Whoever coined the phrase “Life sucks,” had yet to meet Mikasa Ackerman. Even more drama in this episode of Shingeki no Kyojin.
Life can’t get much better for our young protagonists, and it looks like there’s no intention for it do so in the near future. If you weren’t already feeling either bummed out or depressed for the human race in Shingeki no Kyojin, you might reconsider after watching the Mikasa dramatic backstory that is this episode – not intended to be interpreted as a bad thing.
The flashback is made full use of. We get Mikasa’s origin story, which in turn explains how she underwent the “ritual” of becoming a cool, calm and collected titan killer. Her having a trauma was expected – episode three explicitly pointed out the kids who had traumatic experiences – and in a strange way is what binds her to Eren. Does it get a little over-dramatic? Absolutely, but then again the series can be called over-dramatic as a whole.
Speaking of Eren, his potential departure from the series didn’t stop him from taking up a considerable amount of this episode’s screen time. Mind you, it was still very Mikasa-centric but Eren did come in half-way through and still reminded us about the question many are asking since the previous episode; is he alive or dead? Still hard to say which is the case but he’s not being kept out of sight, which I appreciate because having him come back after being ignored adds an element of cliché I’m not a fan of. Instead, his appearance reminds us that he might not be dead.
For all the good this episode did in filling in background information, it was not a well-timed release. Mikasa is technically one of the main characters but we could have found out about her origins sometime later. Nevertheless, it is one episode that was going to happen sooner or later, and in this case it was sooner. With time being the biggest flaw, the episode was another decent addition to the series and gave us both a carrot and a stick – slow down in pace accompanied by more despair – and keeps us in suspense for a little while longer.
We still have a lot of ground for Shingeki no Kyojin to cover and in the long-run this episode will probably be forgotten. It’s an odd mix of easy-going and extreme drama, which translates to a slower episode with limited focus on plot progression. Still. As a breather episode with a information-filled flashback sequence, it was still well done and done so better than what a big number of series have failed to do.