20 CommentsShingeki no Kyojin / By Inushinde /

Shingeki no Kyojin Episode 11: Too Big for a Kids Meal

Shingeki1102

Context has always been somewhat of an issue for Shingeki no Kyojin. While it’s extremely competent, entire stretches of episodes can zoom by with dramatic moments that elicit more laughs than empathy, due to a lack of attachment to the goings on. To remedy this, the series takes this episode to dissect its entire reason for existing, and lays its still-bleeding innards in front of the characters to examine. It reminds us that humanity is the underdog protagonist in an 80’s sports film that overcomes all adversity, except the rival rich kid team is several times their size and has an insatiable lust for eating people, and the adversity needing to be overcome is being eaten.

There seems to be a general pattern in this show as to the behavior of the soldiers, and it’s gotten a bit wearisome. First comes panic, then despair, then some brave soul pulls them out of their own weeping asses to (wo)man up and fight back the titans, usually accompanied by a soaring orchestral piece. Not that the end result isn’t always spectacular, but the setup has been relatively unchanged since the very first episode, albeit sped along to assuage the feeling of déjà vu. The series has always struggled with maintaining the weight of its situations, and nothing, short of having a fiery speech delivered by Dot Pixis, would have changed that.

Luckily, the brave soul giving the speech in this episode is indeed Dot fucking Pixis, a man so magnificent that his voice carries to a panicked crowd from the top of a huge fucking wall, a voice oozing with enough gravitas to conjure the series’ best tracks from the ether, and aurally skullfuck the meek and frightened sheep into frenzied action. He lays every cold, hard fact on the table and doesn’t shy away from the truth, contextualizing elements and plot points that started to feel stretched to the breaking point by neglect; this is the first time that I didn’t feel a noticeable clunk as the tone switched gears. Maybe it’s the shift to a larger scale than Eren and his immediate social circle, or maybe it’s because Dot Pixis was the missing magical ingredient in an already tasty dish, but something about this felt fluid in a way that hasn’t quite been achieved before.

Shingeki1101

I wouldn’t be surprised if Araki knew it was going to be another episode of yelling exposition, so he decided to at least use it as an opportunity to push the best that the soundtrack had to offer onto the audience. Every critical thought that dared to crop up was instantly supplanted by admiration for the sound direction, because holy fuck on a fuckbiscuit this is probably the best that the series has so far, and I’ll probably buy the soundtrack just because of its use here. While far from understated, it’s woven well into each scene to give the simmering tension just that much more of a push while Pixis bombards the crowd with aural testosterone shots.

I think that Shingeki no Kyojin has found just the right way to pad the moments between fights when Eren’s growth (pardon the pun) isn’t in need of developing: Dot Pixis screaming an inspirational speech with the backing of thunderous war drums, and Eren burning away the show’s budget in fluid movement gear sequences. Granted, Eren’s sudden endeavor to redecorate a roof with Mikasa’s innards was pretty fucking abrupt, but at least it beats ending the episode with Eren becoming Skeletor.

This entry was posted in Shingeki no Kyojin and tagged , , , . Bookmark the permalink. Post a comment or leave a trackback: Trackback URL.

20 Comments

  1. Posted June 18, 2013 at 2:36 pm | Permalink

    I thought this was the show’s best episode so far, and the first one I didn’t have any substantial complaints about. Pixis was fantastic – not only did his speech lay out the dire terms of their conflict in a much more effective way than a dozen horrified expressions ever could, but he was also the first character to directly address the importance of manipulating the emotions of the soldiers (“The Titans aren’t our only enemy,” etc). I found the last few episodes extremely poorly paced and repetitive, but this one did a lot of work to dispel my concerns.

    • Inushinde
      Posted June 20, 2013 at 12:32 am | Permalink

      Pretty much my thoughts exactly. Everything between Eren punching shit in titan form was treading the same ground with nobody to break the monotony. Not only is Pixis brutally honest, but the show does hint at him knowing more than everyone else about Eren’s potential for titan fighting, implying that the higher-ups aren’t anywhere near as ignorant of the titans as the commonfolk.

  2. Yurei
    Posted June 18, 2013 at 3:49 pm | Permalink

    That budget burning near the end of the episode…we need more of that.

    • Inushinde
      Posted June 20, 2013 at 12:33 am | Permalink

      Yeah we do. I’m fine with stills during scenes where movement is unimportant if we get more scenes like that– especially if they actually have some relevance beyond looking fucking cool.

  3. Stef
    Posted June 18, 2013 at 4:06 pm | Permalink

    This might come as a shock to you Inushinde, but this really was the worst thing I’ve seen since last week’s episode.

    • Erif
      Posted June 18, 2013 at 4:28 pm | Permalink

      You mean Inushinde?

    • Inushinde
      Posted June 18, 2013 at 11:46 pm | Permalink

      Fixed, and kindly explain.

      • Stef
        Posted June 19, 2013 at 12:27 pm | Permalink

        Weird, I thought I typed Inushinde. Sorry about that. Freudian slip?

        I have lots of reasons, but it all comes back to the way the show tries to make up for the lack of an emotional connection. This episode was really the most egregious example so far. The worst part was the 2 minutes long monologue telling us we should care about what’s happening.

      • Inushinde
        Posted June 20, 2013 at 12:36 am | Permalink

        Thus far, I think you’re supposed to connect with humanity as a whole vicariously through a few characters, rather than the characters themselves. It’s not working as well as it could, but I do see where they’re going with it, and I think it is working to some degree. And with Dot fucking Pixis picking up the slack for a little while, it definitely is on the mend.

  4. Nazaren
    Posted June 18, 2013 at 5:58 pm | Permalink

    Have to say I was convinced to buy the soundtrack back around the time of Mikasa’s flashback episode, but it was used to amazing effect here.

    Also, I could listen to Rico’s (serious bespectacled blonde chick on the elite team) voice alllllll day long…

    • jo
      Posted June 18, 2013 at 10:57 pm | Permalink

      Blonde? I thought she was an older woman with greying hair. Anyhow, she seems pretty cool.
      Beautful animation and music in this ep, but that titan in the screenshot was just goofy!

      • Inushinde
        Posted June 18, 2013 at 11:47 pm | Permalink

        I need to use at least one screenshot of titans if they appear in the episode. It’s the one rule that I’m holding myself by here. Also, agreed that Rico is pretty fucking great.

      • Nazaren
        Posted June 19, 2013 at 12:09 am | Permalink

        Older woman with greying hair? I thought she was the cryptkeeper.

        Maybe older woman, but I’d definitely go with dirty blonde.

        Super important details, people.

      • Inushinde
        Posted June 20, 2013 at 12:37 am | Permalink

        I’m in the dirty blonde camp. She’s great no matter the hair color, though.

  5. Pusswookie
    Posted June 19, 2013 at 3:44 am | Permalink

    Seeing as I don’t actually know the budget of the AoT production team, I wonder if, after that epic 3DMG sequence at the end, will the next episode eventually cut to stills and stick figure animation.

    Speaking of Skeletor; is it me, or is Armin destined to become He-Man, defender of Eternia and protector of the secrets of castle Greyskull?

    • Posted June 19, 2013 at 9:04 am | Permalink

      Also speedlines and narration. :-)

    • Inushinde
      Posted June 20, 2013 at 12:39 am | Permalink

      Personally, I’m expecting more the KareKano route of budget degradation.

      And all Armin needs is a fruity pink shirt when he’s not Ar-Man, and he’ll be virtually identical to He-Man.

  6. Posted June 19, 2013 at 11:57 am | Permalink

    I’ve reached the stage where most of the stills are more hilarious than serious. And there’s so many of them! It really ruins the series for me at the moment.

    • Inushinde
      Posted June 20, 2013 at 12:41 am | Permalink

      Oh come on, the titans just look so happy. How could that ruin the series for you? Also the artwork isn’t too shabby, so I don’t entirely mind the stills, especially since they don’t get in the way of the actual combat very much.

  7. Posted August 1, 2013 at 2:24 am | Permalink

    DOCUMENT am not aware of the things “WordPress” is and yet any time it consists of a thing to do with in the same manner I’ll include automatic upgrades connected with cutting edge posts as a result of your web log posted in my Bebo, as compared with Let me know more relating to this… Why not & Thanks for your time. * The web log is often a Blogspot / Blogger web log..

Post a Comment

Your email is never published nor shared. Required fields are marked *

*
*

You may use these HTML tags and attributes <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <strike> <strong>

Subscribe without commenting

  • Categories

  • Anime