Attack on Titan – Episode 20

Alright, episode 20. Last one was bad, not gonna lie. The sum total of its progression was “Eren runs through forest, decides to actually follow orders for once,” it engaged in a bunch of redundant characterization, and the characters finally learned Titanification is triggered by injury PLUS a specific goal. That’s… not a lot of content, for twenty minutes of anime. I guess if I watched more shounens I’d be used to this, but I don’t, and I’m not. The pacing sucked.

However, when this show is good, it can create either solid dramatic moments or at least sweet action setpieces. So let’s get to some of that.

Episode 20

0:38 – Hi Eren.  Anyway, just thinkin’ ‘bout plot. Not something I usually do, but kind of appropriate for this show. They had a whole big trap set up for the “mystery” titan, so it seems clear that this wasn’t a test run (which always seemed like a hilariously wasteful idea), but instead a chance to use Eren as bait against something they suspected would happen. Meaning the survey corps know there is some intelligent force arrayed against them, or at least titans + intelligent individuals (their two captive titans were killed, etc). The plot thickens!

0:42 – I guess this really is pretty okay.  Probably the closest translation of “following orders means betraying your own sensibilities, but the stakes are too high for ego here” we could get in a shounen like this

3:55 – Or, you know, not at all 

4:17 – “FIRE THE SPARE ROUNDS!” That’s right Commander get it all out 

4:23 – I like that tree texture.  The visual aesthetic is just pretty distinctive over all, of course. Definitely one of the show’s strengths

5:06 – Do we really need every character to confirm they did indeed fire cannons?  I guess this is the show catching the audience up to speed on “they planned it all along,” but that really should just require a single aside. Switching between the storytelling of this and Gatchaman is… rough

5:10 – Man, I wonder what HER perspective on the cannon situation is 

5:24 – Very nice.  Hey, you know what else is beautiful? Uchouten Kazoku.  Yes, I will be using these writeups to pursue my own devious agenda. Sue me

5:40 – Interesting.  Even the base ones aren’t so mindless after all

5:56 – Jean gets full marks!  Keep it up, obvious best character

6:24 – Well, that’s kinda what you do when you’ve got a mole, lady . Really great tsundere frame there

7:43 – Of course! 

Is it just me? Am I being too hard on this show? It really feels like it’s dragging out plot points, but I could just be justifying that old chestnut of an accusation, Hating Something Because It’s Popular. I mean, I don’t hate this show. Not at all – I don’t think it’s great, but I don’t have anything against it. Right now it just feels like it’s taking forever to get through stuff the audience obviously knows, and since only one thing is happening at a time, it feels extremely slow

8:14 – Aside from Jean, all my favorite characters are the comic relief . Which is kind of funny, since the comic relief is normally by far my most hated character in virtually any anime. …which might again be a poor reflection of my relationship with this show

9:19 – yes Yes YES  Armin with the hard truths! Man, this is the kind of stuff I was waiting all last episode for

9:34 – YESSSSS.  THERE’S TOO MUCH AT STAKE FOR SELFISH EMPATHY. Man, took them an episode and a half, but we finally hit the actual lesson of last episode

10:12 – Okay, I guess last episode is forgiven.  So much for wishy-washy feel-good shounen ethics. This is war

10:20 – Couldn’t have said it better myself.  Let the rabble chatter of right and wrong after our deeds have bought them the breath they accuse us with

10:45 – Oh that’s just rude 

13:14 – He is pretty dreamy 

13:53 – They are getting some lovely images out of this forest 

14:59 – “Be careful.”  Thanks for that, Potato

16:02 – Dat signature Levi spin 

17:29 – It’s not a pleasant job 

18:20 – This is all actually coming together rather well.  Last arc basically set up the pieces, I guess, and this arc is the one where our characters are learning what this conflict really means, and what a soldier really is. That’s solid, and plays into the war-film angle that I think is one of this show’s strongest tricks

20:19 – Man that guy is good at flying backwards.  I like this post-adrenaline banter, too

And Done

Ooh, very solid finale. The transitions between Erwin and Levi’s group were well-directed, they created a nice false sense of security with the banter, and they built to the betrayal very smoothly. Solid episode in general, actually – the show got much more serious about its premise, and pushed the central characters towards an understanding of the “what’s necessary for victory” idea that’s definitely one of its richest possible thematic veins. Ready for the next one!

3 thoughts on “Attack on Titan – Episode 20

  1. Aww Bob, this wasn’t as entertaining as the previous episode’s writeup. You must hate this show, hate is! Let hate course through your veinssss!

    More seriously, your 5:06 point reminds me of book 9 of The Wheel of Time, which has more than a few similarities to Shingeki no Kyojin – the pacing post book 4 of AWoT is slow, very slow past book 6, and it grew progressively worse, right? Well, book 9 of AWoT covers half a day, just half a day. And after we see a very big event happening elsewhere, we go to basically every side-character in the story and have them sense that far-off event, and reflect on what it could possibly mean, and get filled with dread and hope and blah blah for 500 pages of them wondering uselessly about this event. Yes, it’s A Big Deal™, but a big deal event can convince us it is without hammering us, telling us that it is.

    As for the show, the plot and such are “nothing special”, it’s true, but let’s be frank, one of our biggest beefs with this is the pacing, and that could be the show’s fault, rather than the manga’s. This episode and last one – who knows, maybe it all happened in 30 pages, which isn’t dragging things too much. Just like the anime of Naruto made the character dumber, by having him fight using the same method, fighting and failing, time and time again, rather than move to the next method after he failed once, which he’s done in the manga – simply because they wanted to pad out the fights.

  2. >Yes, I will be using these writeups to pursue my own devious agenda. Sue me

    You can expect a call from my lawyer in few days.

    • I had several amusing and amused replies to type here, including “Begone back to reddit, ye foul beast!”

      But in the end I’m going to content myself with *Snickers, a lot, and then goes to bed*

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