「完全試合 (パーフェクトゲーム)」 (Paafekuto Geemu)
While I’m sure a few are probably annoyed by slight lack of epic titan showdown and all the accompanying carnage oh so slyly hinted at last week, SnK isn’t one to leave us hanging too much on the hack n’ slash front. From boulder baseball to hot geyser action—and some juggernaut advancement for flavour—this show has helped drip feed the pulp action addiction while slowly but surely identifying just where it intends on leaving off. In the time honoured tradition of hair pulling cliffhangers, we’re going to get to that basement—just in time for the season to end.
Although SnK is a series about bloodshed first and thinking second (don’t deny, you know it’s true), it’s interesting just how perceptive it is when it comes to certain combat nuances. Leadership for example came right to the forefront this week as we got not only Armin’s surprising freeze, but also Erwin’s gritty audacity. While the latter certainly makes sense to all of us—we all know what Erwin is capable of—Armin’s probably brought on some confusion, but it’s just as realistic as the charge of Erwin’s light brigade. The thing about leadership (and famous leadership especially) is it’s all about decisiveness. The best leaders aren’t so much the ones who make the best choices, but the ones who can quickly make a choice. The enemy after all is facing the same circumstances as you; if you can take the first step you force them to respond, and in response you can often dictate their actions thereafter. Armin’s flaw in this regard is his mind, he wants his orders to be perfect because he believes that’s the only way to win, when rather he should focus on the strategy to come after making a first move as Jean so astutely described. Battles are never won with the opening move, they’re always decided by your actions following contact, and it’s here where Armin has some serious learning yet to do.
On the other side of the wall of course lies Erwin, and no real shockers here—the guy is a chiseled chad leader through and through. While Erwin is not the smartest of the group (he’s already acknowledged Armin’s strength in this), he has that decisiveness mentioned above which makes him stand head and shoulders above the rest. To not only lead your men into the jaws of death, but do so without any soothing lies and pleasant excuses? That takes some serious balls. It shows the real strength of Erwin though that he has them and doesn’t shy away from his duty, openly abandoning his lifelong dream so everyone else can live and have it for him, so there will be a future where such dreams can flourish. We today may make light of such sacrifice—i.e. valuing human life above all—but given the right circumstances and a leader worth following, and even the most selfish of men can find themselves driven to fight and die for something greater than themselves.
No matter the uncertainty of that frankly insane charge and near certainty of death for all, don’t count Erwin’s greatest sacrifice as entirely pointless just yet. Considering everyone’s favourite house maid is taking advantage of the chaos, you can bet one big monkey is about to get into the fight of a lifetime.