Shingeki no Kyojin – 04
「解散式の夜 ―人類の再起②―」 (Kaisan Shiki no Yoru ―Jinrui no Saiki ②―)
“Night of the Disbanding ―Mankind’s Recovery (2)―”
Shingeki no Kyojin rolls into its fourth episode, and gosh darn, it doesn’t look like we’ll ever get a break with this series. But that’s just fine with me, because there just hasn’t been any other series in recent memory that’s been able to give us not only two, not only three, but four superb episodes in a row to start—which is what Shingeki has managed to do, and it’s a quite the feat to say the least. Moving right on in though—this week’s episode notably gives us quite a bit to talk about, so bear with me, because this’ll end being a fairly long post.
And first and foremost on our agenda? A discussion about the cast. Having been introduced to them previously in last week’s development-filled episode, we already had a nice grasp of the individual characters and their respective quirks/personality/pasts, but this week follows it up with a bit more—in the form of individual critics from the drill sergeant:
And suffice to say, it was superbly done. Because as you can see, they manage to give every character his/her own moment in the spotlight, and it’s something that’s pretty amazing when you consider how they not only have to juggle fitting a large amount of material into this adaptation, but have to do so with an exceptionally large + diverse cast—something that a fair amount of series struggle to do with casts half the size of Shingeki’s. Really, it’s just a testament to how well the development’s been done when you’re already feeling at home with such a large cast four episodes in, and it’s just great stuff…
…especially when you note how they’ve tied in each person’s past into how their personality + views have developed—something that shows itself both in the discussion between Annie and Eren mid-episode and Eren’s announcement that he would be joining the Recon Corps near the end. Indeed, we can see how Annie’s ability to see the contradiction behind people training to fight Titans just so they can get the privilege to avoid them is something that correlates to her past, and on the flipside—we can also see how Eren’s past made it so he didn’t. And it’s something that ultimately mixes itself into a discussion about what a soldier’s duty is and the double-edged sword that is human nature…
…the latter of which is something that can either cause our own downfall or guide us to our salvation. Needless to say though, Shingeki’s really hammering in on the negative parts of human nature… and it’s not a pretty sight. After all, overconfidence and complacency led the humans in Shingeki’s universe to the situation they’re in now. At the same time though—and this is perhaps the most important thing when talking about human nature—you can’t blame people for feeling and acting the way they did, which really adds a measure of complexity to the developments in this series and also highlights the maturity of Eren when he meets Hannes again.
Going back up to the soldier’s duty part for a moment though, I gotta say… I had already noted that Shingeki borrowed heavily from the Muv-Luv Alternative VN Trilogy, but I never expected it to be this similar. The entire bit about soldier’s duty just conjured up many memories from the VN, and it’s something that makes it so I have to at least put this fitting quote from MLA out there:
“Achieve your mission with all your might.
Despair not till your last breath.
Make your death count.”
Sounds quite fitting to Shingeki does it not? But yeah, it’s something that just highlights the importance of how you can’t give up just because you think you can’t win. If you give up, you lose before you even start. But if you stay alive and try to fight, at least you have a chance, no matter how slim it is. It’s about hope, and it’s about fighting for the memories of those that fell before you to get you this far. Some truly powerful concepts there…
…just like “human resilience”, which shows itself this week in the form of “humanity regaining its dignity” in only five short years. Going back to the discussion about human nature, this is arguably the one thing that really balances out the negatives—this ability to fight back in the face of adversity—and it’s just nice to see the series sneaking this in…
…even if it’s short-lived, as the Titans make their epic return as well. Seems like the series just loves its epic SURPRISE! moments (which have spawned many a memes) and it looks like Eren and the rest of our cast’ll have to go through a trial by fire to start off their new lives as full fledged soldiers. And well, I wouldn’t have it any other way. Ultimately, it’s just another great episode, and I just can’t wait for next week.
**EDIT#1: REFRAIN FROM SPOILERS PAST THIS POINT IN THE MANGA. I’m seeing a whole lot of things being discussed that just have no business being talked about now (either with or without spoiler tags). If I see repeat offenses, your comments will be deleted and I may have to think about asking for bans as well.
**EDIT#2: Due to personal reasons, I have asked Asobi (thanks!) to cover Shingeki 05, so the next post will probably release at a different time than the norm. I am currently unsure if I will return for episode 06, but I will resume coverage on episode 07 at the latest.