「応える ―トロスト区攻防戦⑥―」 (Kotaeru ―Torosuto Ku Kobo Sen ⑥―)
“Answer ―Defense of Trost (6)―”
Another week’s helping of Shingeki brings with it the harsh realities of war as we get a continued look into the insanity that is being a soldier in this universe. As we see in the opening moments of this episode, the fact remains that after awhile, you’re just glad you’re not the guy who’s died in the previous battle. That’s the reality. It’s not so much as losing emotion at the loss of friends or family as it is living in fear that you’ll be the next, and it’s something that ends up really being a self-fulfilling prophesy for the most part. Not only that, but the fact of the matter is that fear is something that spreads like wildfire too—a positive feedback loop of endless propagation. Just terrible, terrible stuff to say the least… and something that’s just compounded further with the existence of the ultimate x-factor (and potentially last straw that really could’ve sent a lot of people off the deep end)… the existence of a human who can transform into a Titan.
Continuing from last week, Eren manages to save Mikasa and Armin… but in another cruel twist, ends up potentially making things even worse then they ever were before. There’s nothing like the sadistic irony of saving your friends and potentially screwing yourself over in the process, and it’s something that our three childhood friends end up facing this week. At the very least though, this development ends up highlighting the fact that the next path of action is clear: they must get to the basement of the Jaeger residence. To that end though, Eren does make an interesting point. Why exactly was Eren’s father hiding things anyway? What is he hiding exactly that he can’t divulge so easily? There’s something terribly grim about all of this… and I can only shudder at the things he might’ve done to end up at the information he supposedly obtained.
Either way, the biggest thing here is how this is perhaps the turning point of the game so to speak. In many ways, Eren’s position in the military is forever changed (at least, how he’s viewed), and his dynamics with Mikasa have as well. He isn’t just a kid or little brother that needs her shielding him at every step. All of a sudden, he’s on equal (if not unequal) terms, and it’s something that they’ll need to deal with (I’m hoping they address this, anyway) in the future—especially in Mikasa’s case. In addition, there’s a big change for Armin as well, as he realizes that he’s no longer the same person he was at the beginning of this series, and that Eren and Mikasa consider him equivalent to them as well—trusting him with their lives in a significant and touching show of friendship.
Ultimately, Armin manages to reward that trust—mostly, anyway—albeit partially due to the “saved by the bell” type intervention from Dot Pixis. Generally, the fact he suddenly shows up in the nick of time after things have gone so far leaves me with a slightly “meh” impression… but I guess it’s nothing particularly significant in terms of how it’s a story element commonly used in many series. What does slightly make me flinch though, is how he just nonchalantly walks (ALONE!) with Eren, Armin, and Mikasa in the end. You can explain that with the fact he’s “eccentric” or “beyond our comprehension,” but that’s an insanely risky maneuver for someone of his stature. He’s undoubtedly scored a lot of points with the general viewer as a result (and I too, like how hip he is)—especially when contrasted with Verman—but it’s something that notably breaks from the otherwise realistic depiction of how people might react to a situation like this, no matter how calm/collected/experienced you are. As with before, it’s nothing particular significant in terms of being something that lowers my impression of the series as a whole, but it does admittedly irk me slightly.
Looking forward—again—the big thing here is that it’s a turning point in many ways this week, and Eren will seemingly get his chance to demonstrate his allegiance to the cause (and potentially score an insane amount of status) as a result. In addition, this is also undoubtedly significant in how humanity finally has something potentially effective against the Titans—to the point they can really launch some kind of proper offensive strike without an insane casualty rate. Still, while things are clearly on a uphill swing, I do find myself wondering if things will go as smoothly as expected. As this series has shown time and time again, the suffering just never stops, and there’s undoubtedly something on the horizon that’ll screw the pooch so to speak… or maybe, that’s just what they want you to think. Heh.