7 CommentsShingeki no Kyojin / By Inushinde /

Shingeki no Kyojin Episode 19: Shouldering the Team’s Burdens

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Female Titan, you never fail to provide ample material for potent screenshot/pun combos. I’d kiss you, but I have a feeling it’d be like kissing raw meat that wants me dead.

I will say this much for Shingeki no Kyojin, even if it goes to complete shit, it definitely knows how to use flashbacks well from a mechanical standpoint. While there’s no reason why the one in this episode couldn’t have been fleshed out into its own full-length segment, complete with more Hanji shenanigans, it being sandwiched into the middle of this episode kept the pre-expedition exposition from getting too long for its own good.

Still, it could have used more action in the present to follow up in Eren learning for the millionth time that he doesn’t have to shoulder the burden of killing every titan ever by himself—horses riding in a straight line isn’t the most exciting thing in the world, even if they’re being pursued by a giant blonde murderer. The flashback itself didn’t prop up the actual development well either, degenerating into HYSTERICAL YELLING BECAUSE THIS IS DRAMA too often. It’s nice that the soldiers were actually talked down this time, rather than retroactively being commanded to stop by higher ups, but having characters shout ineffectually at each other doesn’t make for a terribly compelling scene, even if it has Eren trapped in a slab of titan meat.

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With that said though, one thing that this episode does right is find more material to develop Eren with without breaking and rebuilding his character in the exact same way. The continued emphasis on him growing from new experiences makes him surprisingly likable, if a little lacking in dimension. It doesn’t see the need to reinforce the same shit time and time again, and I can definitely get behind it. Not only that, but it does shed a scant amount of light on how Eren’s power functions without giving it away entirely. It balances things well by giving a hint that raises several tangential questions. I kind of hope that spoons are the secret, and all titans were former silverware salespeople, but I don’t think the actual answer makes that much sense.

Episodes like this don’t exactly have me clamoring for more of the same, but I do appreciate how the little action they do have is still impactful. Female Titan being harpooned hundreds of times is certainly striking enough on its own, but it wouldn’t be nearly as punchy (impale-y?) if it wasn’t used as a payoff for Eren making the right choice in one of his many internal struggles. Some fantastic lighting certainly doesn’t hurt things.

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There isn’t much else to say. I’m hoping that next few episodes will shed some light on who Female Titan really is (as if the many glimpses of her face didn’t already give it away), and her reason for pounding half of the army into smears of giblets. I seriously doubt it’s to help the cause though; you can’t exactly explain away spinning a guy so hard with his maneuver gear that he leaks his stomach through his ears. The suspense isn’t killing me, but I’m hoping that this means the show will move forward into uncharted waters. And if not, at least we have future Hanji shenanigans.

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7 Comments

  1. Posted August 21, 2013 at 4:32 pm | Permalink

    I thought the flashback was very crisply executed, especially the segue from the flashback into the present. It was only after the episode finished I realized that as far as plot goes, the whole thing could have been condensed to the last five minutes. As for content/pacing, they’re just doing what’s in the manga, so I can’t wholly blame them.

  2. Someone Else
    Posted August 21, 2013 at 6:00 pm | Permalink

    When characters make their own resolve they somehow stop developing at this point which makes them boring. Surprisingly, the show instead develops Eren in other fields such as his experience as a soldier and as the “hope”. So yes Eren is very likable so far. Also is it just me or Mikasa seems more and more useless? She’s kind of powerful like Levi but she’s almost doesn’t have any use at all? I really wish Armin gets more screen time as he’s actually my favorite character after Levi

    • Posted August 22, 2013 at 5:27 am | Permalink

      I can’t remember the last time Mikasa actually said anything useful
      Probably sometime in season one

    • Inushinde
      Posted August 23, 2013 at 8:27 am | Permalink

      Mikasa exists solely for Eren’s sake. This would be interesting, were it developed a bit more and not just used as an excuse for laziness.

  3. Nagisa33
    Posted August 21, 2013 at 6:44 pm | Permalink

    I thought it was cheesy when the members of Team Levi bit their hands. Besides that, the final scene was well done, the Female Titan is captured, and we got to see more of Commander Irvin’s extreme expressions!

    http://i1.ytimg.com/vi/V7QYHUtEulo/hqdefault.jpg

    I like how Eren didn’t say “Screw it” and go all rage mode. He’s learning to control himself which is good for the mission and the people supporting it. It also builds trust with his team.

    Even though Female Titan is captured, I wonder if she has any tricks up her sleeve. If not, I do hope they get her out of the titan body or some major info is revealed in the next episode.

  4. DarkEnergy
    Posted August 23, 2013 at 6:19 pm | Permalink

    More pacing issues, damnit. Why can’t we have more episodes like 17?
    So, what was the point of that noise grenade thing that was the cliffhanger for last episode? It seemed to do absolutely nothing. Maybe it was a signal to the spear-shooting ambush team that they were getting closer? And why did the female Titan suddenly stop and look around when she was in the middle of the ambush? She didn’t stop when she was in similar situations many times before. Bad writing. They just needed a way to somehow trap her so the Scooby gang can take off her mask to reveal her true identity.
    More Hanji shenanigans is always great. Hanji is my favorite character now. I want a Hanji spin-off series.
    At least we know a little bit more about how Titan-powers work. It requires pain, a strong intent, and seems to be something you can’t consciously control. As a physicist, I am a bit pissed that conservation of energy does not seem to apply in this world. I still stick with my predictions I made a few episodes ago as well.

    • Posted August 25, 2013 at 1:32 am | Permalink

      That’s my nitpick too. These titans aren’t fairy / ghost / spirit, are they? They are created through drugs / plague / virus / whatever. A creature created through such methods should be a physical being. Yet, conservation of mass / energy doesn’t apply on them?

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