Here are two rules one should abide by when watching Shingeki no Kyojin:
- Never give into the feelings of comfort/victory
- Don’t get attached to any character, and I mean ANY character.
If there’s one thing you can see with this episode, is that no small victories will be celebrated for too long. Whatever happiness there was in the previous episode, before and after the graduation, disappeared in seconds. Despair came back as quickly as it left and humanity has been thrown into chaos once again. Depressing isn’t it?
It most certainly is. Shingeki no Kyojin refuses to ease up on the pressure as we continue to see humans being taken down in hordes and thrown into disarray once again. Add in the fact that the recently graduated recruits, still cheerful from the ceremony, are being wiped out and even I can’t look past all the dread and despair. The episode certainly made the events in the first two episodes look like a distant dream.
Armin and Eren ended as the characters in the spotlight for this episode. Both of them represent two factions of humanity – Armin belongs to those fearful for their lives and Eren to the much smaller faction willing to fight – which only added to the desperate situation the story has gone back to. Eren’s futile fight may have provided a better representation of just how useless the fight is, but it was Armin’s fear that better showed how dreadful the situation is. Even with all the training and gear, most soldiers will end up as nothing more than titan food.
The barrage didn’t stop there. A flashback that revealed titans don’t need to eat humans but do so for the hell of it, added on to the dogpile. That said, it wasn’t all it did. It raised the question about the titans themselves, giving Shingeki no Kyojin a bit of a mystery to explore later on in the story. For now it’s insignificant, given all that’s happened but the series can’t be all action and no plot development.
If all that wasn’t enough, then I’m sure the ending would have cinched the deal. Did we just witness a main character being killed of a fifth of a way into the story? What type of repercussion can we expect this to have on Armin and Mikasa? That remains to be seen but one thing is for sure; that was a gory and heartbreaking exit this early in the series. I say this in respect to Armin and Mikasa and not Eren. A character like him has triggered a lot of death flags in just five episodes and his arrogant one-set mind does get irritating. Also, you have to figure his death would have more of an effect on someone like Armin. He just saw his best friend get eaten right after being saved by him.
Based on the preview, next week we’ll switch focus to Mikasa. Unfortunately this means a flashback in the midst of an invasion but it should hopefully get us to better understand the relationship him an Eren had. A relationship that hasn’t looked normal from day one.