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.
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
5:40 – 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
10:45 – Oh that’s just rude
13:14 – He is pretty dreamy
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
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!