Summer is long behind us, but the Multiversity Summer TV Binge continues! 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. Watch along with me, but be warned, here be spoilers!
1. Performance Issues
With all the chips down but two episodes left, Attack on Titan has to stall a bit. We all know this has to end with a showdown between Annie, the Female Titan, and Eren, the psychotic young soldier/titan. But since we can’t have that right away, Eren needed one last obstacle. In this case, it’s trouble transforming. The way it gets framed here, it’s all about Eren’s affection for Annie. He’s unwilling to believe that she could really be the mass murderer that she is. While Erwin, Levi and the Scouts set up for Plan A Plan B, and Plan C, Mikasa and Armin try to coax Eren into embracing his inner monster. At the end of the day, he’s fundamentally an emotional creature.
“This isn’t complicated!” Mikasa screams at him, almost desperately, but Eren isn’t as cold and efficient as she is. “You have to become a monster!” Armin insists, but Eren isn’t as calculating as him. Eren’s only superpower is that he is fueled by an insane and emotional will. It’s what let him use that broken ODM gear way back in episode three. It’s what triggered his original titan change. If he doesn’t believe in what he’s fighting for, he may as well be under a rock, which is exactly what happens when the ceiling collapses, gruesomely impaling him.
2. Jean rushes in
Aside from dealing with Eren’s emotions, this episode is a crazy smorgasbord of violence. The supporting cast is all over this fight, starting with our favorite curmudgeonly teenage grandpa Jean. “Call me Yaeger again and it’s you ass, you got that?” he grumbles as he emerges from his prison and takes off his unconvincing Eren wig. He’s not going to go out sitting, he’s going to fight to the death. Jean has come a long way from the lovable coward he once was, and he’s officially a badass Scout. Even Levi sees it. “I like the brass balls,” he tells Jean, “but try not to swing ’em so hard they get you killed.” Levi’s a weird dude.
Even Jean gets in on the Eren pep talk, shrieking at his bleeding body between bouts with Annie. He reminds Eren that Annie totally killed Marco, and that she’s a bad guy. Honestly, this is the plea that has the greatest effect on Eren, as it totally comes from the heart, but Jean is interrupted, and has to go back to the fight.
3. The MPs are the worst
We got one episode that humanized the Military Police, but they are right back to being cartoonish cowards who are unworthy to stand in the glorious fascist light of Commander Erwin Smith. One poor bastard pulls a gun on Erwin, who doesn’t care enough to crack a smirk. What provoked this standoff? The MPs don’t like that the Scouts are gearing up to fight titans, because titans don’t come this far into the city. For a moment it seems like this is going to result is something, but rubble starts raining down and the MPs back off, happy to let the Scouts do the fighting for them. At least the Scouts have actually seen titans in real life.
4. I’m glad Hange Zoe is on our side
The animation in this massive throwdown has gotten a major level up, from earlier in the season. The ODM acrobatics are incredible, and we see Scouts tossing each other like trapeze artists as the camera zooms around impossibly, taking full advantage of the medium. Annie’s titan face is especially impressive, simultaneously placid and raging, moving subtly to react to the Scouts’ gambits. She doesn’t see Hange Zoe’s plan coming, which is a repeat of how they captured her last time, with hundreds of harpoons. Zoe is really scary, I glad we never has to deal with villain-Zoe. That’d be too much to take.
5. Psycho Eren returns
Annie busts out of the trap this time and it looks like all hope is lost. So of course, we return to Eren, bleeding and writhing in the rubble. Eren flashes through all the advice given to him by Mikasa, Armin, Jean, Levi, Erwin, even Annie. He tries to will himself back to life. In the end though, it’s a catch phrase of his own invention that gets him going. His eyes glaze over with a familiar psychotic gleam as he reminds himself of his oath: “I’m going to kill them all!” That includes Annie. Lightning crashes and Eren is a big ‘ol Titan, back for round two against his nemesis. To be concluded!