19 CommentsShingeki no Kyojin / By Inushinde /

Shingeki no Kyojin Episode 8: Face/Smash-Wall

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Holy fuck, the titan on the right is totally Chevy Chase.

The astute among you might have realized that I skipped a week in blogging this show, partly because of obligations elsewhere, partly because of a trip to Anime Boston with co-writer Shinmaru, and partly because I just couldn’t muster up anything new to say that wasn’t “Eren really WAS a titan! Sorry for spoiling one of you folks without meaning to!” in all caps. Well this week offered several talking points to make up for my lacking performance, and the above screenshot of a titan smashing his head through the wall to get at the squishy humans inside. If there’s one thing the show’s consistently good for, it’s titans that make entrances in unconventionally spectacular ways.

Last week while attempting a post in the airport, I just couldn’t bring myself to bang on about was the bleakness that bordered on overkill, seeing as I’ve rattled that particular cage since the Battle of Trost arc began. Thankfully it’s been somewhat reduced here, so it’s not just one scene of despair after another. No longer are people being devoured with extreme prejudice like Skittles scattering across a table. Instead, they’re actually overcoming their fear and planning how to get around the titans swarming the town without flailing and panicking, while learning about how much they can tolerate sacrificing the lives of comrades for the greater good.

One guy does end up eaten, but it’s so Jean can question whether the ends justify the means of letting a comrade’s death serve as a distraction, letting him push through his doubts as to his ability to serve in a commanding role. When the deaths are curtailed like this without being entirely disregarded, they’re pretty powerful as an impetus for character development. And yes, most importantly, Eren’s back and better than ever—well, back to being a normal, four-limbed young man not in Hagrid’s stomach, anyway.

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One neat detail that gave away his transformation of sorts into the rogue titan was his vicious attack on the jumping titan from several episodes ago, following a flashback to the very scene of him plucking a soldier out of the air with his teeth. Channeling Eren’s anger at the titans and his newfound power into a storm of bites and crushed titan corpses, it’s goofy but deeply satisfying to see the most impotent main character in the series thus far throw a titan so hard with his teeth that it kills another titan on impact. It’s a subtle hint, but he goes at Jumping Titan with enough blind fury to give away the fact that he’s actually Eren, and he isn’t going to take shit from Jumping Titan anymore. There’s still the question if his emotions and subconscious control any titan that he becomes a part of, or if he directly does so, but I’m interested either way.

All in all, this is probably one of the best-paced episodes yet, with several rather imaginative fight scenes interspersed by small bouts of conversation between characters that serves to flesh them out. It’s finally pulling itself out of the grimdark of people being eaten by the handful, with actual small victories to complement the grotesque defeats, and I have never liked it more.

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19 Comments

  1. ANON
    Posted May 29, 2013 at 2:01 am | Permalink

    It’s nice to see you praise something you write about for a change.

    • Inushinde
      Posted May 29, 2013 at 10:13 am | Permalink

      Well that’s kind of been what I’ve been doing for the past couple months.

    • ANON
      Posted May 30, 2013 at 7:54 am | Permalink

      this is coming from someone who had read through your SAO posts from the start to the end :D

  2. gedata
    Posted May 29, 2013 at 2:21 am | Permalink

    Seeing the Titans make 10/10 appearances is always a treat.

    I think some manga readers were worried that a lot of us anime-only folks would be up in arms yelling “ZOMG waht an asspull!” I don’t think this event was particularly well foreshadowed, and I kind of hate Eren to be honest so I’m a bit sad that he’s not dead. Anyway, I’ll let something like this slide for now, but hopefully we’ll get better twists from now on. I don’t hate what they did here, but I’m hoping that the cast doesn’t become dependant on Eren though, so now I’m a bit excited and worried about were this is headed.

    • Cirith
      Posted May 29, 2013 at 2:46 am | Permalink

      Just wait till they make two gigantic swords and titan sized maneuver gear for him. (for unexplained reason the rest of the story happens on some mountains since he can’t swing around on normal buildings.)

    • Nazaren
      Posted May 29, 2013 at 6:06 pm | Permalink

      My sentiments exactly.

  3. Posted May 29, 2013 at 3:03 am | Permalink

    The face on the left is totally Carl Sagan

    • Amarrez
      Posted May 29, 2013 at 3:11 am | Permalink

      I thought it was a parody of American Gothic, actually.

    • Inushinde
      Posted May 29, 2013 at 10:15 am | Permalink

      You can have the one on the left be Carl Sagan, but the one on the right is 100% Chevy Chase.

  4. Amarrez
    Posted May 29, 2013 at 3:08 am | Permalink

    As a manga reader I was amazed by the amount of foreshadowing in this episode. And no, it had nothing to do with Eren. I won’t spoil it, but this foreshadowing probably means we won’t be having an anime original ending.

    • Kiseki
      Posted May 29, 2013 at 8:06 am | Permalink

      After reading the thread from that one guy who predicted everything half a year ahead, I went back to skim the manga and jeez everything was quite obvious!

      Also, if you ever see someone spouting shit about pits and moats (unless it’s the same person I’m seeing spouting shit about moats) just because they have 50m high walls, send them a link to this post. The information isn’t exactly spoilers since it’s provided outside of the manga’s story, but it does provide a different perspective so read at your own discretion.

    • Posted May 30, 2013 at 12:20 am | Permalink

      I flipped my shit when I realized it. May be that we could be realizing different things, but still.

  5. blackice85
    Posted May 29, 2013 at 4:14 am | Permalink

    Dear god these titans keep getting creepier. I have to hand it to them, they’re way scarier with those faces than with something more obviously grotesque and monster-like.

  6. MoonHermit
    Posted May 29, 2013 at 4:55 am | Permalink

    *To anime-only viewers: don’t worry about over-reliance on Eren. Along with making a small (but important) difference, he will, quite literally, get kicked around (at least twice, as I recall).

    *Also, be on the lookout for a “Hanji” person. There are a couple funny scenes with her that I’m sure will be entertaining.

    *Finally, The appearance of the *beep*-Titan, in around 6-8 episodes, things will get a lot more interesting.

    • Inushinde
      Posted May 29, 2013 at 8:38 pm | Permalink

      I take it this is the last time we’ll see Chevy Chase titan then, unfortunately.

  7. Posted May 29, 2013 at 9:29 am | Permalink

    “Eren really WAS a titan! Sorry for spoiling one of you folks without meaning to!”

    Fuck you.

  8. Abgnar
    Posted May 29, 2013 at 7:47 pm | Permalink

    Thank you for trying to keep up with this series’ posts. I was getting worried if you were okay, but I am glad everything is in order. These posts have been tons of fun to read and I am excited for the next one! Keep up the good work.

  9. Gedata
    Posted May 30, 2013 at 12:21 am | Permalink

    The blonde Titan kinda looks like Barbra Streisand.

  10. ANON
    Posted May 30, 2013 at 8:09 am | Permalink

    I don’t know if it was supposed to be an inside joke or something but that titan with big uguu~ eyes got a lot of screen time apart from the other more important titans.

    maybe this isn’t the last time we’ll see him with his adowable puppy eyes.

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