Shingeki no Kyojin – 23

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Annie are you okay? Are you okay? Are you okay, Annie?

I’ve been waiting for this episode for a loooooong time. The identity of the Female Titan has remained a mystery all this time, and I think we deserve some answers before the series ends. We still have next to zilch in terms of intel about the Colossal Titan and the Armoured Titan, so why not throw us a bone about the one with the nice ass, huh? Thanks for not keeping us completely in the dark!

Long story short, the Titan is Annie. I think it’s not really a big surprise since you can generally narrow it down to just her using elimination alone. She’s the only blonde-haired girl with blue eyes (shhh pretend Eren’s eyes don’t change colour to green when he transforms) that wasn’t at the scene of the crime, and was thus unaccountable for. It’s really the only clue I actually caught to tip me off, although I’m sure there are others I would notice if I rewatched some previous episodes. That being said, I wish we had learned a little more about Annie before we suddenly saw her revealed as the Titan. It’s hard to have your expectations betrayed when you never had any expectations for that character in the first place.

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Fortunately, most of the episode tried to make up for lost time by letting us get to know Annie. She hardly says anything, but you really get a feel for her moral standings just by how she reacts to her fellow soldiers. Annie is not at all happy with the current system of leadership, and would rather someone like Eren to be their leader. He has passion, but he’s not a soft-hearted justice freak who will cower when he actually has to use force to defend himself. Although Eren certainly has…problems…he at least has enough guts to stand up for his beliefs and inspire hope in people around him with his tireless determination. Annie admires that. And Annie is a tough lady to impress.

The events before she is unceremoniously revealed to be the Female Titan do a really good job at giving us a “crash course” of sorts on Annie. Annie 101, if you will. It shows us that she’s still quiet as death and as unfriendly as a feral cat with rabies, but also humanizes her a little. She tells Marlo that she wants to be seen as human, as if to subtly tell us just how guilty she feels for squashing half of an army. It’s not strong enough to come off as a hamfisted attempt to get you to suddenly care for this mass murderer that’s been ignored for around 20 episodes, which I really appreciate. There’s only so much they can convey in one episode, and they cover all the bases without suddenly going “oh, how woe is Annie! Feel bad for her now, you snivelling dog!” in the way I feel a lot of dramatic anime do when they want to manipulate your emotions. It doesn’t work.

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The small time spent on developing her paid off when Armin tried to lure her underground and her reaction was to go full-out psycho. That laugh, that expression and the sudden change from a gruff voice to a surprisingly girly one broke down everything we thought we knew about her. This would have worked even better if we had gotten to know her before this episode though. For the life of me I can’t think where they’d include that considering how much this show tends to drag on though. I’ve heard they give her more attention at various points in the story in the manga, and I feel like that would have been beneficial. To me, Annie is just the girl who flipped Eren over that one time. It’s hard for me to question why she would kill so many people when I never knew what she was thinking to begin with. Oh well, at least they did what they could in one episode. It still worked, but it could’ve been better.

Again, not a lot happened but I rather enjoyed this week’s episode. I like how tense it is when Armin teams up with Annie because you know something terrible is going to happen, but you’re not sure what. I was wondering the whole time if Armin was stringing her along, but I didn’t have enough information to be 100% sure. I had enough of a shadow of a doubt to be put on edge, which made me hold my breath when they were about to go underground. It was intense! I loved that scene, and the way you don’t know exactly what’s going to happen until it pans down to Armin’s gun. Finally, we have closure about the identity of the Female Titan. Boy, does that ever feel good.

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What we still don’t know is…why? In a way, I don’t want to know right now. Whatever reason she has, it’s not going to be a good one. I don’t want her to try and explain herself because really, she has no excuse. She flung around a fellow soldier on a string for fun instead of just crushing them. She just doesn’t seem to be a good person – at all. Her actions are so unfathomable that her friends are desperate to be in denial of her secret identity. Armin figured this out ages ago (more on HOLY SHIT ARMIN, YOU’RE A GENIUS another week) yet he didn’t say anything because he wanted to remain in blissful ignorance. It’s like finding out your buddy is secretly an axe murderer, and then being in so much shock because you can’t imagine the person you used to go to McDonald’s with at 2am is actually a killer.

The only one who doesn’t take any shit is Mikasa. She’s ready to cut down anyone who does anything to hurt Eren, no questions asked. She just doesn’t form attachments to people other than Eren. Her world is literally “Eren” and “the other people.” While most of the time this makes her a bit of an annoying character to watch, I liked seeing her reaction in comparison to Armin’s and Eren’s. She didn’t waste any time at all to whip out her blades. No mercy! You have to respect that. Unfortunately, I don’t know how they’re going to keep fighting Annie now that she’s transformed. I wonder if anyone else has suspicious rings that I should be looking out for…

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Sharp enough to slice, dice, chop, cube or julienne. Your pick, Annie.

This week was great and I can’t wait to see the fallout next week. Jean is going to be caught, the Recon corps will get yelled at for letting Eren escape, and a whole lot of people will get hurt as Annie tries to escape. Total chaos! I’m ecstatic. On a side note, the military police were a surprisingly interesting bunch of people. Unlike the Recon corps which is the best of the best, these guys are the bums of the bums. From selling their own rations to ignoring important missions to play cards, these guys are like the laughingstock of the city. All of them chose this job to be safe and sound, and that mentality is permeating throughout the entire group. Oh, and one of the guys is a persona 4 protagonist lookalike, which was neat. Amazing how they could fit in the current condition of the city as well as the military police in such a short span of time. The pacing of this show really does vary. Let’s hope the final 2 episodes give us something to remember.

Preview: Annie goes nuts and both the Recon corps and Eren are (temporarily) unable to stop her. Eren because he’s in denial that his friend is an evil Titan, and the Recon corps because they’re staring down the barrels of multiple guns. Let’s hope that “temporarily” thing wears off soon.

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About

A mad scientist with a third degree black belt. The combination of these two things leads to blog posts combining a love for psychology, violence, anime and watching boys cry.
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14 Responses to “Shingeki no Kyojin – 23”

  1. BlackBriar says:

    Not as well done as the other episodes but still great and deserves some merit. The second half was the sweetest part.

    As I thought, the Female Titan turned out to be Annie. The possibility had been on my mind for weeks with the similar facial features but the reveal still had a huge impact on my mind. As she kept on talking to Armin without denying the horrible things she did as if she took pride in it, I was shouting in my mind “You bitch!!”.

    Talk about a personality shift to go with the atmosphere. That ecstatic and sadistic yet girlish look on her face along with that sensual tone in her voice immediately made me think of Avatar: The Last Airbender’s Princess Azula. What I want to know is how she managed to slip outside and follow the Recon Corps when she should’ve been on duty with the military police. Unless she has someone working with her covering for her absence while she goes off being a full blown traitor and kidnapper. I’m sure her joining the military police was just a cover to throw off suspicion in order to cause chaos. More important is finding out why she’s doing all this. Now all hell is going to break loose in the more concentrated part of the wall.

    And Overcooled, that ring she used to slice herself and transform. Doesn’t that remind you of the rings Deadman Wonderland’s Crow (Kiyomasa Senji ) uses to cut himself in order to bring out his Branch of Sin blades?

    More Mikasa is always a welcomed pleasure. Damn, was she sexy drawing out her sword in that epic pose. Eren’s a lucky bastard to have her always worrying about him and ready to anything for his sake. Haven’t seen that much dedication in a female character since Yuno Gasai. Physically and mentally strong sexy women are ideal eye candy.

    I’m going to be foaming at the mouth in anticipation until the next episode arrives. Waiting week by week is nothing but sheer torture when it’s a good show.

    • Irenesharda says:

      I’ve read that the laugh and smile wasn’t the way she reacted in the manga, but it was added to anime at the mangaka’s bequest. He said that the way he presented it in the manga wasn’t exactly what he wanted, and wished to show Annie bare, to show a crack into the kind of person she really is. He wanted her seen as an “average person” and not just as a bad guy.

      I don’t know if he succeeded or not though, since to me, it made her look like something in her broke, and like Azula, her mind shattered a little in response to emotional desperation.

  2. skylion says:

    Oh, good catch on the Princess Azula thing. I felt sadness for her as well.

  3. skylion says:

    You’ve been struck by/AH/You’ve been knicked by…a smooth Armin/

    The kinpatsu element is strong in this franchise. The power of intellect, the power of the Titan, and the power of the moe.

    I’m glad they didn’t go for the vanilla appeal of revealing who she was all along. But like you said, I wish they would have had more of her character elements while the show was running. I mean, all we got was her aloof resignation to joining the MPs about nine or episodes ago.

    As it stand we are going to have major ugly headed our way.

    Ah, Attack on Titan….you’ve brought us suspense, action, thrills, gore, violence, OP characters and you’ve beaten all sense of subtlety into a gooey paste….

  4. Nola says:

    Great post, this week.

    And you have been given pretty strong hints on the identity of the other intelligent titans. One of them, especially.

    The interesting part about Annie, is the question of WHY she is doing all this. She may be brutal in combat, but she did spare the life of Armin, froze when she thought she’d killed Jean, and obviously admires Eren.

  5. Irenesharda says:

    “When honor and the Law no longer stand on the same side of the line, how do we choose[?]”
    ― Anne Bishop, Heir to the Shadows

    “Power-lust is a weed that grows only in the vacant lots of an abandoned mind. ”
    ― Ayn Rand, Atlas Shrugged

    “Conflict is created by two conditions: the evil that is sanctioned by the corrupted…and the sacrifice borne by upright men and women who chose to destroy it.”
    ― Adam Turquine – from Beyond Mars Crimson Fleet

    “Oh, what a tangled web we weave…when first we practice to deceive.”
    ― Walter Scott, Marmion

    “All falsehood is a mask; and however well made the mask may be, with a little attention we may always succeed in distinguishing it from the true face…”
    ― Alexandre Dumas, The Three Musketeers

    Alright, let’s get started.

    This episode brought out some interesting things in several respects, however, I will try to handle the different areas of the plot one at a time.
    First, we see our first real look inside Wall Sina and into the Military Police who we’ve barely really gotten a true look at before. Here we see that people dress as if it’s the Victorian Era, which is weird since the wall before that, people dressed like something out of the Renaissance Era, and the wall before that the Dark Ages…so I’m not sure if that’s on purpose, or the mangaka couldn’t figure out what type of old-fashioned European dress he wanted…

    Anyway! Back to the Military Police!
    And it is here that we can see how rotten and decrepit society has become. I’m not yet sure if it’s intentional or not, but the way this three walled city is set up, they are literally setting up their own destruction. The MP are made up of the best of the best out of their perspective classes, only those in the top 10 are allowed in. Yet, what are the used for? Absolutely NOTHING. None of them have seen a Titan before, much less battle. And even if you take the most prizewinning apple and let it just sit in a field, eventually all you will have is a mess of decomposing, insect-ridden filth this is now only good for fertilizer. The same can be said of the MP, who were the best, but all that talent is going to waste and is being corrupted by the life of leisure, malfeasance, and demoralization that being in the MP brings. And there is little room for change unless you take drastic measures. Unfortunately, by the time you reach the rank in which you can effectively make these changes, you yourself have become so entrenched or seduced by the temptations such a crooked system has to offer, that you no longer have the desire, will, or want to do anything about it anymore.

    Individuals like Marlow are good to see, however, you can only ask yourself how long he’ll last before he becomes tired of swimming upstream and gets drowned by the flow. One difference between Marlow and Eren, is that Eren obviously has more drive and is at times borderline suicidal and crazy. He would actually rather die than live a life in the MP. I can’t see Marlow as having the same amount of drive as Eren, as not enough has happened to him yet (which is also why Eren is a little more mature at this point then he is) in order for him to continue to go on no matter the odds. However, I think that he might soon have it…if he survives that long that is.

    Now, let’s get to the meat of this episode, which is Annie’s reveal. Now, remember that I do not read the manga and will not until the entirety of the series is over. However, I had already long ago guessed Annie’s duel identities, and would have called bullcrap if it had been someone else. As for the tension and suspense, I wish I could say that it was really held me on the edge of my seat or something, and yet…it really wasn’t that hard to see coming. This was one of those episodes that was done a disservice by its own preview. In seeing last week’s preview, and hearing that Armin was going to tell Annie about his “plan”, I had immediately suspected two things: that Armin somehow had guessed the FemTitan’s identity, and that he had put together some plan to get her to reveal herself.

    Now, watching this episode, the minute I saw Armin come to Annie with his gear on and talking about helping Eren escape, I was suspicious. One, we had seen little to no transition between the Recon Corps riding through the streets in shame, and to now, suddenly having Eren out from under Levi and Erwin’s watchful eye and replaced by Jean? (Who does look a lot like Eren with that wig on, if Eren was older and taller and broader…) I just couldn’t see all that happening so suddenly, without some previous evidence leading up to it. Two, Armin has one of the worst poker faces ever. The entire time he was talking to Annie, he looked off…haunted and even a little guilt-ridden. His visage seemed to get worse and worse as he continued to talk to her, and it’s now obvious that not just the audience, but also Annie herself was suspicious of his motives as we can see that she decisively decides to be her ring on.

    Anyway, I just became more and more suspicious when Eren and Mikasa showed up, and it’s once they get to the entrance of the underground city and Eren tries to make Annie come down that everything just clicked into place. And seeing how much Eren and Armin didn’t want to believe the truth (Mikasa doesn’t really care at this point, once you attack Eren, you’re the enemy from her POV) and how betrayed and sad Annie looked, I really felt for her and felt sad that this was happening to her. When she laughed, it was like a person who didn’t give a darn anymore and knew this was the end, a little like her mind had cracked. So yes, I felt sorry for what she was going through…….for all of TWO minutes.

    And then I remembered Petra, Oulo, Eldo, and Gunther. I remembered the haunted and torn apart looks on Levi’s face as he once again he has the shoulder the memories and responsibility of avenging his fallen comrades. I remember these families of these men and women waiting at home for them in vain. I remember brave men being smashed against trees and the ground like insects. I remember an entire flank being destroyed and eaten alive simply because it was serving as a decoy. I remember men who were fleeing for their lives, be kicked like soccer balls and played around with like a yo-yo. And as I remember all this, what little sympathy I had had for Annie dissipates and can only feel disgust and disappointment. Annie has not had enough character development for me to feel otherwise (I think we’ve really only seen her five or six times (sans as the FemTitan) total, and that is not enough for me to forgive her for what she’s done. I know they will makes some sort of excuse for her, so sob-story reason as to why she did what she did. But that story will have to be quite a doozie for me feel any more sympathy for her than the little I already gave. And even then, I doubt that there is anything that can be said that can make me let her off the hook for her single-handed massacre.

    And now we come down to this final arc of the first season. The FemTitan has revealed herself and she is going to be wrecking havoc in the inner circle, where most have never even seen a Titan, and don’t know the damage one could wrought. We have only the MP (who will have this moment to prove what they’re truly made of) and the beaten Recon Corps, who while battle-weary are eager for vengeance for the comrades they have lost to this she-devil. From what we see in the preview, we might be up for a little backstory of how Armin set all this up in the first place and then it looks like Eren will be having to come to terms with Annie’s betrayal. So I’m going to guess that Part 2 of the battle between Eren and Annie will be the season finale episode. And what a note to leave off on I must say. I just pray that Eren does better this time now that his head’s clearer than last time.

    I’m excited for this last arc and hope it’s the wake up call that those of the inner city and the MP need. I hope Marlow lasts for a while, though I’ve learned to not really get attached to any of these characters. Though it will be frustrating knowing that this will be it for Shingeki was a little bit until the inevitable second season comes around, which I guess will be no sooner than next spring season. But until then I will enjoy these last two episodes and hope they end this season with a bang.

    I give this episode a 8.87/10. Can’t wait for more.

    • Namika says:

      Maybe that was done on purpose, to show the difference in financial condition better? Not a lot of people would notice much of a difference.

      The military police turned out exactly how I expected, just a little worse. They truly had the potential of being excellent soldiers, but the fact that they had chosen to sit on their buts and do nothing is so irritating and disappointing. 3000 people are just wasted for nothing, when humanity(and recon. corps) could really use some extra hands.

      Eren is more gutsy than Marlow because he has seen much more in his short life. He has seen what he has to fight and die for, while the other guy hasn’t, if I’m not mistaken.

      Nothing can justify her actions back there. If she killed only out of necessity, yes, fine, whatever. But she was having fun as she did it, using different, terrible methods. The scene where she spins the poor guy around says it all, really. That’s disgusting.

      • Irenesharda says:

        It’s just weird for me seeing so many different clothing styles.

        You know, I was thinking back to this episode and I thought of Annie’s ring. And I thought, “Leave it to the girl to find a more sophisticated and easier way of triggering her transformation than simply biting her flesh. I mean, that’s just so messy and unsanitary!” LOL It was just so funny when you think about it, especially when you compare it with Eren and how he savagely rips into his flesh. :P

  6. zztop says:

    Has the manga given any clues/reveals on why the Titans are rampaging about?

    • Nipah says:

      No, not really much more that provided by the anime. Although the latest manga chapters begin to delve into the background of the titans somewhat more. But in general – like for the anime – over the course of the manga there are lot more questions raised with each piece of information, than are actually answered.

  7. Namika says:

    So it was Annie, after all. It was so obvious that I could hardly believe it was her.

    Who were those people who grabbed her and tried to prevent her from transforming into a titan? What exactly happened back there, I wonder.

    The big reveal could have been devastating, if they had given Annie more attention. If she was getting along with others a little more. Just as you said, it was done well, but it could have been a million times better.
    I wonder, now that they’ve (specifically Armin) found out who the female titan is, will the Recon. Corps still be in trouble? I hope not.

    • Irenesharda says:

      All those people who took her down were Recon Corps soldiers in disguise as civilians. You can see some in normal uniform waiting at the ready along the rooftops for Armin’s signal.

      We’re obviously missing some parts here, where they are probably going to show in the next episode, of the Armin working with the heads of the Corps to set this all up. I have a feeling that they are probably working under their own authority at this point. You can’t expect the Military Police to be any help and the Wall Guard is on the outer wall, so the Recon Corps are most likely doing this on their own.

      • Namika says:

        Oh Yeah. I didn’t pay much attention to that. Baka -_-

        Probably, but now they revealed the traitor and have the chance to capture her. But that may harm Eren even more, because Annie, the traitor, who killed so many troops (and most of them with a smile on her face, too) is the same creature as him. Now that would be terrible TT^TT

  8. Jay says:

    Although Eren is definitely Mikasa’s number one priority above all others, it’s not true that she doesn’t form attachments to other people at all. For one example, Armin is also someone she considers a close friend, and she treats him much better than she treats anyone except Eren.

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