「特別作戦班 ―反撃前夜②―」 (Tokubetsu Sakusen Han ―Hangeki Zenya (2)―)
“The Special Ops Squad ―Prelude to the Counterattack (2)―”
Before we start things off this week, let’s take some bets for how many parts this prelude will last. 3? 4? 5 episodes? TAKE YOUR PICK! Going once, going twice.
Jokes aside, one of the more important things when joining a new group/organization is first impressions. Generally, this applies mostly to the person joining or trying to enter it… but sometimes, it’s equally important to give the newbie a positive impression so you know, they’ll actually stay. But hey, I guess when you’re in the Special Ops branch of the Recon Corps, it doesn’t really matter much does it? I mean, no cares if you almost kill yourself biting your tongue as long as you got 39 Titan Kills (and 9 Assists!) on your belt, right!?
With that said, this week brings with it the introduction of the remainder of Levi’s Squad (see Petra Ral, Auruo Bossard, Erd Gin, and Gunther Schultz), as well as the re-introduction of various other members as well (see Hanji etc.). And as a fan of such “introductory” episodes—especially if the group’s full of “freaks” like this one is—I quite liked this episode. There’s just something about seeing the main character reconcile reality with his initial expectations that makes it fun to watch, and it’s likely that Eren in particular won’t be forgetting his first impressions of the Recon Corps anytime soon—especially considering he’ll be shoved in a basement to sleep from now on as well.
Still, the first impressions go far beyond just the Recon Corps this week, as Eren finds out the hard way that there’s more than meets the eye in the background. Indeed, the killing of the live Titan subjects highlight the politics (and potential conspiracies) behind everything going on so far, and it really goes to show that the enemy isn’t so much the Titans as it is other humans as well. I mentioned this last week already, but the suffering just never ends, and it’ll be a wonder if they don’t end up killing each other off at some point even if they somehow successfully eliminate the Titan threat.
While we’re on the Titans, it was quite the surprise that this week also gave us a bit of information in regards to the experimentation done on whatever live subjects the soldiers have managed to get, and what they’ve found out regarding them (apparently they’re all like Superman and power up using the Sun). The bit about the body parts being much lighter than they should be was especially interesting in particular, as it notably addressed the question many people had about how they’re able to stand in the first place.
As nice as the aforementioned was though, all of it pales when compared to how it was presented through the insane Hanji’s perspective. After all, when you got someone who has faces like this, causes heart attacks (and vomiting) for those guarding her and the Titan subjects day after day, and screams in place of Titans being tortured, you got a recipe for some epic win. Indeed, the entire sequence just ends up ridiculously funny—especially when Eren finds out that one should never ask her about the gritty details. The bit where Hanji says “sadly communication proved impossible” while putting on a troll face just put icing on the cake, as did the part where she named the individual Titans too.
In the end though, all the above just highlights how the Recon Corps are a kind of haven for freaks, which arguably makes them the most human out of any other group. Considering how messed up this world is, you’d be abnormal NOT to be kookoo/broken/weird in some way, and it arguably shows how each individual member has really grown to overcome whatever respective traumas they may have had initially. Looking forward, there’s definitely some crazy times ahead. One just wonders how many parts we’ll get for this “prelude” though…