It’s good to be able to get back to watching Shingeki no Kyojin. You wouldn’t believe how one could end up missing the continuous case studies on humanity.
First of all, apologies for the delay. I’ve been a little preoccupied with real life, but now I’m back to being able to write weekly – ironically a week before the recap episode. In my absence, it appears as though Shingeki no Kyojin has picked up a new habit of recapping at the beginning of each episode for a good 2-3 minutes, undoubtedly leaving some of you miffed.
What can I say? It’s a stall tactic. Understandable for those who’ve read the manga and can foresee the likely ending of the anime but frustrating to those who don’t/aren’t familiar with long-running shonen anime. It’s standard practice for a number of anime, so we just have to accept it and move on.
Getting back to the episodes at hand, we were faced with a debate from the start. This time, a debate that was most fitting for the war scenario: the value of human life, based on different individuals. A debate that’s often talked about by those without any military experience in a casual, “if you could save x amount of people by sacrificing so and so” but is given the serious spotlight it deserves in this episode with the help of the main cast.
Seeing as how Eren is the one being protected with the lives of hundreds, it’s Mikasa that ends up as the pseudo-antagonist. Her one-track mind when it comes to Eren makes her come across as a childish, foolish and very selfish soldier who enjoys the benefit of being top of her class and hence unlikely to be scolded. That said, this put a more realistic spin on the decision that had to be made by the higher-ups. A decision that always has “winners and losers,” and one that’s unpopular more than one might think. It remains to be seen if there will be a backlash for Eren and Mikasa in later episodes, as the aftermath of the mission sinks in.
Jean ends up as the face of the “losers” when he stumbles upon a dead Marco. Seeing someone who helped you survive lying motionless is traumatic enough, however in a delicate environment things can get a lot worse. Jean handled himself quite well, taking the loss of his friend – no time to grieve the loss of comrades according to the masked woman – for what it was: not in vain. The one comforting result of bloody battles is the big win which results from it, and for humanity this was a big one.
Before concluding the episode, we got a little preview of what comes next. The Scouting Legion make another appearance, with the long-awaited return of Kamiya Hiroshi’s Levi, as they set up the story for its Part II. We’re reminded of the mystery surrounding Eren and Levi is quick to treat him as a frenemy, thus establishing an interesting dynamic for future episodes. Of course first we have to deal with why Eren is in jail, but it can’t hurt to look at the future and get excited about more action scenes centred around the Scouting Legion, and its cast of colourful characters.
Just a reminder, next episode is a recap. Annoying I know, but I did talk about stall tactics and this one has been used by a number of series this season.