「原初的欲求 ―トロスト区攻防戦⑨―」 (Gensho Teki Yokkyu ―Torosuto Ku Kobo Sen ⑨―)
“Basic Needs ―Defense of Trost (9)―”

Weeks of reduced pacing has finally led to this climactic episode in the defense of Trost, and it’s arguably been worth it. Granted, it’s difficult to say anything’s worth the length of time it took to develop this, but the general thing is that people keep watching this series because they expect something epic to come from it all… and that patience has been rewarded this week as Eren finally responds and picks up the @#$%! boulder.

To that end, what commences is an all or nothing fight to ensure he survives to complete his objective… and it’s something that really makes things even more desperate than they were before. And as desperate times call for desperate measures, we got Jean salving (yes, this apparently means the same thing as salvaging actually) maneuver gear from a dead comrade, Connie kicking Titans to distract em’… and dozens upon dozens of soldiers literally sacrificing themselves via the use of themselves as lures to distract the Titans from Eren. Combine that all together and we get nearly 10 straight minutes of adrenaline rush induced carnage… epicness matched notably by the budget expended on this episode, which is likely the reason behind the slight, occasional decrease in animation quality in past weeks.

All in all though, Eren’s quote…

“When we’re born, all of us are free.
People who deny that, no matter how strong they are, don’t matter.
The burning water, the land of ice… I don’t care.
Anyone who saw such things would be the freest person in the world.
Who would value their life over something like that?
No matter how terrifying the world is, it doesn’t matter!
However cruel the world may be…
It doesn’t matter!

…just captures this episode better than anything else, and I really don’t know what else to say here. The aforementioned quote, combined with all the death and destruction we get this week, just come to a head with humanity’s first successful operation against the Titans. To say that I got chills was an understatement (heck, I even teared up a bit at the end of the fight)… and again, while it’s hard to say the wait has definitely been worth it… it sure at least feels like it. The superb insert vocal in particular added even more GARRR to the moment and really, it was like humanity just screaming out that “WE’RE HERE, WE’RE ALIVE, AND WE’LL KEEP FIGHTING!” Indeed, their success goes to show that the many deaths that came before this moment were not in vain, and it’s a damn spectacular episode for emotional release… especially with the return of the Recon Corps (how about that epic Levi?)… and their exceptionally fitting Wings of Freedom (AMERICA, *** YEAH! < -- Not PG-13.) symbol highlighting the end of the fighting.

Still as it turns out, even with their first real victory… the suffering never stops. Marco is found dead, two days of corpse recovery still hasn’t recovered everyone, and there’s a realistic chance that failure to properly dispose of their bodies could start a secondary catastrophe via an epidemic. Talk about suffering. But that’s what this war is about. There’s no time to sit there and mourn. All you can do is continue pushing forward. Once you win, then you can sit back and survive. Until then, you fight for those that have fallen and those who have yet to be born…

…and that’s what Eren gets a chance to do especially, now that he’s officially been accepted as a part of the Recon Corps due to Levi’s help. To that end, it’s amazing how similar both of them are personality wise, and it’s just exceptionally fitting to see that both of their fates have crossed like this at this point in time. Beneath everything though, it goes without saying that there’s nothing like the twisted irony of relying on a Titan to defeat the Titans, but it looks like that’ll have to do—especially if they want to somehow find a way back to the Jaegers’ basement. Interestingly enough though… even though we’ve been told this before, I can’t help but suddenly feel like the fact that Eren’s dad being currently missing being mentioned again will play a key part in this (perhaps he was involved in some kind of Titan related plot?)… though it might just be me grasping at straws at this point.

Either way, it’s just a damn spectacular episode… which makes next week all the more disappointing, as it the recap episode makes its way in between the change in airing seasons. Notably, due to the nature of this episode, I likely will not be covering it at all, so it’s likely that the next Shingeki post will be in two weeks instead. Until then!

Author’s Note:

  • As usual, there will be a zero tolerance policy on spoilers. Spoilers should generally not be written in general if it can be avoided and any spoilers should have a comment detailing what kind of spoiler it is and should be in response to a query. Those found violating this will find their comment deleted and multiple violations (in the form of comment deletions) will lead to bans. Note though, when deletions of the offending comment are removed, so will accompanying replies. This does not mean that those whose accompanying replies are at risk of being banned, unless they also violate the rule in some way.



    1. Definitely a pretty tense episode (would any main characters die or not) and requiring a lot of faith from the others in Eren to finish his task despite the earlier perceived “failure”. And they’re not even done yet! They only barely managed to secure one wall at the cost of over two hundred lives and almost nine hundred wounded (and who knows how severely). Now they’re going to have to secure Wall Rose in order to gain access to Eren’s (demolished) house and the basement for something they hope can lead to answers, but will probably end up leading to MORE questions.

      This is also assuming that the Colossal and Armored Titans don’t suddenly show up out of nowhere again to screw things up.

      And when they had to cut Eren out of his Titan body, for a split second, I thought he had both legs cut off (given his lower body was stuck inside).

    2. Gotta love a big blow action episode out just before a break but at least there was no cliffhanger. Better two weeks than like Valvrave where we have to wait 4 months for the next season.

    3. That epic moment where everything is epic.. epic scene, epic music, epic quote, epic sacrifices, epic success. Epicception ~~~

      On a side note, can’t wait for Monogatari S2!

      Senjougahara Hitagi
        1. 13.5?!? so it doesn’t exactly count in the 25 episode planned? so we’re getting 14 – 25? Niiiiice!

          Also can’t wait for the 2nd arc, although I’m guessing it’ll start off a bit slow for 2-3 episodes… but definitely should be faster paced than the first 13 episodes.

    4. This episode just kept jerking me around in every direction possible.

      -The fear of Jean being eaten by the Titan.
      -Connie and Annie’s recklessly trying to save Jean.
      -Mitabi’s group luring the Titans on GROUND LEVEL, no 3D gear or anything
      -Riko slicing the hell out of that Titan’s eye
      -Eren securing the boulder at the gate, humanity’s first victory!
      -Armin and Eren about to get eaten by the two Titans
      -Levi saving them, an epic animation sequence (wings of freedom, recon corps… must be the fact that they venture out of the walls…?!)
      -All the dead bodies, Marco!!!!!
      -Suspense building with Eren in the dungeon…

      This episode was absolutely perfect. Ah…

    5. You could not ask for a more badass entrance from Corporal Levi, spinning and felling multiple Titans like it was nothing, and then turning around to ask “The hell’s going on here, brats?!” as though he had just come across some playground quarrel between little kids.

      Next week would be a recap for Studio WIT to hopefully recharge their batteries. You could clearly see they’re stretched thin after 13 episodes of near epic animation, what with the longer than usual episode recap prior to the OP more often seen in shounen manga adaptations like Naruto and Bleach (nearly 1.30 mins long, meaning it wasn’t till the 5:00 mark that the episode truly began).

      As well as an obscene number of still shots used, to the point of it being awkward and confusing to the viewer (prime example being the close shot of Annie for about 3-4 seconds while Jean was trying to escape to safety, what exactly was she doing again?)

      1. I wouldn’t call NINE episodes for “The Battle of Trosk” to be “epic”. Instead of “Against the Giants” this anime has been “The Battle of Trosk with flashbacks”.

    6. After setting up a lot of death flags, Marco has finally met his demise. And the biggest insult? We didn’t even how it happens. Seeing how he didn’t ended as Titans’ puke, I’m hoping that it’s a heroic death.

      And Annie’s reaction at the end is rather odd (manga readers know what I’m talking about) for me. A hint for future manga chapter? I hope that’s the case.

    7. I can’t help but to notice that despite the epicness throughout the whole episode, there were moments when the animation quality seemed off to such point that I wondered if I’m watching an incomplete episode or a broken video o.O When Annie supposedly saved Jean, I was like ‘wat happen?!’, also, there were times when the frame rate dropped so much that it turned into ‘almost stills’, but instead just seemed laggy :/ This annoyed me a little, nevertheless, I’ve had chills whole time. Mind you, I read manga yet the anime is able to make me excited every week.

    8. Is it just me, or did we have some major issues with animation quality in this episode? A lot of stills, and it looked like it lagged on a few occasions… Also, when Eren was carrying the builder, he stepped on some tiles or bricks, and they were purple… WTF? I know that a lot of other viewers noticed it too, so can anyone tell me what the hell happened here? Cause it was irritating as f***

      1. I found these purple tiles also strange. I suppose the color was a place holder by the people who drew the general scene for the later coloring process. But obviously the animation colorists forget/missed them.

      2. Yeah, surprised that Zephyr made no mention about the QUALIY that was showing, this time by frame rate drops and the sound sometimes not matching to what was actually shown. I enjoyed this final episode of the arc, but it’s really a shame that this series doesn’t have the same budget/work power behind it as, let’s say, SOA.

        1. Mmm, I did mention it a bit via the “notably by the budget expended on this episode, which is likely the reason behind the slight, occasional decrease in animation quality in past weeks.”

          Generally what’s being done is the budget’s being saved and expended on singular scenes (like Jean moving through the city this week), and the “less important scenes” get slightly less in the animation department. I’m personally fine with it, and having dealt with (and covered) series that have had literally low budget all throughout (Total Eclipse comes to mind) and other series that had occasional (REALLY TERRIBLE) dips in quality (P-P had a few such episodes)… I don’t really feel that the animation drop really matters that much if the content reflected in the episode is worth it, there are some scenes that they’re obviously saving what remains of their budget for, and/or if it’s not to the level of quality I’ve seen in shows like the aforementioned.

          Granted, it’s a pity there are animation drops regardless, but as I’ve seen a lot worse and seeing as I get why it’s happening… I don’t really feel the need to make that much of a point about it. Interestingly enough, from what I’ve heard, the budget is actually pretty huge for this series… so it really goes down to just how money consuming the animation is for a series like this (with the style it has), which is another reason why I don’t really heed much attention to it.

          P.S. Regarding the purple tiles, I’m wouldn’t be so quick to chock that up to animation fail. Seemed too obvious to be one, and if it was just left in, stuff like this doesn’t usually come animated in purple as their base color.

    9. It’s sad that this episode, being as awesome as it is, showed the severe consequences of budget and/or time constraints. There are a lot of scenes missing which were covered with unrelated stills, and another lot of unfinished visuals. I do hope they use some of the extra time of this week to actually finish the episode (for the Blu-Ray release) and really polish Episode 14, since it’s 2 weeks away.

    10. The quality isn’t that bad, the animation is still better than most anime. My only complain about the quality is Annie and Jean’s missing scenes, since it’s just confusing.

      But what I’m wondering is why didn’t Marco and Connie tried to kill the titans, they are in the top 10. Attacking from behind should be safer than flying in front of the titan or bumping into their head, no?

      1. Don’t get me started. The lack of tactics and organization is just appalling. It was just as bad when they were trying to protect Jean. Why not take the bastards out instead of just trying to distract them? They had good shots at the nape of their necks since the Titans were concentrating elsewhere and they didn’t use their opportunities. Sad.

      2. You make a good point about the visual quality. Sadly, I’ve seen worse recently, and not just one episode, but for an entire series. Perhaps overly optimistic, but I bet that stuff gets fixed on the BD edition. At least that should be the case. As for your other comment regarding Marco and Connie, I agree in principle, but consider the following:

        (1) Top 10 in the class is a far cry from being a veteran. Scared silly in their first battle after watching their comrades being eaten one after with little, if any, damage to the enemy is not surprising – especially given the fact there is no veteran leadership within the group. That was a major mistake by those in charge. Overall, unit organization leaves a lot to be desired in many aspects.

        (2) They might kill some titans, but not all, and slowing down to attack (they would slow down/alter course to some extent to make a lateral cut) puts many who survive at greater risk for counter-attack (i.e death). Sometimes, it’s just better to retreat – the faster the better. One of those risk/reward scenarios.

        (3) As Bear rightfully points out, there is a severe lack of emphasis on tactics in general such as standardized coordinated attacks. AFAIK, there’s no training at all in that regard. So for terrified rookies in such a chaotic situation, I can easily envision mid-air collisions (again combat =/= training), two or more attacking the same titan rather than properly assigning individual targets (thus more titans left free to counter-attack), etc. Corollary to point #2 above.

        What I found most confusing by far in this episode was the comment about how canons killed most of the titans in the clean up phase. Huh!? That’s a MUCH different result than we’ve seen from prior battles, and conflicts with the previous overall impression that canon fire is an inefficient method best suited for potentially delaying and disabling titans. Why didn’t they use these successful tactics before? If canons actually are an effective means of killing titans, why wasn’t there greater emphasis on developing canon tech along side 3D Gear? There’s no rule you can’t develop both technologies at the same time. Having a hard time reconciling all of this.

        1. Definitely agree on the points that you made daikama. Training is typically a far cry from actual combat, especially amidst giant regenerating humanoid carnivores with a preference for human flesh. I think it really hammers down that one epiphany Eren had back in training camp: That most of the recruits were training how to kill titans so that they could take on positions that would take them the furthest away from the titans. None of the recruits (save for Eren and perhaps a few others) had any real desire to actually engage the titans. That mind set along with witnessing the death and carnage of their comrades perpetuated the flight over fight.

          With the Recon Corps the only group to repeatedly seek and engage titans, the lack of tactics does not surprise me. The complacency of the Stationary Guard and the belief that the walls would protect them indefinitely coupled with 100 years of no enemy contact has definitely stagnated the development of their armed forces. It would also be one of the reasons for not bothering with further developing their cannon and fire arms technology.

          We saw a few episodes back that rifles can be used effectively in a coordinated assault. If they were of a mind, rifle units utilizing modified 3D gear could be developed and tasked to specifically target and blind titans while the blade armed 3D gear soldiers give the killing blow.

          With regards to the sudden effectiveness of the canons, I think it was simply that they finally found themselves in a tactically superior position without having to worry about further incursions from additional titans. The breached gate had been secured, the titans already within Trost had been lured to a corner of the district, the cannons along with wall (I would imagine most of not all the cannons along the district wall) had been repositioned for concentrated strikes, and there was no immediate threat to the inner gate leading into Wall Rose territory. So they had the advantage of time to move all the cannons and firing directly downwards at relatively close range using high explosives.

          This is opposed to firing in relatively small numbers (limited to the few cannons in that local area of the wall/gate) at advancing titans in what would be unintentional staggered formation. If the engagements were pre-wall time, then the canons would have been ground based and well…you could probably imagine how those forces would be overwhelmed eventually.

          It was the first time they had that type of advantage and the circumstance would be difficult to replicate. Had the inner gate been breached for whatever reason, then the effectiveness of the canon would have eventually been neutralized as the titans broke out into the open territory of Wall Rose.

          They should take note of the circumstances and dig a giant ditch around the gate much larger and deeper than what they had already dug. The bridge leading to the gate should be made to retract, collapse, or blown up during a gate breach. The number of cannons facing inside the walls and on top of the gate increased and another raised cannon emplacement built on the other side of the ditch facing the gate.

        2. @diakama, RifuloftheWest
          Yes, even trained soldiers will break or freeze when confronted by actual combat, but then these troops were never actually well trained or organized for the type of combat they were meant to endure. The decadence and complacency of the Stationary Guard I don’t think excuses the Recon Legion’s lack of tactics. Remember too that it’s been, what, five years since the gate was breached? They have done nothing to improve their ability to fight back. All they’ve done is send people to their deaths, probably with malice of forethought to reduce their population pressures.

          Even with the situation they had, why weren’t they positioning and using some of the cannon to create a “Cordon Sanitare” around the area where Eren and the troops were, to take out at least some of the Titansheading in that direction? Few, if any of their tactics seem to be coordinated. Individual combat, whether by the troopers or the artillery seems to be the norm.

        3. In regards to the tactics, I just also wanted to add that one of the things is that training in general is a lot more theory than actual substance here in Shingeki, and in many ways, the fact they’ve been even able to train people with actual skill is more so due to those people’s natural talent than it is due to the training.

          I mean, from what we’ve seen, even their in forest anti-Titan training was done with immobile (and non-menacing) targets, and there’s just nothing really remotely close to actual Titan combat in their training routine. Ultimately what this ends up with are people who freeze up/fail/panic in their first battle (or if they somehow survive on pure instinct, will lead them to their death soon enough either way), and it’s something that makes it so that even if you have some kind of formation or tactic, it’ll likely be broken just a few minutes into the fight because the soldiers you’re leading are just torn apart by fear (and the realization that their training is nothing like the real thing).

          To that end, even if you manage to get some generalized tactic, you’re likely losing a lot of people really fast as well, which also makes it hard to coordinate any strategy when the average survival time of a soldier is like… a few minutes or something. To top things off, the low survival rate makes it so only a small percentage of soldiers actually survive to carry over their experience to future battles, so… it just gets worse and worse as more people die.

          Also, one of the big things for me is that when you’re flying around at such speeds and making these split second decisions against enemies (also of huge number) that can kill you with one shot… I feel like you can’t really even do much in terms of tactics/strategy in the field even if you tried. You can try to set up an overall goal for people, but the situations in the field change so fast that tactics are typically not viable after a short period of time. In addition, one can also argue that the whole point of the maneuver gear is for well, maneuvering… so you’re always moving from one thing to the next most of the time. With no communications gear between soldiers as they fight over a large area and constant movement, you’re just never going to have to coordination we have here with our real-life militaries.

          Lastly, regarding the Recon Legion, from what we’ve seen way back in the beginning, it seems like they do indeed have some tactics (and they seem to have used it to some success(… but even if you can clean out the area, it doesn’t change the fact that you’re still losing probably at least a quarter of your group regardless. So no matter what tactics or however great your best guys are, even they would be forced to retreat pretty quickly.

        4. @RifuloftheWest:

          – I agree that there would be less motivation to develop weaponry during the 100 interlude, but given that 3D Gear was developed during that time, it’s hard to imagine that no meaningful progress had occurred with any other weaponry. Much harder to believe is that during the past five years, in which the situation was more critical then in the past 100+ years, there was NO advancement in ANY weaponry. It makes no sense to me at all – even if the 3D Gear has been “perfected”. It’s not like they can only pursue one type of weapon technology at a time. With humanity facing extinction, you literally try anything and everything.

          – Same reasoning for tactics & strategy. Even if the 100 years of false peace grants a pass for being lazy about defensive tactics, there’s ZERO excuse for the past five years. That concept goes against much of RL history. It’s not too much to expect some meaningful tactical and strategic adaptation during that period – especially given that what they have been doing hasn’t worked out so well.

          – JMO, but shoulder arms (excluding AT weaponry like a Bazooka or Panzerfaust) are not going to cut it. It’s like elephant hunting with a long bow – a regenerating elephant. What we saw a few eps ago was something that works only in very limited circumstances, and as noted in the anime, very risky (requires perfect timing of kill strikes). Keep in mind those are smooth-bore, muzzle-loading, FLINT LOCK muskets. Even with much more modern rifles (say 1898 Mauser to be reasonable), IMO you’re still better off focusing primarily on development of cannons or infantry level AT weaponry. Such weapons can kill a titan at a distance rather than just temporarily disabling one, thus requiring another to risk melee combat to finish it off.

          Had the inner gate been breached for whatever reason, then the effectiveness of the canon would have eventually been neutralized as the titans broke out into the open territory of Wall Rose.

          True, but that’s a separate issue. Whether they counter-attack by 3D Gear equipped Legionnaires/Scouts or cannons, the hole in the wall still remains. The issue is why didn’t they use tactics which greatly enhanced the effectiveness of their cannons before when such tactics were readily available for use long ago? JMO, but I don’t think the titans would have acted differently towards the bait (i.e. large number of troops purposefully grouped together) had the hole not been plugged. The real risk is that over time, “abnormal” titans adapt to those tactics (learn to not take the bait), or the colossal/armored titan(s) decide to show up and ruin the party. That being said, the defenders should be working non-stop to improve/develop cannons and other weaponry anyway so that advances in technology pave the way for as effective, if not more effective, new tactics as current ones become outdated.

          – RE suggested tactics: As you say, given current cannon technology the best bet is indeed to create situations where titans are packed together like canned sardines and let loose with as much fire power as they can bring. Ditches/moats are good too – as long as you don’t leave the bloody bridge intact. Sorry, but I totally LMAO when I saw that – partly because some titans were too stupid to use the bridge. Destroying the bridge is kind of important as is concentrating cannons on either side to bring interlocking crossfire.

          There are a lot of other things to suggest, but at the tl;dr point as is.

        5. @ Zephyr

          And that’s really the point. Their training stinks. Unit tactics are a force multiplier. You can do more as a group than you can individually, but their tactics (such as they are) are based around individuals operating by themselves. You only have so many Levi’s or Mikasa’s. Using some troops to blind, incapacitate the Titans while the top swordsmen finish them off seems to me to be a no brainer. Couple that with stand off weapons (their gas technology for example) would certainly reduce the casualty rates significantly, but they haven’t figured that out in five years? Maybe if Pixis put his flask away and started thinking like about how to actually defeat Titans. The OP is really ironic up till now. “We are the hunters”? More like “we are Titan snacks”.

    11. I think I just lost a part of my stomach watching this episode. I can’t find any words to describe how much I felt my insides tearing up every second.. dammit, I am a very sentimental person these days, I cried at the scene when he realized Marco was dead, and everyone else’s reaction towards the dead soldiers. That was too much for me, but I wonder how it’ll be when Eren joins the Recon Corps, I can see myself exploding by then -_-;

      1. The main idea is probably “better to fall to his death rather than being a Titan’s snack”. It’s already been 13 episodes they keep reminding us at every occasion that Titans are like very very scary while not so much about falling.

    12. I feel really bad for Rico, she is an bad ass character for sure but she lost so many comrades leaving her alone with Armin and Mikasa.

      I teared up when Mitabi and his squad were running away after getting the titans their attention and it became worse when Ian did the same thing as Eren did for Armin by saving his comrade, I feel such an cry baby.

    13. Just got to mention that I love how they handled fillers in this ep. Now that’s how you put in fillers (I’m not talking about the stills, and sudden cut/transitions).

      Non-manga readers would probably have no idea what they were looking at were actually fillers. The fillers actually not only add but support already established lore, and assist in both character development and driving the story forward.

      Major kudos

    14. Commander Pixis is probably one of the best commanders I’ve seen in an anime in a long while. While everyone was gasping at the success of the mission, Pixis immediately ordered a rescue attempt for the elite squad probably knowing that most of them were dead already because he owed them at least that after sending them on that suicide mission. Eccentric or not, he knows where his priorities lie.

    15. @Bear – agree, see comment above.

      @ Zephyr:
      Ultimately what this ends up with are people who freeze up/fail/panic in their first battle…

      True which is why you have veterans leaders for rookie squads. In RL, no military force sends untested rookies all on their own. Consider what happened on Omaha Beach. The first wave’s officers and NCOs were utterly decimated. Literally a couple of Sgt. left. The second wave fared slightly better. However, as new NCOs and officers continued to land (ex. Gen. Cota), frozen troops responded to commands and started making progress. One Omaha vet even commented to the effect that those frozen, huddled troops were simply waiting for someone to take command and lead them. Another D-Day vet recalled that once he saw some guys get up and survive passing over the shingle, he thought “if they can do it so can I”. He joined the next group that moved out.

      one of the big things for me is that when you’re flying around at such speeds and making these split second decisions against enemies…I feel like you can’t really even do much in terms of tactics/strategy in the field even if you tried.

      That’s why you train like hell in as close as possible conditions. You instinctively respond to commands or follow through on predetermined attack formations. Sure it’s faced paced, but so is aerial combat and formations and tactics are widely used there.

      With no communications gear between soldiers as they fight over a large area and constant movement, you’re just never going to have to coordination we have here with our real-life militaries.

      True. As a general principle you are obviously correct. Clearly modern comm tech is far, far superior to what they have. But it’s not an all or nothing situation. You don’t need video feeds or satellite link comm for effective combat comm. Hand signals could be used to make adjustments immediately prior to attack. Whistles used as a retreat signal. May sound stupid, but it could work, and a timely retreat can save lives. Proper training can make up for even a total lack of comm.

      During the Battle of Midway, one group of dive bombers didn’t get the targeting orders and dove on the wrong ship. The group behind them adjusted. Training and extensive briefings took over. The lead pilot realized the error, changed the target and dove on a different ship with the remainder of his group following in formation all w/o radio comm.

      Another example: Airborne troops were scattered all over Normandy for the D-Day invasion and radio comm was nonexistent b/c the field radios were either destroyed (bad drops/enemy fire) or just didn’t work. Yet, because troops were so well trained and briefed (again to quote another vet – “You were so well trained…you didn’t think. You just acted on instinct”), they set forth in small groups, or even on their own, and started to complete their assigned missions.

      Lastly, regarding the Recon Legion, from what we’ve seen way back in the beginning, it seems like they do indeed have some tactics (and they seem to have used it to some success…)

      Doesn’t that prove our point?

      …it doesn’t change the fact that you’re still losing probably at least a quarter of your group regardless. So no matter what tactics or however great your best guys are, even they would be forced to retreat pretty quickly.

      Maybe so, but if by constantly striving to use, improve, and properly adapt tactics, resulting casualties are lower, that’s still much better than the alternative – especially when considering your comment about how a great deal of success depends upon a natural talent few have. For example, if superior tactics and training allow Misaka to survive a situation in which she otherwise would not, forced retreat aside, that’s a much more favorable outcome than the alternative.

      1. Well the thing generally is there aren’t much veterans left alive in the first place sadly, and the best of the best are either sent out in the Recon (and die there or just aren’t around to help in case of attacks on the wall) or protecting the King in the safety of the last wall. Ideally you have a veteran leader, but at the same time it doesn’t change the fact that a lot of the soldiers in general are probably going to do terrible just because they’re just not good enough, or that bit of fear/reluctance they will have regardless will make it so they can’t perform up to the task.

        Generally yes, their training is lacking generally, but while you mention it can be better… I feel like you can say the opposite too… in terms of wondering how amazing it is they have anything at all, considering how theoretically there isn’t a single non-Recon veteran that’s fought a Titan still alive (107 years ago was their last meeting). That and for me, it feels like there’s not much they can really do to give them that actual taste of what it means to fight a Titan either… no matter what kind of training routine you try. All you can really do is give the guys as much experience with the maneuver gear as you can, make them have the (ridiculous) physical stamina needed to use it, try to instill some kind of discipline during this training, hopefully assign some kind of veteran to each squad (which is likely less than the # of squads there are in the first place), and go from there.

        Anyway though, the thing for me is that in a lot of the cases of recent recruits in general… a lot of them are likely being thrown into the fire faster than many of them would normally be, and it’s contributing to a lot of the issues we’re having here. Cadets (trainees) were thrown in to the recent battle for instance, and it just highlights how hard it is to get them to complete training, let alone survive the battle and come back alive to tell the tale.

        Shifting over to the “use to some success,” part… the point I’m trying to make is that there are tactics and when done with the best of the best (which the Recon squad is), they tend to work alright. But even then the tactics are of limited effectiveness (as the Recon Squad’s losses and inability to gain ground demonstrates). When you apply this to typical soldiers guarding the garrisons and what not… and well, it reasons that these tactics will be even less effective with them, just because they’re not as good typically, and they can’t use the tactics to maximum efficiency. Another thing to note is that typically the best of the best seem to actually do most of their work solo, which seems to lend credence to the fact that tactics in general (while they may increase survival slightly for the average soldier) tend not to work or are easily disrupted to the point where it may just be better in some (or most) cases for each individual to decide on his/her own what’s their next best course of action. Basically, the problem isn’t the tactics per se, but that they can rarely be implemented properly and that not many people are capable of thinking on their feet like the best of the best… especially if their squad leader or mate they depend on dies in combat, which is very likely the case in many battles. There’s only so much that training can do in situations like this.

        As for the bits like hand signals and what not… your hands are already full typically with the trigger for the maneuver gear and the swords, so you can’t really do anything else with them if you’re in a zone heavily infested with Titans. The only thing you’d have is your voice, which is limited in its carry distance, and again highlights their lack of communication tech being a big issue. In terms of general retreats, they have used signal flares and what not to get people out of the way, so it’s not as if they’re not at least doing that.

        The basic point is that if you’re really in the midst of Titans that are dynamic, moving targets and surrounding you and all you have is your voice to coordinate tactics, it’s reasonable why a lot of the things we see are soldiers in disarray… just because they can’t do much about it, and because it’s likely that even their best tactics wouldn’t account for the casualty rate (or the death of their squad leader especially). On that note, part of the reason our main cast does better than the typical soldier is precisely because they’re more skilled naturally and because they have survived long enough/bought themselves enough time to actually afford that extra time on rooftops to see what they should do next.

        As for the Normandy analogy, you do have to note that there are occasional blocs of small groups of soldiers working together here in Shingeki. I’ve definitely seen many instances of this.

        Overall, I feel like there are definitely tactics. It doesn’t look like it, but it’s mostly because they just typically can’t be implemented well at all. A large part of it may be due to a lack of training, but at the same time you can’t really expect people that haven’t fought Titans for 107 years to be prepared… and there’s so much you can do to train against a real Titan in the first place. Being disciplined and trained is one thing… but actually being able to apply it to a scenario whose reality is total different compared to your training is a another story. I get what you mean when you real-life military equivalents here… but at the same time I just don’t feel like it’s that easy to just compare real-life to Shingeki, just because we just haven’t dealt with something like the Titan threat, let alone possess the low level of technological prowess they had.

        1. @Zephyr:

          To be clear, I’m NOT suggesting Shingeki lacks any tactics whatsoever. In terms of training and particularly non-elite forces, IMO what tactics have been displayed so far are sorely lacking. Also, it’s impossible for me to go into sufficient detail to address all of your points let alone comment about related elements such as the Garrison (cannon troops). Hopefully what’s below will at least make my rationale clearer.

          You make a very good point re: hand signals. My example was geared towards pre-attack adjustments when they wouldn’t be flying around just yet. Second, you also make a good point about the availability of veterans. However, that still doesn’t mean a better job of organization couldn’t be done. Furthermore, there is NO reason veterans couldn’t pass on valuable experience via training classes. WWII veteran pilots often mimicked dogfights using just their hands, and rookies did benefit from such knowledge. However it works out, as soon as the cut is made, daily/weekly classes held by available veterans could be part of training. Hold night classes if needed.

          …the best of the best seem to actually do most of their work solo…

          True, but by definition, the “best of the best” is a very small percentage. Good tactics, drilled to the point of instinct allow much more common, less talented soldiers to not only make a greater contribution, but also survive to become much needed veterans. Misaka & Levi can do their own thing if that fits the situation the best.

          Basically, the problem isn’t the tactics per se, but that they can rarely be implemented properly and that not many people are capable of thinking on their feet like the best of the best….

          I guess I didn’t explain well via examples and quotes. Proper training comprises of physical, weapon/equipment AND tactical training. Shingeki training lacks the last part. The first is obvious, the second is how to use your weapon/equipment (e.g. practicing maneuvers w/ 3D Gear and sword). Tactical training = your role and what you are supposed to do in conjunction with others. A simple example is fire and movement. You may think that tactics are too complicated for something like Shingeki, but that’s not the case because the overall strategy is broken down into each person’s role. You train and train to perform that specific function under a variety of conditions. There’s no “thinking”. You simply do what you were trained to do even if things don’t go as expected or you’re scared. You run on “auto-pilot”. That’s what those vet comments above were about. It doesn’t work for everyone, but if done right, it works for most and the end result is a much better situation than without such training.

          I’ll try to use the fake wood titan training scene in Shingeki as an example. In the anime, we see Jean, Connie and Sasha fight over the same target rather than work together. That’s a recipe for disaster. Connie had to pull up and stop to avoid Sasha racing in for the kill. Jean wasn’t in any better position having been surprised by Connie. Had Sasha failed to kill the titan, (as you note titans move/are dynamic), Connie and Jean are in defensibly poor positions with one likely titan chow.

          Now we assign roles based on their skills (going off instructor commentary) and add some very simple tactics. Jean is the “spotter” and leader. Connie is the “vanguard” – first to engage, and Sasha is the “closer” who will make the killing strike. Upon spotting a titan, Jean alerts the others. All 3 check for other titans to avoid ambush. Practice had only one so I’ll go with that. Jean gives the signal to engage (Connie & Sasha trained to stick close so no comm issues). Immediately, Connie and Sasha split apart before making their attacks from different angles. Connie leads first distracting the target, and if prudent, attempts a disabling strike. Sasha started right after Connie and should be approaching from a blind spot created by Connie’s attack. That should notably increase chances for a kill. Connie’s agility should allow him to escape unharmed as Sasha finishes off the titan. Meanwhile, Jean is prepared to follow through if needed (and prudent to do so) along with watching out for other titans.

          ALL this happens with just one brief signal. Jean might simply nod his head. After that training takes over. Sasha’s inability to follow directions is a disciplinary matter, not a tactical one, and is corrected as such. Please Note: This is an EXTREMELY simple example and FAR from the best tactical options or unit organization. Furthermore, clearly tactical adjustments are often required as combat situations are fluid. Like I said, the topic is impossible to adequately address in this format. Still, I think such very simple tactics are better than non-elite/best of the best soldiers charging in randomly to attack. We saw that, and the result was titan chow. To tie in with above, such tactics and training IMO reduce (NOT eliminate) fear because a big part of fear is not knowing what to do. This is consistent with comments from combat veterans.

          If you still disagree (which I suspect is the case) – that’s fine. Agree to disagree, and thanks for the polite discussion.

        2. Mmm yeah. I get where you’re coming from eh. In some respects they could use some more training, but I suppose I’m just one of those guys that kinda believes that they’re lucky to even have the training they have, haha. Agree to disagree indeed. 😛

    16. I’m not where this complaint of lack tactics came from, but we have definitely seen them. Look at the previous episodes where 4 man squads are taking down Titans.

      Using Marco, Annie and Connie attempts to save Jean as an example of the opposite is silly. It was not what the scene was about and they probably weren’t even suppose to save him. They acted on their own and successfully accomplished that goal in an unorthodox situation, that all that really matters there.

      Iron Maw
    17. Besides once Eren closed the hole the rest of the human forces were able to defeat Titans so, clearly their tactics work once they aren’t dealing wirh unlimited numbers of giants.

      Iron Maw
      1. Sorry, what tactics? All they did was fire high explosive rounds from the walls until they had destroyed them. That’s just brute force. You can call it tactics if you want but that’s not what we’re referring to. Tactics involves coordinate efforts between individuals in groups. The only tactics I saw were troopers acting as bait before they got eaten. If they had coordinated their efforts they could have used that to allow their comrades to kill the Titans before they ate them. Instead all you got was needless sacrifice. And as for Marco, Annie and Connie, why did they bother to distract the Titan from Jean instead of just killing it while it was concentrating on Jean?

        You’lll have to show me where these four man squads are or at least give me an episode number. The most I’ve seen are multiple troopers attacking the same Titan. That’s not tactics, or at least they’re terribly poor tactics.

        1. Well, try to Hit a Small Spot (Neck) while in 3d gear (self moving) on a moving Titan (moving on its own), with only 1 Attack. So a bunch of “troopers” attacking the same Titan are more accurate then 1 alone…

      2. @Germanguy

        But that’s why you use a coordinated attack. Distract, blind, cut tendons, trip it, prevent the Titan from swatting the trooper who’s going for the kill. Use your best in the kill shot so you don’t have to do it the second time. That requires training, discipline and coordination and uses your troops to the best of their abilities. Just the same way a fighter pilot uses a wingman or infantry squad members have different responsibilities.


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