「闇夜の列車」 (Yamiyo no Ressha)
Two episodes in and one can confidently say that yeah, SnK won’t be rushing things. I thought we’d get a little further in this story by this stage given how much is going on, but considering just how much is going on I think I can forgive some smelling the roses. When you’ve got a time skip to work through and a new war to introduce, sometimes a little complacency is a worthwhile thing.
After all the action teasing of last week, this episode was a more constrained affair largely devoted to explaining why Eldians in general are doomed to death on a mass scale. Yes, there’s plenty of historical references you can pick and match to what SnK is playing up with its latest material (although it’s very good to note a lot of it is more 1900s than 1930s, just in case anyone forgot what pogroms are), but the key of all this flash is that Zeke’s and Reiner’s Eldians are a tool rapidly running out of use courtesy of technological advance, and when said use finally expires, there’s nothing stopping their Marleyian overlords from simply liquidating the bunch (just think how poor Ymir was treated in the end). What, managed grabbing the Founding Titian and putting Paradis in their place (even if that’s unlikely to happen)? It doesn’t matter when armoured piercing shells and high-flying aircraft ruin whatever ephemeral advantage that may have provided. It was a tale of hoping reality proves otherwise this week, and as secretive meetings indicate, why reality ultimately wins in the end.
The interesting bit though is mostly what’s left unsaid, and that concerns everyone currently Paradis. No matter how much Zeke and Reiner may publicly play up the hope another assault on Eren and friends will bring lasting peace, no matter the zealotry of their chosen successors, both implicitly understand it’s a suicide mission only likely to see more of them die pointlessly at best. The question then is how to channel that knowledge into a proper chance of Eldian survival – and that’s where the real meat of this arc lies. We’ll start getting a better idea of what’s to come in a couple of weeks (if I have the pacing more or less down), but expect the battlelines and factions here to start getting incredibly complicated in a rush. Think it’s all going to be about simply finding peace? Best reconsider those beliefs, because that only hits the surface of this brave new world.
In the current SnK there’s more at play than simple survival, and as we’ll find out soon (at least once the original cast reenters the picture), no limit to what is possible when the going starts getting tough.