「暴悪 / 唯一の救い」 (Bouaku / Yuiitsu no Sukui)
“Savagery / Sole Salvation”
Although earthquakes may be an incessant source of anime watching frustration, I have to say I’m not that displeased the latest example turned into a double episode affair for SnK. Given the sheer amount of reveals (and associated carnage) over these forty minutes it’s arguably the best choice, as between open questions being answered and showdowns being arranged we have now properly set things up for the grand finale. Even if said finale won’t be taking place next week. Yeah, the wait is going to be painful.
With Eren’s sudden change this season from rowdy screamer to cold and calculating manbun being the main unknown for many an anime-only viewer, I’m pretty sure the explanation for it – and the results – wound up surprising. Needless to say Eren has gone off the deep end: openly calling out and ruthlessly disparaging both Mikasa and Armin; inherently believing himself to be morally superior due to held opinions; indicating his way is the only correct way – it’s all stuff that fits with his personality, but it’s all talk that is both dangerous and incredibly hypocritical. Eren after all thinks he’s the only one with free will, but never stops to consider if he himself isn’t a slave to someone else. Just take Armin, if he can only be entrapped by the memories and desires of Bertolt, there’s nothing which says Eren himself cannot be for the same reasons beholden to the true possessor of the Founding Titan – i.e. Ymir. Eren never considers it because to acknowledge it would be to admit that everything he’s worked for and everything he’s done is no more valuable or his own than the same he accuses of Misaka. And that guaranteed would eat him alive.
As for Zeke, well, I’m sure that proved doubly explosive. Besides these episodes answering the true purpose of the spinal fluid-spiked wine (and further reinforcing why you don’t underestimate Levi), we also got a great flashback showing just what made Zeke into who he is and what he believes. In short I cannot really fault Zeke. The guy was raised in the worst possible circumstances, being both a son to parents who saw him only as a useful tool and a disparaged outcast at the mercy of a resentful master. No surprise he would turn to nihilism and see the only solution as one of complete eradication. It’s just a solution not as upstanding as he thinks. Euthanizing Eldians might take away a future threat to the rest of the world, but it won’t do a thing for current Eldians; they will all still be as detested, loathed, and persecuted as before. Likewise what right does Zeke have to alone decide the fate of all Eldians? Plenty want to have a legacy, many more still seek the joy which children and offspring bring even in the face of adversity. To assume that choice makes Zeke (and Eren) no better than the tyrants in Marley who keep Eldians under their yoke. The only difference now is that Eldian suffering will be in the name of supposed kindness.
Without a doubt the battlelines have now been drawn and the sides firmly established. A climactic showdown is quickly barreling down the tracks, and when everyone – Yeagerist and non-Yeagerist both – finally finds out just what Eren and Zeke have planned, things are certain to get a bit crazy. Very crazy.