Shingeki no Kyojin – 22

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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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26 Responses to “Shingeki no Kyojin – 22”

  1. Tofu says:

    Of course, if Annie ends up being the female titan then her characterization wasn’t late at all 😉 We’ll have to see I guess.

    • Overcooled says:

      We know so little about her! Oh well, we’ll see if it’s too late or not based on what they tell us next week. Maybe they didn’t want to reveal too much (that is, assuming she’s the Titan).

  2. Irenesharda says:

    “How talented was death. How many expressions and manipulations of hand, face, body, no two alike.”
    ― Ray Bradbury, The October Country

    “And when life’s sweet fable ends,
    Soul and body part like friends;
    No quarrels, murmurs, no delay;
    A kiss, a sigh, and so away.”
    -Richard Crashaw, Temperance

    “Death is no more than passing from one room into another. But there’s a difference for me, you know. Because in that other room I shall be able to see.”
    -Helen Keller

    “They that love beyond the world cannot be separated by it. Death cannot kill what never dies.”
    -William Penn

    “The hour of departure has arrived, and we go our separate ways, I to die, and you to live. Which of these two is better only God knows.”
    ― Socrates

    “Has this world been so kind to you that you should leave with regret? There are better things ahead than any we leave behind.”
    -C.S. Lewis

    Man, did this show do a 180. We went from epic battle, to the very heart of despair in only two episodes. This episode was pretty poignant, going to a point of depression that I have never felt before in this show. First off, the fight scene between Levi, Mikasa, and FemTitan was awesome. Levi must be some sort of superhero, or have Sonic the Hedgehog genes or something. 😛 The guy went like lightning and certainly has proven what a fighter he can be. Now, I will say that while everyone else can stretch the lines of suspension of disbelief, Levi certainly broke them this episode as he moved at speeds that no human being would be able to survive, however, this is shonen and the unbelievability is half the fun! 🙂 I love the red glint he had in his eyes, it was awesome. I did have some problems with Mikasa’s role in the fight, but I’ll get more to that when I talk about what this show has done with her character as a whole.

    Anyway, as for the rest of this, we really get to see what a toll this war is taking on the Recon Corps as well as the their families. It really drives everything home as you see the hopes and despair that these people have to go through, and the full impact of the lives that were lost. These are not simply Soldier As, these are people with families and hopes and dreams. Even when you wanted to scream at the idiocy of that one soldier who through his foolishness, not only lost his friends body, but caused several others to be lost, and cost his other friend his life as well, you really can also feel for the guy and understand that he’s not up for this anymore, that it’s all just become too much.

    The march of them going through the city as they’re being ridiculed by the citizens was just one of the hardest things to look out. It actually wasn’t until this point that I realized that everything they’ve been going through all happened in ONE DAY. It seems time and space seems to be at a standstill in this series, since I thought the same thing about the Battle of Trost happening in one day. This has to be one of the heaviest blows the Recon Corps has had to face, and it wasn’t even their fault. Just to see the looks on their faces as they try to deal with their loss, while also trying to deal with the ingrates that mock them, or think them useless. It is truly a thankless job and you have to wonder how these guys go on. Just seeing the looks on their faces as they travel, seeing Eren crying, it was all just heartbreaking.

    I won’t talk much more about Petra since many already have, but yeah the scene with her body and her father coming at the end was hard. Not really with Petra herself, but with Levi’s reaction to it. You can really understand why he’s as stoic as he is, considering how many friends he’s lost and how much he has to contend with. Going back to Mikasa for a second, I’m not sure if I like where her character was going this arc. She was mostly underused, and the times she was shown, she had only a few good moments. I thought she was mostly wasted in the fight with FemTitan as she didn’t do anything except make a mistake because “her emotions are clouding her judgement”. Ugh. I expect this sort of thing out of Eren, not Mikasa. Mikasa has been a great, strong, female character so far, something that is kind of rare in anime. However, as good as we’ve seen her during battle, suddenly she next to useless when Levi, a popular male character, shows up?! I don’t know, that was something that kind of irked me, along with the fact that they are really trying to push her towards having romantic feelings for Eren that impair her judgement, and make her seem more like a stereotypical anime female lead. And since this is said to not be the same in the manga, I can only guess this was a studio decision, since they seem to think that there cannot be a female lead character without there being a romance subplot. Argghh! It’s just so annoying. I really hope they move her character back to what she used to be, and she doesn’t continue down this road.

    So, what shall happen next now that the Recon Corp has returned in shame and Eren is to be handed over to the Royal Police where he’s going to be dissected, vivisected, and all around killed? Now, I highly doubt that this is really going to occur, especially since Annie (who I am positive is the FemTitan) is the one escorting them, and there is no way Mikasa, Armin, Levi, or Erwin is going to let the friend and secret weapon they protected and sacrificed men for, go down like that. Also, I’m betting that from the preview, Armin is going to be the first one who puts two and two together and figures out Annie’s secret identity. He also seems to be the one who will put together a plan of how to get Eren out of this. Will Eren, Mikasa, Armin, and some other members of the now disgraced Recon Corps now have to go rogue in order to protect Eren from the government who seems bent on his destruction? They have to somehow try to make it to that basement so I’m guessing they might have to do so against orders. What will Annie now have planned? Where and what is “Stohess”? Where shall this season end? These are all questions that I’m asking, now that another arc has come to an end.

    I give this episode a 8/10. Not as good as last episode, but still full of emotional punch.

    • Overcooled says:

      Levi certainly is an exceptional fighter. I thought of Sonic too with all that spinning and blue light lol. It’s totally unbelievable, but too cool for anyone to care. I guess the fact that he hurt his foot/ankle makes it slightly more realistic.

      I really liked how the aftermath panned out. Even little things like going back to rescue bodies of soliders we never really knew was rather touching. Seeing the waiting families back home all blissfully ignorant after seeing them fling away the corpses was the perfect contrast. Oh man, it was brutal. I had a hard time believing all of that happened in one day as well…and before the sun even set at that. As much as kids may admire them, I have to agree with you that it’s a thankless job. They go out there and lose all of their best friends and then come back to heckling and complaints.

      I don’t like Mikasa. I like her purely for her fighting ability. Otherwise, she’s just a mother hen who constantly says “Eren? Eren!!! Eren. Eren!?!”. That’s literally all she has on her mind, which makes her predictable and dull. It even made her commit a grave error in a fight. The same thing happened when she thought he was dead way back when he was first swallowed. As long as she’s obsessed with Eren, she won’t be able to move forward.

      Armin continues to be a genius. He notices everything. I hope he ends up saving Eren this time. I doubt the police will ever get to stick ANY sharp objects into Eren, because that’d be a lame way for the main character to die. The next episode could be big…very big. Unless they go super slow, we might get a few juicy answers. FINALLY!

      • skylion says:

        Sonic Boom Sonic Boom Sonic Boooooom

      • Irenesharda says:

        I’m actually the opposite. I really enjoy Mikasa, while I’m a bit tepid with Armin. I’m so used to boring, archetypal and many times sexist female anime characters, that Mikasa was really a breath of fresh air. She’s powerful, but feminine, she acts normal, and is smart, but she does carry the emotional tendencies of a woman. She loves her family, but the loss of them caused a mental breakdown, that only her adoption into the Jaeger family and specifically her relationship with her adopted brother, Eren, can heal. I enjoy learning little things about her past, about her psyche, and how her entire mental health relies on the last person that she can call her family. I am always interested in seeing her when she’s on screen. I’ve heard that in the manga she shows no inclination to being even remotely romantically inclined towards Eren, and I think that makes her a much more interesting character psychologically, as to how much she’s devoted to this man, who is as much her brother as he is her savior. And while Eren won’t admit it, I don’t think he could go on for much longer without her either, as she is also his last family he has left as well.

        As for Armin, I don’t really know much about him to care for him all that much. I DO like him as a character, but that’s because he’s Eren’s best guy friend and is very loyal and supportive of him, and I like the genius characters who happen to be physically week, but mentally strong. However, in recent episodes, Armin has only been fulfilling the role of resident narrator and exposition guy. He basically is there just so that he can either state the obvious, or recall things that already happened, or mention things that might later happen. I really they do more for his character than that. It’s gotten to the point that it’s almost like he and Jean are sports commentators but instead of sports, it the events of the battles. 🙁

        I really want to see what they plan to do though, and how they are going to get Eren out of this. How will they draw out the Titan-hybrids? But we can be glad that there are only 3 episodes left, so they can’t go too horribly slow. Hopefully…

  3. skylion says:

    Still searching for that Despair Event Horizen, eh SnK?

    • Overcooled says:

      Any more despair and I’ll be out of commission >_<

      • BlackBriar says:

        Not even Psycho-Pass or Fate/Zero was this depressing.

        • skylion says:

          I’m just now getting into the meat of Fate/Zero (just sitting down to watch episode nine right now). And yes, there is despair at it’s very core, something I did not see at the beginning.

          At first I found the actual conflict of the Grail War to be a big to EPIC in it’s scope, but I am glad to see that the narrative has settled down to explore the characters much much more. Plus, Memoria is just so sweet an ED.

          • Irenesharda says:

            Um, I have a question for anyone who can answer. I haven’t seen any of the Fate/Anything series or any sort of Type-Moon stuff and was thinking about checking it out since many have suggested it. Is there a certain order the Fate series should be watched in? And is it worth watching?

            I had also been considering SAO at one point, but most reviews I saw kind of put me off to it. However, with the Fate series, most say at least Fate/Zero is really good.

            • skylion says:

              I finally got into Zero full force, and I highly recommend it. Prism Illya is also quite fun. Anything else, I leave to Kyo.

            • Highway says:

              I’ve been watching Fate/Zero, and (hopefully I won’t be excommunicated) it’s alright, but I have some quibbles (like I don’t think Kirei’s voice fits the way the character looks at all) and I already know that this is a series where nobody ends up happy, so I probably won’t be that happy with it. I don’t see how skylion could get more than that first episode without seeing that it was all about pain.

              Prisma Illya is fun and interesting and is a lot more full of hope. It’s not really ‘related’, storywise, I’d say it more just borrows character backgrounds partially.

            • skylion says:

              I’m liking the character interactions. There is also something in how the Grail picks it’s players. Yes, it is full of pain, but a war that sets out to contain the damage to a select few could hardly be anything but…

              Actually I adore Prism Iilya…Her Archer was so awesome cute… as almost as good as Miyu’s Saber (got to have midriff).

            • Irenesharda says:

              So, which of the series should I see first? Fate/Stay Night, Fate/Zero? What?

            • BlackBriar says:

              I think only a handful of commenters here are hardcore Type Moon fans. I’m getting into it myself but you should definitely see with Kyokai about advice. I’ve seen Shingetsutan Tsukihime though it was in the english dub (Don’t anyone dare say it doesn’t exist!), Fate/Zero and currently Fate/Kaleid Liner Prisma Illya.

              And if you’re looking to backtrack on a few other Type Moon shows like Fate/Stay Night then don’t bother because a new version made by ufotable will be made. At the moment, it’s still to be announced.

              To answer your question below, watch Fate/Zero first. It’s the prequel to Fate/Stay Night.

            • Highway says:

              Also, pretty much everyone says the Fate/Stay Night anime that’s out there isn’t really worth watching. There’s apparently a remake coming, might as well wait for that.

              You don’t need to watch anything else to enjoy Prisma Illya, either. It’s enjoyable enough without knowing anything about the characters.

  4. Namika says:

    Oh god, the feels I got from this episode… Of course, the worst thing was when Petra’s body was thrown off the carriage. That scene was done very well, I even teared up a bit. But when her father was talking to Rivaille(or Levi, I’m still not sure)… now that was really cruel. Looking at him was almost physically painful. And that facial expression…

    I have to say that Armin is progressing way faster that I thought he would. Throwing out the bodies was the right decision, but a 15 year old shouldn’t be able to say that so calmly. That was impressive.

    Oh gosh, 3 episodes left!!!! Nooooo~ ><"

    • skylion says:

      Fifteen of their years, not our’s. Still a youth, but vastly different expectations.

      • Irenesharda says:

        Aren’t the still on Earth? Alternate Earth yes, but still Earth? So wouldn’t it still be about 15 Earth years? Is there something time continuum thing that I’m not aware of? O_o

        • skylion says:

          This would be the social conditions, not Earth or alt-Earth years.

          • Overcooled says:

            Yeah, I can see how 15 years of a combination of fear, death, military training and giant monsters destroying all of humanity is different from our 15 years of being at the top of our respective food chain. It’s an entirely different culture.

      • Namika says:

        Well, that’s probably it. But still, they’re all 15, and only Armin shows such progress.

        • BlackBriar says:

          The harsh realities of life forces a person to grow up before their time.

  5. BlackBriar says:

    “The fear of death follows from the fear of life. A man who lives fully is prepared to die at any time.”
    ― Mark Twain

    “I do not fear death. I had been dead for billions and billions of years before I was born, and had not suffered the slightest inconvenience from it.”
    ― Mark Twain

    “Death is Peaceful, Life is Harder”
    ― Stephenie Meyer, Twilight

    “Fear not death for the sooner we die, the longer we shall be immortal.”
    ― Benjamin Franklin

    “The funny thing about facing imminent death is that it really snaps everything else into perspective.”
    ― James Patterson, The Angel Experiment

    “Death is contagious; it is contracted the moment we are conceived.”
    ― Madeleine L’Engle

    I’m pretty sure someone is going to kill me for using a certain quote in this list. 😀

    So many feels in this episode that it’s astounding. I couldn’t help but stay silent as it was nothing short of painful to see Petra’s father walking up to Levi praising her about her achievements and goals when he’s unaware of her fate and Levi doesn’t have the heart to tell him the horrible truth. Out of those in the squad, Petra was my favorite for being so kind.

    The heaviest burden in all of this is that the survivors had to forcefully accept cold hard logic in order to keep living. While it serves a purpose, it still doesn’t begin to ease the pain of accepting the deaths of friends and loved ones. It creates conflict inside. Levi and Erwin are hurt but they can’t afford to show it because they’re the pillars that are holding everyone together. Such is the fate of the one who leads. On one hand, it may be inhuman but on the other, it’s a necessity.

    More props to Levi’s prowess in battle. Such near blinding speed that I sometimes ask if he’s even human. If only he were there to save his squad. Misfortune really shows no mercy to anyone.

  6. Irenesharda says:

    That quote isn’t worthy of freakin’ Twilight. What did they know about true despair!! Sparkly pansies….

    Anyway, yeah Levi and Erwin went a bit higher in my estimation after this episode. I really feel for him. I don’t think powers such as Levi’s could be possessed by a normal human being. Still, I would love to see him in action again.

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