12 CommentsShingeki no Kyojin / By Inushinde /

Shingeki no Kyojin Episode 15: The Perfect Header Image

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Shingeki no Kyojin is somewhat commendable for showing variety in the both the rank and file soldiers and the brass, even if that variety only extends to one half being cowardly and rational, and the other being not and not. Even if it’s only in a rudimentary sense, the portrayal as an entity comprised of flesh and emotion that’s only as strong as its various components, as opposed to an arm of humanity just used to swipe away trouble, goes a long way toward making the various conflicts of the military actually resonate on a human level.

I guess what I’m saying is we should have more episodes centered on Hanji, so I can walk away more often with few complaints beyond the show not actually being Experiment on Titan, with Hanji as the lead and Sasha as her lovely, gluttonous assistant.

The problem that usually happens with characters like Hanji is they’re introduced as these free spirits with eccentricities well beyond the understanding of any kind of logic, and they’re never fleshed out beyond their initial gimmick until their impact has long dried up. It happened with Sasha and it happened with Pixis, but it’s thankfully being kept to a minimum with Hanji.

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It was smart of the show to use her as a framing device for an episode of important exposition, rather than just relying on a solemn voiceover to describe the titan experiments. Hanji’s more sympathetic view of the titans carries what could have been a dull recollection of titan experiments. The fact that it does so with legitimately strong comedic moments, like Hanji lecturing Eren about her discoveries well into the night, or overreacting while blinding a titan, helps even more, while cluing the audience in on her personality.

Where most people confront the titans with a swirling sense of dread and duty, Hanji does with unbridled enthusiasm—not because she gets to kill them, but because she has the opportunity to observe their behavior. It’s strange, amusing, and rather fitting, that this particularly brand of crazy just sort of happened after kicking away a decapitated titan head. After staying in the Recon Corps for so long and witnessing horrific acts of carnage, Hanji found a way to cope with the trauma that’s almost worse than killing titans for catharsis, and no less dangerous.

What’s more, it actually serves a purpose in the grand scheme of things that isn’t just showing that Hanji’s a bit kooky; her experiments, though limited, do allow for greater insight into titan “biology”, and how they’re basically walking manifestations of solar power. I look forward to hopefully seeing more of her in the future.

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When the series focuses on these members of the military who do their job, not with a grim sense of duty, but with the unbridled glee of a child finding a titan-shaped present under their Christmas tree, it picks up significantly. Shingeki no Kyojin sure as hell isn’t perfect, but episodes like this with fun, interesting characters that provide a fresh perspective really let it rise above its weaker elements. More importantly, if every soldier was half the woman that Hanji is, Wall Maria would be reclaimed by now. Or maybe there’d just be titans on leashes named Bean. Either way, things would be better.

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12 Comments

  1. Nagisa33
    Posted July 25, 2013 at 3:13 am | Permalink

    This was my mine and my friend’s favorite episode to date. It takes a much needed step back from vital battle plans being devised or titans snacking on humans. I too hope they flesh out the side characters instead of leaving them static. The last time I saw Sasha she was more pathetic or clumsy than funny. Pixis is still fine being a badass weirdo in my opinion.

    • Inushinde
      Posted July 25, 2013 at 3:33 am | Permalink

      Yes, but he could stand to be even more of a badass weirdo. I mean at least pan to him lusting after titan ass every so often, y’know?

    • iron maw
      Posted July 25, 2013 at 3:36 am | Permalink

      Sasha gets more fleshed out later on in the manga, but you’re not going to see this season unfortunately.

  2. Pusswookie
    Posted July 25, 2013 at 3:17 am | Permalink

    BEAAANN!! *stab* I’m so sorry ;_; *stab* stay strong, you ca-*stab* MAKE IT THROUGH THIS! ;_;

    That part was hilarious.

    • Nagisa33
      Posted July 25, 2013 at 3:22 am | Permalink

      Hahaha! I didn’t know whether to laugh or be weirded out so I did a bit of both.

    • Inushinde
      Posted July 25, 2013 at 3:31 am | Permalink

      I found that part absolutely hysterical. Hanji really is fantastic.

  3. gedata
    Posted July 25, 2013 at 6:06 am | Permalink

    “I guess what I’m saying is we should have more episodes centered on Hanji, so I can walk away more often with few complaints beyond the show not actually being Experiment on Titan, with Hanji as the lead and Sasha as her lovely, gluttonous assistant”

    Hanji and Sasha kinda look alike, It’d make happy if the two of them revealed they were sisters.

  4. hint
    Posted July 25, 2013 at 8:47 am | Permalink

    The simple joy of kicking a ball makes all the difference.

  5. Posted July 25, 2013 at 3:33 pm | Permalink

    What’s cute is that in the manga, the scene of Hanji kicking the Titan’s head has her smiling sadistically.

  6. DarkEnergy
    Posted July 26, 2013 at 10:29 pm | Permalink

    Hell yeah. Hanji’s exposition was the best part of the episode. As a scientist myself, I’m glad that SOMEBODY finally, in the course of 100+ years, has decided to take on the mindset of a scientist and figure out “What the fuck are these titans? How do they work? Where do they come from? Etc.” I feel that my further enjoyment of this series will be directly correlated to how much Hanji-expounding and Sasha-potato-eating there will be.

    I haven’t read the manga past this point, so this is pure speculation: Captain Levi and that blond recon guy killed the two experimental titans (I think this is implied at the end of the episode). They wanted to test Eren and see if he felt any compassion towards the titans now that he can turn into one. If this is true, I think this is monumentally stupid to kill the only live test samples they have. Also, the titans are solar-powered somehow. They must have a low density to weigh so little. Lastly, the colossal and armored titans are people (like Eren) who can turn into titans and control them.

    • Inushinde
      Posted July 30, 2013 at 5:50 am | Permalink

      You would’ve thought that there would have been more than one person who noticed that the titans’ bodies are incredibly light, and would try to find reasons for that happening. But I guess neck-stabbing is fine too.

  7. Jeremiah Wilderson
    Posted July 31, 2013 at 4:16 am | Permalink

    Now let’s not get ahead of ourselves here, you might be heading into dangerous territory by saying “they’re never fleshed out beyond their initial gimmick until their impact has long dried up.” I think we need that extra time to become familiar with the characters before the fleshing out. A lot of times rapid-fire development feels forced, and so the impact will fly past our heads.

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