35 CommentsShingeki no Kyojin / By Inushinde /

Shingeki no Kyojin Episode 2: Death by Giant Flamethrower Nudist

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Unfortunately, nothing in this episode reached the creepy heights of psychotically grinning long-haired titan, but fire-breathing colossus comes close. One of the commenters in the last post brought up the fact that the titans seem to be almost more like machines than organic creatures, caring for little aside from property damage and eating people for the sake of eating them. I thought that it was a good comparison, but I didn’t realize that the show itself would back up the titans being an unholy amalgamation of sunburned nudists and flamethrowers.

But the unstoppable, wholly unnatural nature of the titans only plays into the larger theme of hopelessness that’s hammered into the audience’s skulls throughout the entire episode, and to its credit, it does a damn fine job of showing how one-sided the struggle to keep Wall Maria standing is; it’s a struggle in the same sense that the demolition of a flimsy wooden shack is a struggle between moldy boards of wood and a heaping amount of TNT. The military has trouble holding off the normal, lumbering, vaguely human, non-fire breathing titans as is, but the appearance of running fire-breathing colossus, and the way that it shrugs off cannon fire like flakes of snow, shows that no matter their preparation, they wouldn’t have stood a chance against the onslaught. They could have had the entire population militarized and manning the walls, but that titan’s speed and strength, coupled with the numbers of the smaller ones, would have rendered the effort moot.

And, naturally, the effortless penetration (ehehe) of the wall not only manages to crush what fighting spirit could be mustered, but the sheer depressing weight of the situation brings out some unpleasantness in damn near everybody. Guards reluctantly hand out scant rations to refugees, the government dooms the vast majority to a painful slaughter in a half-assed reclamation effort, and all Eren and his friends can do is sit by and watch the remnants of their friends and family be eaten by the bushel by the eating machines that they have no conceivable chance against. While not quite humanity at its worst, it is nonetheless painful to see people that know nothing but peace have their lives shattered by a violent external force, before being carelessly tossed aside by those in power like scraps of hungry paper. Yet it manages not to bog itself down in melodrama, opting instead to only have Mikasa tell Eren to stop throwing tantrums every ten seconds before moving on.

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Helping to bring all these moments together into a cohesive package is some fantastic pacing; while actually seeing some scenes from the reclamation effort would’ve been nice, they wouldn’t have added anything, only serving to blur the weighty action of the beginning into an indistinct mass. The action at the beginning is punchy and memorable specifically because the rest of the episode is about the aftermath, and it puts the actions of the victims and those forced to help them into perspective. Due to both halves having a similar tone but an entirely different pace, they complement each other wonderfully and make each other more memorable.

With next week being a training episode, and most likely the start of Eren’s conversion from whiny traumatized kid to whiny traumatized teenager with a degree of military training, it’ll be good to develop our cast a bit more and flesh out their desires to make them into more than reactionary elements. At the very least I want a way to remember who Mikasa is without subconsciously thinking of shitty puns like “Mikasa es Tsukasa” that don’t even make sense. Just imagine it: Shingeki no Kyojin might just be the first show ever to make me not think of shitty puns while watching.

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35 Comments

  1. gedata
    Posted April 16, 2013 at 1:07 am | Permalink

    Training episode? awe, I want to see more of the skinless titan with too many teeth.

    • Pusswookie
      Posted April 16, 2013 at 4:23 am | Permalink

      Come to think of it, his giant flayed ass did have teeth to spare, didn’t he? I didn’t originally notice because, unlike everyone else in the forums, I wasn’t really paying much attention to the Titans’ suspiciously satisfactory oral hygiene.

      • Inushinde
        Posted April 19, 2013 at 11:38 pm | Permalink

        It’s eating all those bones. Keeps the teeth strong.

  2. Madotsuki
    Posted April 16, 2013 at 1:19 am | Permalink

    I know it didn’t look like it, but the Armored Titan was blowing out steam. Just like how there was smoke coming out of the Colossal Titan in the first episode.

    • Zabi
      Posted April 16, 2013 at 5:54 pm | Permalink

      The large Titans naturally produce heat

      • Inushinde
        Posted April 19, 2013 at 11:39 pm | Permalink

        Oh no, I saw the steam. Fucking terrifying.

  3. A
    Posted April 16, 2013 at 2:12 am | Permalink

    “Helping to bring all these moments together into a cohesive package is some fantastic pacing”

    They only covered 10 pages of the manga.

    • Inushinde
      Posted April 19, 2013 at 11:39 pm | Permalink

      Damn, this is really dense, and I mean that in the best way.

  4. Kiseki
    Posted April 16, 2013 at 2:52 am | Permalink

    The anime added in some scenes to make the events clearer. Including that glorious bread scene. I’m slightly disappointed that they’ve decided to go the chronological route (goodbye decoy characters), but I suppose the flashbacks in the manga did feel disruptive at times and also POTATO NEXT WEEK!!

    Oh, I’ve always been curious, why do you crop your screencaps?

    • Inushinde
      Posted April 16, 2013 at 3:04 am | Permalink

      It just looks better to me than taking the whole shot most times. That, and it’s a carryover from regular WordPress that doesn’t show nearly as much of a difference as it does here when images are cropped.

      • Lanf
        Posted April 16, 2013 at 8:20 pm | Permalink

        Oooh, ooh question time! Out of curiousity, how come you use colons in your titles whilst the other two use dashes? More importantly, who’s right?

        Oh yeah, the anime…I was wondering in episode one, why they weren’t using big weapons against big targets, turns out they’re just a bit crap with the cannons. Mebbe if they had more than 5 or so and guys who can actually hit things, they might have a chance. To me, big ass cannons make more sense to take down a Titan than some zipwires and swords. I guess it’ll be a case of hit the weakspot for MASSIVE damage.

      • Inushinde
        Posted April 19, 2013 at 11:43 pm | Permalink

        Again, it was a carryover from WordPress. I tried to conform with the other two in the beginning, but I fell back into old habits without realizing until several months later, and by that point, my use of colons was already well established.

        And, from what’s been shown, titans are resilient bastards. It’s better to save the major ammunition for the big guys who can take a wall to the face with impunity. I imagine the ziplines and swords are for hitting nerves and stuff, and because gunpowder weapons are still cumbersome things, but that would require some knowledge of titan physiology. And if that’s the case, I don’t quite buy that they haven’t learned much in the past hundred or so years.

  5. Pusswookie
    Posted April 16, 2013 at 4:21 am | Permalink

    Was this the comment from the other episode?
    “Well, after watching it belt steam for a few minutes, I can’t but wonder if it’s a man [or other humanoid lifeform] made automaton of some sort.”
    Cause if so, then it’s oddly gratifying to be vaguely referenced in a blog one time.

    • Inushinde
      Posted April 19, 2013 at 11:44 pm | Permalink

      Not the one I was thinking of, but it also works!

  6. SENSEISHUN
    Posted April 16, 2013 at 5:42 am | Permalink

    The look you see on the titans faces makes them look like mindless beasts, but that running goliath(which is far cooler than the grinning titan :P) obviously knew there was an obstacle to get through. He knew to stop at a reasonable distance to get the momentum to break the wall. Looked like a team effort so I wonder what else they could be capable of.

    • Inushinde
      Posted April 19, 2013 at 11:45 pm | Permalink

      Sorry, grinning titan wins in the coolness competition. Seriously though, it’s kind of neat seeing the titans work together to swarm the human settlement. It proves that there is considerable intelligence backing up their actions, and they’re not just a mindless horde bent on eating whoever they can get their giant, grubby mitts on.

  7. Friend_Guy
    Posted April 16, 2013 at 5:51 am | Permalink

    When i saw the giant bone platted titan I couldn’t help but think of comparing that running titan to the charger or Berserker from Left 4 dead and it was just a equally scary in my mind when you face one of those running giants for the first time in the L4D game. I would like to make the simple prediction that the failed recon attempts will come to bite the humans in the butt really hard. We see the giant titan who also easily made a hole in the wall, and now we have a charger who breath fire and looks simply bad ass. I look forward to see the other titans that might come out to deal with the humans. I hope they have a boomer. A titan that just explode, to me it seems possible from what we seen in the titans already.

    (Also. Fire breathing titan V. Godzilla! )

    • Inushinde
      Posted April 19, 2013 at 11:48 pm | Permalink

      While I wouldn’t be quite so eager to have a vomiting titan, the variety that they’re hinting at really shows the imagination put into making them as alien as possible. Their introduction reminds me of XCOM more than Left 4 Dead, since you see a full display of their power without anybody putting a bullet (cannonball?) in their large skulls first.

  8. Billish
    Posted April 16, 2013 at 7:48 am | Permalink

    that bread picture…

    And I was totally freaked out more by the ‘colossus titan’ than by the ‘armoured titan.’ Despair and fear are this story to a tee

    • Inushinde
      Posted April 19, 2013 at 11:51 pm | Permalink

      Colossus Titan has the “unstoppable man of sinew and fear” thing going for him, but Armored Bro breathes fire. That’s a tougher call than I would’ve expected it to be.

  9. Rait
    Posted April 16, 2013 at 8:18 am | Permalink

    I don’t think it was fire, but a hot steam. Titans produce a shit loads of body heat and steam when they move around or regenerate.

    • Gan_HOPE326
      Posted April 16, 2013 at 9:42 am | Permalink

      …regenerate O_o? Oh no they fucking don’t. I mean, they are already OP… if they regenerate as well… eeew.

      • Posted April 16, 2013 at 6:07 pm | Permalink

        Regeneration seems like a minor spoiler in the eyes of this manga reader.

    • Inushinde
      Posted April 19, 2013 at 11:51 pm | Permalink

      Don’t ruin my illusion, even if steam makes more sense.

  10. Posted April 16, 2013 at 6:09 pm | Permalink

    This anime just embodies how despairing it is at how helpless and powerless humans are against something that’s close to a force of nature.

    And the wangst in this episode is somewhat tolerable from what I vaguely remember back when I read this.

    • Inushinde
      Posted April 19, 2013 at 11:54 pm | Permalink

      It’s wangst, but it’s entirely understandable. The fact that there are people around who tell Eren that he’s being too much of a child certainly helps ease it some.

  11. AG
    Posted April 16, 2013 at 8:17 pm | Permalink

    “Mikasa es Tsukasa”

    I’m not gonna lie, I lol’ed. Now I feel bad for laughing at such a pun.

    Seriously though, this anime is a rollercoaster ride of emotions, before it created this feeling of chaos and surprise but now it’s just utter despair.

    Also, is it me or is this episode quite fast in terms of pacing? I felt this episode went by quickly.

    • Inushinde
      Posted April 19, 2013 at 11:55 pm | Permalink

      The first half was rather brisk, but the second slowed down somewhat, even with the time skips. Not that it’s a bad thing, mind, but the evacuation went by in the blink of an eye, while the resettlement effort was more drawn out.

  12. Posted April 16, 2013 at 8:39 pm | Permalink

    Just waiting for them to reveal that these giants are mechas and thus it becomes a reversal mecha anime where the mecha-less fights the mechas.

    Say, why are people saying that he is a whimp? I mean, he has a goal and determination. Is it the usual Kaji Yuki hate?

    • Posted April 17, 2013 at 2:17 am | Permalink

      Yuki Kaji is going to have Guilty Crown over him for a looonnnngggg time.

    • Inushinde
      Posted April 19, 2013 at 11:57 pm | Permalink

      It’s because he /is/ a wimp. It’s fitting though, at least more than other series that try similar things, so I’m not all that bothered, especially when other characters call him out on it.

      • Posted April 21, 2013 at 5:03 am | Permalink

        I feel there’s a discernable line that should be drawn between a wimp and being powerless. Even the guy who saved them (sort of) from the eoten that ate Eren’s mother said that Eren lacked power, not courage. He’s a kid and there’s effectively absolutely nothing he can do. Yeah, he’s being hot-headed to the point of being stupid, but that brings me to my next point.

        It’s disingenuous of the show to call Eren out on being overly hot-headed and passionate to the point of refusing food, since we know damn well these are exactly the traits that are going to elevate him to being one of the best eoten fighters later in the show. We can see the comparisons being made in ep 3 in particular between Mikasa’s talent and Eren’s drive, and somehow I doubt they’re gonna conclude that Mikasa’s detached talent is a stronger force than Eren’s poorly directed rage.

  13. R1CK_D0M
    Posted April 17, 2013 at 7:56 pm | Permalink

    This episodes cements my opinion that having this be a series of hour long movies with huge budget was the way to go. Like break blade.

    • Inushinde
      Posted April 19, 2013 at 11:53 pm | Permalink

      That would certainly work, but I don’t think it’d be quite as impactful as having it meted out in smaller doses over several weeks. Just my two cents.

  14. Erif
    Posted April 22, 2013 at 4:57 am | Permalink

    I just loved the scene with that gigantic, armored titan. The “Charger,” I call him. Despite his non-organic appearance it just goes to show how even the titans are constantly evolving in order to survive, and I wouldn’t be surprised if Charger’s soul purpose was to break down walls so his fellow brethren can feed.

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