「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.

Author’s Notes:

  • Per the usual, there’s a zero tolerance policy for spoilers that aren’t in spoiler tags or in response to a query.
  • Use your own discretion in regards to what you decide to speculate on. I won’t be requiring that spoiler tags be used, but note that if you don’t (or your speculation implies more than just that), viewers may down vote 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.
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    Preview

    147 Comments

        1. lols, i don’t think those are citizens at all .. they are probably Recon corps members disguised as citizens (i.e working undercover so as not to get caught by the MP), there is no way Armin planned all this on his own, Erwin is definitely in on this “Capture the Female Titan plan” XD

          Remember the excellent scene with Eren and Erwin.. “who do you think is the real enemy ?” .. that foreshadows everything that is happening now.

        1. just started playing persona 4 a few days ago and am 40 hours in and haven’t watched the anime yet. he probably doesn’t talk much in the anime because he doesn’t talk much in the game either.

          RickyMack
        1. @Luxor

          I was judging more closely on the katakana on the right side that looks more like a ン and the left side just looks like a repeat of the katakana on the right side, stylized slightly differently in terms of font to not merely be a copy/paste of the same thing.

          Also: http://thejadednetwork.com/sfx/browse/dokun/
          and no results for dokushi. I think this site is very reliable and have used it for translating SFX for a couple of scanlation groups and I have yet to search for something with no results unless it was a misreading on my part.

          Jel
    1. We finally have our complete confirmation (if it wasn’t completely certain before): The Military Police are pretty much the worst of humanity. However, it’s nice to know that there’s people in the Military Police who actually stand for something.

      As for the plan, due to the preview showing guns aimed at Erwin and the fact that the soldiers were wearing Recon Corps uniforms, it’s safe to assume the plan was made and run purely by the Corps (likely to kill FT, display the importance of Eren to humanity and shock the nobility into action). What’s really strange is that Levi doesn’t seem to be ready for battle at all, which leads me to believe that the preview scene may be a flashback.

      Finally, one has to wonder who the “real” Annie is: the girl who respects those that fight the status quo or the crazy, laughing ***** shown at the end? I’m really looking forward to seeing how this crazy arc ends!

      Sekai
        1. i don’t understand your analogy. a puddle of spit isn’t deep so you’re sayin the plot isnt deep. then it shud be easy to see what is going to happen, but that isnt the case… oh well.

          retard
        2. It’s clear that Psithief is the mangaka. It’s the only way he can make such a statement!

          Snippy comments aside, one does have to admit that, if the characters just came out and confessed their motivations or if the mangaka just shoves answers in our faces, then the story would be over quickly…
          …but the same thing can be said for pretty much every story out there.

          Beedle
      1. Levi’s probably still injured as from last episode he couldn’t even take down the Titan giving chase to the corpse wagon.

        As to the “real” Annie, your question makes me think back to the scene showing FT crying after failing her attempt to capture Eren. You have to wonder what she’s been through to have those kind of convictions, and that outlook on life.

        Vagrant
        1. Also remember that after Trost, Annie was stuck in a loop giving shellshocked apologies to no one. She’s clearly deeply emotionally invested in… something? so this weirdness now looks to me like stress.

          Axe Armor
    2. The way Annie went mad in the end feels like she was seeing how everything around her that she trust is turning against her. That along with her taking her last bet kinda made sense together.

      Gosh, that episode was tense from beginning to end.


      (no 3 minute long preview, for once. Yay.)
      /understatement

      info600
    3. Casting the serious tension aside, I lol’d when I saw Jean as Eren. And man, I’m starting to love Armin’s guts. He’s more brave and composed than most characters are.

      I just wish I could see some Mikasa x Annie hand to hand brawl. Those two giving out yandere vibes sure is scary…

      tsukioniisan
      1. Recall that some episodes back, Eren remembers that the two were about to fight in a flashback, but we never find out who won. I wonder if they’ll ever show us. Probably not, considering it’s sometimes better to leave things to the imagination. But as fans, we can hope, right?

        Wacko Conquerer
      1. Looking at the manga, it didn’t seem like Marco had his gear on him when they showed his corpse. I wonder if she killed him, stole his gear and then used his when killing those test subject Titans.

        SOSAnimeBoy
    4. That 100% totally blew my mind. I’m soooo glad I avoided the spoilers.

      Gotta admit the girl has got some skills – be they human or Titan. I thought she was gonna be the cold fish that warms up over time – but somehow I don’t think that’s gonna happen.

      She truly does put the ‘laughter’ in ‘slaughter’

      7godeohs
      1. After finally revealing what was becoming obvious 4 main questions arise:

        1. How did Annie get these powers?
        2. Why did she use them the way she did?
        3. Who (if anyone) told her to do what she did?
        4. Why did she NOT kill Eren?

        zandy
        1. Great Questions.

          Annie is more like the Ada Wong of this series. There is something in that basement that Eren must reach (Hint: An…).

          Things will change, dramatically.

          Those with deep insight, should be able to see where the author is taking this.

          Kenji K
      1. I assumed the transformation was Eren’s; what did catch my eye tho was the recurring theme of them showing a characters eye just as they’re highlighted. Levi before this dive, Erwin, Eren then his titan form…

        and they a really brief flash of Annie’s eyes in between scenes of the FT

        and because I had to rewatch the OP again, for this… anyone got the feeling when Armin glanced at the candles, blowing out all but one, is kinda how he deduced who Annie is (or maybe just his powers of deduction)… yeah took me this long to notice/think that…

        Vagrant
      2. I hate to say this but you´re right, they need that crazy laughing bitch alive in order to gather precious intrligence, but I think we just got one answer already: Annie killed Marco in order to get one backup gear.

        haseo0408
        1. There was no connection or whatsoever between Annie and Marco’s death. She had his gear. That’s as far as it goes.

          Not only that, but there are almost confirmations that Annie didn’t kill Marco. If you look at Marco’s corpse, he had a titan bit half of his head. If Annie killed him, it means she should had been in titan form, which is impossible under the circumstances in Trost.

          vladrin
        2. Are you sure Vladrin-san? She migh have left him to die during the battle of Trost, knocking him inconcious and them and titan decided it was time for dinner. She was apolagizing to his corpse earlier, so it kinda make sense.

          haseo0408
        3. She had no reason to kill him. As far as her relation goes with her group, she either helped them (like she tried to help Armin to save Eren’s life) or spared their lives (like she did to Armin while in titan form).

          The best analogy for her case with Marco’s gear is like a criminal who uses a weapon/car, they will use a stolen/unregistered tool to commit their crime. They don’t kill people to use their weapons/cars.

          I’m not even sure she was aware that this is Marco’s gear she has stolen. She could have stolen it from a warehouse. But then why Marco’s gear of all that is available? Plot necessity it seems. Suppose she stolen some unknown person’s gear, there would have been no way for Armin to deduct that she is the FT.

          vladrin
    5. Annie gained a lot of depth in this episode. Her opinions are strong, and doesn’t make decisions for others. I’m still wondering why she said that it would be worse if humanity was run by ‘good people’ like Marlow. Is it because he wouldn’t be able to stand up for himself and how he feels? Or that he would be buried deeper and deeper by all the corruption he’ll see?

      We also see how corrupt and ridiculous the Military Police are, just as Annie has been saying since their training days back in episode 3 or so. Just as laid back as the Garrison it seems.

      Looking forward to next episode to see the throwdown and for any potential anime-only scenes!

      Jel
      1. Look at Pikis and Irving, they are natural born leaders and military masterminds, but what is key in them is that they are willing to commit horrible sins like asking their own men to die in order to win this hopeless war. Its not good people what will nury mankind, it´s naive people.

        haseo0408
        1. Well, the ‘good people’ (良い人 = ii hito) was a direct reference to what Annie had said to Marlow.

          But I see what you’re saying. He wouldn’t be willing to sacrifice a life for the greater victory for humanity. Marlow would probably want to carry out a mission with the smallest amount of casualties yet not the most efficient plan.

          I guess we can also say that ‘good people’ like Marlow are much to idealistic versus realistic.

          Jel
        2. And many leaders of a military in real life would know that feeling too, especially in times of war, like it pretty much has been now for the past 100 years in-universe.

          @Jel

          This anime/manga is pretty much a complete opposite to the more light-hearted/shonen style/etc. anime/manga that tend to have such people as main characters.

          Such main characters usually being pretty naive, “good people”, friendly, idealistic, a bit unrealistic, etc., yet by the end of battles or whatever, things tend to magically work out for them (in general), with very few people around them dying overall while they or others keep awakening new powers that allow them to magically save the day (or some other hax/convenient thing happens that undoes all the deaths). Here, however, there are no such things (so far that I’ve seen anyway). It’s pretty much plainly seen that it’s those very types of people that will most likely end up dying and/or getting those around them killed FASTER than others if they don’t learn quickly that the world doesn’t work like that. Of course, that’s not to say having the ideals in general is wrong, but there are limits one should take them, as Eren had to learn.

          As you said, Marlow definitely seems like the type to try to come with a plan with minimal casualties, even if it’s not the most effective plan, but those types of plans, of course, tend to have a higher rate of failure that could easily result in MORE casualties than what the more effective plan probably would’ve had. The other danger of being lead/controlled simply by your ideology/emotions is that it’s pretty easy to end up corrupted yourself along the way. Let’s say Marlow did end up working his way up and starting punishing the corrupt and whatnot. Who’s to say that he wouldn’t eventually end up being a power-tripping dictator who simply executes anyone who even slightly falters in following the rules or disagreeing with how he does things, and so on?

          It’s why one needs a good balance of ideology AND realism, which is where the truly good leaders tend to reveal themselves. Like haseo048 mentioned, Pikis and Irving aren’t afraid to make sacrifices, but at the same time, it’s pretty clear that they don’t enjoy the idea of having to make those sacrifices either.

          HalfDemonInuyasha
        3. Hmmm that’s nice you pointed that out. The SnK universe is much more realistic after all. Just was a bit open ended so it got me thinking. Idealistic people like Marlow would probably die early on through a mission. Or if he rose up to power, then he might have turned into the next Light Yagami, executing police/anyone who defied his ideals or got in his way.

          I’m not sure how Pixis and Erwin are feeling about the sacrifices. Pixis doesn’t show much emotion towards that subject and the only time we see Erwin a bit down is when they return from the expedition but I assumed it was more the look of defeat from failing the mission (and so early at that– they weren’t even gone a whole day) versus all the deaths under his call.

          Jel
      2. I believe the corruption runs even deeper then some lazy MP commanders. Like I commented back in episode 19.

        What if the ones in charge have somehow figured out away to control and harness the power of the Titans and has been keeping it a secret all this time?

        Annie and whom ever her allies are somehow being controlled by the powers that be or they could be fighting against them while the civilian population are just collateral damage.

        Dark
        1. Lol well I also think there is more corruption than merely being lazy, I was just making a quick comparison to the Garrison since they are of higher rank and much more highly respected but do similar things as the drunk Garrison members. I mean we clearly saw what seemed to be bootlegging.

          As my history teacher always said, power corrupts.

          Well I don’t know about the inner city controlling certain Titan shifters, especially after this episode where they are trying to capture Annie versus just talking to her and taking her away like a normal person. Unless they are controlling some and it was not known to them that Annie was one too. If they are in control of the power, are you suggesting that the power or means of granting the power was leaked?

          Jel
      3. Her speech actually got cut short in the anime. You can read chapter 31 of the manga if you want, it doesn’t contain any spoilers for the upcoming episodes and will answer your question (as well as give you a bit more insight into how Annie thinks). I like the points brought up here though, they’re good points and just as valid.

        Syokhan
        1. Thanks for the chapter number. I won’t have to worry about spoilers since I’ve been caught up with the manga since May. Lol I just don’t remember everything clearly since it’s been a couple months.

          After watching the anime, I’ve come to realize that Annie is a very deep and interesting character, and that’s still with some of her scenes cut.

          Jel
    6. Well, that’s one lethal spoiler removed from the hands of these pathetic spoiling pricks ruining the pleasure for everyone.

      It’ll only be a matter of time before they’re completely neutered now that the manga is more or less near to resolution mode.

      i.e. Spoiling Trolls, the days which you can deal untold damage are numbered, and you will soon be forgotten like the insignificant trash that you guys are.

      Anonymous
      1. Oh looks like I’ve upset some of you spoiling trolls already. Truth too hard to handle, huh? No amount of downvotes from you can change the fact that your days are numbered for this series.

        Anonymous
    7. I blame myself for associating Sugita too much with his comedic roles that I couldn’t help but giggle at his performance as Marlow.

      He could at least do a Chamber and yell “Go to hell, you metalhead!” at those corrupt superiors. lol

      echykr
        1. Ya, but they didn’t, so doesn’t that leave only Annie alone as the one qualified to join the MP? Where the heck these those people came from them. Cause they sure as hell weren’t in the top10.

          Asmalti
      1. Annie trust Amin ,that’s for sure and I think the way she laugh indicate that she is “I’m lost without you~” she just lost every one , she ever care for and she deserve that , I really like her at frist too why did she have to kill all those people just for EREN damn as all it seem to be Eren have so kind of feeling toward her and she just waste it , since Mikasa is also saving Eren , and he’s acually a jerk who forget all that, annie could just waltz in last hit Eren like asking him to go to escape with her to her village and learn about Titan’s secret and Kind of “saving those kempedan for getting crush to death” belive it or not for three years they have spend training together that would bite that , if she can manage to seperate Eren from Mikasa that is. well i will mourn for you Annie , the writer is cruel enough to give you mass murderer role for you , it’s suck.

        PeTdo
      1. Well, Armin’s deduction and it was strange for me that in the previous episode they didn’t cover Eren’s eureka moment during the fight with FT, when he opened his eyes in shock (seems of figuring out something), after that she cut his head off. I thought that what Eren had at the moment is somehow relating the movements of the FT to the movements of Annie when he fought her.

        vladrin
    8. Honestly I felt they messed up a bit Annie’s reaction at the end when she got found out… In the manga her face is a lot more “I fucked up and i’m going for my last ditch effort”. The reaction in the anime goes completly against the image I had of her :>

      Drayen
      1. Don’t wanna burst manga people’s bubble but Annie’s laugh is approved if not PUSHED by Isayama:
        Show Spoiler ▼

        I’ve seen manga fans call out this scene as being OOC for her character but I personally thought it matched her character very well. I felt that key moment showed a sense of irony in the situation. Annie’s outburst shows a sense of guilt, fear, sadness, and it was filled with self-irony (contrary to what many manga fans condemned as a moment of ooc sexualized fan-bait galore…. yeah I’m not even lying about this one) Notice how she laughed after Mikasa CASUALLY addressed her as the Female Titan? As if Mikasa could easily take her on like any normal person? The sheer irony that all four of them were casually talking about her with the clear assumption that she’s the Female Titan must have been both a relief and a moment of utter sadness in Annie’s mind. She’s cornered. She’s been found out. And the best these three can do is bicker with her as if she’s someone they truly know as a casual friend? Funny isn’t it?

        Two of her most respected former classmates have already accepted her role as the designated “antagonist”, and their insistence on making herself come clean makes it even worse. There’s a hilarious sense of irony that the trio are suddenly able to confront the Female Titan the moment they’re able to recognize the person behind. This sense of recognition allowed Annie to find a sense of relief in what she’s done, but also feel disappointed in the two classmates that she developed respect for (Eren and Armin).

        People claim that the laugh is problematic because it shows Annie’s subservience to a higher force………How anyone made that glaring assumption out of ONE single outburst/laughter is beyond me and it saddens that the people defending Annie’s depiction in the manga even viewed her that way so as to defend what they’ve come to interpret from the original source. What because any moment of break in composure signals a lack of sense of control? Is that truly wrong? Annie is character filled with conflicted emotions. It’s why she lets her instincts dictate her actions as she has always internalized everything she’s felt. And to let this all out and laugh at it in its face somehow makes her less of a brilliant and strong female antagonist? Wow.

        It’s interesting to note how I’ve found that many anime fans actually interpreted the exact opposite regarding this issue: Annie was in control, and her laughter is one moment of relief in her mind, showing how she felt about it all. Just as she always thought about the system, how everything has been going on in her life, how these same people she respected and admired came to condemn her while still attempting to convince her…just like how she always viewed the world as it is right now: it’s all one huge farce.

        Annie finds this sad. She feels guilty, and lonely for all of this. And most of all, Annie finds this funny. Annie realizes that she’s essentially allowed to stop hiding all those pent up emotions, at the expense of giving up that very image of being the “good” person that Armin and Eren had viewed her initially. If there’s one word to describe that feeling that Annie had felt when everyone finally knew it, when everyone understood that she is well and truly the Female Titan: Liberation.

        ronri
        1. In fact, that laugh was originally meant to be in the manga, but was cut, much to his regret. So he worked with the anime director to have it in the anime. He was pleased with the result.

          Tanya
    9. Kind of funny that Armin thought before that the female titan could be a Human like Eren, but he didn’t go far ahead to consider the female titan as a female Human!

      Well who knows, maybe Armin can perform a magical transform, making him a female titan!

      kabayongtao
      1. funny enough my sister was adamant that the female titan was Armin for a while xD she always said stuff like ‘he’s actually a girl, you wait and see’ xD her conclusion was dumb, but ur post reminded me of her lmao, cheers.

        Mi-Chan
    10. So we all knew it was Annie, but like Armin and Erin, asking her to go down the basement, to ‘prove a point’, still trying to tell Annie that she can still change her path, but damm that laugh, what the hell is wrong with Annie’s laugh? I did not expect that coming, she always had strong points to add, she also says things like everyone’s life is worth something, but yet she killed and rolled innocent people whose only conviction was to advance humanity. I love Annie so much that I really want to know how and why things are what they become.

      Kudos to Armin, I had imagined many ways that Annie might be announced as the female titan, but I was caught off guard, I totally thought this was a plan to save Erin (if you watched the preview, you could be fooled as I am.) With that said, that Mikasa rage scene was so well made, that it made me love her character even more. When they said she used Marco’s gear, it made me consider if she had killed him to get it, but I have no idea. Even then, I cannot forgive Annie no matter how I look at it.

      This was a great episode, both from the insight of knowing what Military Police are like, and the Recon Corps attempt, I doubt Erin/Mikasa/Armin did it without Smith and Levi knowing, and I’m so darn excited.

      That Annie laugh is carved into my mind so badly, I really hope to know what she’s up to. Why didn’t she kill Armin? I think she should already know the answer.

      Thanks for your review, Jean looks really funny as Erin. Cheers, M.

      Mi-Chan
      1. You should probably read the manga, or at least the corresponding chapter (Ch. 31, “Smile”). Annie’s laugh was anime-only, and I feel the manga handled the scene much better. Well, Annie is overall a better character in the manga, much more nuanced and morally gray. The anime omitted some important scenes with her too.

        Mou
    11. This episode’s second half was one serious mind-fuck that left my lower jaw hanging during the end credits … and it’s not really because of the identity of FT getting revealed … a lot of people had doubts about Annie and many guessed she was the FT … anyone using simple deduction would have reached the same results .. the female titan is blonde .. and an important character like her has to be someone from the cast .. and there are only three blonde characters left .. Armin, Annie and that shy short girl who is always getting scolded by that brunette (forgot her name) .. you can easily focus your doubts on either Annie or it could have been a character that wasn’t revealed yet which would have been quite cheap and a disappointment.

      And if anyone had doubts before watching this episode about Annie being the FT this scene in the first minute of the episode should have melted them away .. they intentionally showed her hair loose to hint she is the FT —> https://randomc.net/image/Shingeki%20no%20Kyojin/Shingeki%20no%20Kyojin%20-%2023%20-%20Large%2001.jpg

      What really surprised me and left my jaw hanging is the sudden drastic shift in her personality … was she always hiding this side of her or what !!? .. this sadistic maniacal side i guess is a reflection of all her feelings that she keeps suppressed (like steam in a boiler) .. it’s as if being given the Titan power makes her go loose, go all out and show her true-self .. it’s not that the other Annie (the calm composed one) is just a lie .. but rather Annie is simply schizophrenic to a very big degree … she kept all her emotions and expressions suppressed (and probably something happened to her that caused her to be like that) and all this backfired once she had a chance to finally express herself in the most extreme way possible (again with the steam-filled boiler example .. the FT transformation to Annie was like suddenly opening a valve in that steam-filled boiler .. you can imagine the violent results) .. and she clearly enjoys this power a lot (remember how she as the FT was playing with one of the recon corps dead body as a yo-yo .. and the maniacal laugh this episode coupled with her crazy smile and blushing .. she is so excited about her power like a little child getting an expensive toy) .. i do think i understand Annie’s character because i’m like her in some aspects … or so i think (you guys are lucky i can’t transform into a titan .. that would have been messy XD).

      The other reason this episode was a mind-fuck is the plan Armin made to capture her .. it was really misleading and confusing in a good way (probably had to do with the misleading way they chose to show it to us) .. at first i thought Armin was working alone and sounded like he is a revolution leader or something (i was like “when did he become Loluche XD”) … then Eren and Mikasa showed up .. (and i was like “wasn’t this a plan to save Eren !!!! when did they sneak him out like that and what are they really up to !!!?” … then the whole going down to the underground old city part .. Annie pretending to be afraid of the dark … Armin trying to confront her (it was a very surreal scene really .. i even thought the people hiding were working with Annie and that she betrayed Armin and the others and reported them to the MP .. silly me !!!!).

      Now that i think about it this plan is surely made or at least approved by the Recon corps leadership .. and the “citizens” are surely members of the Recon corps disguised as citizens .. it seems we are in for a coup or something similar (Recon corps working against MP and the nobles to reach the truth of what’s going on .. remember the excellent scene with Eren and Erwin.. “who do you think is the real enemy ?” .. that foreshadows everything that is happening now).

      Point is … the role of the nobles and the monarchy is still pretty much in the shadows as we don’t know anything about them at all .. we don’t even know who is the King of humanity or who are the nobles around him (we only saw one fat noble guy who was playing chess with Pixis) … also .. and like many others have realized that all the unique titans from the start are like Annie and Eren.. and not just that .. i remember when the giant titan appeared there was that giant orange lightning bolt .. then it appears out of thin air .. at first i thought that was some sort of teleportation magic .. but we now know this happens during the human-titan transformation .. which means the giant titan was a human standing infront of the city gate or even on top of it with Eren (so maybe he jumped off and activated his transformation in mid air) .. he then broke the gate open as the giant titan .. then Eren tried to attack him and then he just vanished !!!! .. this tells us that there are titan-humans who can de-activate their transformation at will and even decompose their titan body instantly (which is something neither Annie nor Eren could do) .. the armored titan is similar too .. he came out of nowhere .. broke the second gate then vanished … these guys are surely among the humans in the city .. they could be from the army (like Annie), or from the nobles or even royalty .. but that’s just mere speculation (specially we don’t know who built the walls yet .. it surely wasn’t normal humans who did it .. possibly human-titans built it .. why and what for we surely don’t know now .. speculating beyond that at this point is pointless really).

      Anyways … I must add that i like the Paranoia in the air now .. anyone could be a hidden titan and there will be a lot of tension, backstabbings, coups and conspiracy theories going on specially with the mysterious nobility and royal family that rules the humans .. i surely like where this is going .. it has some serious “The Thing” vibe .. love that.

      The wait for the next episode and season two will be hellish XD

    12. Interesting to note: Annie’s laugh isn’t actually anime original! The mangaka Isayama had Annie laughing similarly in one of his drafts for the manga, he just didn’t include it in the final outcome of the chapter. It’s posted on his blog and here is a link to it: draft.

      Snk
      1. He doesn’t really need to show her laughing manically .. the moment you realize it was her back then as the Female Titan and remember the scene where she played with the corpse of a dead Recon guy as if it was a yo-yo you will surely realize she has a couple (if not more) of screws loose .. in short .. she is cuckoo XD

      2. I wouldn’t say all out cuckoo, or at least not that far cuckoo… the way I saw the laugh was she couldn’t believe how the one time she took pity and spared someone, that same someone was able to corner her.

        Everyone else she’s come across so far, Mikasa included hasn’t been match for her (with the exception maybe of Levi). Which probably explains why she treats some of her opponents as merely toys.

        So the laugh was probably a mixture of frustration, impressed/suprised at Armin’s abilities(?), and maybe the irony of it all… and maybe a dash of crazy for seasoning.

        Vagrant
      3. Well, the term ‘anime-original’ just means it wasn’t in the manga, not that Isayama wasn’t involved. I think we all know that last episode’s tossing of Petra’s body was an Isayama idea, but we still have been calling it an anime-original scene considering that when reading the manga it was not included. The maniacal laugh wasn’t even in the printed volume, which I think is allowed to have some additional pages/panels.

        But it is an interesting to hear that Isayama meant for that to be how the scene was. It sorta changes my perspective because I saw it more as a creepy smile scene than a crazy/maniacal laugh one. Oh well.

        Jel
      4. It was Isayama’s idea, but if you look at his notes (translation here) the vibe he wanted to convey wasn’t really apparent in the anime. In my opinion it just made her look unhinged, not relieved that she didn’t have to keep lying anymore. Plus he had her crying at the end, which she didn’t do in the anime, which again gives a very different vibe.

        He had a good idea there, but I think neither the manga nor the anime managed to convey it, which is sad because now people agree even less on how to interpret Annie, and she was already a polarizing character before 🙁

        Syokhan
      1. There is no ending just yet .. there are already news about a second season .. the anime-original materiel so far had only enhanced the show and supplemented the original material not detracted from it like most filler does .. i don’t think there is any reason to worry about an anime original ending here and now .. there will probably be a break and then a 2nd season.

    13. Thinking about it, seems the message of this episode that Annie isn’t a bad person (as it’s shown both in her inner thoughts and actions including helping Armin to rescue Eren).

      If that’s the case, then the plot will head in the speculated direction that the battle on the Titan is not a survival battle as much as a political one. Always thought strange that the king, to which soldiers swear their lives, is never shown.

      Kinda funny that I wanted Annie’s head 2-3 episodes ago. But now I believe that her demise, which seems inevitable, will be as frustrating as her existence. And will just add up to the doomed picture painted by SnK.

      If this is a political war indeed, then looking at it objectively, she is no better or worse than people who send others to their death to achieve higher goals (e.g., Pixis, Erwin).

      vladrin
    14. finally now that thing i spoiled myself on a month ago is gone, no more spoilers for me wooot, but geez that laugh has everyone’s panties in a bunch. “They didnt do it in the manga” “so out of character for Annie” “she’s all sadastic now” It all boils down to her reasons and her convictions, the entire time was she putting a farce for every single person, then yes her laugh is the 1st of her showing her true self, if not then shes conlicted as hell and her laugh shows her onflicting emotions of relief, fear, liberation, and humor. Time will only tell what is annie’s true nature and motives. Again she cried as a female titan, despite all the killings she’s done that only shows something different from just a “bad person”. I think thats the reason why even now armin and eren wanted to give her a chance to explain her actions rather than just kill her outright.

      That being said mikasa is wayyyy to unhinged, armin grew huge amounts of balls and bravado, and the recon corps is definitely in on it, were going to be left with a shit ton of questions when next 2 eps are over and done with, i only hope that the next season isnt too far away although i know they have to let the manga get more breathing room or well catch up.

      I’m glad i only spoiled myself on the FT and nothing else, this trap came out of nowhere, and all the reacttions with it as well, this anime is pretty damn good hehehe, annie was really sexy in that laugh, her actual feelings aside lol.

      ScarletNyx
    15. A few things that has been confirmed or revealed, strongly implied in this episode.

      1. The FT is really Annie (not surprising at all).
      2. Annie is the open who killed the captured 2 titans in episode 15,16. (not surprising either).
      3. Armin had already suspected that Annie might have been the culprit, since episode 16! (oh~! moment)
      4. Annie killed Marco! At least, strongly implied.(Oh~~~!!! moment)

      Now, It somehow made sense why Annie said “I’m so sorry” in her monologue after cleaning-up operation of episode 13, and why the mangaka(and the animator) didn’t show how Marco got to be killed…

      surprised, surprised…

      love_in_foo
      1. Wrote it above in another reply, will write it again just in case. Marco’s corpse shows that he had third of his body bitten off by a titan. That said it’s obvious that Annie didn’t kill him, since to leave such marks she should have been in titan form, which was impossible in Trost.

        She used Marco’s gear the same way a criminal will use a stolen car/weapon to commit a crime. They don’t need to kill the owner of the car in order to do that. What Marco’s of everyone else? Plot necessity it seems. How otherwise Armin would suspect Annie in the first place if she happened to steal some unknown person’s gear?

        vladrin
    16. And notice that when Marco’s dead body was found (by Jean), he was not in the stomach of a titan. This is yet another clue or evidence suggesting that Marco was not killed by a titan, but killed in another way.

      love_in_foo
      1. People saying that Annie killed Marco or those wondering who the corpse was the she was apologizing to:

        I don’t think that she killed Marco. Highly possible that she wasn’t lying and that she really just found it to use it for inspection so as to avoid detection. This is especially true when you consider that Annie never transformed into the Female Titan (lightning transformation was not heard) and that she was present for most of the time during the battle of Trost. As for her apologizing to a certain corpse in Trost, while it was censored in the anime, it’s heavily implied that Annie was apologizing to the corpse of Mina Carolina (implied by the body’s long black hair, and feminine features). Mina, who by visual deduction, seemed to be Annie’s roommate during her days in the Training Corps. She was one of Eren’s teammates that had been killed early on when the whole team was ambushed by multiple Titans, with the heavy implication that she died from a Titan biting her head. In that regard, you can easily say that the same corpse, which had its head bitten, could very well be hers, and Annie’s apology is more to do with her awareness/involvement of the Titan invasion than her directly causing her death (or anyone else’s for that matter).

        ronri
    17. So here is some thought for people that haven’t been spoiled. Now we know Annie is the FT, and there is some possibility that there are more. Did the anime/manga show hints as to who the others are? They might be so small you wouldn’t even notice or even think about it. Great for people that plan to re-watch everything again.

      Also I hate/love human curiosity at the same time.

      winters
      1. Annie was the only one they gave “easy” hints to. They may have hinted to others, they may not of, the idea is there because of Annie, There may be others in the current cast, there might not be. I hope that helps.

        Pgod
    18. nice episode… but no matter what kind of reason the author Isayama explained about Annie’s laugh in this episode, I believe it’s so out of her character to laugh this way..because her character is calm and cool even if she was acting and adding blushing is so off in my opinion.. am afraid that in the future I’ll be shocked with other characters like Mikasa for example (since am an anime watcher only).. that she will act in a weird way too..

      Hana
      1. It’s not out of characters at all … it’s clear now that Annie has some serious psychological issues .. whether it’s due to gaining the titan powers or something else we don’t know isn’t clear yet … but surely there are people like her in real life who seem cool and calm until something ticks them off or they come across something that they have serious issues with.

        As for Mikasa … in case you haven’t noticed .. whenever something has to do with Eren she acts completely different from her usual self (not as weird as Annie’s reaction but close) .. it’s pretty much the same case.

        1. still it doesn’t change the fact that adding blushing is so unneeded.. laughing in a creepy way is more closer to her character and it can show at the same time that she has some serious psychological issues without a need of making her acting all cute and blushing…sorry it’s not like she is hentai or something .. at least that’s what I hoping for XD

          Hana
        2. The very expression of blushing isn’t always sexual in nature, as other factors can also come into play (such as shyness and overwhelming relief, as is the case with this one). Contrary to what some people might think, I’ve found that some anime-only fans actually took her character more seriously BECAUSE of the laugh, almost to the point that they felt sad and conflicted about her reaction (since they expected her to be more smug about it) because they interpreted the scene as a form of relief combined with desperation on her part (which is also what I thought, and seems to be what Isayama was actually going for with the scene).

          The idea that blushing instantly correlates with sexualized imagery is nothing but a stereotype that has sadly become rampant among anime circles.

          ronri
    19. I knew it was her!
      The thing about her was appearance, I thought of a girl with blonde hair and blue eyes, but the thing that convinced me most was her eyes, the fact she didn’t sign up for the same thing as everyone else, also she’s so strong, to top it off she let Armin live, I remember them talking, then 23d episode started with her, so I was like IT’S HER!

      Lawliet's Lover

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