Thinking up titles for these less than titanic Titan posts is always a difficult prospect. I’m always torn between going for the puns (always go for the puns when you can) and going for something that I found notable about the episode. In lieu of either (no good Armin puns; other people sucked), this week’s hastily cobbled together title is brought to you by a daylong Slayer binge, which is a viable source of post titles for any episode, now that I give it some thought.
The circumstances surrounding Eren’s power are kind of interesting, now that some time’s been given to explore just what sets them off. Since he can only summon a titan form conducive to his desire at time of summoning, and has to go to some effort to maintain it, there’s a definite learning curve to him getting just what he needs at just the right time. There’s fertile ground for development of all kinds, from Eren learning to control his impulses for just the right titan, to him feeling ostracized even after being begrudgingly spared from a messy death by cannonball. Hell, there may be some fun things done with him slowly losing his humanity or even life, if the show’s feeling particularly daring. While none of these choices are all that daring or explorative of deep, new concepts, they’ll still be interesting to see filtered through Shingeki no Kyojin’s lens of titan murder and people eating. At worst it’ll have Eren punch other titans to death in a satisfyingly visceral fashion, which is hardly bad thing. The only way I could be really disappointed is if nothing comes of it, and Eren just spends the next several episode whinging at things.
However, this isn’t Eren’s episode—in fact, his whole “my journey’s going to be dangerous, so don’t come with me” shtick is downright tiresome, as is Mikasa’s fanatical devotion to protecting him. It’s unquestionably Armin’s chance to prove less of a burden than the other characters give him credit for. For being such an integral character, Armin hasn’t exactly been given enough room to be characterized as anything other than a sniveling, abnormally smart waste of space. Much of the show up to this point could have had him replaced with bizarrely specific fortune cookies that dispensed titan survival advice, and it wouldn’t have felt very different.
It’s taken awhile for him to grow into his part, but here he is, probably the most sympathetic character developed so far. While I’m apparently one of the few that thinks Eren’s perfectly alright, mostly because everybody else seems intent on reminding him that he’s functionally useless without fellow soldiers to tether down his recklessness, it’s Armin that comes blazing out of nowhere, saving Eren and Mikasa from the rash decisions of a superior officer. His quick thinking, coupled with a drive to protect the two, provide an outlet for the plot to abuse his diplomatic nature that’s been suffering from neglect as of late. Unfortunately, the actual dialogue is similar to last episode, with Armin yelling at Raccoon Eyes, who in turn denies Armin’s points through more yelling; shouting one’s points can only happen so much before it starts to feel forced. Still, it does show Armin asserting himself, which is proof that he does have it in him to be kind of fucking cool and not just an insecure wreck of a person.
Finally, there’s Pixis, who I’m hoping will become a mainstay as the show continues. With the façade of a perpetual smirk and offhanded comments about female titans, my money’s on him being somehow revealed as a titan at some point, since my wildest predictions for the season have been proven mostly right so far, and it wouldn’t hurt to go for “awesomely dumb plot progression bingo”. Still, if there’s somebody that I’d want to be a titan just because, it’d be him.
I don’t know how to end this post in a way that can properly express my satisfaction at Armin finally being given a chance to shine with the poise and dignity of a soldier, so here he is in a school uniform.