Yeah, that’s right, Eren’s a superhero now. The fuck you gonna do about it?
2:30 – Jeez, I forgot this battle’s been going on for six damn episodes. I guess the constant flashbacks will do that…
2:50: Speak of the flashback…
3:42 – “My tummy hurts!” This show has such a weird sense of humor. At this point, the number of despair faces and despair speeches we’ve run through in the past few episodes has definitely tipped into the realm of self-parody, but you’re actually supposed to take most of them seriously, and then there’s a joke like this that basically acknowledges how wide-eyed despair has become almost every character’s default expression. But aside from the silly gag, it doesn’t actually separate itself from the serious despair scenes in any tonal way. For a show that puts so much stock in maintaining its grim atmosphere, it seems weirdly flippant about how easily it can be perceived as comedy
4:30: Carpenters and stonemasons must make a killing in this world, what with all the constant holes in walls and roofs from the soldiers flinging themselves around
5:32 – Great, so when Eren claims to not be a titan, the captain opens fire – but when he actually morphs into one, he orders everyone to hold position
6:18 – “I heard the cannons fire…” For this episode, the role of flashback will be played by Armin’s narration
6:30 – Flowers? Hm. Odd bit of foreshadowing there – no idea what it could mean yet
7:04 – “We can’t negotiate with the garrison.” Isn’t there a single person in the chain of command who isn’t a goddamn idiot with no ability to process new information? I mean, I get that taking the risk of trying to negotiate with people who just cannon’d you is probably a bad call, but this captain is just such an openly incompetent and antagonistic character that it’s frustrating having the plot be dictated by his insane ramblings
7:56 – “Eren, we’ve got other matters to attend to.” Thank you Mikasa. Freakin’ Eren monologuing himself into another cannon barrage…
8:17 – “Hold your fire! I’m getting dust in my eyes!”
8:55 – “That explains the lack of durability and functions.” So his power basically manifests titanism designed to fulfill his current base desire? That works. Still monologuing with cannons pointed at him, though
11:03 – Yesss, develop Armin. He’s been static for too long, and these other two desperately need a competent person who thinks before they act
11:18 – That said, the flashback meter is going crazy right now
12:09 – “Using these powers strategically, as part of the military…” YES. PLEASE.
14:01 – That’s right, Armin. Believe in the Eren and Mikasa who believe in you!
14:27 – “I’ll use my brain even while I’m talking!” Is that… not what he usually does?
17:25 – Legitimately nice speech by Armin there – appealing to their camaraderie as soldiers was a good call. I wonder who’s gonna appear at the last moment to stop this idiot captain?
17:41 – PIXIS?!?!
17:59 – “You go take command of the reinforcements.” Why is anyone letting this man take command of ANYTHING?He couldn’t fucking strategize his way through a ham sandwich
19:07 – Man, I get the feeling Pixis and I are gonna get along just fine
20:38 – “It was just something I came up with to give people hope Eren’s power could get us out of this.” Wow. This one sentence hopefully puts all those despair faces into perspective. If this is actually a thematically meaningful statement, it also explains the focus on the irrationality of the soldiers when dealing with Eren earlier – this show might actually be interested in the irrational nature of human optimism, pessimism, and morality, and have characters actively manipulating either their subordinates or the general populace for the greater good. That’s a really compelling idea, and one I hope the show continues to pursue
Also, if it is true, it basically means Eren is this world’s Batman – “the people need a symbol” and all that
21:46 – “Will you give it a shot, or not?” I understand how drama-wise we need to keep up the momentum, but this seriously doesn’t seem like how an intelligent commander would take the news of a trump card as critical as Eren’s powers. His abilities seem very literally to be the difference between survival and extinction – they should test the goddamn things, and devise exactly how they can be best employed. Sure, it’ll mean more titans enter Trost – but Trost doesn’t seem strategically significant anyway. This is not something you throw away in a gamble
Whew! That one finished strong, though once again it started pretty slowly. That seems to be the pattern with this show – every episode starts with a pile of slower exposition and character-checking-in, and then moves to a dramatic finale that pushes the plot forward a bit. I’m honestly not the biggest fan of this format; at least this episode, it felt like the scene with our dynamic trio concealed by dust went on far too long, even if it resulted in some long-overdue character development for Armin. Ten episodes in, I still feel like we’re setting up the pieces for the game to come – establishing the various interactions between the characters, giving each squad member a base level of conviction and a specific strength to contribute, exploring Eren’s power. And I’m not actually against that in any way – I just think the pacing seems slow for scenes that essentially amount to worldbuilding and exposition.
Still, I’m certainly enjoying the show – I like the world they’ve created, I like the idea of a show based on the human side of military strategy, and the direction is pretty endearingly melodramatic. But I can’t help feeling I’m still waiting for it all to kick into high gear.
Fortunately, this shit is 2-cour. My body is ready.