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.
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.
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.