「慈悲 ―ストヘス区急襲②―」 (Jihi ―Sutohesu Ku Kyushu (2)―)
“Mercy ―Raid on the Stohess District (2)―”
The penultimate episode is upon us and what we start off with is a flashback to the past. In essence, Levi says it all:
“No one could’ve predicted that outcome.”
And it’s important not only because it emphasizes how theoretically no one was at fault for what happened out there and because it links in to how no one aside from Armin saw what we’re dealing with now either. But now that they’ve confirmed Annie to be the female Titan, both sides are officially risking everything and I wouldn’t have the first season of Shingeki ending any other way.
The problem? Eren still can’t accept it and he finds himself unable to transform as a result—giving us a repeat of the notion that it’s one thing to know what you need to do and what you should be doing, but another thing to accept it. In this respect, Eren demonstrates he’s still human by still having doubts and effectively being “hopeless optimistic” in how he believes in humanity and his friends, and admittedly, I quite admire this sentiment considering what he’s been through.
Sadly though, the Shingeki world’s a cruel one, and it’s one where there really is no place for the sentiment Eren holds. Whereas this belief and personality probably could’ve gotten him places in a normal world, it won’t get him anything here, and we see Eren finally giving up that “something” he needs in order to gain the power he wants and to change what he wants to change—in the form of his realization that there’s just no time to think about what’s right or wrong anymore. You fight because you have to and that’s all there is to it.
With that said, what this episode boils down to is the realization of what must be done to win a war whose scale eclipses one’s imagination, and it’s something that also shows itself in regards to how incompetent the military police are. Jean passing a bunch of shocked MP soldiers en-route to Eren and his realization of what it is he almost signed up for really makes this aspect of the episode shine, and the obvious increase in budget usage this episode took it from there. Suffice to say, the action aspects came back in a flurry this week, and it’s only fitting they’re accompanied by some darn great usage of Hiroyuki Sawano’s brilliant vocals to boot. It just goes to show how much of a difference a great soundtrack can make, and really, there just weren’t many series with soundtracks capable of challenging Shingeki’s soundtrack (soon to be soundtracks, as the second OST comes out on 10/16) this year.
Looking forward, the next week brings us the finale to the series that has effectively kick-started an entire cultural movement, and I don’t think we really needs words to describe the potential epicness that’s likely to come or the sadness one’ll get when realizing that it’s the last Shingeki episode we’ll get for a bit. Onward to next week!