「エルヴィン・スミス -第57回壁外調査④-」 (Eruvin Sumisu -Dai Gojuu-Nana Kai Kabegai Chōsa (4))
“Erwin Smith: 57th Expedition Beyond the Walls, Part 4”

Zephyr couldn’t make it to blog Shingeki this week, so I capped, while Enzo took care of the writing. He’ll be back soon. -Zan

Ever the tease, Attack on Titan once again shows how compelling it can be when it gets in (maneuver) gear.

You know Shingeki no Kyoujin is in run-out-the-clock mode when it resorts to three-minute recaps, but they’re back. Clearly it’s a matter of stalling for time to end the season at a specific point, but it’s really too bad, because apart from the Trost debacle this really is quite a good show, and it deserves better. Not as good as its hype and BD/DVD numbers would suggest, maybe, but still damn good – and far better than most series that have achieved the blockbuster 30K threshold in the last few years.

Fortunately, this time around the stuff after the recap was really good – some of the best of the entire run, in fact. It’s no secret why Shingeki comes alive on the rare occasions when Armin and Jean share screen time – they’re the two most relatable characters in the cast, the only ones who really act like a sensible person would act in such bizarre circumstances. They’re also the most realistic in terms of what they know and what they guess based on what they’ve seen, though Armin sees a little farther than any normal person would. That makes Jean’s perspective the most “normal” of anyone, but since Armin is supposed to be a genius I think that’s an allowance the audience should be willing to make.

Completing the trifecta, Erwin is interesting for entirely different reasons. He’s a cipher most of the time, someone whose inner workings are almost entirely hidden from us. But he’s interesting for his actions, because they clue us in that he’s the most dangerous, fearless and potentially clever commander on the human side. In effect he’s fighting with one hand tied behind his back, because the enemy knows far more about him than he does about them. Viewed in that context his actions make a lot of sense, though they could certainly be viewed as quite harsh. If there was a theme this week, it was sacrifice (perhaps a bit too heavy-handedly, to be honest – having Armin spell it out explicitly was probably unnecessary) and Erwin is certainly willing to make sacrifices in order to achieve his larger goals.

If there was one moment this week I especially liked, it was when Erwin made the decision to punt and ordered the retreat. It was beautifully presented – it felt as if one could feel all the conflicting emotions running through Erwin’s mind at that moment. Clearly this was extremely galling for him – many of his elite troops had died in order to capture the female titan, and retreating when he did was effectively invalidating that sacrifice and declaring his master plan a failure. But there was almost no hesitation – just one moment where he closed his eyes and allowed himself to be really pissed off, then a shouted order to retreat, because he knew that every second he delayed would mean more dead soldiers. That was a nice illustration of the burden of command right there, and of the fact that Erwin is strong enough to carry it.

As for the female titan, it was certainly made clear that the #1 priority was protecting the identity of the driver, no matter what. AoT can be quite irritating in that it stubbornly refuses to reveal anything of significance (apart from the fact that Petra pissed herself on her first mission) outright – the gamesmanship gets a little old, to be honest. But we’re creaking ever-closer to this sliver of the truth in spite of that. I knew as soon as she let out that scream that Nice Ass was calling the other titans in – it was the only option she had left at that point, even if we’d seen no proof that it was possible. It was pretty obvious what was going to happen – the human inside would escape in the chaos of steam and gore – and slip into spy mode again. At least as a titan there was no question where the enemy was (assuming there aren’t multiple collaborators inside the Recon Corps, of course, which is a real possibility). Now, Erwin is dealing with a wolf in sheep’s clothing, and one who’s willing to kill the other sheep to protect its own identity.

What seems to be happening here is that the enemy – whoever they may ultimately be – is being forced to bolder action because the threats against them are more immediate and dangerous. The Recon Corps generally provide the greatest ongoing threat, but before Eren’s arrival on the scene it seemed they presented a limited danger – they could be picked off in bits and pieces every time they ventured outside the walls. Eren’s presence is the game-changer here, a threat both to the identity of the enemy and in physical battle against them. Eren they want to take alive – to see how he managed to obtain the ability they thought was theirs alone – but someone like Erwin would be a target for elimination altogether, seemingly. Indeed, I’m surprised there hasn’t been more of an obvious attempt to take him out, given that he’s obviously critical to the cohesion and strategic prowess of the Recon Corps, and there’s no obvious replacement waiting in the wings.

Zephyr’s Note:

  • Per the usual, there’s a zero tolerance policy for spoilers that aren’t in spoiler tags or in response to a query.
  • After some thought (and some issues cropping up regarding the new tags I was trying to use), I’ve decided to scratch the previous week’s idea regarding the new tags. Ultimately, in regards to speculation, I want to leave it up to you guys to use your own discretion in regards to what you decide to type in a comment, so I won’t be requiring that spoiler tags be used. However, please note that if you don’t (or you word your speculation in a way that implies more than just that) there’s a chance viewers will downvote your comment to oblivion, and there would be nothing I can do to make your comment visible again. Also keep in mind that any speculation that seems beyond the scope of the word will be removed if deemed inappropriate or clearly based off the source material.
  • Follow-up from Enzo:

  • Sorry to anyone who saw those spoiler comments – the post was published during the night here in Japan, and I deleted them as soon as I woke up this morning and saw what was going on.
  • That commenter’s IP has been blocked, but as always, terrorists are resourceful. I’ve shut down comments for the moment, to err on the side of caution. Comments have been re-enabled. As always, be vigilant – while we’ll do our best, as long as commenting is allowed this sort of thing can never be 100% prevented.
  • Full-length images: 1, 12.




    1. My mood has been ruined due to some screwed up actions of a certain individual. Great, great episode.

      Now, to give my mood a boost, I will be doing a marathon of SnK for the next bundle of hours, trying to forget everything I’ve been spoiled about. I will see everyone later….

    2. The female titan is just so epic and slick. Love all the screen time she gets. I think if Levi or Mikasa ever transform into a titan themselves, it’s over. It’s so fucking over. Nothing will ever stop them. D<

    3. What kinda pleasure do you get out of this shit? Don’t you have ANYTHING else to do with your pathetic life than to spend the few seconds it takes to spoil the poor people (ME!) who haven’t followed the manga like you? BITCH!

    4. In all honesty, ever since AOT came out, just surfing the Web to find out some random information about existing characters I have encounter a Shit load of spoilers. Not to mention the artwork. I got to a point where I couldn’t surf for the anime anymore cause I’m ruining it for myself. And while I even suffer the ‘OMGOMGOMGOMGOMG!’ shock factor, I decided to stay under a rock to actually enjoy this series.

      But I was fucking wrong wasn’t I? Lol at this point I just don’t care anymore. And it really saddens me that many actually get spoiled here in the RC. =(

    5. “Petra, does it mean that you sprayed it everywhere in mid-air?” Oh Eren you…there are some questions that you just shouldn’t ask a lady…and wow…cliffhanger, yet again.

    6. Hi everyone!
      We’re actively looking for a solution to prevent obvious spoilers from appearing. We’ve implemented a few things but it’s far from a “gotta catch ’em all” type of thing.

      I myself have read ahead in the manga because I’m a dummy so I’ll be keeping an eye in the comments for a while here.

      Have a nice day <3.

    7. Was it just me or was anyone else rooting for the female titan when in titan form?
      I was like hell yeah.. when the Calvary came swooping in, saved by bell, for some reason I
      didnt want Levi to have his way.

    8. To Enzo/Zanibas: That Jean screenie actually shows Petra.
      I missed the spoiler party, but that’s the reason why I gave up and just read the manga. Was it about the identity of female titan again?
      Funny though that poor souls like swordhack4 get badreps for their complaining by the butthurt spoiler fans.
      A lot of talking in the first few minutes. Took them a while to get into the action.

    9. I dont know what that guy said, but i’ve been up to date on the manga for a couple weeks, there is a lot more craziness to come, so unless he broke it all down, dont worry your still in for a treat.

    10. First of all, I’m glad I didn’t see the guy’s comment. Second of all, great episode, the death of Gunter came out of nowhere. I’m also really impressed by Irwin and his speculation skills.

    11. It’s sad that some people destroy a great series for other people on purpose, I wish karma worked, no matter how slow it was.

      Anyways, is it just me or there were way too many stills in this episode? I used to think that they were used in a good way before, in scenes that wouldn’t look as good properly animated, but it seems like Levi and the rest of the squad are way too awesome to have their attacks properly animated. I just hope that it doesn’t mean they’re out of budget, but they’re just saving it for whatever is to come.

    12. And we’re back to the average SnK episode:

      10 minutes of characters describing the situation they are currently in.

      5 minutes of wondering what they should do next.

      2 minutes of agreeing about what they should do next.

      2 minutes of stuff actually happening.

    13. LOL at Petra being revealed to have pissed in her pants in her early days with the Recon Squad.

      (Petra: NOOOO!!! How can you tell others about this!!?? ヽ(゜ロ゜;)ノ )

      (For the more perverted minds, I can already see many doujinshis being made of her experience back then, ideally with Corporal Levy involved in some capacity as well. (^_・) )

    14. I see four orphaned posts at the bottom of this thread, most likely as a residue from your clearing of that serial spoiling prick’s posts, as their time signature is significantly earlier than the others above them.

      Might want to do something about them as well.

    15. Glad I missed all the spoiling drama , seriously pepole what is wrong with you !!! I was so pissed off when I found out that erin is the titan before the episode comes out , you lose all the excitement

    16. These Guys are no Smart. If she holds her Hands to Protect her Neck, and you can not penetrate them. Why not cut around them?
      Cut big part of Flesh out, to get her. Or do need the cut to be from Outside? No One tried from Inside?
      With a Speer or so?

        1. Then why she protect her Neck with her Hands, so there must be a Weak spot.. And if She can harden. then let attack from 3 sides or more.. But oh well, perhaps the decisions was made in a split seconds, so it is okay

      1. That was their plan, to blow up her wrists. But she called for backup before they got a chance :p

        Also Titans have that almost “insta heal” the more flesh they had to go through means she’ll probably heal before they get to the weakspot (attacking the other side of the neck)

    17. I notice that Erwin is very similar to Kiritsugu, in terms of their philosophy on achieving a ‘greater good’. Both wouldn’t hesitate to sacrifice the minority in exchange to secure the safety of the majority. Damn it I hope Erwin doesn’t end up suffering what Kiritsugu had to suffer, though it does look like the next episode is just what might happened. Female Titan is a cheat!

      1. I’m not a Kiritsugu fan by any definition, but I do like Smith – or at least find him interesting. I think their circumstances are quite different, and for me a good acid test is to look at each of their questionable actions and ask “How would a reasonable person have acted in this situation?” Your answer will of course depend on your own definition of reasonable, but I see very different results with those two using that measure.

    18. Fell into temptation again, and picked up the manga again.

      It’s a shame people got spoiled here. Don’t think IP banning will solve everything, as there are other ways to post in this site. There’s just not stopping a douche

      1. There IS a way, except there’s a huge trade-off(and I don’t like it too).

        It is possible, I asked Xumbra, to have the comments need approval before appearing at the post. Obviously this is the only sure-shot way to prevent any spoiler from ever appearing without IP banning.

        The problems?

        1. No one is willing to sit around and approve comments. This is the bigger problem of the two, LOL.
        2. If the comments aren’t approved fast enough, discussions will move at snail pace.

        1. Perhaps if the site had implemented an account registration system, only accounts with… let’s say, less than 15 posts as would need to have their posts approved a precaution and also guests without accounts.

          Or maybe the posts could show as a spoiler and it’d say ‘This post isn’t approved, view at your own risk’ till it’s approved.

          Just brainstorming here *shrugs*

    19. I’m happy to see that the mystery from episode 15 I was wondering about in terms of Erwin’s ominous question of who the enemy is… he knew it was a traitor and that those who answered would be considered trust worthy. Or was it merely just the people from 5 years ago, or was it that and that they answered correctly?

      Still seems that aside from the spontaneous female titan attack that Erwin had an ulterior motive for this expedition as Mike noticed back in episode 15 when he was being told the plan.

      That last scene with Gunter being cut down like that scared the hell out of me too! That was a crazy slice to the neck…

      I’m sorry that this series gets such a ridiculous amount of spoilers as well. I think half of this show has to do with surprise and the impact it leaves, and the other half is the experience itself during the scenes.

    20. Glad I only watched this today and missed the spoiler party,because I gotta say,didn’t think I’d be anticipating the next episode of this anime,as much as I am now,when it was in the Trost arc,but the last episodes have been great.

    21. Levi’s brief time with the Female Titan is sexy, hehe. Wished he didn’t ‘spur’ her into action with his words though! I’m such a big fan of him! And I need to stop reading the wikis and stuffs (no more spoilers please!). Really glad that we got the ‘answer’ to that cryptic question which Erwin posed. I just feel the excitement when Erwin and Levi are together!! =D

    22. Just watched the episode. The part where Cpt. Levi was on top of the Female Titan’s head talking to the hidden “pilot” was the best. Much like Commander Praxis on top of the wall several episodes ago.

      We’re losing too many humans each episode. I mean, we just lost one of Levi’s team, right? Or was that another cadet who joined the Recon Corps? Commander Smith warned the cadets about losing 80% in a year – we’re seeing 60% in one trip. Of course, this expedition had a “smart” Titan after them causing 90% of the casualties.

      As for the identity of the Female Titan – there’s so many dead on this trip it could have been any one of the Recon Corps on the edges. Just have the traitor transform, kill the 2-3 others nearby, then start running. Or a soldier from the wall: just jump down the wall when no one is looking, transform, and start running. Too many variables to make a guess at their identity.

    23. This kind of episode kind of makes me think,

      1. Who would want to destroy the most elite squad
      2. Why would that person or people want to stop them from saving humanity
      3. How the hell does Levi and Armin know that the person in the Titan wants Eren???

      I mean….I haven’t really read the manga (because I don’t want to spoil myself) but, still….why???
      And I want Mikasa to have more screen time!!! But still…no one has to (AND I SERIOUSLY DON’T WANT THEM TO) answer me..these r just the questions that r in my mind at this point of the series..


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