「奪還作戦の夜」 (Dakkan Sakusen no Yoru)
“Night of the Battle to Retake the Wall”
To be honest quite a bit winds up surprising me during any given week of anime watching, but damn SnK, you really pulled the wool over my eyes on this one. Surprise split cour announcement on the twelfth episode after a good bit of promising regarding full two cour run? Probably at the level of Overlord split cour announcement all those months ago. Nevertheless not a bad choice I’d say, considering the material upcoming and Wit’s production quality (not to mention the stacked spring schedule and the fact I can hold off on final impressions), we have quite a bit to look forward to.
Given this episode (well, finale) was effectively devoted to preparing for the return to where it all started, no real game changers graced our presence. The team discussed the broad overview of sealing Wall Maria and learning the truth of everything, everyone indulged in what could easily be stated as a last meal (unless you’re Sasha of course), and Eren actually found the single minded, moxie-infused drive which permeated his very existence a long time ago. Humour aside the last point in particular was intriguing to watch for it shows just how far Eren has come as a character. The kid has matured beyond simple naivety and ignorance into someone able to look the future in the face and realize the potential for success. Eren no longer sees in stark black and white, himself the sole source of salvation or bearer of his father’s sins, but rather (and rightfully so) just one part of a larger picture where the collective actions of all involved will determine the fate of the entire world. It’s the human representation of SnK’s thematic growth, showing the move beyond a simple tale about the travails of mankind cloistered behind walls to one emphasizing the need for discovery and understanding. Or in other words, the moment which opens this story wide up.
The other side of the coin of course is just what the pursuit of the truth will cost, and Erwin defines the point perfectly. It’s not difficult to see the death flags waving high over the guy with a speech like that for example, but Erwin, much like Eren before, isn’t in mind to see his life as something not worth sacrificing the greater picture for. Much like the explorers of the past or first men in space, the yearning to see, to understand, to satiate curiosity overwhelms any primal desires concerning one’s life. Erwin cares not if he dies (in his mind he has already expended the majority of his use), because to experience first-hand the truth of humanity and foresee the future easily overcomes any doubts he may have and rationality concerning his position. Levi is right of course, Erwin still has use and is very valuable not only for strategy (squad morale especially benefits from his presence guiding hand), but sometimes personal desire overwhelms needed selflessness, and Erwin is going to use this moment to do just that.
The upcoming trek back to Wall Maria and the struggle of sealing that hole are going to be the hardest challenge many familiar faces in SnK ever faced. There will be blood, there will be death, and in the end the face of everything we’ve known will change forever, but that I can assure you will only be start of even greater things. There’s a whole wide world waiting beyond those walls, and we’re now one step closer to seeing it. Stay tuned for spring boys and girls, it’s going to be wild.