouth.
I love how whenever someone is sad, their eyes retreat back into their skull.
I’m extremely worried about Eren being taken out of the watchful eye of Levi and to…God knows where. The police? That’s not going to be pretty. Also, who is even in the police that matters? All of the cool characters joined the Recon corps, so things are going to get really dull if we have to watch the adventures of Eren and a bunch of jerks. Do they have a dude who sniffs other people? Or a mad scientist? I don’t think so. Everyone else is utterly dull by comparison now and I am already priming myself to pre-emptively despise them. I’m counting on Levi whisking him away again somehow or Eren just running away. With only a few episodes left, the finale draws near. Just what the heck kind of craziness can we expect to happen between now and then? I’m prepared for the worst…and the best.
Preview: A meeting with Annie, which may confirm or disconfirm her as being the Female Titan. Either way, it’s been a long time since we’ve heard from her so late characterization is better than no characterization at all.