With another week behind us (Happy Easter and Passover everyone!) comes another episode of Attack on Titan. Now while this episode was not as action focused as the last couple of the seasons I would argue it was better for it, there was a palpable sense of dread lingering over the entire episode. In the first season of Titan the series had an issue with these quieter moments, never really knowing what to do with them as such they often felt like weak transitions to the epic action scenes the series is known for. Breaking the pace of the series quite noticeably, luckily this issue (for now) seems to have been mitigated somewhat by superior direction.
Please Note: Once again this is an anime only discussion please refrain from discussing manga spoilers in all but the most vague terms.
Opening up Connie is exploring the ruins of his hometown and is still unnerved by the deformed Titan that crushed his house. However due to the lack of blood his fellow Survey Corp. members thing the villagers had to have been evacuated. Though this is unlikely as the town is still destroyed and the fact that the Horses were not taken.
However the thought of his parents safety puts Connie at ease. Well... until he hears “Wel...come... home” coming from the deformed Titan. It is at this moment Connie starts suspecting a terrible truth, could this Titan BE his family or was it all an auditory hallucination. Before he can think on it further Reiner demands he come to his senses and move on as the mission takes priority over personal feelings. Though to be honest his insistence on hearing nothing seemed a little forced...
As the episode moves on the story fractures as we start to spend time with multiple different characters. One thing I have noticed with the series is that it is now much more comfortable with shifts in focus, allowing the episode to spend more time with everyone even if they are separated geographically. It is interesting as it shows the confidence the series has in its audience that it believes we can spend time less well known characters without needing to hold our hands.
One group the episode focuses on is Krista Lenz and Ymir (no known last name) who prior to this have not had much screen time, though that will soon be changing. As we know Ymir is very protective of Krista for an as of yet unknown reason, as they enter the front line this protective streak ratchets up to a full eleven. Demanding Krista and her who are yet unarmed not be forced to go to the wall, this is quickly rejected by their Commanding Officer reminding them to their duties as soldiers.
Interestingly Krista sides with the CO. As she agrees it is their duty to fight. Furthermore in the past two episodes including the flash back with Sasha, we the audience have gotten a crash course in who these characters are. Likely due to the fact outside of manga readers nobody would really know who they are. Krista is a demure and slightly timid but will do what she must for others steming from her deep rooted kindness, her most intrinsic feature. While Ymir is basically a cold and aloof jackass to most except Krista.
As the group gets closer and closer to the wall we shift back to Connie and Reiner’s group - oh ya and Bertholdt is there he is just so hard to see at times. Much like Ymir and Krista’s group they seem to be out searching for the breach in the wall. However the group has a slight issue the darkness has come in and the group can barely see beyond their own noses.
The torches in the darkness during this scene was also brilliantly executed as the tension the characters were feeling was palpable. The sweat beading down their faces and the supposedly in commands inner monologue about how terrified it is, really drilled the point home that this was unnerving. Even though as we know they should be safe at night, when Titan’s are inactive.
Eventually the two narrative groups meet up and realize there is no breach in the Wall. Implying that the Titan’s must have gotten pass them some other way, however before this mystery can be delved into further the clouds part revealing an abandoned castle not too far inland. Where they decide to make night. While there Ymir and Reiner have a tense encounter about... something.
One last break away we move to the caravan taking the main group closer to the front lines with the Wall Cultist. While there the Priest takes in the full sight of the devastation a Titan attack wroughts. Deciding to slightly spill the beans he notifies the main strike team of a person of interest a young girl who joined the 104th Survey Corps - Krista Lenz. Who Armin describes as blonde, kind, and cute. Though that final one he had to force out.
They decide to put the wall repair (using Erin’s hardening ability that he doesn’t yet know...) on hold to retrieve Krista. Despite not really having much information they make a will guess that just happens to be right to ride to the abandoned keep that Krista and her group just happen to be in... it’s not all great writing. As the group rides off at top speeds to secure Krista its clear the scope of what is going on and how much land they really need to cover.
Of course time is now of the essence as the Keep is besieged by a group of Titans being led by the Beast Titan, which the viewer gets a very clear and unobstructed view of and he makes NO sense biologically. Just increasing the freak factor that comes with this strange “Titan”. Furthermore, the Beast shows that he can scale the Walls quite easily potentially informing the viewer how Titan’s actually made it inside the Walls. While I won’t spoil anything I think it’s pretty clear what is going on right now and its square on the shoulders of our hairy friend, whatever it is.
In an attempt to save the unarmed recruits the veteran Survey Corp. jump into action as the Titan’s start to climb the keep. It’s at this point unknown what will happen to the group as there fate now seems to lie with Eren and the gang.
Going into this season I was quite apprehensive as my previous writing alluded to. I didn’t know what we were getting into with this season however now officially a quarter of the way done I think I can say pretty confidently this is going to be a great show. Every week I look forward to watching it funny enough the only other series this season I can say that about is Dragon Ball Super. The improved animation, direction, and yes pacing (Titan’s Achilles heel) has made Attack on Titan even better. I think it is not an exaggeration to say that the anime is the definitive form of this story.
Until next week! Leave your comments so we can keep the discussion going.