Requested by more than one follower, my review of Attack on Titan season one is something I’ve been meaning to do for some time. My issue? Well it’s been almost a year since I’ve seen the first season. Likely most of the issues I had with the series and many of the praises also may be forgotten. Luckily enough, I did review each episode on my Trakt.tv account. So this will be an episode-by-episode review (lazily) copied and pasted here.
But for the record, I felt it was a brilliant series. It’s one of the few I felt completely confident in sharing with my family, who are vocally NOT fans of Japanese animation. It’s been titled the Game of Thrones of anime series (although I don’t agree with that), but it’s certainly a one-of-a-kind experience. It’s not a perfect season, and it definitely had its share of clunkers. But this series is a great example of the whole being greater than the sum of its parts. After everything is said and done, the series deserves a solid 9 on my scale, and many of its flaws are easily overlooked by the shear amount of… amount of… well, the shear amount of awesome the show exudes. All reviews include episode spoilers.
1×01 – To You, Two Thousand Years Later: The Fall of Shiganshina, Part 1 – 8/10
It’s interesting to note that due to different translations, the title of this episode varies depending on where you go to look for it. Crunchyroll, popular anime streaming service, calls this “To You, 2,000 Years in the Future – The Fall of Zhiganshina,” while Wikipedia entitles it “To You, After 2,000 Years – The Fall of Shiganshina.” Please be aware that for the purpose of this review I’m titling it based on the translation that trakt.tv chose to use.
I’m not the most adept individual you’ll find at reviewing anime (in fact this is my first anime review), but I will do my best to enjoy and review each episode of this program accordingly. I found that despite a slow start, I really think the show, or concept has potential. The world they’ve created involves giant monsters, aka ‘Titans’ that terrorize and seemingly ‘rule’ over the people of Shiganshima. That is until they erected an impenetrable wall around their city. The episodes climax reaches its height when a 50 meter Titan breaks through, after 100 years of peace. Whether this show is overhyped, as seems the general consensus, I can’t say based on a first episode.
I noticed an interesting mix of hand-drawn animation, and computer generated graphics, but they collaborated well together. Some of the art, although pretty, felt cheap, but I didn’t fault it for this, because it worked well within it’s story-telling. I wasn’t taken by the excessive gore necessary to draw the point home that the Titans like to eat their victims, but just before when Hannes saves the kids upon the mother sacrificing herself – that is perhaps the scene that solidifies the entire emotional connection made within the episode. Guess Eren won’t be seeing what his father’s hidden in the attic for so long now, will we? *wink* – but seriously, I have no idea.
I wasn’t hugely taken by the main characters either, but there is room for growth. I find it slightly odd that the only person that seems to care that they live “like cattle” is a kid named Eren. But hey. Hopefully the show gets stronger.
1×02 – That Day: The Fall of Shiganshina, Part 2 – 8/10
The primary purpose of “That Day,” it seems, is to bridge the gap between the events of the first episode and the future of the show. It isn’t made expressly clear how much time passes between the beginning of That Day and the end, but it seems as though 2 years passed, and Erin got his chance to join the Survey Corps (or Recon Corps, again, depending on the translation you trust), but so does Mikasa and Armin.
The true power the episode holds is the insight of what were to happen to a society if such an event were to occur – what the repercussions would be. Food shortages begin to take shape. Hatred and/or racism between clans and people start to stir as the need to accommodate more room and resources for others increases. Apparently 20 percent of the population gets wiped out because of the base.
I really appreciated the pre-intro sequence where they gave a brief history on the fortress systems and how the Titan uprising began. I also enjoyed the breaking point Eren had where he realized he was going to kill off every last one of the Titans, but soon after that he became extremely annoying. Mikasa seems like a really interesting character also.
Weird flashback with the father (or was that a flash forward?) Undoubtedly there is more to the mystery of the key than we previously realized. I was slightly confused if he ever got back to his kids… Why did Eren have the key? Anyway, another good episode.
1×03 – A Dull Light in Despair: Mankind’s Comeback, Part 1 – 7/10
This is your atypical episode of hero needing training and being incapable of doing so until the very end. The twist (if you see it that way) is that he was actually very capable, it’s just the “maneuver gear” he was using was messed up. I’m not a fan of how swiftly they skipped through this phase of the show. Their one challenge was to balance themselves. Or perhaps there will be more challenges to come in future episodes, in regard to their training. But the end of the episode definitely made it seem as if they were done. It was very cool that Eren actually had the ability, and he was almost a prodigy, being able to balance himself upright even with the maneuver equipment damaged. Expect high-octane battles from this young man.
This episodes strength was the addition of characters and the expansion of the world. We get to hear new stories of villages getting ravaged by Titans, see more about how life works within the walls… My new favorite character has to be the potato girl Sasha Brause. The scene was just so unnecessary and hilarious. The mystery with the father is further pursued, as Keith, the training instructor mumbles a sweet nothing about him at the close of the episode. To be continued…
1×04 – Night of the Disbanding: Mankind’s Comeback, Part 2 – 9/10
The strongest and most consistent episode this show has yet to offer, shows Eren, Mikasa, and Armin, along with the rest of their class graduate. The alternate translation of the episode’s title via Wikipedia is “Night of the Graduation Ceremony,” and personally I much prefer that. Night of the Disbanding doesn’t fit quite as well, and really it was just a fight, nobody really disbanded.
Anyway. The episode begins with the band training in the woods and I thought the idea of making large dummy titans as target practice was well crafted, and the art was much more enjoyable than on previous episodes. I’m grateful that they used Keith, the trainer, as narrator, because otherwise I’d be mostly lost, as he went back and named each cadet and paired them with their strengths and weaknesses. Interesting that Mikasa is the most qualified, while Eren is the least (which is arguably a contradiction to last weeks). But they did mention that Eren tries the hardest and is the most ambitious of the lot.
I really enjoy the artwork and the almost spiderman-esque flying sequences they use. Very fluid, very pretty. I’m truly surprised and relieved at the lack of any and all overly-feminized, overly-sexualized women throughout the show. I’d have thought that there’d be at least one character by now. It’s refreshing that anime doesn’t need t revert to that to draw an audience.
And then there’s the overall moral theme that threaded the episode – the better we get at fighting titans, the farther away we’ll be from them. A truly corrupt society – one that in some ways mirrors our own. It was a very happy episode for the most part, and I for one was tricked – thinking it would end that way. NOPE. Colossal armored Titan shows up literally out of nowhere and blows a hole in the wall. Crazy good episode.
1×05 – First Battle: Battle of Trost District, Part 1 – 10/10
For all intents and purposes, this episode was the episode I was truly waiting to see. Not that I knew prior to watching it how great it would be, but wow. This is television. A friend of mine had asked me to watch it saying “it’s the type of show that nobody is safe.” I now understand what he meant.
The episode begins with Eren attempting to kill the colossal titan by attacking the back of its neck, but somehow is too late and misses and it disappears in a cloud of smoke. The interesting bit is that it seems to have a plan to smash the door to the city in, and attack the cannons, showing sentience. The team regroups, and begins to strategize on their next few moves to defeat the oncoming storm of titans that begin to pour into the city.
They soon realize they’re no match for the titans, despite their rigorous training efforts, and they start being killed or eaten one by one. And then, surprising everyone and their mothers, Eren gets eaten, two limbs missing while sacrificing himself for Armin. Out of nowhere I say!! But before he goes he tells Armin that he’ll get to have the chance to visit the outside world.
Great use of flashback sequences to both develop character and to divulge lore within the world they live in. Interesting to note the Titans exist (seemingly) only to kill others and have no interest in animals, making them even more malicious than we may have thought. All in all this episode receives top marks. The animation blew me away. The character driven story blew me away. The twist blew everyone away. (Between you and I, I don’t fully buy that Eren is dead just yet. But we’ll see.)
1×06 – The World She Saw: Battle of Trost District, Part 2 – 9/10
Another stunning episode. It rarely skips a beat, even when it flashes back to a time before the titans were the menace they are today. This time it’s primarily a character study on Mikasa, and how she came to know Eren, but Armin gets his two cents in as well.
We’ll start with Armin. I couldn’t help but feel bad for the guy. His friends are dying all around him and he’s going through a breakdown. Amidst it all he sees one of his comrades performing cpr over the body of another member who is clearly long dead. The voice acting on his part in particular was well done, and it’s not hard to imagine the voice actor in his booth crying over his lines, because it sounds so realistic and terrifyingly sad. Well done. It turned Armin from a tertiary character to a main character in my book, and that’s incredibly important.
Mikasa’s storyline took up the majority of the episode’s length. It begins with her felling a titan, and threatening a greedy idiot who was risking the lives of hundreds so that he could maintain his material possessions. He definitely deserved the near death experience, and it was extremely rewarding seeing her be so callous in being rid of her idiocy.
They flashback to when her parents were killed and make an interesting point that she is now the last living asian (actually half-asian) in the known world, as they are now all but extinct. The importance of the exchange is pertinent to the lore of the series. It means that all this titan nonsense actually happens in our future, but because they destroyed so much of the world we live in today, it seems to have set them back hundreds (if not thousands of years).
I was extremely disappointed that they introduced the disgusting idea of turning young children into cold-hearted murderers. This COMPLETELY undermines their behavior in episodes 1-5, and came out of seemingly nowhere. How did they know how to craft weapons, or use them effectively? And why do they expect us to get behind gratuitously gory sequences perpetuated by the hands of the kids? I really disliked that. But overall, a strong episode.
1×07 – A Small Blade: Battle of Trost District, Part 3 – 9/10
The third in the series of episodes that deal in the Battle of Trost District, is again a wonderful addition to the saga. It’s not perfect, but it moves the story forward a few paces instead of backwards.
First off, really didn’t like the continued nagging and sulking. It seemed as though everyone and their mother was to paralyzed to do anything throughout the entire episode, and at this point in the series that thread is growing a little thin. These soldiers were trained for years on these situations, and should have more composure over themselves, but I guess that’s easier said than done.
I really appreciate the scene were Mikasa continues to pick herself up and keep fighting, even without the gas that propels them and the weapons at their full strength. It just shows how strong a character she really is. However, it was pretty contradictory on her behalf to tell Armin to calm down, and then tell everyone else they’re too weak to fight. That scene was a bit awkward.
And then there’s the “aberrant” titan. You know, the one that goes and starts attacking other titans. The one that protects Mikasa, and the others, is ripped, and kinda has Eren’s haircut. Yeah… that’s totally Eren. I mean. Yeah. Who are they fooling? I actually hope it isn’t Eren and they just totally through us for a loop. I hate being able to decipher future plots in shows. Hope I’m wrong.
1×08 – I Can Hear a Heartbeat: Battle of Trost District, Part 4 – 10/10
This is probably the most rewarding episode of the series so far. Yes, it’s highly predictable throughout, but its the type of predictability you hope will happen. Excellent merging of animation and cgi, some well scripted scenes, and some payoff from episodes prior.
One payoff many seemed to disregard is the fact that Armin is incredibly smart, and that is his strength. In training he was always getting the highest results in his academic class. In this episode we see him not only take the lead (twice), but also devise intelligent, out of the box plans that saved most of their lives in the end. He first chose to lead the aberrant anti-titan to the other titans so that it would defeat them, which was pretty cool, and then he staged that attack in the supply building with the elevator lift. That was such a great scene.
Now, although we kind of all saw the fact that Eren was in someway controlling this titan, it was still executed tremendously well. I found that it’s last effort, to kill the titan that ate their teammate was calculated and brilliant. Overall, I have mostly praise for this episode. Couldn’t help but enjoy that Armin came into the character that he so rightly should be, and how emotionally compromised Mikasa was to see that Eren was still very much alive and beating.
1×09 – The Whereabouts of His Left Arm: Battle of Trost District, Part 5 – 9/10
What’s great about this series is that there hasn’t been a lot of filler. Each episode provides it’s own challenges and stakes. And thus far the show has been far above average content. This episode is no different, but I must state that the whereabouts of Eren’s arm are barely even a concern in this chapter of the story.
Rather, it is more to do about the whereabout’s of his own humanity. Eren struggles to remember the events of the previous episode, while his own comrades and superior officers choose to scrutinize what he is and how he was at all capable of becoming the giant that he was.
In the process, and due to their fear of him, they attack him with a cannon, but in doing so they endanger the lives of Mikasa and Armin. Eren isn’t okay with this. He suddenly remembers a time in his past when his father injected him with a serum (presumably the serum that allows him to transform) and subsequently gave him the mission to seek out what the key unlocks in his old house. Back in real time, he transforms on command into what appears to be a not-so fully developed version of the monster he was in the previous episode.
Why did he only transform into a base skeletal form? I’m going to throw in the idea that it’ll be revealed in the next episode. Very cool though. Also this episode introduced us to a much stronger group of fighters that I’m sure we’ll see plenty of in the episodes to come – which I’m extremely excited to see, because they actually seem just as cool, if not cooler than the actual cast.
1×10 – Answer: Battle of Trost District, Part 6 – 7/10
Just when I said there wasn’t a lot of filler episodes in this series we get an episode of all filler. Spoke way too soon. But then again, it wasn’t terrible filler. Armin finds himself, and realizes that his friends think much more highly of his self than he does, which is a breaking point for him and he turns out a more confident person. His exchange with that idiot jerk of a general was commendable. Despite my misgivings, I really found that scene powerful, particularly with the strong music backing up his speech.
But seriously, the first 12 minutes of the episode were essentially supposed to take place in the course of 20-30 seconds, and they found it necessary to expand that way too much, and it kinda took me out of the thrill of it. But it was rewarding to see the three of them together for the entirety of the episode, like the show’s beginning.
It was also rewarding to get some payoff from a previous episode as to what Commander Pixis’ role in all this was going to be. Now we know. He saved the three’s life. Also, it seems as though we’ll have a few more episodes to go before we get any idea on whats in the basement of Eren’s house and why his father did what he did to him. He’ll have to move a large boulder to reclaim the city wall first.
1×11 – Idol: Battle of Trost District, Part 7 – 5/10
The well is slowly drying up on Attack on Titan. This episode is incredibly slow-paced, compared to its previous few episodes, and is a bridge that could have been crossed in 5 minutes, instead of the span of 25. Although, continually visually and vibrantly stunning, this episode feels like butter spread over too much bread.
A lot of this episode dealt with characters (“soldiers”) moaning and groaning about their current predicament. Many wanted to leave. One guy should have definitely been slapped silly for his ridiculous attitude and raucous yelling. It was infectious and everyone wanted to coward out. That’s where Dot Pixis came in. Very eccentric, level-headed fellow. I like him. He seems nice. And he’s ambitious, which was a major focal point in this episode.
He tells us that humanity has never had a victory over the titans – they have won every time. They’ve pushed humanity back and back until all that was left was within wall Maria. Now Pixis wants to reclaim the Trost district by using Eren’s new-found ability (Titanmode, I call it) to move a large boulder where the titans have broken through the wall. That way the territory is reclaimed – humanity’s first victory.
But half the soldiers are flakes. Like another user mentioned, there are fighters who are incredibly adept, and some who are useless. Shed the useless and refine your ranks people! And come on, there are more than enough soldiers to reclaim the Trost district with ease. In past episodes we can only tell if there are about 50 or so soldiers. No, there are hundreds of “capable” hands.
I felt the cliffhanger foreseeable. Eren is basically the Hulk and there’s no way he can be able to control his new-found Titanmode every single time. And that’s pretty much what happens. The episode ends with him punching a building instead of lifting the rock…
1×12 – Wound: Battle of Trost District, Part 8 – 7/10
The battle to reclaim Trost District is in full swing. The majority of the titans are being drawn into a far off corner, to give Eren Jaeger and the elite group ample time and space to perform the more important task. But as we saw happen in the last episode, Eren’s titanmode isn’t exactly being cooperative. In fact, the entire episode goes by and he (Eren) did nothing except hit himself in the face and sit down while in titanmode.
Both Mikasa and Armin try and communicate with Eren, but oddly it’s Armin’s pleads that seemed to actually get thorough to him. And only then that’s after intense physical stimulation. He stabs the Titan in the back of the neck and it actually goes all the way through to his arm. His calling out to Eren awakens in Eren a dreamlike state that parallels his own exhaustion and his family. Eventually he is triggered and wakes up, but only right as the episode closes with a tantalizing “to be continued.”
Will he revert back to human form or will he stay hulked out in what I like to call “titanmode.” Again, like the last episode, not a lot happens. But that’s alright this time around because I found myself on the edge of my seat trying to figure out what would happen next. Can’t wait till SOMETHIN happens.
1×13 – Basic Needs: Battle of Trost District, Part 9 – 6/10
A lot of this episode is boring and unnecessary, and this prolonged Battle of Trost District series is really drawing thin at this point. Not only is this the third episode that has to do with Eren finding himself within the titan jaeger thing and moving the boulder, but that’s really all that gets accomplished plot wise and I didn’t find myself particularly impressed.
There was an extended recap in the beginning and alongside the opening credits (God I hate that song) that wasted 5-6 minutes of my time. This is all not to say that I didn’t enjoy the fact that humanity had it’s first ever victory over the titans and I was privy to watching it. I’m curious where the energy and mass necessary to create this jaeger titan come from? Does that ever get explained? He just seems to siphon it somehow, and then he seems capable of easily discarding it.
So, I was slightly confused. Was he not already in the Survey Corps? Can someone please explain the end to me, where Levi vouches for his entry into the Corps, because I was so lost. But at long last we may finally get the chance to see what Eren’s father’s key unlocks! That’ll be cool, hopefully. But… how did they know what the key was to? Did he divulge its secrets in his sleep? So many questions I doubt the show will answer me.
Overall, this episode was short and shy of any true excellence, but not completely worthless.
1×14 – Can’t Look into His Eyes: Prelude to the Counterattack, Part 1 – 5/10
I couldn’t help but feel really disappointed with this episode. Theres so much time being wasted it’s no longer a joy to watch. The episode revolves around a military court hearing in which they’ll decide whether to send Eren Jaeger to the Military Police or the Survey Corps, but the whole time everyone is incredibly fearful of him so what do they do? Most of them would rather kill him – the only hope they yet have for survival at this point, instead of simply allowing them to help. Thankfully the Survey Corps are sensible enough to see that the ends do justify the means.
And then the token douchebag tough-guy character comes along and starts beating the crap out of him for no apparent reason. Seriously, the only reason he gives is that Eren needs to be trained like a dog. I understand the use of corporal punishment, particularly when training your pets, but if you ever knock your dogs teeth out you’re doing it very wrong. That’s animal cruelty Levi.
A lot of this episode is painfully cheap artwork, and it’s relevant to note it’s a completely different artist. Not that that’s totally a bad thing (but it isn’t necessarily a good thing seeing as though now it’s not as detailed), but there’s a large majority of one frae scenes that were worked upon with minimal effort. I wasn’t a fan of that at all.
1×15 – Special Ops Squad: Prelude to the Counterattack, Part 2 – 8/10
Much better than the last episode, which is essentially a waste of time. I honestly feel that you can skip the last episode and very much enjoy this one. We get to experience new eccentricities in the form of Levi’s crew, and most definitely Hanji.
I’m still not on “team Levi” so to speak, but he’s far more bearable in this episode than in the past few, certainly. I think I like it better when he doesn’t talk or do important things. Of course, he will undoubtedly become a hero of sorts before facing his own form of the classic mentor’s death trope. That’s where I foresee it going anyway. I hope to be proven wrong.
HANJI!!! I love Hanji. She’s absolutely ridiculous, and more eccentric than Dot Pixis himself. We learn that after capturing two Titans she begins to perform experiments on them, naming them Sauney (7-meter class) and Bean (4-meter class). These experiments include attempting communication with them, testing their resilience to pain and darkness, and also trying to find other potential weak points they may have on their body. We also find out that they may be big, but their very lightweight. Extremely so. And this prompts her to perform more experiments. Unfortunately an assassin in the night kills off the two Titans, to her tearful dismay (she displays a strange bond with them throughout the episode) and we are left without knowing who exactly the assassin was.
Overall, a very intelligent, cerebral episode. I wonder where this is all leading up towards, seeing as how the series is already 60% complete (unless they extend it into a second season).
1×16 – What to Do Now? Prelude to the Counterattack, Part 3 – 7/10
Aside from bringing the majority of the original supporting cast up to speed and have them join the Survey Corps, not much seems to happen. In fact, thinking back to it, nothing else did happen. We got a short and lovely reunion with Eren, Armin, and Mikasa finally, which was nice, and then the new recruits got their new uniforms.
The best scene this episode had to offer was particularly well done, both on an artistic level and an emotional level. After the recruiter told them the exceptionally high risks involved with being in the Survey Corps, the majority of the trainees left, while the ones that stayed had to undergo extreme mental endurance. The endurance needed was to stand up to peer pressure, however daunting a challenge that may be. It’s a very powerful scene in the sense that you hear their inner turmoil, and also see the crowd walk past them as they stand there, and it’s my belief that the artist wanted to convey how the mind overreacts to peer pressure. Surely the amount of individuals that walked past them was greatly exaggerated, and it seemed as if they were the ones conjuring it up to be such a hard thing to do as to stand up to the peer pressure.
Not the strongest, or most forward moving episode of the bunch, but it sets up their journey beyond the wall.
1×17 – Female Titan: 57th Expedition Beyond the Walls, Part 1 – 10/10
One of the strongest episodes this show has had the chance to offer so far. I was on the edge of my seat formulating theories as to what the heck was going on the whole time. I legitimately cannot wait until the next episode.
I was a bit confused about where they were exactly, in the scheme of the map. I wasn’t sure whether they were within the walls of Maria, or if they were beyond those. But I guess it would make sense that they’re within wall Maria since they just closed up Trost (and they did say they were going to Shiganshina). I suppose this can just be chalked up to the fact that I wasn’t paying as much attention as I should have been.
Very interesting seeing the female titan, and an intelligent one. I think we saw one or two in previous episodes that had a more feminine form, but this was a special case, and it was interesting to see Armin make notice of this first. Her titan instinct wasn’t to eat, but to kill, and only kill if the Survey Corps guys attempted to kill it first. We come to the revelation that it too is a human inside a titan, a sobering thought seeing as how it’s on the side of the titans unlike Eren. It was beautiful in its own weird way, and I absolutely loved when it picked up Armin’s hood to see his face. Matter o’ fact, the titan looks a lot like Annie, who’s conspicuously absent, as she chooses not to die and join the Survey Corps. That was terrifically well done. Armin and the gang assume it’s ultimately after Eren, and after it leaves them alone and heads to where they assume Eren is the episode closes.
The episode was also quite visually stunning through and through. Not a dire amount of still frames, and those that it did have were forgivable cause it was just such a great episode. Would watch again. I really liked how they introduced the formation, and the rules of the different colored smoke guns. Great use of flashbacks. All around, despite some minor confusion, this episode deserves a 10.
1×18 – Forest of Giant Trees: 57th Expedition Beyond the Walls, Part 2 – 8/10
This episode isn’t as cerebral and beautifully crafted as the last episode was, but an entertaining watch nonetheless. The formation is broken, and those who haven’t had the opportunity to encounter Titans yet are both frightened and confused. They enter a forest with what appears to be giant redwoods. Beautiful animation and artwork done there. I love the dark atmosphere they’ve reproduced for us.
Only the middle flank head into the forest. Levi’s crew (including Eren) go headlong into the forest, presumably to exit on the other side, while Erwin’s crew (which includes Armin) holds up the rest of the titans so they don’t head into the forest after them. Smart to have them hang out at the top of the tree branches like that so that the smaller titans are preoccupied and can’t reach them.
We figure out that their 3D maneuver gear is best suited for forests, so that’s a pro, but the major con is that they are removed from the formation and unable to tell for the most part where the titans are. They won’t even be able to tell where the titans will have come from. And then suddenly the female titan shows up at an incredible speed and in an instant outsmarts/out-speeds two of Levi’s gang, killing them with an almost martial arts style of finesse, while not breaking her stride.
It’s clear at this stage that she’s after Eren. Or we think she is. The gang await Levi’s orders, and then as the episode closes he fires a flare. Edge of my seat I tell you! Glad I’m getting the chance to watch this after the seasons over and all, cause there’s a lot of plot in each episode that you’re capable of forgetting on a weekly basis.
1×19 – Bite: 57th Expedition Beyond the Walls, Part 3 – 6/10
Certainly not my least favorite episode, but Bite just doesn’t hold up with the caliber of the past few episodes. It feels deliberately slowed, and postponed – as if they just needed to pad out the season a little bit more. Only about half of this episode actually deals with the situation at hand in the present. The other half is an unnecessary flashback. At least it’s unnecessary in the grand scheme of things. If the flashback had taken place within an episode where it was chronologically set they wouldn’t need to pad this episode with it because they’d be an episode ahead of schedule. Essentially the flashback is training that would have happened in the abandoned castle between episodes 15 & 16 and all we really learn from it is that Eren can only become a titan if he bites his hand AND has a predetermined motive. But the moral of the flashback is how his teammates learn to trust him and how he must trust them in return.
All that really seemed to happen in the present was have us see that Eren turn from indecisive to decisive and trusting. Also, they capture the female titan in a flurry of grappling hooks from all over. It doesn’t really make sense how they planned that to happen. Actually it makes no sense at all. But alright. I really like how she covers the nape of her neck though. It’s very instinctual. We’re led to believe that we are to find out who the person inside is soon. My bet is on Annie.
The last 5 minutes of animation are particularly shoddy/poorly done. When the horses ride over the bridge, the drawing seems to jump back and forth between frames. It took me out of the adventure ultimately.
1×20 – Erwin Smith: 57th Expedition Beyond the Walls, Part 4 – 9/10
It’s become pretty clear that by the way the pacing of the show has slowed in the last ten episodes compared to the first ten, they really want the show to continue past it’s first season. I’m alright with that. There is plenty for them to work off of – plenty of avenues for the series to head in, but I sincerely hope they at least make this season’s ending a proper satisfying conclusion. Regardless, the completionist inside me will probably have to watch it regardless.
We learn that the higher ups in the Survey (or Recon) Corps. are aware that there is a spy among them, and that has been there for some time now. At least 5 years, when they assumed that it had infiltrated the walls with the armored titan. My gut instinct still believes it’s Annie. Anywho, after being completely tied down by hundreds of grappling hooks, and scared, she cried out to the other titans, who immediately reacted in kind and began to run after her, and eat her. The person, whoever it is that is inside the titan, escaped and already had 3D maneuver gear on, so they were able to get free. But still she went after Eren, and began killing those in his crew. I’m very much enjoying the twists and turns they’ve been giving lately and hope it keeps it up.
1×21 – The Decisive Blow: 57th Expedition Beyond the Wall, Part 5 – 10/10
Whether or not this is the best episode of the series so far, or not, I’m not entirely sure. I’d realistically have to watch the entire series over again as a retrospective to see which one truly holds that title, but wow. This episode is downright amazing. It started off just as well as any other, but several things jumped out to me throughout it.
The female titan is back in action with a newly generated body. The team Eren is with, Levi’s team, use their uncanny ability to work together in unison without having to physically communicate, and Eren writes that off as them just being so trusting of each other they’re basically just one big unit. That is right before they all get mauled and killed by the female titan, which in turn sets Eren into a frenzy and he himself goes into full Jaeger mode.
The titan fight scene was beautifully done. Just two big guys lugging it out. Ultimately the female titan, more experienced in her form than Eren is, was able to overcome him, as we knew would happen. (In good stories the good guy never wins the first time). The ability she has to harden certain parts of her body defensively and offensively are very cool. And the fact that she can selectively regenerate her tissue upon command. Love the episodes where you learn more about the titans. I was confused how exactly he got his head sliced off (or was that half of his head, in the fight with the titan?) but it served to aid the story forward. Now he’s in the hands of the titans. Dun dun dunnn.
I especially loved the reactions to the situation by Levi and Mikasa. Levi is always so level-headed and un-phased, but you could tell that while he was soaring over the bodies of his fallen comrades he was seriously hurt (despite the cool façade he put on. Mikasa surprises me with her ability to us the maneuver gear so willfully and there’s a certain passion guiding her way that’s brilliant. Keep it up.
1×22 – The Defeated: 57th Expedition Beyond the Walls, Part 6 – 8/10
An emotional episode, one that questions whether the casualties of war are worth the outcome. Today they weren’t. Their mission was a failure and all they had to show for it were wounds and dead bodies and most of the bodies were missing at that. Regardless if they won or lost, I think the message still holds. The casualties of war are not outweighed by what you gain to win. Lives are too precious, and there is much lamenting in this installment.
They parallel the episode with flashbacks to when Eren and Misaka were kids, dreaming about the Survey/Recon corps, and upon returning they were defeated and tired. The crowd tormented them similar to the way the crowd ridiculed the squad that came back from the expedition on this account. Instead of taking sympathy for those doing the hard life sacrificing work they’re daily engaged in, they complain how that their taxpayer money is being spent unwisely towards their efforts.
I worry about Eren a bit now that the military police have custody over him. That sounds dreadfully boring. Aw well. I do love Mikasa’s connection with him, and her ability to nurture back to health. Only three episodes left. I hope she survives.
1×23 – Smile: Raid on Stohess District, Part 1 – 8/10
The episodes have been moving forward at a good pace pretty consistently as of this point. I enjoyed the fleeting introduction of the rookie Military Police members along with Annie, and how rank and experience hadn’t yet jaded or corrupted them. One such rookie, Marlow, is disgusted at the level of corruption and claims he joined the military to go up in the ranks enough to make a difference. He acts prematurely when he sees two higher ranking officers selling government goods to black market sellers. They beat him for insubordination. But he shows his true character, and Annie likes that about him. It reminds her of Eren, whom she obviously looks up to.
Annie acts strange throughout the entire episode really. Dejected in a way. And when called to help Armin with a task, she initially says no, until it deals with his life. Since she is of the military police Armin says she is the only one who can get them through to where they need to go safely. But as they head into Stohess District and begin going underground, Annie stops – she suddenly realizes the trap set out for her, and she’s hurt.
I love the fact that Eren actually tries to give her the chance to prove them all wrong, as if he too is truly hurt at the fact that he has to do this to someone he trained with not too long ago – a friend. In the end she gets grabbed by everyone and chooses to become the monster she obviously doesn’t want to be. She is torn between worlds and I feel so bad for her. I definitely have been calling it that the female titan was actually Annie for a long while, but now that it actually is I can’t help but feel sorry for her. She’s so alone.
1×24 – Mercy: Raid on Stohess District, Part 2 – 9/10
The end is drawing ever near for Attack on Titan. At least my viewing is drawing to close. I can only hope for another strong episode like this for the finale. There’s plenty going on in this episode to whet anyone’s fancy. There’s infighting within the different military classes, there’s deception, there’s redemption (well not yet, but soon maybe).
Eren finds that he is unable now to transform into a titan because of his inability to come to terms with the fact that Annie is actually the monster that killed all his friends in the previous expedition beyond the walls. Not only do they have facts to support this and she looks like the titan, but she actually TRANSFORMED HERSELF, and he’s still incapable of realizing the truth. What it really boiled down to at the end of the day that made him change was that he had to come to terms with the fact that he was incapable of being there for his friends and family in the past, and he wasn’t going to let them down again today. Just some minor confidence issues, that’s all!
Mikasa and Armin. I just realized it. They are the Hermione and Ron of this story. There by Harry’s side until the end – until he finds the courage within himself to do what is right. I fear to think what will happen to either of them in the following episode. As this show has shown in episodes past, anyone can die. Eren’s basically died 3 times by now. So I really hope they get through in the end.
I’m disgusted by the lax attitude of the Military Police within wall Sina. It’s actually sickening. And realistically this is a warped look at the world we live in today. The more equipped you are for something, the farther you go from doing it. It’s a hard truth to get over, particularly when you’re the one doing the dirty work.
The animation is again stellar. I’m always at awe at the near Spider-Man like movements they all seem to be capable of with their 3D maneuver gear. It’s pretty sweet. I think they’ve boosted Annie’s figure up a bit since last we saw her in all her titan glory. Still, I’m surprised that at this point in the show there’s been absolutely 0% fan servicing going on. I really appreciate that the show is capable of holding it’s own without the gratuity.
One episode left. I’m a little sad.
1×25 – Wall: Raid on Stohess District, Part 3 – 8/10
I can’t say I’m not surprised by the ending, but I’m not extremely blown away either. It just didn’t grab you like the previous few episodes did. Visually it was done well, or perhaps I was just trying to pay attention to every word being said that I forgot to count the still frames. But it resolved the issue of the female titan, and I guess halfway through the making of the series they realized that’s where they wanted to head.
By resolved, I simply mean they’ve gotten rid of the threat. All of the mystery of the character still remains, along with even more questions you need to ask yourself in conjunction with what to expect from season two. What on earth was Annie’s dad on about in her recurring flashback? Other open threads are what will become of Annie’s crystal encased body? Why did Eren’s father want him to go and visit the basement? Why were the two titans fusing all of a sudden? I guess we’ll have to wait and see.
I know a major theme in this episode is how there were many civilian and military casualties due to the titan fighting within wall Sina, but in the end, was it not Annie that was more conscious about not killing people than Eren was in his rage? I couldn’t get over that. I dislike big superfights in cities because ultimately, the purpose of the fight is lost if you take the city with you.
Ultimately, I think I liked the ending to the season. None of my favorite characters died, the overall tone of the episode was happy and hopeful, and it left the ending open for more. And I would like more.
It’s funny, I turned off my tv right before the special scene at the end, but reading the other users posts I chose to go back and watch. I don’t really know what to make of the face that appears at the ending. It didn’t really add anything to the episode and I enjoyed it just like I would any other scene. In fact, I doubt it really means anything aside from “hey, just wait till next season!”
As you can see, the show garnered unnaturally good reviews on my end for the most part. Looking forward to the second season immensely. If you’ve yet to give this series a shot, do so. If you already have, what did you think?