An operation going a little too well is a sign that shit’s about to get real in Shingeki no Kyojin, since nothing can ever truly go exceedingly well for mankind’s last hope. While bordering on excessively grim, the direction is fantastic. The atmosphere is electric, the pacing hits all the right notes, and the female titan’s devotion toward finding Eren elicits a mixture of curiosity and bewilderment that makes the episode go by in a flash, coupled with the Recon Corps’ desperate attempts to slow her down. After several episodes of characters sitting around and fixing up abandoned castles, we’ve plunged back into the thick of things.
And, most important of all, the female titan has a shapely ass, as helpfully pointed out by Reiner.
Despite blatantly hinting at who she is, effort is made to build up a sort of mystery; a mystery that’s spoiled when the camera stays glued on the female titan’s suspiciously familiar face, but Armin’s deductive capabilities are still put to good use. Just like other titans capable of reasoning beyond “food screams when I pick it up, but food good”, this one displays the ability to ignore the munchies in order to accomplish a very specific goal. Coupled with human features that exhibit more emotion than a drive to kill (and a nice ass), this titan being human is almost a certainty. This is hardly revelatory for this particular titan, but it opens up an uncomfortable realm of possibilities that’ll make any future operations more difficult. After all, the biggest weakness of the titans is their predictability.
The concept of beings that exist to do nothing but eat humans is daunting, but it isn’t quite as scary as the desire for one of them to hurt humanity in more insidious ways beyond wanton slaughter. Quite a lot goes into making the female titan (somehow) even more intimidating than her size and behavior would dictate. Neat little touches, like her footsteps pounding in sync with the BGM and her blocking out the sun several times, communicates the threat that her size alone poses.
While Kyojin builds up this artificial sense of mystery with some dedication, it focuses more on the Recon Corps’ attempts to either slow her down or outright stop her, and what they learn from each subsequent attempt/bludgeoned corpsman. Again, there’s even better direction than usual going on here. It has a very clear set of priorities that allows the necessary information to sink in, while not bogging the episode down with tedious dialogue, something that’s been struggled with efore. It’s more than enough to keep any niggling female titan-related complaints from overshadowing what the show does well, and it does so many things right in this episode that I can put aside any suppositions to enjoy the ride.
Since I can’t think of a good way to end this post, here’s Armin in a skirt again.