It’s the Multiversity Summer TV Binge! Although I’ve never been deeply into anime, I’m totally in love with Attack on Titan. Having already watched the first season with subtitles, I thought it would be cool to return to the dubbed version of the series. Be warned, here be spoilers!
1. Operation Big Rock
The episode begins with Armin’s plan, which is turns out he doesn’t really believe in. He theorizes that if they can block off Trost district with a big ‘ol rock, they can prevent more titans from getting in and clear the district out. To move the rock, he wants Eren to Titan up and carry it over.
It turns out everyone has their problems with the plan, as they are scared of turning Eren into a titan. That’s the most reasonable fear I’ve ever heard. They have no idea how this new power works, and their fears are going to seem very rational by the end. The only reason any of the kids get on board this questionable tactic is that they’ve all decided they trust Dot Pixis with their lives. Hard same.
2. Pixis pitches fascism
Attack on Titan is actually a show about fascism. Pixis tells of the world pre-titans, divided, full of racial and national conflicts, violent and disorderly. Ever since the titans came on the scene, humans have come together. In a way, they saved the world by united the human race. This is the core ideology of fascism, and Pixis is 100% into it. Unite the people around a charismatic leader, military ceremony and imagery, and fear of an enemy.
The thing is the show makes Pixis sound really sensible. And the imagery of beautiful sunlight shining through waving military flags is meant to (and totally does) stir hearts. Is Attack on Titan a pro-fascist show? In truth it’s too bleak to be pro-anything, but it effectively evokes positive feelings for fascism in a dire world. It’ll be important to keep an eye out in the future for criticism.
3. The Pixis speech
Morale is dire among the troops, but this is the Pixis episode, and most of it is given to his big speech. Seriously, about a third of the runtime is given to Pixis shouting from on top of the wall. It’s awesome. He takes complete credit for Eren’s titan powers, calling them the result of a secret project, and tells everyone to chill, because it’s all going according to plan.
Right after his speech about the joys of fascist government, Pixis presents himself as the pinnacle of the good that fascism can be. He puts a brave paternal face to government authority, and gets all the cowering troops to stop threatening each other, and to get mad at the titans. It works perfectly. The music swells.
4. Sergeant Glasses
Right after that triumphant display from Pixis, he assigns a few of his best troops to Operation Big Rock, including a small ice-cold woman with a severe pair of glasses. She doesn’t trust Eren, and is a good reminder that this military structure isn’t perfect. She spends the whole time lecturing him on all the people who have died, and who will die, and making it clear that it’s his fault. That’s the problem with an ideology based around hate. Eren is too associated with the titans, and thus to her, is the enemy.
5. Eren loses control
In the end though, the naysayers are proven right. Eren can’t control his titan transformation. He makes it to the rock, but then gets lost in his emotions. No surprise there. We’re left on a cliffhanger of whether or not Pixis was right to suppress the fears of humanity with his crusty charisma or whether Glasses was right to be a huge jerk. I love you Pixis, but it’s looking like Glasses was right.