It’s the Multiversity Summer TV Binge! Although I’ve never been what you would call an anime person, I’m a huge fan of Attack on Titan. I first fell in love with the subtitled version of the show, so I thought it would be fun to revisit the dubbed version. What along with me, but be warned, here be spoilers!
1. Die Flügel der Freiheit!
And we’re back! Though it’s technically part of the same season, the fourteenth episode of Attack on Titan is essentially the start of season 1.5. We have a new theme song, a new closing song, a new story arc, and new main characters. I thought I’d start with the theme song. It’s… fine. Not as good as the last one for sure. The first few bars make it sound like a national anthem of some forgotten European country, which is an aesthetic. Then it breaks out into some meedly meedly guitars like the Power Rangers song (or maybe the X-Men ’92 theme). After the seizure-inducing energy of the first opening, this one fills me with some… gentle inspiration. The original was just perfect though. Overall, a step down.
2. Hark monstrosity, do you know the times?
Bringing home that feeling of a season premiere, we open with a montage of random civilians. The sequence is sweeping, and takes us through the last remaining vestiges of humanity. We’ve really spent almost the whole show so far in one besieged city, but this is our first wide look at the city within Wall Sina. Most people are talking about the rumors that there’s a titan on the side of humanity, and many people don’t believe that it’s true. Since so much of our story concerns the military, it’s a good reminder that there are civilians, and that they are kept uninformed.
3. Good luck commander
Erwin Smith has only had a few lines, but he’s left quite an impression. He immediately establishes himself as a good guy by aligning himself with my hero, Dot Pixis, on a mission to save Eren’s life. Standing in their way? Nile Dok, the commander of the Military Police. Much as we are getting a wider view of the remainders of human civilization, we are also getting to see the commanders in the military, their protocols, and how they ignore them.
Oh also the dub finally uses the words “Survey Corp.” The Survey Corp is Erwin’s division of the Scout Regiment, and they are the most heroic heroes around. The Military Police on the other hand seem to be up to no good, aligning themselves with wall-worshiping cultists, and trying to dissect Eren.
Plus the Survey Corp includes Zoe Hange, who continues to be an insane delight, and Mike “the Dog” Zacharias, who’s shtick is that he likes to sniff people. They’re my kind of weirdos.
4. The Trial of Eren Yaeger
“The Trial of” stories are always great. “The Trial of Galactus” is a good one. So is “The Trial of the Flash.” “The Trial of Magneto” is a classic. “The Trial of Jean Grey” is… maybe that’s the exception that proves the rule. The trial of Eren Yaeger though, is one of the good ones.
Eren’s titan powers are mysterious and misunderstood, and the military doesn’t seem to know what to do with him. On one side is Commander Nile, who passionately argues for dissecting Eren. On the other side is Erwin Smith, who sort of shrugs and says that he’d rather have Eren in the Scouts to retake Wall Maria. Trials make for great TV, and this is no exception, but there’s a weird undercurrent of fascism.
Premier Zachary, commander of the entire military, sits in judgment of Eren. But what’s the crime? Zachary admits that Eren fought valiantly in Trost and helped the war effort, but wants to execute him anyway. The reason? Because his “mere existence stirs rebellious sentiment.” This is not a culture where people are allowed to live freely. Despite all the “wings of freedom” imagery, these people live oppressed by a secretive military dictatorship that controls them through propaganda.
5. His tooth grows back
And then Eren completely embraces the fascism. He decides that if he’s going to die, he may as well speak his mind, which is crazy. He calls everyone cowards, touts his own battle prowess as a titan and shrieks for everyone to “put all your hope in meeeeeeeeee!” He’s freaking out, because the Military Police dug up the murders he and Mikasa committed as young children, and though they were in self defense, it doesn’t make him look like he’s totally in control. And you know what? The MPs are kind of right on this count.
But then Levi steps in, and beats the ever-loving snot out of Eren. The whole thing is… kind of sexy? No, I’m not saying I’m into shrimpy men who look like Kristen Stewart beating up bound teenage boys, but the whole thing has a extremely sexual overtones. The way Levi says that Eren “needs to be disciplined,” and the way the camera lovingly pans back and forth, zooming in on their reactions, is sort of pornographic. It made me uncomfortable. It also made those at the trial uncomfortable, who begged Levi to stop.
This of course was the plan all along. By asserting his dominance, Levi convinced the assembled commanders that he’s the only one badass enough to kill Eren if the time ever comes, and thus he is given custody of the shrieking titan-boy. Zoe could not be happier; she can’t wait to experiment on Eren- without dissecting him of course. She takes a look in his mouth at the tooth that Levi knocked out in his sexually-charged beating and… it’s regenerated. TO BE CONTINUED.