Attack on Titan – Episode 14

Confession time: I actually haven’t watched this show since episode 13 three weeks ago. I thought that episode was reasonable, but at that point the show’s issues had basically lost me as a committed viewer, and I didn’t think doing writeups would accomplish anything but annoy people.

However. What I’ve seen from episode 14 reviews is that it at least moves forward, regardless of whether I will like the direction it moves in or not. Currently I’ve got some free time and I’m not particularly interested in working on my backlog, which is shameful but what can you do. I kinda want to catch up on this show, but my thoughts from here on out are going to be fairly honest.

Second confession time: I haven’t thought this is a good show in a long time. I thought it started as a bleak, melodramatic shounen in a fairly compelling world, and the only thing more episodes have added to that assessment is “has horrific, glacial pacing.” I’ve gone kind of easy on it in my writeups because people like it a lot and pissing people off through attitude alone means they won’t read or consider anything I have to say. But unless this show immediately shapes up, these writeups might start becoming just a little Crime Edgey.

Alright. As long as we’re clear. As always, nothing I say is a personal attack on anyone, it’s just my feelings towards the media I am watching. 3-2-1 let’s jam.

Episode 14

0:14 – I have always liked this show’s visual aesthetic. Good to see it again.

0:32 – Goddamnit Levi. Well, I guess if you design a character specifically to be a fan-favorite badass, he’s gonna be a fan-favorite badass

0:42 – “I’ll make this piggy squeal. Nobody except me is up for the job.” That’s right, Eren. HE’LL LEARN YA

1:28 – God these Guns ‘n Roses video OPs. Love it

2:19 – Vague hints at a female Titan scattering that OP. Also loved how the song did that exact same “crazy repetitive progression solo-key change-even more furious progression solo” trick the first one did. Makes me want to go play some goddamn guitar

2:28 – I like that shot. Says a decent amount about their society and current situation without saying a word

2:56 – “But then there might be another food shortage…” Holy shit, a larger context for their conflict? Count me in

3:28 – That’s also some pretty efficient conflict-characterization there. The aristocracy only think of an unknown variable like a sympathetic Titan in terms of how it might upset the current balance of power, whereas the proles see it as an almost religious figure. This episode is doing a lot of work to make me like it in very short order

4:44 – A trial to remove him as a threat to the current societal order? Well, it’s not subtle, but it’s certainly about something

5:40 – “Unfortunately, all I can do is argue my case against the police.” I also like how they’re actually making a clean distinction between the executive calls Pixis can make in the heat of battle and his influence during peacetime. Man, if I’d known this episode was gonna be good I wouldn’t have prefaced it with all those dire caveats

6:50 – The trial’s this afternoon? Fantastic. Granted, the last afternoon we witnessed took about seven or eight episodes to get through, but I have a feeling they know that’s not a trick they can get away with often

8:10 – “I won’t have to live my whole life like this, right?” And here’s an internal monologue I can actually get behind. He’s frankly accounting the various weights on his mental state – this is a far cry from the “what am I doing? what’s going on? why are people yelling at me?” Titan-daze of the post-Titanification monologues

9:04 – “Hiiiiiii! I’m Zoe and this is Mike. He smells people, don’t worry about it.” So I guess all the Recons are weirdos

9:33 – And he’s on the trial floor? Man, what happened to the Titan that would spend an entire episode debating whether to say you’re a human or not? Not that I’m complaining

10:06 – They don’t really care about the dignity of the accused, huh?

12:22 – “He’s from the church of the walls… of course their superstitious jibber-jabber would set itself as an obstacle against human enlightenment.” I know when I’m being pandered to, Titan. Casting religion as a malevolent farce will not buy you my love

14:24 – “You look upon the greatness of the Walls, which defies human understanding…” Okay, that’s just such a beautiful articulation of this bullshit that I have to applaud. “Just look at this feat of human engineering which is slightly beyond my ability to grasp! Surely you must see the glory of God!” Adorable

17:08 – “He straight-up murdered those dudes at nine years old. Can we really entrust him with the future of mankind?” Playing on people’s silly emotional vulnerabilities to cloud the actual issues. I like it!

21:00 – “I can easily kill him.” “I’ve made my decision.” Oh man, so awesome. The Recon corps prove themselves just as capable of playing on people’s emotional weaknesses to sway this charade of a court – kick the shit out of Eren to generate sympathy for him as a human, then switch to an all-or-nothing proposal from a position of shock and strength. Great stuff

And Done

Wow! I really enjoyed that one! It’s honestly been a while since I could say that about Titan – it was fast-paced and introduced a lot of new ideas and actually put all that “manipulating public sentiment for the greater good” stuff that had been vaguely hinted at before front and center. I love how the Recon forces’ legitimate argument was obviously stronger than the Police’s, but they still had to resort to cheap disorienting tricks to win the trial, since that’s just how the game is played. And now Eren and Levi are off on an adventure? Hopefully next episode maintains this pacing, and doesn’t linger on incredibly dragged-out goodbyes or anything – either way, this was a very good episode.

7 thoughts on “Attack on Titan – Episode 14

  1. I don’t know about you, but those walls sure are defying my understanding. I’d figure that Titan-proof walls would be rather difficult to build with Titans roaming around, unless they were built preemptively before the Titans arrived, or the Titans themselves helped build it. Either way, the religious drivel of our fanatic may be bullshit, but the institution backing him up must be harboring some dark, dirty secrets.

    Hanji “Hot on Titan” Zoe replacing Sasha “Potato Girl” Braus as wild-eyed eccentric female cast member.

    • Hmmm… yeah, constructing hundred-foot walls while continuously being plucked up and eaten by Titans DOES seem a little suspect. Worldbuilding seems like one of the things the original mangaka was most interested in, so I wouldn’t be surprised if the show actually went somewhere with that.

      And I guess there’s always one in every team.

  2. Regarding the point at 17:08, I actually tweeted at length when we originally saw that sequence. It’s the same old Paladin case – a Paladin supposedly goes and butchers a whole kobold villages, mothers and children as well, because “Detect Evil” tells him they’re evil, and they give gold/xp.

    Likewise, the “heroes” in most shonen shows are basically psychotic mass-murderers, just like a DnD group that reaches level 20 is not only capable of annihilating kingdoms, but a genocidal campaign that already happened. I was all like, “See, these are your heroes, and they’re fucked up, and always have been.”

    For me, the reference to it was nice, but it is truly an issue that deserves more attention, but I guess the only real attention it’d get is on the meta-level, from us who discuss these shows.

    • I think one of the problems with actually exploring this concept is that the kind of shows that generally contain these oblivious mass-murdering heroes are also normally the kind of shows that want you to always be thinking, “fuck yeah! fuck ’em up, power fantasy protagonist!” Those two goals are kinda conflicting

      • That’s exactly what I’m bemoaning 🙁

        I think we can have such a show once every 5 years, at least, can’t we, please? Or at least an episode in one out of every 10 series…

        I feel like Ender’s Game is a perfect movie to cover these things, as the books did, but I get the distinct feeling from the trailers that we might not.

  3. This post is kind of a relief actually, because I thought I might have been the only person out there who wasn’t enjoying this series so much. I certainly don’t think it’s terrible, but the pacing issues which were only a mild concern in earlier episodes have gotten better instead of worse. I’m also getting quite tired of the melodramatic scripting and everyone deciding to yell their lines about 80% of the time. There’s absolutely no subtlety in this show – which would be fine if those sorts of scenes came and went instead of making up the bulk of nearly every episode.

    • I agree, this combination is a huge problem – I can take melodramatic shouting and I can take slow pacing, but putting them together is unbearable.

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