Last week the first episode of Shingeki no Kyojin made us familiar with the bad situation mankind is facing. This episode makes a point to point out, just how much worse it really is.
Despair is not one-day job. At the very least not for this series, which gladly takes another episode to look at what happens to the humans when their being attacked. So how does humanity react in times of grave danger? The obvious answer is: chaotically. Civilians running around in disarray, soldiers abandoning their posts, religious fanatics seizing their moment and councils deciding the fate of the refugees. In times when human beings need to help each other, every one is still looking out for their best interests and the masses are running around like headless chickens.
The episode makes a point to focus on the human reactions, which are a necessity in getting the true story. If episode one was needed to give the general overview of what is happening in the world, then episode two was meant to show us how dire the situation in detail. Starting with Hanne‘s breakdown, we’re exposed to humans that have to acknowledge their impotence; guards just can’t hold off the titans. The scouting legion was in the spotlight of impotency last episode, but this time the men and women guarding the civilians are shown to be just as useless.
If that wasn’t enough, we’re shown a titan who is smart enough to make a decision to attack a wall at full strength. A possible hint to the evolution of titans/them having more intelligent beings amongst the ranks. For now, it’s more proof that humanity is fighting the ultimate losing battle. A battle in which loss, means extinction. Something that seems to be lost on the few “proud” enlisted men complaining about sharing or the executive decision to send 20% of the population to indirect slaughter.
What you have to give Shingeki no Kyojin credit for is looking at the ugly side of things. There’s always an ugly side to these things, often in the form of a select few. The sad part that no one wants to acknowledge, is that even in times like these people are selfish.
Most of the episode was spent on re-enforcing what was shown in episode one, so we didn’t get much plot progression. What little we got, was focused on Eren as one might expect and has poised to nicely segway into the upcoming training episode(s). Eren’s reasons for joining the recruits has zero originality, but is handled just fine. It’s something we’ve seen numerous times, so to expect anything different would have been wildly wishful thinking. What we do get a glimpse of is a dream in which he’s struggling against his father. I’m sure we’ll see its relevance in the future, and for now we have a mystery to keep us guessing.
Two episodes in, and I’m very happy with how Shingeki no Kyojin is being adapted. So far, it hasn’t been a 1:1 adaptation from the manga which is actually for the better. Considering the scarcity of chapters, we’re seeing minor deviations alongside added footage to fill up the 20 minutes. A move that signals – to me at least – that the staff aren’t blindly adapting what’s in front of them, but thinking about what’ll make the best anime. The next preview indicates more deviation from the manga in terms of chronology but I have a hunch that decision will be for the better.
The stage been set, and it’s not quite over. Eren, Mikasa and Armin must now undergo training before all the action takes place. By the looks of it, the action is being delayed and I hope people are patient until then. Shingeki no Kyojin is first building up everything before it gives us the fantastically animated fight scenes it can deliver. For now, let’s enjoy the challenges that our characters must face.