4 The Night of the Closing Ceremony
Fast-forward five years and the children who joined up to be recruits in the army are now adults. Erin is just as shrill and vocal as ever. However, this time he does have an interesting point. The top recruits are given the opportunity to join the Military Police, which is the cushiest of the jobs in the military, never fighting Titans. Eren thinks it’s stupid that the best waste their best soldiers on a posh assignment. Therefore, when he graduates in the top ten of his class, he passes on joining the Military Police, inspiring others to join him in the Scout Regiment.
This episode does bring up the interesting power structure of the city and once again demonstrates the interesting world-building at work in the show. I wish more of the show was dedicated to seeing the bigger picture instead of limiting its scope to Eren’s quest. As a conduit for the show, Eren remains irritating and off-putting most of the time.
5 First Battle
The Colossal Titan showed up in the last episode and breached another wall. In this episode, Eren launches an attack, but the Colossal Titan disappears. A flashback shows Eren learning the only weakness of a Titan: the nape of the neck. In the fight that ensues, Eren ends up sacrificing himself to save Armin, losing his arm and being swallowed by a Titan.
Wow. I did not expect this show to kill off its protagonist so quickly. In fact, this episode gets into a lot of deaths, showing that these attacks absolutely decimate the city. A part of me is relieved that Eren is gone, hopefully for good. I’d much rather see any of the other characters leading the show. I vote for Potato Girl! Please oh please be Potato Girl.
6 The World the Girl Saw
Mikasa is an acceptable lead character. She faces down a Titan in front of the gates of the next wall, saving the crowd there. She also convinces the mayor to let the townspeople through in order to save their lives. But the bulk of this episode is a flashback to Mikasa’s tragic past where she saw her parents murdered and ended up killing one of her kidnappers alongside Eren. Flashback Eren is tolerable enough, even if he’s ridiculously violent for a kid his age.
This is the first episode where I don’t have any strong misgivings. It’s got a good balance of action, politics, character-building, and backstory. Seeing Mikasa’s past gives us a better sense of her detached nature. Her fight with the Titan is a nice spectacle. Even seeing a young Eren for a bit doesn’t bog down the episode. This is the best episode so far and hopefully this is demonstrative of the quality of the show going forward.
© 2016 James Blake Ewing