Shingeki no Kyojin – 18
「巨大樹の森 ―第57回壁外調査②―」 (Kyodai Ju No Mori ―Dai 57 Kai Kabe Gai Chosa (2)―)
“Forest of Giant Trees ―57th Expedition Beyond the Walls (2)―”
This week on Shingeki no Kyojin, the 57th Expedition continues… and it’s probably best to just name it the 57th massacre or something. After all, when you have one Titan single-handedly demolishing everything in sight while playing yo-yo and soccer with human bodies, there just aren’t any other words to describe it. And ultimately, it’s just as the group says it themselves:
Things are even bleaker than expected.
The suffering just never stops with this show, and it’s something that starts right off the bat this week as Jean, Reiner, and Armin are almost forced to leave one of the group behind. As it turns out, they end up being saved by Krista before they have to make that decision, but gosh darn, things really could’ve turned out quite grim for one of them there. Either way though, it just goes to show that despite all this suffering, there’s still some kind of hope—in the context that you just might find the person you want to marry sometime during all the fighting. Of course, Reiner ends up having those exact thoughts this week, but yeah, that’s probably the only light hearted moment we’ll get for a while, heh.
In any case, the majority of the episode ends up being devoted to Erwin’s intriguing decision to continue the operation despite the entire right flank being demolished. At this point, it’s quite obvious that he has something up his sleeve—aside from the fact that the forest is theoretically the best place to fight using their 3D gear—although it seems like they won’t be revealing it just yet. Normally it’s here where I’d start speculating a bit, but considering the sheer amount of possibilities, I’ll instead focus on one of the things I felt was important this week.
And that thing involves how most of the soldiers didn’t seem to have any idea why Erwin decided to continue the operation (let alone lead them to the forest), but decided to follow their orders regardless. Likely this was in part due to the soldiers’ innate trust in Erwin in general and the belief that they likely wouldn’t have any additional luck dealing with the Titans themselves even if they did try to run off, but at the same time I felt like it was symbolic of the things mentioned last week. At this point, Erwin’s decision clearly has some tactical basis for it, but there’s arguably more to it. In many ways, it’s a confirmation and a test of the resolve they had when they signed up to join his squad, as well as of their ability to obey orders that could lead to their deaths.
In the end, It’s one thing to believe you can do something, but a whole other matter to actually act on your convictions when push comes to shove. Of course, it’s highly possible that this wasn’t part of the equation at all—in terms of being actually a reason why Erwin decided on this tactic—but it’s still interesting regardless because of how it theoretically serves an additional purpose either way. Indeed, it can’t be a good feeling just sitting in the trees waiting for the enemy to come (and potentially surround you while they’re at it), and it definitely feels like there’s a lot more going on here besides just tactical maneuvering.
Overall though, it looks like we’ll be hovering around a bit in a kind of “wait and see” mode over the next few episodes as we let things take their course and develop. Generally it looks like there’ll be less things to analyze as a result, but it seems like it’ll be in exchange for a large amount of action scenes (not that I mind in the slightest). Until next week!
Full-length images: 07.