26 CommentsShingeki no Kyojin / By Inushinde /

Shingeki no Kyojin Episode 21: Titan Fightin’ n’ Fantastic Lightin’

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For the past few episodes, I’ve kind of been of the mind that the series just seems intent on creating unnecessary layers of inner struggle for Eren to cut through, so it won’t have to focus on anyone else. It feels like a missed opportunity when Mikasa’s psychotic protectiveness toward Eren could use some delving into, and Armin could be in a skirt, but I guess I can accept it when it’s pulled off as well as it is here. Yes, the other characters are ripe for development, but they can’t punch the ground so hard that their hands fall off. Eren has the clear advantage in that field.

There’s a sort of unintentional comic genius in the fight between Eren’s squad and the Female Titan, and its ultimate futility. When he witnesses them slicing her body into a prone state, the awe that he feels at their teamwork, at the experiences that they’ve weathered as a team, manifests as envy toward the security in their decisions, while he still wrestles with whether to give in to his own burning impulse to destroy the Female Titan, or to follow orders and escape. When it seems that he’s finally reaching his own decision on the matter, Female Titan smashes Eren’s group into the scenery in an instant, with extreme prejudice. The timing couldn’t have been better.

All the buildup regarding their teamwork, and their lives are snuffed out in mere seconds. It’s such a perfect anticlimax, though in retrospect, last week’s extended sappy friendship speech probably should have clued me in that these characters were going to die. After all, nobody can live happily in Shingeki no Kyojin, save for that smiling titan in the first episode.

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Eren’s ensuing transformation and fight with Female Titan is without a doubt the most cathartic part of the series so far. Every punch landed resonates well, and each dodge only builds suspense until the next punch hits. Their movements and body language convey the experience gap extremely well; while Eren swings and stumbles, putting his full strength into every movement, Female Titan dodges, weaves, and runs, waiting until she can regenerate her useless arms to finish him off in a single hit. Even when she’s pinned down, her actions are methodical, so she can buy time and find the perfect time to strike. Every moment is precious, and every effort made to dodge is critical to her not being ripped apart by the embodiment of animalistic fury. When she finally beats and swallows him, it ultimately feels like an inevitable defeat; Eren can only do so much damage when up against somebody who can slice his skull horizontally with a single hit.

The entire sequence would have been even better if it didn’t involve Eren’s thoughts. Again, everything important is told through his clumsy, powerful motions; he’s mad, and he won’t stop until he personally tears Female Titan, and the person inside, to shreds. It’s unnecessary for Eren to say that he’s mad, and won’t stop until he personally tears Female Titan, and the person inside, to shreds. I wouldn’t say that it’s obtrusive enough to be a problem, but leaving the entire fight without speech would have been more affecting.

And hey, Mikasa’s back, which should hopefully make for next week being an interesting episode; I wouldn’t want to see this momentum go to waste. Her single-minded determination may be psychotic and one-dimensional for the time being, but it makes for some fantastic titan slicing.

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Frankly, I can’t think of anybody that deserves to be sliced more than Female Titan at this point, because JAWS SHOULDN’T FUCKING DO THAT. I don’t give a shit if she turns out to be a saint, anything that can make its face look like that, and then look normal again a minute later, is a fucking blight that needs to be cleansed.

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26 Comments

  1. Posted September 3, 2013 at 3:35 am | Permalink

    You forgot to mention how ridiculous it looks when the characters are having stiff conversations in mid-air without grappling onto something for at least a minute. That’s alright though, because the Eren vs. Fem. Titan fight was one of the best things this show has offered so far.

    • Inushinde
      Posted September 7, 2013 at 8:43 am | Permalink

      Yes, but that’s part of the charm. Moments like that are adorable little mistakes that somehow compliment the show, rather than detract from it.

  2. Nagisa33
    Posted September 3, 2013 at 4:45 am | Permalink

    We need more of this and less gabbing. Other than the 4 minutes of reused animation, this episode was the best of the bunch. A lot actually happened and the animation was superb.

    I was expecting Eren to rip off his bone from his broken arm and use it to stab her. Plan B would be to bite her. Other than that I was expecting him to grab a large tree branch and smack her in to the next dimension. I guess he was too full of rage to think clearly, as evidenced by his predictable fighting style.

    When they were talking about making the right decision and Eren said that he should have trusted his gut, didn’t that kind of undo the message to believe in his teammates?

    Overall, great stuff! Give me more raw, bone-cracking Titan fights!

    • scouting legion
      Posted September 3, 2013 at 11:12 am | Permalink

      “didn’t that kind of undo the message to believe in his teammates?”

      Eh that was the point. Most people will be thinking “nakama power again! what’s this fairy tail”, only to have that impression turned upside down this episode.

      • Nagisa33
        Posted September 3, 2013 at 2:53 pm | Permalink

        Hahaha! The power of friendship would have caused eye rolls for sure. I had a feeling that Female titan had a few more tricks up her non existent sleeves so the group’s failure didn’t leave me completely blindsided. Along with trusting his teammates, it more importantly meant to restrain himself. That’s something that Eren has some trouble with.

        But hey, if Ragefest Eren brings more Titan action then that’s perfectly fine with me.

    • Mark
      Posted September 5, 2013 at 8:10 am | Permalink

      I think it isn’t really to undo the message, but simply to show that every decision has its own up and down, depend on its situation…

      Then again, no matter how one see it, the decision to ‘trust-teammate-against-female-titan’ will always lead to the one who attack the Female Titan to die…
      It just previously the one who attack the female titan aren’t those who close to Eren like now…

  3. Posted September 3, 2013 at 7:46 am | Permalink

    I think this was the best episode so far for AoT. They had three battle scenes in one episode!!!

    • Inushinde
      Posted September 7, 2013 at 8:45 am | Permalink

      And yet it didn’t feel crammed. I see a lot of griping regarding the pacing, but it does a superb job in cases like this.

  4. Amarrez
    Posted September 3, 2013 at 8:48 am | Permalink

    For a rookie, Mikasa’s VA sure is good. Hell, there are a lot of decent rookies working on this, I think this was Petra’s VA’s first job.

    • ANON
      Posted September 4, 2013 at 8:08 am | Permalink

      woah, they are rookies? well they did an excellent job! I barely noticed it, and petra’s one of those characters that everyone has their attention turned to, and I haven’t heard any complaints so far.

  5. Langer
    Posted September 3, 2013 at 10:14 am | Permalink

    Anyone spot the smoke coming from Mikasa’s wounds? Either she’s achieved second gear or that looks like some titan rejuvination. (Well I guess she could have been burned by FT, but the wounds on her face disappear at the end)

    I just wonder now if she’s aware of it herself, or if she missed it from the adrenaline rush.

    • luffyluffy
      Posted September 3, 2013 at 12:00 pm | Permalink

      Pretty sure that was just Titan blood burning and steaming off her cheeks. Same thing happens to Erwin in 20 I believe.

    • Inushinde
      Posted September 7, 2013 at 8:48 am | Permalink

      Titan blood does steam off, though for some reason it doesn’t seem to leave burns. It indeed happened to Erwin as well.

  6. hint
    Posted September 3, 2013 at 10:29 am | Permalink

    Mikasa going loco loco cause another sweet-ass giant woman was stealing her man.

  7. gedata
    Posted September 3, 2013 at 11:43 am | Permalink

    You didn’t include a screenshot of Eren mounting the Female Titan. I am disappoint

    • Pusswookie
      Posted September 3, 2013 at 12:53 pm | Permalink

      During the whole fight I was like, “Just kiss already!”

      • Nagisa33
        Posted September 3, 2013 at 2:55 pm | Permalink

        Both your comments made my day!

    • Posted September 4, 2013 at 1:30 am | Permalink

      There is going to be a titanic amount of Titan-on-Titan porn/shippings thanks to this episode >_> Not that it would not have happened without it, but it’ll appear much more quickly over the web.

      • Someone Else
        Posted September 4, 2013 at 3:07 am | Permalink

        “Nothing is sacred”

      • Posted September 4, 2013 at 8:47 pm | Permalink

        Indeed. I just noticed my unintentional pun in the first sentence >_>.

  8. ANON
    Posted September 4, 2013 at 8:09 am | Permalink

    Almost every other message board I’ve seen was celebrating the fact that this was the first titan mating ritual captured on film.

    • Inushinde
      Posted September 7, 2013 at 8:51 am | Permalink

      Nice observation on their part, but they missed a few crucial points, like how the actual mating ritual doesn’t involve mental monologues.

  9. R1CK_D0M
    Posted September 4, 2013 at 8:12 pm | Permalink

    Eren played too much Super Buttmad for the Snes

  10. Erif
    Posted September 7, 2013 at 7:07 pm | Permalink

    I actually thought the mental monologues we pretty great, especially the beginning part where Eren regrets his decision, but also the part where he savors the thought of “tearing the Female Titan, and the person inside, to shreds” with that sickening grin of his. But I do see your point. Maybe we don’t have to settle between the two, though; too many times people argue over one or the other, like it has to be absolute, but a bit of both might make it better. I would argue that the first part is essential (while he sits on the Female-Form Titan), just because it subverts all the buildup of the prior episode while really shining a light over Eren’s inner stuggles. But after that, maybe instead of the “I’ll eviscerate you!” part, we could have just seen Eren’s titan let out a roar, and then close in on his axe-murderer face, or something along those lines.

    Also, does anyone understand why Eren just stopped and let the other titan beat him? Did he see or recognize something in the Female-Form Titan’s face or did he just realize that his defeat was inevitable? I need some clarification.

    • Nazaren
      Posted September 7, 2013 at 8:11 pm | Permalink

      First, he was exhausted, leaning up against that tree… the exhaustion should have been more gradual instead of sudden, but that’s a minor nitpick.

      Second, it looked to me like he realized something big was coming and was done for. Maybe he saw something we didn’t, because they’ve been careful to hide whatever-the-hell-faster-than-light-slashing-super-move the FemTitan does. Same thing happened later with Mikasa on the tree. Maybe she crystalizes her hand or something, and he saw that.

      Otherwise, I agree this was a fantastic episode, and that the inner-monologues detracted a bit from the IMPACTO of some scenes.

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