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Shingeki no Kyojin – 35 »« Shingeki no Kyojin – 33

Shingeki no Kyojin – 34

「開口」 (Kaiko)
“Opening”

A few weeks ago, I mentioned how Shingeki as a series works a lot better when it’s moving along and led by its action rather than exposition and story-telling. Episode 32 was a great example of this, letting the fight between Reiner, Bertholdt, Eren and the rest tell the entire story with fisticuffs rather than words, and it ended up being one of the best episodes of the series to date (and definitely the best of this short second season). Unfortunately, this week’s episode ends up being the exact opposite, and the frustrating nature of everything that happens—or rather, doesn’t happen—is likely to make this a turning point in terms of who will stick with the anime, read ahead in the manga, or stop with the series altogether.

After all the fighting and bush beating in regards to answers about the world and what’s going on, this is all we get? An insanity plea (*more appropriately “fugue” or associated identity disorder per comments)? The whole reason he suddenly reveals himself to be the Armored Titan and everything he’s done recently all boils down to that? Emotional instability brought on by an inability to stomach the guilt of his past deeds? I mean, it’s an explanation for at least some of what he’s done, but there’s a reason why the insanity plea’s so well known right now, and let’s say it’s rarely because it leaves people feeling like it’s all’s right with the world.

Couple that with over 10 whole minutes of face-to-face discussion that reveal almost nothing, a Ymir that suddenly clams up when presented with the most important question of all—who’s the real enemy!?—and an Eren that’s arm-less just because Reiner happened not to pay more attention to where he was clamping down on, and this was the single most frustrating episode of any series I’ve watched in a while. From what I’ve heard, the explanations do come at some point, but count me as someone who just can’t stomach how they’ve essentially used up two straight episodes (in an already short one-cour) to tell us nothing but the potential association of the Beast Titan with Reiner/Bertholdt’s actions and the state of their hometown. That’s on top of the first few episodes of the second season doing nothing but attempting to build suspense with exceptionally slow pacing, and it’s clear that the payoff isn’t matching what’s expected of the series at this point in time.

And so, in the interest of keeping things rather positive for the time being, I think the thing to do is to just look forward. With the Scouts arriving, there’s definitely room for the series to pick up and do what it does best before it’s all said and done, and here’s hoping that this week’s episode ends up more of an aberration than the expectation in regards to story-telling and key revelations. Until next week.

Author’s Note: Once again, please refrain from spoilers of the source material past what’s been covered so far. Use spoiler tags if you absolutely need to mention something that wasn’t explicitly shown/covered, as there is a zero tolerance policy in effect and comments with spoilers will be immediately deleted and bans handed out where necessary.

 

Preview

May 28, 2017 at 1:00 pm
29 comments »
  • May 28, 2017 at 1:27 pmClayton Barnett

    Season 2:

    1. Standing around, talking.
    2. Flashback.
    3. Goto 1.

  • May 28, 2017 at 1:30 pmJirai

    Wow, thanks for pointing out how shallow this writing in the show is n’ how this series really is carried by direction moreso… honestly it’s easy, not complaining tho, to get wound in each episode… only to realize pretty much nothing happened or transpired :/

  • May 28, 2017 at 2:13 pmChris hall

  • May 28, 2017 at 2:40 pmStefan

    It’s not insanity. It’s called a fugue, look them up. Reiner evidently suffers from them, hence his emotional swings and rash decisions.

    • May 28, 2017 at 6:07 pmZephyr

      Hm, haven’t heard of that particular term yet. Thanks for the note.

  • May 28, 2017 at 3:40 pmAnon

    The one interesting that I read on the Reddit discussion was that Ymir and the others referred to the beast-titan with the term “monkey” (saru), and since Eren has never been outside the walls he had no idea what a monkey was. So clearly Ymir, Reiner, etc. all come from outside the walls.

    • May 28, 2017 at 4:49 pmSekai

      That’s actually a really interesting point, especially as most people within the walls are ignorant about the existence of oceans and rainforests.

      One thing I’ve been wondering is how there are records of Reiner, Bertholdt and Annie’s supposed hometown within the walls if they’re from beyond. Were the records planted, I wonder?

      • May 28, 2017 at 6:21 pmZephyr

        Now that you mention it, has it ever been explicitly mentioned that the records have their hometown within the walls? I don’t quite remember that being mentioned, though they did definitely say the records show all of them come from the same general area.

      • May 28, 2017 at 8:29 pmproper1420

        I suspect the records were forged. My impression from ep1 is that none of the residents of this Wall society lived outside Wall Maria, so records of residence outside the walls would be nonsensical. At any rate, in ep3 at 16:10, Bert says the first notice they got of the breach of the wall was the arrival of the Titans, which implies that they lived inside the wall. I can’t imagine why Bert would tell a story inconsistent with his records.

      • May 29, 2017 at 9:41 pmSekai

        Ah, I assumed the records would’ve specified an area within the walls.

        You’re right in that they definitely didn’t mention any specifics concerning this “general area”, which seems pretty vague for an official report but perhaps that really is all there is to it.

    • May 28, 2017 at 8:01 pmproper1420

      Their recognition of herring (an ocean fish) in ep29 was an earlier and similar indication that Ymir and Reiner are from outside the walls.

  • May 28, 2017 at 4:18 pmUrahara

    I think people liked this show at the very start because it felt real and it strayed away from Shounen tropes , now though all we have are shounen tropes like a protagonist with a hidden transformation power that he hasn’t fully controlled yet which makes him very valuable , fights being determined based on will power , lack of consequences on actions because of immense regeneration ability , people crawling into tasks they literally can’t physically perform but their will power is greater than resting for a bit and let’s not forget the ” hey when things go south eren will bite his hand and settle things with his fist ” which is the opposite of why people liked this show early on : because it was titans vs humans
    and the worst thing yet is baiting answers and literally giving none ( THAT guy is a titan too is not an answer because who else is a titan is not a question )
    Maybe I have high expectations , IDK , but this show stopped being satisfying a long time ago

    • May 28, 2017 at 4:56 pmSekai

      To be fair, the only fight won so far through will power was the second Annie vs Eren (which was certainly pretty weird). Not to mention Hange didn’t get to mount a horse in the end.

      Though I have to admit I was rather disappointed that the protagonist ended up being alive, a titan shifter and the key to everyone’s salvation. Oh well, each to their own, and I still find it to be an (largely) enjoyable show nonetheless.

    • May 28, 2017 at 10:19 pmRaiu

      Patience is a virtue in this series.

  • May 28, 2017 at 4:34 pmqwert

    They’ve had to stretch out these episodes because they literally have nothing else to work with. Once the scouts catch up to everyone there’s a big confrontation but that’s it for the arc and they’ve got to stretch that confrontation into three more episodes.

    If people are going to ever drop this series the next arc is going to be when it happens. Imagine watching this show but with almost zero titans for an entire cour, if not slightly longer. On top of that if you thought that the sudden plot developments and exposition dumps got bad this season they manage to get even worse. Supposedly this series was never supposed to be very long and everything was initially developed to wrap up fairly quickly with a real bummer ending, but when it started getting popular the author scrapped all of that and thats why at this point in the story things start going crazy and get worse as things go on.

    • May 30, 2017 at 3:48 pmchaos

      Actually, the intra-city intrigue/mystery is vastly more interesting to me than the titan fights. I happened to really enjoy this episode too.

  • May 28, 2017 at 5:11 pmSekai

    I concur with Zephyr on this episode being the most frustrating in perhaps the entire series. However, I had no issue with Reiner’s identity disorder as the previous episodes had hinted at it and it makes perfect sense give everything we know now (which isn’t much, admittedly).

    How could a mass murderer like the Armoured Titan possibly be such well-liked, even well-meaning bro towards his fellow cadets? The inner conflict concerning his empathy towards humanity and his comrades, and his subsequent guilt over his duty as a warrior fit Reiner perfectly, I feel.

    What did annoy me is how this episode was essentially a massive tease. There were ample opportunities for Eren to gather intelligence, and for Ymir to reveal even a tiny scrap of information. Instead, Eren realised he had to remain calm yet did the exact opposite, everyone kept yelling at each other, and the plot didn’t advance at all. I don’t even normally find Eren annoying, yet in this episode I ended up empathising with Ymir. If I were her, I’d put my faith in Reiner over Eren too.

    • May 28, 2017 at 7:11 pmZephyr

      Oh yeah, the condition itself was an explanation that makes sense, but it still doesn’t explain why he did it in the first place and I’m worried it’ll be conveniently used later as a reason that he forgets an important factoid when we want/expect answers in the future.

      At this point though, I suppose much of the frustration boils down to what you said though, and it’s that there’s way too much teasing and little else.

    • May 29, 2017 at 12:22 amHalfDemonInuyasha

      It wasn’t even all that that annoyed me the most, but rather the constant wide-eyed and/or silent reactions to the things said / asked, making it extremely obvious that there’s a lot going on.

      Just all a huge tease.

  • May 28, 2017 at 10:16 pmRaiu

    The next arc after the current one tackles all the secrets within the walls. All of it. No holds barred. The succeeding arc tackles everything outside the walls.

    But that’s going to be on season 3 and season 4, respectively, though. Season 2 is just one big fucking sequel hook that bridges the two major arcs. It will just prompt/force viewers to read the source material at the end of the season like any typical advertisement.

  • May 28, 2017 at 10:30 pmLockon

    If you are so impatient to have all your questions answered the go read the ****ing manga and quit whining.

    • May 29, 2017 at 7:21 amanon234

      To be fair, it wasn’t until September last year that the manga answered all of the questions.

    • June 4, 2017 at 9:27 amZephyr

      I hope you bothered at some point to look through and realize that we’re intentionally sticking only to watching and talking about the anime version here.

      Either way, read the manga’s your response? How about giving something constructive to the conversation by talking about pacing of the animated series rather than taking my discussion as some kind of criticism on the series as a whole (source included) when it isn’t?

      And how about you consider how despite the manga being way ahead of the game, from what I’ve heard, they’ve only given some answers of significance in the past few months or so? Kudos to you if you were patient enough to go through all those months of waiting for the next chapter without questioning at least once when you’d get any answers to something, but you should at least take a moment to see where anime-only viewers are coming from, rather than doing something as unproductive as “well, screw the anime then and go read the manga.”

  • May 29, 2017 at 7:14 amanon234

    This episode was just as painful to watch as the manga chapter was to read. I felt like Eren the whole time, just wanting to cry out “BS” over the mental instability and lack of any info despite all of the talk.

  • May 31, 2017 at 2:55 amgay

    • May 31, 2017 at 7:22 amJesus

      I’d tap that

  • May 31, 2017 at 7:24 amJesus

    Aot works best when there is suspense, not pure action.

  • May 31, 2017 at 8:20 amYanDaMan

  • May 31, 2017 at 9:48 amJesus

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