46 CommentsShingeki no Kyojin / By Inushinde /

Shingeki no Kyojin Episode 6: Mikas(Aaah), She’ll Save Every One Of Us

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Despite the title, and this being mostly Mikasa’s episode, I just had to include this week’s titan expression, even if it was ultimately a throwaway. No matter what, they always manage to get a laugh out of me, because I can think of at least two people that they resemble and I wonder how they’d feel knowing that somebody beautified their faces by putting them on lumbering, man-eating monstrosities.

From the six episodes that have aired so far, I’ve scrabbled together three constants of the Shingeki no Kyojin universe: Characters that talk about the future in any remotely optimistic way will end up with their blood decorating the scenery, large groups of panicked people will summon titans from the ether, and unrepentant dicks will find themselves on the business end of whatever edged weapon Mikasa has on hand at the time, or her equally sharp tongue.

In a series that focuses so heavily on the shit that the titans heap on the remnants of humanity, it’s comforting to see that they’re not the only ones who live off of human misery. To know that there are slavers who can break into homes and kidnap the occupants with little interference is scary, and it hammers in the point that things were kind of always going to shit, as they tend to do when people are crammed together with no contact outside of their little bubble. The destruction of Wall Maria by the colossal titan didn’t herald an end to idyllic days of rosy-cheeked children frolicking in meadows with butterflies.

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Even when the walls acted as an impenetrable barrier between the people and the titan-eat-human outside world, there was always rampant corruption and crime, ready to hurt any unfortunate enough to be caught in its machinations. Case in point, the well-edited scene where Eren and his father discover Mikasa’s parents dead in their home, and the surprisingly straightforward aftermath where Eren straight murders two dudes and assists in the murder of a third. The fact that the guards didn’t act for some time shows that either their forces are spread thin keeping the peace, or their disregard for the boondocks is so well known that criminals know they can break, enter, and kidnap with few repercussions. It’s also an age before the telephone and vehicles, but those guards still took a long fucking time, even given the circumstances.

Mikasa hammers home the point in a mini-narration that, in a way, without the influence of any other groups of people, their society had evolved its own sort of insular ecosystem, with predators that could only survive off of the hard work and struggles of the lower-class herbivores. A trade union president who places the value of his goods above that of the people who buy them, and crooks who make a living off of selling girls into prostitution, are the results of a society where the only way to have any sort of power is to either be rich, resort to crime, or both. What’s worse is fighting back isn’t as straightforward as it is when titans are involved—children need to protect their own lives more often than not, even if it means gruesomely ending the lives of their assailants. It’s a stark depiction unflinching in its portrayal of the kind of situation that thrives in stagnation. It’s hardly a wonder that Eren and his friends want to move outside of the walls.

Most of my enjoyment for this episode came from drawing conclusions to how their society reached its current state. While this isn’t necessary to get joy out people mincing the back of the titans’ necks, or possibly take offense at how Asians are coveted and enslaved because there are so few left, it speaks volumes for the potential of a world when it gives the audience the tools to draw our own conclusions without explicitly throwing a toolset at our heads and telling us to go nuts. It leads us to believe that somebody who has yet to smile outside of a flashback is depressingly commonplace, given the circumstances that people are exposed to on a daily basis.

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All in all, this was a pretty solid piece of world-building that also gave much-needed humanity to Mikasa, who before approached the concept of being a relatable character with enough hostility to slice out the back of its neck. Maybe it could have ended with Eren cutting himself out of Hagrid’s belly like an especially proactive fetus with a sword, or Sasha saving the day, but whatever, this is plenty alright.

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46 Comments

  1. Posted May 12, 2013 at 12:34 pm | Permalink

    “Maybe it could have ended with Eren cutting himself out of Hagrid’s belly like an especially proactive fetus with a sword, or Sasha saving the day, but whatever, this is plenty alright.”

    Ooh, can’t wait for next week’s reaction(s).

    • matrixEXO
      Posted May 12, 2013 at 5:19 pm | Permalink

      I know right!?!? I too can’t wait for their reaction!

    • Inushinde
      Posted May 17, 2013 at 11:27 pm | Permalink

      I will admit, you folks have me curious.

  2. Posted May 12, 2013 at 12:44 pm | Permalink

    Totally agree with the idea of “before there were titans, there were humans, and they were just as bad, if not worse”. I also extrapolated the idea of “Characters that talk about the future in any remotely optimistic way will end up with their blood decorating the scenery” to reflect a more general theme of “ideals are always subjugated to the realities of the physical”.
    All in all, an absolutely brilliant episode, and a great way to utilize the downtime now that Eren’s dead.

    • Wrathos
      Posted May 12, 2013 at 1:55 pm | Permalink

      I don’t think you can say for certain that Eren’s dead and gone.. this is an anime after all and there’s clear evidence in this episode that the supernatural extends beyond just the titans.

  3. blackice85
    Posted May 12, 2013 at 1:08 pm | Permalink

    Man these titans just keep getting creepier each week.

    • Seppuku33
      Posted May 12, 2013 at 4:50 pm | Permalink

      The part where the titan sloppily ran was so abnormal that it genuinely scared me.

      • Pusswookie
        Posted May 12, 2013 at 7:10 pm | Permalink

        Everybody in the forums was giving him a schoolgirl outfit and putting toast in his mouth, but I thought his running scene was kind of disturbing for two reasons: One, it reminded me of the killer bunnies in Blood C, and two, it was fucking running. That’s an issue.

      • Inushinde
        Posted May 17, 2013 at 11:29 pm | Permalink

        But it was running in the prissiest manner imaginable. I mean how could you not giggle at that?

  4. Son Gohan
    Posted May 12, 2013 at 1:30 pm | Permalink

    I wouldn’t fault the guards so much. Consider that Grisha had to go back to the village, fetch the guards, explain what happened, go back to the Ackermann’s house and finally follow the traces of the kidnappers to their hideout. I don’t think that they could be faster than that.

    • blackice85
      Posted May 12, 2013 at 1:40 pm | Permalink

      Yep, and even if they had patrols checking out the rural homes everyday, there would still be a long period of time where no guards would be around. I doubt they’d have the manpower for more than that with the Titans around.

    • Seppuku33
      Posted May 13, 2013 at 4:45 pm | Permalink

      My brother pointed out a possible plot hole. How did Eren find the slaver’s hideout so quick?

      I told him the slavers didn’t go too far and were still in the forest. Eren most likely just went the closest homes.

      Any thoughts on this?

      • Iron Maw
        Posted May 14, 2013 at 8:25 am | Permalink

        The Kidnappers shack most likely wasn’t far from where Mikasa’s family lived so finding them wouldn’t have been hard. Ackermann’s look liked they lived fairly remotely so their home was probably only other house beside the one in the woods.

      • Inushinde
        Posted May 17, 2013 at 11:31 pm | Permalink

        I imagine that the hideout was fairly obvious, as Iron Maw mentioned– a derelict shack in the forest, likely with some recent signs of habitation or a struggle. Not like they could’ve gone far in such a short time, after all.

  5. Outcast
    Posted May 12, 2013 at 2:22 pm | Permalink

    You know, despite this episode being great and all, my mind kept going back to the first episode. Eren managed to single-handedly take out two big thugs (albeit with a sneak attack), but gets his ass handed to him by kids only slightly bigger than he is (going by the word of those three bullies from episode 1)? Besides, shouldn’t people have been just a tad bit more cautious around him since, you know, for having killed a bunch of people? Minor gripes, but still…

    • Inushinde
      Posted May 12, 2013 at 10:13 pm | Permalink

      Like you said, he did kill those guys with sneak attacks, while he ran at the kids from episode 1, fists flying. As for people being cautious about him having killed someone, I assume his father decided to keep it a secret and the guards didn’t see a reason to press the issue.

  6. gedata
    Posted May 12, 2013 at 2:49 pm | Permalink

    http://img845.imageshack.us/img845/3778/derrrrrrrrrrp.gif

    lol at the guy who got kicked

    also this

    http://i.imgur.com/tUvxcOW.jpg

    Lol censorship. He was obviously dead. here she looks like she’s into necrophilia

  7. Himitsuhanazono
    Posted May 12, 2013 at 7:00 pm | Permalink

    Can’t help feeling that the Titans are in to save the day – if breaking the wall means freeing humanity from serenity, doesn’t the invasion means peace AMONG humans (cause there’s an ‘universal’ target for fighting)?

    • Pusswookie
      Posted May 12, 2013 at 7:13 pm | Permalink

      Woah….. WOAH

      DEEP.

    • blackice85
      Posted May 12, 2013 at 7:21 pm | Permalink

      It does seem like the Titans are out to screw with humans, particularly the giant skinless one. He can teleport, but he does so outside the wall and only sticks around long enough to let the others in.

    • Inushinde
      Posted May 12, 2013 at 10:16 pm | Permalink

      Aside from the whole “eating people” thing, sure!

      • rava
        Posted May 13, 2013 at 12:22 am | Permalink

        There is going to be a conversation about this exact idea later in the story, if they follow the manga, anyway.

  8. SENSEISHUN
    Posted May 12, 2013 at 7:54 pm | Permalink

    I do not think Eren “hated” the titans before his mother died. He just saw them as an obstacle to get away from humanity. Humans back then to him were the real monsters that lived within the walls, no better or worse than a titan. Everyone is just complacent, unmotivated, fearful, greedy fucks that prey on the weak to survive.

    I kinda agree with one of the earlier comments saying that titans are in to save the day. They bring the absolute worst out of people and it forces people to recognize their weaknesses like Armin or even Eren. It’s like the Titan attacks come in waves and in between that time the colossal titan is giving humanity a chance to change their ways. If they don’t, there goes 50% of the population, and it continues til there’s nothing left.

    • blackice85
      Posted May 12, 2013 at 8:17 pm | Permalink

      That’s an interesting way of thinking of it, the Titans as a form of divine judgement. Considering their strength is does seem like they’re not trying to destroy all humans outright, they’re giving them somewhat of a chance.

    • Seppuku33
      Posted May 12, 2013 at 8:18 pm | Permalink

      I don’t think the titans are serving retribution so the humans can change. It’s not like the humans are going to change their nature because they are being attacked. The greedy merchant is still a greedy merchant. Badass Eren is still badass. Some people may have realized their flaws or weaknesses but does that make them “better” people in the eyes of the Titans? Aren’t there many other ways to initiate change that doesn’t involve massacre? How do the Titans know if the people have changed for the better anyway?

      • Inushinde
        Posted May 13, 2013 at 12:38 am | Permalink

        I don’t think the titans know, in that they’re tools more than creatures. If they’re only there to test humans, then the force behind them would determine their effect.

      • SENSEISHUN
        Posted May 13, 2013 at 10:31 pm | Permalink

        Well there’s always the simple scientific explanation that humans turned into titans somehow to be the “perfect soldier” and they lost all reason and killed everybody. Seems like that could be true too since alot of titans have unique faces. Plus if a titan held onto their intelligence a bit they could have a little hierarchy (unorthodox, armored, colossal).

  9. luffyluffy
    Posted May 13, 2013 at 1:19 am | Permalink

    One of the very first things I noticed about this episode was (besides the editing) the wonderful musical directing. The music was vibrant and vivid and it was music you actually HEARD and contributed to the feeling of the scene, unlike (for example) Yuki Kajiura’s lackluster performance in Fate/Zero. I’m honestly really happy Eoten is this well received, because this is Hiroyuki Sawano’s big chance to become a well respected name in the animusic community on-par w/ miss.kajiura.

    Anyone who really likes what he’s created so far in both Guilty Crown (he did that ost for that too and it’s some of his best work) and Attack on Titan should check out his work in Gundam Unicorn because the ost alone is almost better than the show itself, and that’s just pure magic.

    • Seppuku33
      Posted May 13, 2013 at 2:50 am | Permalink

      I absolutely agree that Titan has wonderful music. I first noticed in episode 2 when Eren, Mikasa, and Armin decided they would train together. The track started to play when the gate closed and they explained that the force to recapture the wall had been obliterated. The song was somber yet it had a hopeful feel to it. I recommend giving it a listen.

      I thought Hiroyuki Sawano was already recognized from his stellar pieces in Gundam Unicorn? His tracks can really evoke your emotions if you let them. I listen to Gundam Unicorn tracks when I’m studying as it helps me focus.

      My other favorite composers are Shirō Sagisu and Yoko Kanno. They did more than their fair share of popular titles. Sagisu is the composer for Evangelion, Berserk, and Bleach. Kanno is the composer for Cowboy Bebop, Escaflowne, many Macross series, RahXephon, and even Aquarion Evol.

      Out of all the composers I think I like Shirō Sagisu the best, followed by Hiroyuki Sawano, and then Yoko Kanno.

      What other composers do you appreciat?

      • luffyluffy
        Posted May 13, 2013 at 1:12 pm | Permalink

        Yeah, but not everyone watches Gundam, you know? ;w;

        Besides for Mr.Sawano, I love Yoko Kanno (but that’s a given) and Shiro Sagisu is a fantastic composer as well.

        I really enjoy Shigeki Saegusa’s work for Zeta Gundam as well. It’s got a good mixture between fun, somber, and 80’s floof that just makes it a really good ost to listen too. One thing I don’t like about it though is that most tracks don’t have much ‘depth’ if that makes sense.

        I’ve got the ost for the first season of Code Geass, that’s really fun and everything made by Taku Iwasaki (Gurren Lagann, Soul Eater, Jojos) is fantastic as well. As a final note, I’ll bring up Sahashi Toshihiko who’s the composer of The Big O’s ost, because I’m pretty sure there isn’t a person on the planet who doesn’t love Brick Ballads.

    • Posted May 13, 2013 at 3:32 am | Permalink

      I thought the same thing! The music created a really nice transition from Mikasa’s flashback back to present day, and evoked emotion beautifully without taking away from the scenes.

  10. kamen rider Dragon
    Posted May 13, 2013 at 3:37 am | Permalink

    Best episode in the show for me. Finnaly an emotional breather for once in this show. And about time our three mains have had some light shed on them. I now care little for them. Mikasa devotion to Eren makes even more sense now given what happened. And some world building too. I wonder if there are more races like the Orientals around and the many races they talked about are connected to the titans.

    And did someone say Eren was “badss? I’m sorry that’s not badass Eren. This was almost psychotic. This was a child who planned to murder two people. He tracked them down lied, and brutally killed them. It really painted a twisted picture on Eren. Even more so that his father scolded him only for “putting his life at risk carelessly” If your child did that, that’s not what you would say.

    • Seppuku33
      Posted May 13, 2013 at 4:19 am | Permalink

      Yeah, badass wan’t the best word for describing young Eren. Moxie is more what I’m looking for. I stand firm and believe that Eren is badass overall. His tenacity and determination are what I like about him the most.

      The stare that Eren gave after he killed the first slaver was intense. I literally said, “Oh Shit!” out loud after he did that. I was surprised that he had the moxie to kill people at such a young age. However, Titan brings home the point that you have to fight to survive and protect the people you care about. It was selfless of Eren to protect Mikasa, especially since he never met her. I think Eren deserves praise for putting someone else’s life before his.

      Posted below is the stare that I’m talking about. Eren has a strong sense of justice even if he takes it into his own hands. Some people can take whatever you throw at them but when you hurt other people they get furious.

      http://goo.gl/5Zefq

    • Posted May 13, 2013 at 3:34 pm | Permalink

      Yeah I thought Eren looked more like a serial killer to be. The way he kept yelling at the 2nd corpse was pretty F’d up.

      • kamen rider Dragon
        Posted May 13, 2013 at 3:40 pm | Permalink

        Yeah that what mean. I see what mean Seppuku but that wasn’t a kid enacting what he thought justice was. That assassination and it came off a little twisted.

      • Seppuku33
        Posted May 13, 2013 at 5:37 pm | Permalink

        Eren said, “I disposed of some dangerous beasts. Mere animals that just happened to resemble humans.” Eren found the slaver’s murder of a peaceful family and plan to sell an innocent girl as a sex slave despicable. So despicable that he killed them while experiencing a rush of adrenaline known as a high. Soldiers sometimes experience a high in combat situations. As a result, they are overwhelmed by frustration and anger until the threat has been eliminated.

        So yeah, Eren did snap far for a moment, which I found disturbing, but that doesn’t make him the next Ted Bundy.

        Eren confirms his purpose by saying while tearing up, “But I just wanted to save her…” It wasn’t that he killed the salvers for kicks and giggles. Eren was doing it to save Mikasa.

  11. Matthew
    Posted May 14, 2013 at 3:27 am | Permalink

    After five episodes of humans getting squashed when they run into titans, it felt pretty nice to see Mikasa dropping them right and left like it’s a day at the office.

    It’s one thing to have the other characters say she’s a prodigy. It’s another to see her at work, being all ‘action hero’.

  12. Taka
    Posted May 14, 2013 at 6:46 am | Permalink

    I dunno if it just because I paid attention to the lyrics of the opening this time around but the subtext of the show was hitting me pretty hard; to the extent that BLACKICE85’s comment about the Titans being a measure to prevent stagnation sounding somewhat reasonable. It may not have been the original authors intent but I feel that the shows creators are really trying to make the show resonate with the NEET population that may or may not watch it. Even to the point about making some offhanded remark about the low birthrates in the “rareness” of Oriental people.

    • Inushinde
      Posted May 17, 2013 at 11:34 pm | Permalink

      That could certainly be what they’re aiming for in some way. Whether you seek it out or hide from it, life will break down your barrier and eat you alive at some point in time.

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