Holy shit, Annie’s the Female Titan?! Who but the sleuthiest of sleuths could have figured that out? Or people with any sort of facial recognition? Or anybody who’s paid attention to the last few episodes? I’m actually kind of annoyed though, because there’s nothing more difficult than getting screenshots of Annie showing anything between manic glee, and grim-faced determination to look as boring as possible.
I loathe Annie. There’s no remorse, no grim determination, just a kind of sadistic pleasure in spinning a guy around so fast that his liquefied kidneys start to leak through his ears. As entertaining as that is, it’s not easy to explain away as being for the greater good. She could turn out to be the super holy lovechild of Mr. Rogers and Mother Teresa (don’t think too hard about that), and she’d still be detestable to the extreme. Thankfully, neither she nor the show tries to justify her actions to us. Even when confronted with evidence of her deeds, she makes a minimal effort to deflect the accusations, seemingly reveling in the horror of others. It’s the kind of insolence and lack of concern for wanton murder that makes me wish she’d get her head caved in with a pipe. She’s a clear sociopath through and through. And, as counter-intuitive as that sounds, that’s high praise for how she’s written.
The measure of effective characters is in their ability to convey themselves to the audience, while eliciting some sort of reaction; anything is better than nothing. Annie succeeds in this regard by not necessarily being painted as sympathetic, but by being developed enough that it’s easy to get a handle on why she does the things she does. She isn’t even evil, and there’s a clear methodology behind her shredding the Recon Corps’ roster. It just happens that her actions betray deep-seeded misanthropy that makes me wish she’d eat a bag of dicks. And not even these chocolate ones filled with fondant. She’s far from a good person, but she’s a very good, fascinating character.
The beauty of this episode is that even though it doesn’t explicitly spill the guts of Annie’s pathos for the world to see, it still allows enough glimpses to hint at why she does the things she does. It doesn’t need to be spelled out that she isn’t thrilled with the current power structure, and only holds a few around her in reasonably high esteem. Above all, the show makes it easy to see that Annie despises inaction, possibly even more than corruption in the higher-ups. Her run-in with superiors and her conversations with Marlow “I’m Going to Reform This Corruption From the Inside” Dumbass show this well. Still, she isn’t stupid. She won’t go against authority or confess to accusations unless she’s sure there’s no way to escape.
It may not be explicit, but the disdain she has for those who refuse to take the initiative is still easy to pick up on, and nothing exemplifies total inertia quite like the Military Police. It’s as subtle as the writing in this show gets, exploring a character almost entirely through her actions in relation to others diametrically opposed to her. There’s a wealth of emotion brimming in those eyes, even if it’s hidden behind a perpetually glazed stare.
I’ve seen what could possibly be construed as discontent at her psychotic spell toward the end of the episode, and I can certainly get where that’s coming from. Considering that (at least in human form) she hadn’t so much as crack a smile before, having her suddenly break into hysterical laughter shattered the cool facade that the series put some effort into building; a minimal effort, but an effort nonetheless. Still, it’s not like her adorable laugh ruins everything good that came before. It just proves that she can pull off one hell of an adorable laugh, regardless of whether it fits or not.