27 CommentsShingeki no Kyojin / By Inushinde /

Shingeki no Kyojin Episode 23: Annie’s a Dick

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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.

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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.

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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.

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27 Comments

  1. Erif
    Posted September 17, 2013 at 11:41 am | Permalink

    http://dragoplateau.tumblr.com/post/61271050548/unfaithful-representations-annie-leonhardt-in-episode

    Definitely a post worth reading: it drones on for a bit but it brings up a really valid point.

    • Amarrez
      Posted September 17, 2013 at 12:27 pm | Permalink

      I have no issue with the blush and laugh. Isayama dictates what his characters are, not the fans of the manga. And since Isayama did indeed sign off on it I don’t have any quarrel with it, and it makes sense if you consider his comment.

      However, I do agree that Annie’s characterization in the anime has gone a bit awry due to the removal of certain scenes. Specifically an important one between her and Eren during training and some of the speech she made to Marlo which was omitted during the anime. I have a feeling we’ll see the former, though.

      • blackice85
        Posted September 17, 2013 at 1:27 pm | Permalink

        Maybe they’re shifting the scene around? It might appear as a flashback during the upcoming fight.

    • Posted September 17, 2013 at 9:07 pm | Permalink

      Wow, I never expected people to get upset like this so quickly to a point where they make long-ass rants using (I think) all of their writing prowess. I can understand being upset over unneeded character deviation but this is obsessive. I’m also referring to the two tumblr blogs Drago linked to.

    • Posted September 18, 2013 at 2:07 pm | Permalink

      Nah. I stopped reading after several paragraphs, after realizing how long the whole thing is. There should be a limit to being obsessive. This is just something you watch in your spare time, there’s no need to write an essay for it. I think 5 to 6 paragraphs is the most I can take.

      • Erif
        Posted September 20, 2013 at 3:30 am | Permalink

        Eh, he does have a point though. It certainly is long-winded and a bit nit-picky but the point he brings about Annie’s characterization as a whole is extremely viable.

  2. Silverbeard
    Posted September 17, 2013 at 11:44 am | Permalink
  3. MeiMei
    Posted September 17, 2013 at 1:58 pm | Permalink

    I can agree with that Kuruk point. I was expecting that wry smile and was slightly taken aback by how they did Annie’s facial expressions during this scene.

  4. j
    Posted September 17, 2013 at 4:37 pm | Permalink

    Annie’s highpitched laugh combined with the suddenly pretty/orgasmic superblush face annoyed me too a lot. It’s a very tense scene and in the manga where she just looks a bit nervous and smiles creepily it works better imo.

  5. Pusswookie
    Posted September 17, 2013 at 5:10 pm | Permalink

    I was too busy staring at Hitch, one of Annie’s MP buddies who looks remarkably like Neferpitou.
    I also had the strangest erection. Probably unrelated.

    Oh btw, the chocolate cocks were hilarious. I can’t help but wonder how, and why, you knew about them prior to this post, but still great.

  6. Posted September 17, 2013 at 6:56 pm | Permalink

    I agree that most of what Annie did as the Female Titan seemed unjustifiable, but if I was an attorney arguing for her defense I would state the following. When Erin turned into a Titan to move that giant bolder he tried to kill Mikasa, his dearest friend. TheTitan form is apparently designed to be a killing machine. Annie probably had to exert an extreme amount of effort to refrain from killing Armin and Erin during the battle. Also, I would argue that the killings were in self defense and that she only killed after being attacked first. Furthermore, I believe that Annie feels regret for her actions once she returns to human form as demonstrated in the scene showing her apologizing to the body of a dead soldier.

    That said, she probably will get a bad end in the series at some point. I just hope it isn’t too soon and we get to find out more of her reasons why, and some more back-story before she goes.

    • Inushinde
      Posted September 18, 2013 at 3:09 pm | Permalink

      She’s definitely a fascinating character, and I’m sure that she has valid reasoning (to herself). There’s just a limit to what constitutes self defense that torturing some poor bastards passes.

      • Ken
        Posted September 18, 2013 at 9:22 pm | Permalink

        I’m assuming your referring to the spinning scene. As bad as that looked, I’m curious how much the dude being spun suffered. Would the G-forces render him unconscious almost instantly? I really don’t know. I think he probably felt his spine snap and then went out. I guess it depends on how fast he initially was spun.

        Anyway, I have to admit Annie does have a sadistic bend to her, but comparing her to other sadistic anime girls like Revy (from Black Lagoon) Annie looks more like Mother Teresa.

        Revy, responsible for a much higher body count, enjoys killing for money, while Annie is apparently defending herself in a war against attacking soldiers who are specifically trained to kill her. In fact, what she was attempting was a virtual suicide mission, running headlong into a trap set by the most elite trained Titan killers on the planet. For someone who earlier stated that she only wants to survive, what can be driving her to do this? If they don’t eventually give us a good reason, I’m going to be pissed.

  7. Redcrimson
    Posted September 17, 2013 at 9:41 pm | Permalink

    If they aren’t setting up a big plot twist that turns Annie into a protagonist in this story, I will eat my hat.

    • Posted September 17, 2013 at 9:45 pm | Permalink

      You must really want to eat your hat.

      • Redcrimson
        Posted September 17, 2013 at 9:50 pm | Permalink

        I sorta do. I hope I’m wrong. If they actually kill Annie, it would be the first thing in the entire series to legitimately surprise me.

  8. Nagisa33
    Posted September 17, 2013 at 9:59 pm | Permalink

    Getting your panties in a bunch all bc of one minor laugh seems silly though it was kawaii. Also we need more Titan mating scenes. We’re half way there with Annie’s transformation, all we need is Eren.

    I appreciated the foreshadowing for the ring. What shady organization is pulling the stings for the Titans and how much do they know? If the this organization made rings, what other Titan tools did they make?

    I think that a shady organization trained select young kids to hone their Titan powers until it was time to initiate their master plan. I also believe Eren’s dad was affiliated with this shady organization. He forcibly injected Eren with some of the Titan mojo to keep him safe, while putting a hiccup in their plan.

    What do you think?

    • ken
      Posted September 18, 2013 at 2:02 am | Permalink

      I have been speculating that the injections from Erin’s dad are not to make Erin into a human/titan hybrid but rather Erin was a human/titan hybrid to begin with and the injections are to keep him from turning into a mindless man eating titan. What if all of his father’s patients were potential titans that he had to keep running around giving injections to. That would explain why dad was always missing.

      • Posted September 18, 2013 at 3:28 am | Permalink

        That’s… A really good theory Ken. It Would also explain why the normal titans have the same weakness as a human-titan and are fairly sentient; they are possibly the deteriorated form given once a human completely succumbs to the insatiable bloodlust for humanity’s destruction.

        … Or it could be time-travelling schoolgirl aliens from Planet Moe discarding irradiated slice-of-life light novels from space that turn people into giant monsters. That works too.

    • Inushinde
      Posted September 18, 2013 at 3:13 pm | Permalink

      Probably some kind of research project, using what few titan samples that could be both collected and hidden from the military before Maria collapsed. Most likely state-funded, which would explain both the desire not to reclaim Maria, and the disrepair that the military’s been allowed to fall into.

      • Ken
        Posted September 18, 2013 at 9:47 pm | Permalink

        This is my theory of how the whole thing started. It was already hinted that Titans derive their power through solar energy. What if an advanced human civilization developed this titan transforming ability in order to survive extended long distance space travel. Once they reach the inhabitable planet they were supposed to surrender that ability, however some rebelled (refusing to give up the power) splitting into waring human and titan/human factions. Perhaps the humans built the walls (using long gone technology) and then in fear of the titan/humans, created the crazy ass titans programed to kill titan/humans and than set them loose outside of the walls.

  9. Mormegil
    Posted September 18, 2013 at 1:42 am | Permalink

    “She’s a clear sociopath through and through”
    Nah. There’s a lot more to her. You even said so in your following paragraphs.

    Annie’s laugh was indeed adorable, though. I don’t know if that was the intended effect they were going for, but hey, what are you gonna do?

    • Inushinde
      Posted September 18, 2013 at 3:16 pm | Permalink

      Sociopathy’s complex, a result of any number of negative traits. Annie’s disregard for anybody but herself, and those she deems worthy of continued existence, cement her into that label for me. Of course that’s just me.

  10. Nola
    Posted September 18, 2013 at 4:53 am | Permalink

    Annie’s not a sociopath. She clearly spared Armin’s life, and froze when she thought she had killed Jean. And she both admires Eren’s determination and holds the Military Police in contempt. When she turned, reluctantly, at the last moment, to defeat Titan Eren, some sort of duty was driving her, when she could have escaped.

    She’s doing what she’s doing for a reason, but seems to regret her actions more than the other Titan-shifters do. The question is why she is doing what she’s doing.

  11. Hangman
    Posted September 18, 2013 at 11:38 am | Permalink

    What Titan lacks in subtlety, it makes up for in humour.

    • Inushinde
      Posted September 18, 2013 at 3:17 pm | Permalink

      Amen.

  12. Nadgers
    Posted September 18, 2013 at 8:56 pm | Permalink

    That’s a pretty lewd combo of title and header image.

    I just finished reading the manga myself (IT’S POSITIVELY ENTERTAINING). Dunno if I should try watching the animu version.

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