「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. SOLD.

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…

Author’s Notes:

  • 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.
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    Preview

    65 Comments

      1. Well, the best way to defeat a mighty enemy is get to know it better but Hanji´s level of entusiam for the titans goes far beyond that. I could be wrong but she might be the very first titan groupie ever.

        haseo0408
      1. Hanji is awsome but I can Asure you she´s the only human in that whole world crazy enough to get exited over examining a titan up close, way to close for my taste.

        haseo0408
    1. I feel sick for reasons I will not specifically disclose. It’s not the stomach churning feeling of seeing something disgusting but the heart dropping empty void of helplessness.

      Horus
    2. Zoe is already one of my favorite characters so far, lol.

      It’s just refreshing to see her kind of character in this otherwise dark and grim setting that only looks to be getting worse with each episode (much like how I enjoy Helen’s character, and others, in Claymore for those who read it). Not only that, but the fact that she started out like Eren and joining the Recon Corps and fighting the Titans solely out of hatred (for decades no less) only to turn out how she is simply by changing her view on things, as opposed to the common view everyone else, had makes her more relatable to Eren on a closer base level and, as we see, Eren seems to realize that (as well as how the whole group is in general) and starts to change his own viewpoint bit by bit when it comes to the Titans (especially since he partly IS one now).

      A lot of people, understandably, seem to have the impression that the Titans somehow meticulously, or at least maliciously, target humans for some sick fun or something, constantly forgetting that they’re, at least based on Zoe’s flashbacks, much more like wild animals following instincts. I mean, if you were to snatch a grown lion, tiger, or something out of its natural habitat and try to house-train it and such, the results wouldn’t be pretty.

      HalfDemonInuyasha
    3. Rather than freaks or weirdos, I would think of the Special Ops of the Recon Corps more as quirky. Hanji’s obsession with Titans, Levi being a neat freak, Mike smelling people, Auruo biting his tongue and seemingly talking like Levi. Sure it’s “weird” and “freaky” but I find those to have much more negative connotation than quirky.

      Some interesting points of this episode were when…
      -Mike tells Eirwen to cut the crap (pretty much) and tell him what’s going on, but he merely replies with a you’ll find out later…
      -The Titans bodies are really light for their size
      -after Sawney and Bean were killed, Eirwen asks Eren who Eren thinks the enemy is. Now why would he ask that?!

      Also, props to gg for translating the name as Sawney since that is the reference that Hanji is making, and I was actually able to look something up versus when I read scanlations that spelled it as Sonny.

      Jel
        1. If Automails existed in Shingeki, they would do a great service to all the soldiers fighting the Titans (e.g. replacing missed body parts, improving defense and agility, weaponry, ecc).

          StarFang
    4. Dammit! Those freakishly upclose Hanji moments with the titan bites made my stomach heavier, gosh! Though the most prevailing part for me this episode, aside from the apron-levi opening the window, is Smith’s words to Eren. Was it to test Eren’s loyalty? or was it implying that the titans and all those killings are nothing but a higher-ups plan all along, I want to know!!!!!!!! Thanks for your review, M.

      Mi-Chan
    5. 1. Listening to the opening as German…the beginning isn’t bad, it’s even better than average German which most non-Germans speak. But the German words inbetween are way too cheesy for me. XD

      2. Favorite moment was Eren cleaning up:

      *somebody comes around the door*
      “You’ve got quite a despairing look on your face, Eren”

      She must have X-Ray or else I cannot explain how she can judge his face by seeing his back side. O__O
      But I giggled pretty much at that.

      Mac
      1. Incredible that Levi ranked first place in the character popularity poll but understandable considering how awsome in battle he is. But also, I have to wonder what goes through that guys head when he cleans everything until it´s shining, in a way I think he is even crazier than Hanji.

        haseo0408
    6. One of Hanji’s subordinates sure nailed it on the head:

      “You’ll really die, dammit!”

      LOL It takes a nutter like her to be able to conduct experiments like those with little regard to her own life.

      Gotta love how the rest of Levy’s team escaped when Hanji began her long lecture to Eren, who unwittingly asked for more and ended up hearing for the whole night. XD

      Oh and.
      RIP Sawney
      RIP Bean

      echykr
    7. My favorite scene of the week:

      Levi: “Hey, Eren!”
      Eren: “Yes, sir?”
      Levi: “It’s no good at all. Redo it all from scratch.”

      I can totally relate to this scene. Getting sh*t from my superiors, and them telling me to redo it all over again… =P

      Reianz
    8. I don’t like Hanji but I don’t know why… Her voice is the same as Armin’s?

      For people who have read the manga, the pace may seem terribly slow, but for people who haven’t read it yet, they can enjoy it, I think.

      It’s me or there are some ”original” scenes??

      yoaken
    9. I lost count of how many times I LOLed. Great/very funny episodes thanks to Levi’s cleaning antics and Hanji’s crazyness.
      btw. anyone knows the Titans kill count of both Hanji and Levi? Over 100/200?

      boingman
        1. Yeah we get rid of the titans but how do we get rid of Deadpool? Domino always said that Deadpool is so annoying that either you kill him to make him stop talking or you kill yourself.

          haseo0408
    10. OMG..Hanji is sooo hoooot! I can’t describe it. It’s is it her character or probably that Romi Paku is voicing her but she is becoming my number one favorite character in the show next to Mikasa, Eren, Sasha, and Jean. My God I think I’m in love! HNNNNGGG!!

      Corey

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