17 CommentsShingeki no Kyojin / By Inushinde /

Shingeki no Kyojin Episode 20: High-Strung Conversation

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Shingeki no Kyojin is guilty of eliciting a particular reaction from me nearly every episode, and I don’t just mean the urge to make up shitty puns to go along with the action. Once it reaches the credits, the realization hits that fuck all actually happened. The pacing doesn’t match the actual content being displayed. A scene that seems to go on for hours and sees characters develop themselves and each other has barely gone on for two minutes. While that sounds negative, I don’t mean it entirely in a negative sense—very often it’s a good thing when that happens, as it displays just how great the show is at presenting its content. It may be because I’m blogging the show, and thus have to look back to extrapolate what I like or dislike with a modicum of detail, but it happens more often here than for any other series that I’ve covered.

The time it takes from the episode’s end to the realization tends to dictate just how well Shingeki no Kyojin absorbed me into the goings-on of that particular episode. Last episode took three hours. This one took five minutes before the actual end of the episode for me to realize that fuck all actually happened. I guess what I’m saying is this’ll be a post on why the dialogue wasn’t up to snuff, and why titans climbing is the funniest shit ever.

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Even in the more action-heavy episodes, there’s a hefty amount of dialogue in each episode—that much is a given, and it serves a definite purpose toward furthering the story, or each of the characters; it isn’t just there for fluff. It’s a satisfactory and competently-written, if uninspired, means of delivering important information. Very often it fits into the recurring element of misinformation and ambiguity by being intentionally unreliable, which suits the show startlingly well when nobody has any idea what’s going on.

What I usually like about the dialogue in Kyojin is all of it ties back to a central theme that tends to differ from episode to episode. Last episode, it was doubt. A few episodes earlier, it was Hanji’s lunacy. It creates a sense of focus that drives conversation toward different perspectives, and I admire it for not ambling about, trying to pull together important elements without knowing how to do so. (Actually, now that I think about it, this and Symphogear couldn’t be more different in this regard, and blogging the two creates an interesting contrast. But I digress.) Even if the discussion itself doesn’t induce spasms of pure ecstasy, I can get behind what it contributes to the overall package, and to my understanding of this big, alluring, throbbing package. To counter the homoeroticism of that sentence, have this nice shot of Female Titan ass.

Shingeki2002

Here though, things are a little unfocused. There’s talk here of a traitor in the group’s midst, but then there’s talk elsewhere of the titans learning how to clumsily (and hilariously) climb trees, but then Eren’s squadmates congratulate him for trusting in them before realizing that they weren’t trusted by Erwin, and then we learn a little bit about Sasha having preternatural intuition… a few of them mesh together, but they’re not presented in a terribly cohesive fashion. It’s a slapdash approach to developing both plot and characters, without rounding either out to a decent degree. It’s kind of disappointing for a show that’s usually good about tying each conversation to a certain shared point, compounded by a lack of urgency that isn’t dispelled until Female Titan is eaten.

I will say though, the literal cloak and dagger reveal confirmed at the end was built up damn well by being hinted at, but not blatantly. Also, titans climbing is the funniest shit ever.

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17 Comments

  1. matrixEXO
    Posted August 27, 2013 at 1:26 am | Permalink

    I hope it isn’t the last time we get to see… THAT ASS! (Cue Barney meme.)

    • Nagisa33
      Posted August 27, 2013 at 1:38 am | Permalink

      I thought this episode was better than the previous ones with that final reveal. What does the spy hope to achieve and who is she working for?

      However, I keep saying it, but the pacing in this show is really slow. Not much actually happens and the conversations don’t get me pumped.

      • matrixEXO
        Posted August 27, 2013 at 3:09 am | Permalink

        Better than watching Fantasista Dolls. Those are even worse. I felt like I needed to slog through the whole Ep.1 to even bother about it.

      • Inushinde
        Posted August 27, 2013 at 10:00 am | Permalink

        Titan is pretty slow, yeah, and I can definitely see how nothing explicit happening can be a turn-off. Still, it throws enough reveals, like Female Spy, out there to give the conversation some payoff.

      • Coolwihp
        Posted August 27, 2013 at 3:12 pm | Permalink

        Fantasista’s pacing wouldn’t be much of a problem if the MC wasn’t so shit. Worst protagonist this season even…

      • Posted August 28, 2013 at 3:46 pm | Permalink

        What happened since last episode: they tried to dig out the human as planned, but she can harden her hands. They wanted to try using explosives next, but she escaped by letting derpy titans ate her. TO BE CONTINUED.

  2. Shinmaru
    Posted August 27, 2013 at 2:35 am | Permalink

    I’ve heard of getting to the bottom of matters, BUT THIS IS RIDUCLOUS

  3. scouting legion
    Posted August 27, 2013 at 4:51 am | Permalink

    “Here though, things are a little unfocused. There’s talk here of a traitor in the group’s midst, but then there’s talk elsewhere of the titans learning how to clumsily (and hilariously) climb trees, but then Eren’s squadmates congratulate him for trusting in them before realizing that they weren’t trusted by Erwin, and then we learn a little bit about Sasha having preternatural intuition… a few of them mesh together, but they’re not presented in a terribly cohesive fashion. It’s a slapdash approach to developing both plot and characters, without rounding either out to a decent degree.”

    I… just don’t get this.
    -Titans learning how to climb = an offhand comment plus a bit of foreshadowing you’re supposed to just note but not really think too much about plus a bit of realism that not all is well and dandy up the trees plus a bit to spice things up so that it’s not just zooming to a character’s face 100% of the time. All together that impression shouldn’t not take more than 3 seconds before your attention is shifted back to the main topic
    -Sasha’s intuition = it was used to validate the threat of the titan’s scream, we’re not supposed to look at Sasha closely here.

    Everything else was a slow progression from explaining what really was the plan and then tying it back to what makes the Commander’s character and mind tick. Other scenes after the break, like Irvin asking the guy to blow-up the FT’s arms , the moment he decided to retreat , and his analysis of the steam vapor were all characterizing him while at the same time moving the plot forward.

    • Inushinde
      Posted August 27, 2013 at 9:57 am | Permalink

      When using dialogue to convey something, having it follow a singular course is important for things not to feel aimless, I guess. If that paragraph seemed a bit vague, it’s because I was trying to convey a gut feeling that I still don’t quite have a handle on.

      Still, the fact remains that I didn’t find it as engaging as previous episodes, because I felt that it bloated itself with unnecessary dialogue that didn’t quite mesh together as well as previous offerings. It all does tie back to trust and Erwin’s thought processes, but it doesn’t do so as well as I would have liked.

  4. scouting legion
    Posted August 27, 2013 at 4:52 am | Permalink

    PS
    I’m really wet for Irvin hence my overdefensive rant.

  5. The_Atheistic_God
    Posted August 27, 2013 at 6:44 am | Permalink

    Huh, I might not be going as in-depth into these nuances as others. My first thought as the end of the episode was: That soldier is a SPY!

    • Seppuku33
      Posted August 27, 2013 at 1:07 pm | Permalink

      Indeed. Who is she aligned with? The higher ups? A group of humans outside the wall? An underground organization? People like Eren’s dad who have been suspiciously absent from the show? My bet is on the last guess.

      Also, I know Irvin is the head commander of the scouting legion but it’s strange that people have such strong faith in him. Maybe something in the past was done to build that trust but it seems a bit too much at the moment. I mean, he doesn’t even reveal his plans to Levi, who’s his right hand man.

      • The_Atheistic_God
        Posted August 28, 2013 at 3:09 am | Permalink

        Apparently I am the worst at setting up jokes, because I was trying to reference TF2. My lack of humor aside, I really hope the next episode doesn’t just end with the female titan being chased for a couple of minutes only for her to get away scotch-free. That just seems like a really anticlimactic end in my opinion.

      • Posted August 29, 2013 at 12:11 pm | Permalink

        If her identity isn’t revealed to them during that at least then it would be dumb since the season is coming to an end and more delays increase the possibility of a cliffhanger ending.

  6. Someone Else
    Posted August 27, 2013 at 7:43 pm | Permalink

    The best thing about this arc is that everyone are teamed up with different people they haven’t been together for a long time unlike the previous ones like Eren, Armin, Mikasa team. This time they were scattered and this works well with this arc since it shows how each deals with the limited information given to them. Even that Sasha sensing danger from the scream is actually important. The show really gives the survivalist feel in an unfamiliar territory

    But seriously the pacing is starting to annoy me. I’m starting to understand why the others kept hating this show because of that

  7. Posted August 28, 2013 at 12:05 am | Permalink

    When titans make their own 3DMG, the human race is screwed.

    I’m both surprised and not surprised at result of this episode. I mean, I expected the Female Titan to get free and escape via maneuver gear, but not after getting devoured by a seemly endless swarm of aberrants. They better devote at least three minutes to a mid-air sword fight/chase next episode or I’ll be disappointed.

  8. Posted September 3, 2013 at 4:39 am | Permalink

    nice

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