Shingeki no Kyojin – 12
「傷 ―トロスト区攻防戦⑧―」 (Kizu ―Torosuto Ku Kobo Sen ⑧―)
“Wound ―Defense of Trost (8)―”
“Despite avoiding combat as much as possible, we lost a fifth of our men.”
A FIFTH OF OUR MEN. A FIFTH! Gosh darn, talk about suffering. Really, when you’re losing a fifth of your men in an operation that’s had arguably the least fighting of any you’ve been a part of so far… that’s some grim stuff.
Either way though, this episode continues the spotlight on Pixis and his general personality. Indeed, his comment that the aforementioned soldiers weren’t “just lost, but sent to their deaths by his orders” just gives us a view into the kind of person he is… and it’s quite something. I mean, there are few greater mixes than a leader whose both idealistic in terms of being the leader you’d want to follow and realistic in terms of how much power he wields as a person in his condition. All in all, it’s a testament to how he understands the responsibility of his position—and this week continues a string of episodes that demonstrate just how much of a boss Pixis is.
In any case, the main highlight of this week ends up being the failure of Eren to complete his portion of the operation, and his failure brings us to the question of whether or not everything that was sacrificed was a waste or not. Again though, it’s here where Pixis shines again with his quotes (“We cannot allow the death of our comrades be in vain. Giving up so easily is unacceptable.”)… and via his pick of Ian as the elite squad leader. Because what this does is ultimately set the stage for Ian to show just why he’s such a capable leader: as in the end, he realizes that even though this operation failed, Eren still represents a key hope of mankind. They might’ve failed this time, but he could very well still help next time. You can’t be too quick to just toss something out because it didn’t work on the first try, and you can’t run now when so many sacrifices have already been made. In many ways, that’s what a soldier’s about: recognizing the limits of what you can do alone, thinking on your feet, making your death count if you need to, and fighting for those who have fallen before you. And in essence, that’s what the elite squad stands for as well—the ideals of what a soldier should be and humanity’s potential.
Ultimately though, the episode is a tale of two halves, and the latter half involves Armin trying to forcefully extract Eren from the Titan body. Combine that with Jean’s own share of heroics… and I have to say, they’ve all really come a long way since the start of the series. There really ain’t nothing like the pressure cooker known as “imminent and brutal death” to push one to maturation. Still, things are pretty darn grim regardless—but then again, when aren’t they?—and as always, the suffering just continues. In general, it’s more of a character development episode than anything, and nothing really progressed here per se… but it was definitely a solid episode regardless, and one that reinforces the fact that Eren’s resolve needs to be tried and true if he wants to succeed in his mission.
Looking forward, things look like they’ll only get better from here, and it’ll be quite something to see how things develop as we get ready to enter the second cour. One wonders if we’ll ever see such a great number of Mikasa focused shots ever again though…