Shingeki no Kyojin – 11
「偶像 ―トロスト区攻防戦⑦―」 (Gūzō ―Torosuto Ku Kōbō Sen ⑦―)
“Icon ―Defense of Trost (7)―”
“I don’t know if I can do it, but I’ll do it.” Because when one’s forced into a do or die situation, there ain’t no substitute for victory. Still, it’s admittedly somewhat questionable how easily Pixis will believe in something that’s such a shot in the dark. I pointed out this aspect last week already, but yeah… you can be a great commander all you want, but there’s a stretch to how much someone can supposedly “see” or “recognize” before you step into the territory of pure fantasy. Still, he is pretty cool for doing this (Stilts would approve)… kind of. Well, until you get into the whole under age drinking thing.
Regardless, Eren does make a key point at this point. If this is potentially one way for Titans to exist, then they potentially aren’t just fighting against Titans anymore. Sure, the chances are small, but once you plant the seed of paranoia… suddenly no one is safe from suspicion. Indeed, Eren’s ability to transform brings with it not only the unknown element of himself, but the question of who else might secretly possess such a power and whether or not someone human is behind it all. Combine that with the fact that the Titan’s appearance a few weeks back was as sudden as Eren’s transformation… and things are potentially grimmer than we ever expected. Talk about suffering.
In addition, Pixis’ dialogue is also quite interesting as well—as he notes how before the Titans, humans fought among themselves. Furthermore, he notes how it was said that if a powerful external threat were to appear, humanity with unite against the threat. Considering how this comes on the tail end of the aforementioned… one wonders if all of this isn’t just a ploy by someone who tried to unite humanity. It would be an interesting twist to say the least—both in the context of the series and in how it basically says that even the best intentions could end with some terrible results. In addition, it’s notable how both Eren and Pixis note that that’s just a false dream, and it goes to highlight a commentary on human nature—particularly how we’re such a species where a threat that could cause our extinction might not even lead to us uniting against it.
Indeed, it’s a grim outlook, and one that just highlights the suffering here in Shingeki—especially via Dazz, who gives a face to the fears held by many soldiers, and the belief that trying to take back Trost is the equivalent to mass suicide. To say the least, the military is sitting on a powder keg that threatens to be the final nail in the coffin for humanity. But true to his now godly nature, Pixis pulls the biggest surprise of them all, and reveals Eren’s ability to change into a Titan to everyone. There ain’t nothing like suddenly telling troops you have hope (due to secret experiments no less!) to turn the tide. Combine that with the fact that their battle plan addresses the soldiers’ unease by making it so that they theoretically don’t need to fight (much), and it’s some crazy stuff—but just the way I like it. Not only that, but he owns those trying to desert too—by first appealing to them by saying he’d let them leave… then whacking them metaphorically with the comment that they’d just be spreading back their fear to their loved ones. To top it off, he then lures them back in with the confirmation that the attempt to take back Wall Maria was just a culling, and that it’s their obligation to fight in order to bear the sin that is continuing to live due to the sacrifice of those that died that day. Superb stuff. Just superb.
Also notable in all of this is the realization by Eren that there must be a symbol to unite everyone. In all great wars in our history, singular, charismatic figures have lead their countries to victory, and this situation is the same. Humanity needs something to rally around following so many losses, and Eren is in a position where he can be that icon. This is it. All these years of fighting, hiding, and just barely scrapping by have led to this singular moment—a shot in the dark that either speeds their path toward extinction or leads them on their first real victory.
In the end though, beggars just can’t be choosers, and it’s true here considering the plan to retake Trost. It’s admittedly still quite ludicrous how things developed over the course of the last few episodes however, and the fact that Eren seems to lose control at the end just hammers this in. I guess it’s like what they say though. All roads led to Rome back then, and all roads lead to the path of most suffering here.