「微笑み ―ストヘス区急襲①―」 (Hohoemi ―Sutohesu Ku Kyushu (1)―)
“Smile ―Raid on the Stohess District (1)―”
Here we go. The last arc of Shingeki’s first season starts now and we start things off with Eren and the rest being summoned to the capital.
The first thing that comes to mind? Just how sad of a group the Military Police are. Not only do they only have Annie as the only one to have fought Titans before, they’re completely wrong when it comes to their impressions of her in respect to thinking she still needs more time to recover from Trost, and they even need permission to use 3D maneuver gear. I mean gosh darn, that’s just laughable. At least though, Marlow had the brains to ask “why Eren needs protection” in the first place… Too bad he ends up being thrust the “leadership” role for that same detail while the ranking officers just sit around drinking and playing games. I’d like to say “this ain’t what they signed up for,” but sadly for some, this is exactly what they signed up for. With that said, all of this just highlights how once you’ve made your decision to join either organization, you’re going to either end up accepting the conditions you end up in, die, or you need to have a hell of a lot of resolve if you have some kind of noble goal in mind.
For one, The Survey Corps requires you to accept that you could die anytime. Meanwhile, if you’re anywhere near a half-way decent person, The Military Police requires you to accept that no matter your noble goals—Marlow, I’m looking at you—the fact is you also chose to live a life of comfort as well. Indeed, if anything, all this shows is just how being a “good person” and/or someone who “goes against the flow” just makes a grim situation even worse. Because in the end, either you get crushed by the system, die fighting the Titans in the Survey Corps, or you end up being shoved in a situation where you go bonkers from trying to fix a system that resists every effort you make. Talk about needing marbles (or being a true idiot).
And gosh darn did this show itself shortly after, as Marlow confronts some of his older comrades in regards to black market sales of their equipment. Needless to say… things don’t quite work out. Admittedly though, I half expected him to get shot at some point (or him to shoot them), but I guess that would’ve been too much for either side to do. Either way, there’s quite a lot of similarity between Eren and Marlow to say the least, and it’s nice to see to be honest. Kind of like a restored faith in humanity thing—although Armin does end up making a good point about how the term “good person” is something that could just mean someone who is “good for you” or “good in your views.”
Speaking of Armin however, this brings us to the most significant part of the episode, which is the additional focus on Annie in particular. As always, it’s nice to see a character receive more background, and the conversation between the two ends up especially revealing in regards to her convictions. Still, the general thing I felt was the plan was too shabby for an Armin-led one, and I should’ve known that this wasn’t so much an ask for an assist in regards to helping as it was a trap set especially for her.
Because as it turns out, she was utilizing Marco’s Maneuver Gear before, and we finally get the confirmation that she is indeed the female Titan that’s been dogging our group for the last month worth of episodes. Generally, this doesn’t come as much of a surprise to me considering the hints we’ve been given up until now, but it does make one wonder quite a bit in regards to how they managed to get approval for this plan in the first place (or if they got approval for this at all). It’s extremely risky to have a Titan like her roam in the inner walls to say the least—especially when one considers how her presence alone may serve as proof that there may be other human Titans masquerading as soldiers in the area too. Sure, it serves as a great tool to wake up the citizens and soldiers to the threat they all face and why the walls aren’t going to save them, but they’re really betting a lot on this play considering the amount of difficulty they had with her before. Furthermore, there’s a load of questions in regards to how she got her powers, why she’s utilizing it the way she is despite her convictions, and so on and so forth… and it looks like we’re finally throwing open the lid on Pandora’s Box so to speak.
Sadly though, the fact that we’re just throwing open the lid now also means that it’s looking more and more likely that we won’t end the first season with much in terms of answers, and I’m admittedly quite torn in regards to this. On one hand, it’s nice to see that there’s a lot to look forward to in the future (not that that was going to change either way). However, it’s also something that makes it even more of an exercise in suffering when you consider the potential wait between now and the inevitable next season. Ack. I can at least say this though: next week can’t come soon enough.