「絶望の中で鈍く光る ―人類の再起①―」 (Zetsubō no Naka de Nibuku Hikaru ―Jinrui no Saiki ①―)
“Shining Dimly in the Midst of Despair ―Mankind’s Recovery (1)―”

When faced with the prospect of death, animal response can be typically generalized as either flight or fight. As we see with this week’s episode of Shingeki no Kyojin, it’s something that applies especially to mankind, and something that manifests itself in the difference in views between the soldier recruits. Ultimately though—whether the reason for joining was to just live a comfortable life within the inner most walls or wanting to take the fight back to the Titans—the important part is this: you can’t blame anyone for believing what they do, and it’s a notion that really highlights the uniquity and free-will of the individual. Suffice to say, it’s a darn powerful notion, and something that really contributes to making this episode one of the best developmental ones I’ve seen in a while…

…because as we find out, all of our recruits―Eren, Mikasa, Armin Arlart, Thomas Wagner, Jean Kirschstein, Marco Bodt, Connie Springer, Sasha Braus, Reiner Braun, and Berthold to name some―come from a variety of different backgrounds, all possess their own trauma, and all possess their own unique personality as a result of the experiences only they have. Needless to say, it’s an exceptionally large cast, and something where the mere fact they were able to introduce all of them in the span of one episode―while not rushing and providing some great moments of hilarity to boot―makes this episode superb already. Yet, not only do we get all of the above, we also get the revelations of the initial aptitude tests necessarily to see if the recruits are even capable of starting their training…

…which serve as quite the device for hammering in the fact that emotions alone cannot do anything, and you can’t just go in saying things like “those with no strength have no right to be here.” Eren finds this out the hard way this week by failing to properly execute the proper maneuvers in the first go, and it’s here that the episode really shines. Because as they say, “the journey is just as important as the destination,” and what Eren’s realizations here demonstrate is the fact that Shingeki ain’t just gonna hero status Eren as a guy who’ll dominate from the start. Indeed, he gets tossed to the ground (both literally and figuratively) multiple times this week―to the point where he even begs for help―and it’s just great to see that Eren’s really getting proper development before hand. I mean, it’s pretty much all but confirmed he will become the dominant force he says he will be in the future, but at the very least, Shingeki’s not falling into the trap of just saying “well, he has natural talent, and so he’s just going to fly through everything and end up being an epic Titan slaughterer.” There’s definitely a lot of things building up to the realization of his potential and it’s something that’s done absolutely splendidly this week… contrary to a certain other show last year where the hero merely became one without proper development and with the help of quite a bit deus ex machinas.

Ultimately, Shingeki’s shaping up to be every bit as great as expected, and it looks like next episode will hold more of the same―if not more, considering the grim foreboding in the preview. Before we leave things off for today though, I’d just like to attach a blurb from the opening’s lyrics below―lyrics that are well, quite symbolic in nature to say the least. You’ll see what I mean.

They are the prey and we are the hunters.
Prayer won’t change anything
What you need right now is the resolve to fight.
The pigs that laugh in the shadows
At the will to move forward
Are no more than peace-befuddled livestock
In a world of false prosperity
That stifles the freedom of the hunter.
The humiliation of captivity
Serves as the signal for retaliation
As he moves to slaughter his prey
That waits beyond those walls

Additional Notes:

  • Gotta love the Sasha + potato moment, the final comments from the drill sergeant (sent chills down my spine!), along with that last bit where Mikasa properly interprets the true meaning of Eren’s expressions (great vocal insert for that moment too).
  • **Once again, please refrain from discussing the source material in your comments―ESPECIALLY events that come after what’s been covered so far in the anime.



      1. There is at least 25 episodes confirmed so far, so it should cover a large amount of material.

        I also like the adaptation’s sequence of events. The manga has lots of flashbacks instead of a continuous flow seen here.

    1. When I saw Sasha’s face here, I was like WHY THE HELL ARE YOU GIVING HIM THE SMALL HALF? Nope, she was like herpderp. Oh, and when she gets trolled by Mikasa, LOL. But we still love you, Potato Girl. 😀

      And that sequence where Eren’s flipping at the end—really great animation, it looks like they painted a hell of a lot of backgrounds.


        My sides were hurting so bad after that. Good thing I wasn’t eating anything during those moments as well, because I’m pretty sure I would’ve either choked or spat it out.

        1. I love the others’ expressions when Sasha was talking to the officer.
          The “WTF are u saying????” expressions cracked me up! She even had a pissed off look when she gave the potato to him haha!!!

      1. In addition to her lips, I felt that something about her eyes made her character look a bit off as well, but I wasn’t quite sure what it was. My imagined personality for her was something a bit more rough and crude, but her seiyuu’s voice seems too feminine/soft/something for that.

    2. “along with that last bit where Mikasa properly interprets the true meaning of Eren’s expressions (great vocal insert for that moment too).”

      I think you didn’t understand that last scene correctly, if anything Misaka said the opposite thing that Eren was thinking. That shows how delusional Misaka is when the subject is Eren.

      1. Well, the thing for me was that by him saying “now you don’t have to baby me anymore,” he’s saying he can now be someone who is on equal terms with Mikasa. He’s relieved that his dreams of fighting are still alive and as a side addition, he gets to fight with her rather than ending up at some other thing with her tagging along.

        So in that context, she’s completely right in that it’s not just a “see that”. It would definitely fit her character more for this interpretation as well eh. I kinda feel like the way it ended up getting translated just tweaks it a bit so that it’s somewhat off.

        Though at the same time, it’s also possible of course that Mikasa is kind of shocked he actually succeeded, so there’s also that. I kinda feel like it’s more of the above though, but I see where you’re coming from.

        1. I think Armin was the one who got what was happening right, when he said “Look at his eyes, he’s totally challenging you”.

          That was what Eren was doing, because he thought that Mikasa was looking down on him last night at dinner, when in fact she was trying to comfort him (in her own way). That’s why Armin, Reiner and Berthold end up with stupid looking faces after Mikasa said her line, because she was interpreting the whole thing wrong.

          Gotta love those misunderstandings 😀

      2. Both interpretations are correct; while Armin is seeing the surface content of Eren’s Victory expression, Mikasa is seeing the inner facets of what this victory means to Eren.

      3. Just looking for some confirmation but according to the Manga translation for this part. Mikasa actually said “Eren wont have to stay close to her anymore and it makes him happy.” So Im just curious did the fansub translate this part of the anime correctly.

      1. I want to draw attention to a mistake on the post. Marco Bodt is actually the freckled kid while Jean Kirschstein is actually the guy who got into a confrontation with Eren. The person listed as Jean in the blog link is actually some random guy with no importance and the one listed as Marco in the blog post is actually Jean…

        If you can fix it when you have time Zephyr that would be cool :P.

    3. Other action anime that take the standard of ‘blow the budget in the first two episode and drop the quality of the third one’ should take notes.This is how you do a third episode. Fill in the lack of action with good control of character development and story telling.

      Just A Random Guy
      1. For me that scene was hilarious.

        Boy falls in love at first sight, but finds out that the girl is already taken by the guy he had a fight early on, boy loses hope in mankind. Freaking hilarious xD

    4. I.G is doing a phenomenal job. At this point I’m honestly am glad they did this not any other studio(especially A-1)

      The only thing they have really changed up so far is the placement of this arc. Instead of doing it like a flashback they decided to do it chronologically, which I believe may really help since it seems to be making the character development that much better.

      They really brought this chapter in the manga to life with this episode. Getting every facial expression right and not missing out on any important parts that this chapter had in the manga. Great job, please keep it up I.G!

    5. I’m probably going to be in the minority, but the end of the episode kind of disappointed me a bit (with Eren succeeding as he did).

      With this and the previous episode, I was hoping Eren would get a bit more humility and realism knocked into him and it seemed like, with his earlier failures of the aptitude tests followed by his begging for help and other things, that was now happening and with his success at the end, it seemed like he was really learning. But suddenly turning around and saying the ONLY reason he failed was due to defective equipment and that he was capable of the exercise the whole time almost feels like it negates the lessons he learned throughout the episode.

      Now, of course, I’m not saying that’s what happened or anything (the lessons being negated), but I do feel it could’ve gone without the sudden defective equipment bit at the end as, to people like me anyway, it could give off such impressions that there could be dangers of Eren thinking that he really didn’t need help after all, and end up inflating his ego and cause more problems later. Again, I’m sure that’s not the intention, but just the impression it can give.

      1. Actually, I think you’re absolutely right in terms of the impressions “that there could be dangers of Eren thinking that he really didn’t need help after all, and it’d end up inflating his ego and cause more problems later.”

        The way it’s being set up, it definitely looks like Eren’s going to end up going through at least one (if not more) extremely traumatic events before he ends up reaching his true potential.

        For me though, I felt like the fact that he was even capable of lowering himself to begging (and has that within himself despite his emotionally fueled arrogance), was worth noting as a great character trait/development, which is why I liked this episode. But yeah, I definitely get where you’re coming from.

      2. To be a little more specific, the only reason Eren was begging for help and all was because he legitimately thought he was failing, which of course, would prevent him from being able to join the Legion and being able to go out and face Titans, so he learned that he did need help to be able to overcome that failing when it was shown that he alone couldn’t just fix it “with passion”. But with the whole problem from the beginning being nothing but defective equipment, it basically means he DIDN’T have any actual trouble to begin with as, otherwise, chances are he would NOT be failing in the first place, which makes all the development throughout the episode feel almost pointless.

        1. Well, at the same time though, he felt the need to beg and was actually able to do it when push came to shove. So, that’s why I feel like he deserves some props, because he’s not some guy who’s so arrogant to think that he’d succeed without help, even if the scenario ended up somewhat artificial eh. It’s likely he’ll forget this moment for the time being, but I just can’t help but feel like for future reference, this’ll come back and serve as the moment where he later remembers what it means to be humbled, and he’ll really carry on from there.

        2. Bah, replied in wrong place;

          Yeah, I get that and could see it playing some sort of part in the future. Just that, at the moment, it’s how it comes off as. Could just take out those last couple minutes and there’d be no problem for me.

      3. Well,it bothered me too and I wish there were at least some slight hints that his gear might’ve been rusty earlier on.At the same time though,I’m also a bit relieved because him being naturally talented(or just good anyway)would remove the need for a deus ex machina power up later on that I was fearing might happen due to Eren’s somewhat shounen protag nature.

        At any rate,I’m eagerly anticipating the episode(s) that will REALLY aid his character development such as a few of his fellow trainees or soldiers dying on a failed mission,defense or something.I hope we’ll get something like that because Eren doesn’t seem to be the type that will grow too much as a character withouth experiencing some more life-threatening situations or some actual failures 1st hand.

        1. Or his own emotions of hatred/vengeance/etc causes him to try to do something stupid and reckless in a battle, leading to the severe injury or even death(s) of another character(s).

      4. i honestly don’t see why he needs a bit more humility and realism knocked into him when he really isn’t trying to win a competition or anything. besides the “i will kill them all” speech that he’s kept as a mantra, he really hasn’t been boastful enough to proclaim that he “alone” will make this a possibility. why bother joining a team if all you want is all the glory for yourself?

      1. Thank god they didn’t ask for height…

        “How tall are you?!”

        “Sir, five-foot-nine, sir!”

        “Five-foot-nine, I didn’t know they stacked shit that high!”


        1. Hahahahaha I couldn’t believe it!! I was dying of laughter during this whole ordeal. At first I really thought she was just being a smart ass about eating the potato in front of him, but as the banter went on I realized she wasn’t the brightest bulb, but I still love her for this.

    6. I think they added in the nighttime walk with Reiner and Berthold, which would explain why it felt out of place to me. They bring him up there and then give him some advice and its like…why was the view necessary for that advice? Maybe it implies they helped him all night, but still it just seemed random. Otherwise though, great episode.

        1. I would agree with that if they had mentioned it at all. None of them seemed to even be in awe of the view. Not a big deal though. I am fine with one slightly changed scene and a few missed lines instead of some incredibly different adaption. Just think of it as me venting about changes because some of my all time favorites probably will never be animated faithfully.

      1. Yeah, the scene worked thematically .. but they could have just taken 5 seconds to explain why they were walking around at night. The barbed wire also made me curious if they were going somewhere they shouldn’t have gone ..

        1. remember the scene right before that? they were talking about their experiences with the titans and how the others are not like them. the walk in the woods for me was more of like a “let’s take a walk and talk more” since they are in their rooms surrounded by people that wouldn’t be able to understand what they are talking about.

    7. I felt really smug satisfied when he got knocked down a few pegs, although I thought him begging for help seemed completely off his character.

      I’d have expected him to go out in the middle of the night and keep trying by himself or dragging the girl along to help him out before admitting defeat and seeking help. He did do that, but only for a few scenes and not even for a day. I’d have seen him try and try again for a full week before admitting defeat.

      If you don’t have talent, you still have hard work to fall back on. It felt like he skipped that step and went straight to asking for help.

      It could also just be that if he failed that day, he’d be kicked off the next day, so the time pressure would have forced him to do that. I wish they’d explain it that way since it suddenly makes much more sense why he’d been so pinned as to ask for help anywhere he could find it.

      1. Chubby how would that even work we have seen the spot between their legs and their butts, they don’t have parts or buttholes so how would that work? That’s why they don’t know how the Titans reproduce and why there isn’t hills of crap laying around the city :p

    8. Why hasn’t anyone pointed out how FUNNY this episode was ROFL I couldn’t help but snigger at the strange humor the show has brought >;3

      And Mikasa’s slowly blossoming to a beautiful flower (read as psycho-bitch-stalker) when it comes to Eren. As a totally oblivious watcher that has stayed away from manga-spoilers like the plague, I’m finding the pacing enjoyable and the characters very interesting.

      One of the best this season ;3

    9. Such Classical Weapons to use against such Mighty Titans.I really wonder how they’ll handle this.I think that we could lend them some of our modern weapon like Nuclear Bomb,haha.

    10. I was getting worried that close to no progress for Eren in this episode, but that plot twist at the end was great and I’m looking forward to when they finally put the 3D Gear to use from what we see in the opening.

    11. I felt sorry for Eren in his first few tries in the aptitude test. But I was really relieved when the reason as to why he kept falling was because his belt was damaged, and it wasn’t because he was bad at it. If his belt was fine in the first place, he would have already passed the aptitude test in no time.

      And I couldn’t help but glare at the others for making fun of Eren. They would have acted helpless too if they were in his place.

    12. I am not going to like that Jean guy. He looks like he’s going to become a problem character. Anyways at the very ending I love how they showed Eren using his Multiaxial machine. Looks like it’s going to get even more interesting from now on.

    13. The only thing that rubs me the wrong way is how the girls looks disturbingly pretty, especially Mikasa. When you compare her appearance to Eren, she looks like his mother (wink wink nudge nudge). Another great episode, overall.
      And as much as I like the Drill sergeant, that guy need to take a note from Sousuke Sagara on how to abuse trainees. xP

    14. “well, he has natural talent, and so he’s just going to fly through everything and end up being an epic Titan slaughterer.”
      But they did, he wasn’t able to that because of the rust, not because he was actually bad, that moment they said it was the rust was kind of a disappointment for me.

      1. You know… for a while I thought the drill sergeant was just BS-ing about the rust and that he just wanted to give Eren another chance or placebo effect by giving him another harness. Nevertheless, Eren had some development when he thought he was failing, let’s hope he would not be amnesiac about it.

      2. i don’t know which subgroup you are watching, but from the one i saw it said that the reason was that the belt was defective and not because of rust specifically. which made me think that it might be sabotage.

    15. Potato girl is LOL! Good setup episode to introduce the peeps. A lot will probably die from the comments by the Braun(?) guy as most of the recruits really do not seem to know what they are getting into

      Zaku Fan
    16. “along with that last bit where Mikasa properly interprets the true meaning of Eren’s expressions (great vocal insert for that moment too).”

      But, that is not wrong?
      -> http://image.noelshack.com/fichiers/2013/16/1366550219-1366525743006.png

      Fan translation in scan is more accurate, from what we all know, Eren don’t like Mikasa’s protection. Mikasa say what subtitles in anime say she said, and the oficial translation, simply contradicts everything we see on all other pages of the entire series.

      I also didn’t liked the comedy as shown in the anime, don’t felt natural and unexpected as in manga. The author has a great comic timing which is absent on animators.

      1. thanks for the link, although for me still the translation from anime and the official translation sound more similar to each other and only the translation from fan scanlation shows that Eren doesn’t want to be close to Mikasa = doesn’t want her protection. That’s why she has so painful expression. And on both anime and official scans for me they got wrong what she said, because they interprate that like she thought that Eren was happy to not have to be separated from her.
        Of course I could get it wrong, but I still think that in anime they portrayed Mikasa, like someone who misunderstood Eren and his will to be individual and strong. At least I got that impression in this episode, in manga is on the contrary. I’d be happy, if someone corrected me.

      2. The scanlation makes far, far more sense in my opinion. However, based only on the text written in the raw scan, the official and anime translation seems to be the correct one.

    17. Now i get why everyone was hyped last episode about the potato girl. But wasn’t mikasa kinda harsh on her when she ate that bread in front of her? Sure, I can understand the reason why she did it but that was just plain mean.

    18. God bless Yuu Kobayashi, the single most insane CV in the industry.

      I’ve never read the manga, but I just love how the anime feels so far. There is a primal fear for gigantic things in every one of us, and out of that comes the oh-so-popular motif of giant-slaying. Some people compare SnK to Shadow of the Colossus; I say that it’s a whole series about David on Goliath on a much wider scale. The taller they are, the harder they fall.

    19. Lets start the death pool!

      Eren, Mikasa, Armin are excluded as main characters voted survivors!

      Jean, I’m split as he’s the jerk of the group and feels like he’ll make good with the main characters; vote survivor

      Marco Bott, clearly labeled dead; vote dead.

      Connie Springer, the clown of the group position has been taken by Sasha, otherweise I would have voted him as a survivor; vote dead.

      Sasha Blouse, potatoes girl, just too funny to die. Loved it when she trolled Mikasa and visa versa; vote survivor

      Thomas Wanger, clearly Titan food; labeled dead; vote dead.

      Kind blond girl. Hummm too easy to call a titan fatality due to her kindness, so due to reverse psychology; voted survivor.

      Opportunistic Dark Hair Girl with freaks, she appears tough and opportunistic but I believe she will get killed when she either forgets to be opportunistic or proves to just have a hard exterior over a kind center. Another case of reverse psychology; vote dead

      I missed many others, please add!

      On a different note here is my best guess as what Titans are and some plot guesses:
      Manga readers please tell me how close I am by yes or no; no details; I thank you in advance. 🙂

      Show Spoiler ▼

    20. I’m actually surprised from how the 3rd chapter is taking the story to a more..mm..linear sequence of events? anyway…it’s actually better considering how confusing can get the manga.
      overall this chapter was more fun than anything…
      Show Spoiler ▼

      Also, I was not quite sure if to laugh or feel bad about Jean’s broken heart when they showed his “My faith in humanity is lost” expression
      NO really! his grimm expression I think I’ve saw it before…
      Anyway…looking foward for next chapter!

    21. The budget is already bleeding. The number of stills was just obscene, even worse it completely destroys the scene between Mikasa and Potato.
      Overall I’m very disappointed with the way things were handled after the potato question, it’s like they tried their best to make every memorable scene as flat as possible.

      Less detailed rocky backgrounds, more animation. And just stop with the speedlines already.

      1. About the scene between Mikasa and Sasha, I’m pretty sure it was done with stills intentionally to make it surreally commedic. Personally I Liked it a lot because it managed to deliver the serious humor the manga had (and ofcouse cutting some cost).

        I don’t know witch scene you are refering to as “flat”.
        Sometimes the background works better than animation. I felt Erens concern reliefed at the moment the reached that lake.
        I’m not goint to praise everything what studio IG do, but giving you a suggestion to think the purpose of each direction (besides the budget issue). Maybe it was a cheap episode but it was directed very well.

    22. Mikasa is so very attractive; her voice, her charisma, her stance and aura… everything about her just oozes beauty and perfection.

      She may end up being the sole reason I continue to watch this series.

    23. …which serve as quite the device for hammering in the fact that emotions alone cannot do anything, and you can’t just go in saying things like “those with no strength have no right to be here.”
      I love it when shows do this.

    24. In my mind I have a perma-death flag being raised for Mikasa. I don’t want it there, but it seems like she would give up everything for Eren; and at some point she actually may.

    25. man…why did they think it was appropriate to give mikasa lipstick…she looks 10 years older than everyone else…as if in her late 20s or something while the rest are just teens

      sasha stole the show with the potato bit…that was fucking hilarious

    26. They adapted everything to near perfection


      WHY THE HELL DOES YMIR HAVE LIPSTICK/GLOSS? WTF?!?!?! I feel like the animation studio is full of a bunch of pervs waiting for some doujin circle to do what they do for this show.It’s not exactly a bad thing, but I’m just trying to understand the thought process behind this.

      Every relevant female character (except Sasha <3) got Super Bishoujo'd, I have never seen an adaptation do this before.

      Sasha definitely stole this episode, they adapted her scenes flawlessly and even kept the troll face <3.

      Show Spoiler ▼

      Show Spoiler ▼

    27. I kept getting the vibe that Eren actually DID fail the test and the instructor is just being secretly nice and gave him a second chance to redeem himself cause:-
      1) even after getting a new belt he still seem to be struggling unlike the others, even though he apparently should be set apart in terms of skill from the rest cause he trained on faulty equipment.
      2) the up close shot of his ‘rusted’ belt is still shining without a single indication of rust
      3) the instructor knows his dad..

      Just sayin..

    28. I’m not very impressed with this series so far. The thing that’s keeping me from really enjoying the anime is the unnatural feel although I’m not sure whether it’s the characters or just the nature of the setting itself. Since ep 1, I got this vibe that something was off and ep 2 did it again. I guess one of my quirks was the pacing of the introduction. I am not a fan of time skips so whenever something like this happens and usually after a moment of great tension, it leaves me feeling uneasy. Other than that, I think the characters are the other problem. For some reason, I feel some of the interactions are either forced or contrived. I.e potato girl is funny but the way the interactions are pulled off between her and the other characters feel out of place(reminds me of Dan Eagleman in GC). It’s this same vibe I get when I see Eren interacting with other characters. I hope they develop his character because right now, to me he’s just a whiny version of Naruto.

      1. Anyone who believes that, i have several wonders of the world i would like to sell you. From the pyramids to the great wall of china. All at affordable prices from ten euros/USD and up. Also i can sell you the moon or the milky way galaxy for just a hundred euros/USD.

        An easy check of google turns up hoax, fake, photoshop…

    29. “Man what the hell did you swipe on my shirt man !!!”

      “My faith in humanity”


      I cracked laughing .. that was just priceless (his facial expression was gold too) XD

      And Potato girl was amazing too .. she gives the drill instructor a tiny piece of the potato and says “here .. have half of it” .. lols .. she clearly has few screws loose .. but i still like her a lot XD, i really love how this episode made up for the lack of action with great character interactions and humor (although i didn’t even expect a story like this would have any humor .. well .. considering Berserk manages to pull that off without ruining it’s grim mood i don’t see any reason why Attack on Titan can’t XD

      And i’m still wondering what could possibly be in the basement of Eren’s house till now .. wonder how long will they keep this a secret XD


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