19 CommentsShingeki no Kyojin / By Inushinde /

Shingeki no Kyojin Episode 12: Eren on the Side of Caution


Comparisons to Evangelion have been bandied about recently in conversations related to Shingeki no Kyojin, at least when those conversations don’t just devolve into people shouting at each other over the merits of the frequent use of stills to save on the budget, and over whether Eren is the most annoying protagonist since ever. Actually, the lapses into frugal animation go back to Evangelion as well, so I guess Shingeki no Kyojin is looking to channel Anno’s animated psychological cross-section and add in a few Central European names to make it stand apart from its mecha-toting cohort.

Contrary to what that opening paragraph might imply, this isn’t going to be a post on how Shingeki no Kyojin is totally ripping off Evangelion—despite some noticeable similarities, Kyojin is lacking Anno’s trademark deep hatred toward the audience, his own creation, and most of all, himself. It may be many things, but it’s hardly an exercise in misanthropy and tedium. To scrape a few rotting morsels off the very bottom of the comparison bucket would be doing a grave disservice to both shows by disregarding the elements that make them so unique. However, there is one shared plot development that’s worth a mention for being absolutely insufferable in Eva, while actually being used to decent effect in Kyojin. Unfortunately, it’s just the way the two protagonists retreat inside themselves mentally, and doesn’t point toward Eren’s titan form actually being his mother that he may or may not lust after.

While Eva decided to dedicate an overly long time toward Shinji whinging (try saying that five times fast) at an angel while trapped in a manifestation of his insecurities, Kyojin opts to have Eren mentally revert to his last state of contentment, surrounded by his family back home. Yet, despite being in a familiar home with his loved ones, everyone around him is completely static; it’s a case where the limited budget of a scene really gives it some oomph. It may be the home that he remembers, but it doesn’t hold warmth and love for him anymore, only bitter memories and an apparent predisposition to erupting in flames. All he can do is burn his longing to return to childhood to the triumph of an orchestral swell, and continue his stint as a hulking, green-eyed abomination with the ability to carry huge fucking rocks.


Having Armin constantly provide an outside voice to draw Eren out of his delusion serves well to shift the audience between Eren’s bubble, and the titan-overrun reality. It acts as the lifeline tethering Eren and his emotional instability to a world that still needs him, and develops Eren further into somebody integral to the plot by going a ways toward resolving his desire to mentally withdraw from the surrounding chaos. And by focusing his thoughts into scenes only a few minutes long, interjected with fellow soldiers trying to recover him, the episode kept the pace at a good clip without sacrificing the importance of Eren’s development.

Kyojin may have slowed down, but it continues to make the most of its slightly more deliberate pacing to flesh out its characters a bit, and I find that fantastic.

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  1. Posted June 27, 2013 at 4:20 am | Permalink

    What? Comparing Titan to EVA? Didn’t people say the same thing about Madoka when it came out?

    • Posted June 27, 2013 at 12:04 pm | Permalink

      It’s the go-to comparison for the lazy devaluation of shows. “EVA DID IT FIRST SO THIS SUCKS”

      • Posted June 27, 2013 at 3:37 pm | Permalink

        Guess anything that has tons of dark emotional angst screams, “EVAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAA!”

      • Inushinde
        Posted June 28, 2013 at 3:42 am | Permalink

        Didn’t you know that Evangelion is basically the only show allowed to be angsty?

  2. Posted June 27, 2013 at 7:10 am | Permalink

    doesn’t point toward Eren’s titan form actually being his mother that he may or may not lust after.

    You can’t prove that…yet.

    Almost anything and everything can be compared to Evangelion but you make a good point. I’m eager to see Eren’s personal journey unfold, I personally find him to be a destructive force even before the Titans attacked so Armin’s words remind him of another motivation that doesn’t involve killing the fuck out of anything. I used to question Attack on Titan’s approach towards redemptive violence and this surprised me in a good way.

  3. Stef
    Posted June 27, 2013 at 9:06 am | Permalink

    Finally, a character driven story that actually focuses on characters. It took 11 goddamn episodes of screaming and tears and over-exaggeration and sophistry, but now I see hope for an half-decent story.

    I’m not holding my breath though.

    • Inushinde
      Posted June 28, 2013 at 3:43 am | Permalink

      It likely won’t make it a central element, but at least Titan proves that it can execute development without whinging hopelessly at the audience time and time again.

  4. Posted June 27, 2013 at 12:05 pm | Permalink

    “whether Eren is the most annoying protagonist since ever”

    Admittedly I’ve not been watching SnK for a couple of months now, but surely he can’t be any worse than, say, Shu from Guilty Crown? Right??

  5. Seppuku33
    Posted June 27, 2013 at 1:49 pm | Permalink

    I like Eren’s strong sense of determination, even if he is sometimes blinded by it. This episode served to add another facet to Eren’s character as Scamp pointed out.

    In both shows the protagonists have difficulty tempering their desire while using their mediums. In AoT, Eren has to become a part of the Titan in order to control it. The Titan is a powerful force of destruction and mayhem. This brute power is what Eren desperately needs to accomplish his goal of wiping out the titans. Shinji, who is also synced with his medium, needs the raw, godlike power of the Eva to reach his goal. In the Rebuild, he uses the Eva in an attempt to get something back and to return something to its original form. Both mediums are something the protagonists can’t fully control, yet they need them to fulfill their desires. Both protagonists need to take hold of their desires lest there be dire consequences for the ones around them.

  6. gedata
    Posted June 27, 2013 at 3:20 pm | Permalink

    “and over whether Eren is the most annoying protagonist since ever”

    well there has been plenty of complaints thrown about regarding Shinji and his annoying spinelessness, so he too was heralded as the most annoying protagonist since ever. Oh and they both pilot huge organic monstrosities as well.

    • Gan_HOPE326
      Posted June 27, 2013 at 5:30 pm | Permalink

      It’s especially funny how Eren’s reason for being the most annoying protagonist since ever would be exactly the opposite one as it was for Shinji: not being a whiny pussy, but being a hyped up determinator who takes himself too seriously.

  7. Pusswookie
    Posted June 27, 2013 at 4:29 pm | Permalink
  8. hint
    Posted June 27, 2013 at 6:03 pm | Permalink

    all scenes with Jean and his group are anime original. Lets see what they do with it.

    • Seppuku33
      Posted June 27, 2013 at 11:55 pm | Permalink

      Really? If that’s the case then they are doing a great job so far. I’m glad Jean isn’t bitter due to Eren one upping him, as I suspected earlier. Jean’s struggles to be a leader takes some of the focus off Eren and the gang and it makes for an interesting subplot.

  9. Gedata
    Posted June 28, 2013 at 2:30 am | Permalink

    I must commend you Inushinde for yet another bitchin’ pun title!

    • Inushinde
      Posted June 28, 2013 at 4:15 am | Permalink

      I do try! Let’s see if I can’t keep this up for the rest of the series’ run.


    New Podcast next Tuesday, December 6, on Grimgar, Mob Psycho, Schwarzesmarken, and more! The more being mostly bickering
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