Monday, July 7, 2014

Attack on Titan Episode 3 Recap

Right off the bat, let’s start with some disclaimers. THIS IS NOT FOR CHILDREN, NOR THE SQUIMISH. I know, I know – you’re a paragon of steely resolve, your sinews are made from Wolverines cigar gristle and are Ford tough. Congratulations. HOWEVER, this is an anime that is brutal right out of the gate. That’s what makes it so interesting; this is a world where humanity is on its last leg and the audience is left on the edge of their seats hoping that SOMEBODY is going to survive.

Obviously major spoilers, we will be looking at the series in depth, poking at nooks and crannies and looking at characters and plot and why AoT has gained such insane popularity. There will be cursing, there will be blood. Some of the screen caps may be graphic (I will actually try to not and be too graphic with them, I don’t know who is looking at my blog).

Attack on Titan is a unique and phenomenal story which includes many elements; fantasy, mystery, politics, military campaigns, camaraderie, sacrifice and hope. If you can get past the brutal nature of the narrative its worth watching. All right, let’s get into it:

Attack on Titan Episode 3: A Dim Light Amid Despair/Humanity’s Comeback

In a fast paced series this is one episode that lacks any real development (and that’s rare, no worries – AoT moves like a speeding train usually). For the most part it’s just one big ‘here are your main characters’ intro.

We last left off with the Trio just entering the military following Eren’s insane drive to destroy all Titans. Each has their own reason: Eren is just batshit crazy, Mikasa has devoted her entire being to Eren’s safety and Armin is pissed off how the monarchy/government is pretty much corrupt and useless and wishes to change it from the inside, I suppose.

Well, they have to get through training first.

Here are the soldiers! From all different providences, all hoping to become Titan killers for different reasons. Some were there during the Shiganshina attack, some wish to escape the terrible poverty of the outer towns scraping a living off of wastelands and some wish to train to become the elite who will be chosen as Military Police – which is synonymous with leisure and corruption. The Military Police are the top percentile of the armed forces and yet are taken the farthest away from the action.

Attack on Titan is not without its comedic moments, rare though they may be.

Amongst the many new characters introduced (I’ll go over them later, info dumping is hard on the brain) is goofball Sasha.

She’s kind of vacant and can eat you out of house and home. While standing in formation she casually chows down on a stolen baked potato to the despair of the trainer who finally flips his lid and tells her to run until she collapses, after she grudgingly offers him half.

The first night we see another unfortunate reality of human nature: an extraordinary lack of empathy concerning other people who have experienced trauma. Human nature is often too curious and ghoulish.

Obviously Eren and the others have survived something not many people have experienced and as news gets around he came from the fallen Shiganshina he attracts a crowd firing questions about the Titans and what it was like seeing one.

Of course such rigorous (and slightly amoral) grilling brings, inevitably, the memories of watching his own mother being destroyed right before his eyes and you can see the physical impact of it.

The only dipshit who gets how traumatic it must have been and gee, maybe you SHOULDN’T be bringing up this subject with him is new recruit Marco – the most empathetic and kind of the recruits. Plus he has freckles and it’s adorable.

Another main character, Jean (pronounced John in the anime?) is the opposite of Marco – he’s brash, cynical, sly and out for himself. Of course this rubs Eren the wrong way and we can see already that there will be a rivalry between the two. This fact compounded as Eren and Mikasa leave, Jean catches a glimpse of Mikasa’s admittedly beautiful profile and is gob smacked head-over-heels in love with her.

So of course he misunderstands the relationship between the two and decides to hate Eren as a professional rival.

Interesting consideration: would Mikasa ever be able to function in a romantic relationship? As it stands now, I would say no. Whatever marks her past has made her…how can you put it? Separate? Removed? from humanity – she has no interest or capability of interacting on a normal level with other people. It’s why she will become such an extraordinary soldier and why people like this (super heroes included) make lousy spouses.

So Jean’s hope of epic love is pretty much doomed from the beginning though not because of any imagined sexual love between Eren and Mikasa. Right, okay, moving on.

NOW we get to the 3D maneuvering gear that marks Attack on Titan as a grand fantasy. The gear allows the soldiers to repel, move, climb and fly so long as there are objects to anchor from. The downside of the gear is that it’s useless in open areas.

So long as the soldier can get on the level of a Titan (15 to 50 feet up in the air) they can strike with the double swords at the vital spot and take them down (again, we’ll get to the details on that later, next episode or so.)

But first you have to learn how to use the gear. Eren runs into a snag – while Mikasa takes to the 3D gear like a duck to water, Eren fails miserably. If he can’t use the gear he will be kicked out. Mikasa isn’t upset at this, she actually didn’t really want to join the military to begin with, only wanting to protect Eren which would probably be easier if he wasn’t hell bent on throwing himself into the lion’s mouth.

But Eren is determined (ha!) so he seeks out the help of two older, more experienced recruits –

Reiner and Bernholdt. Eren, Armin, Reiner and Bernholdt sneak out to train in the dead of night and as a result bond with Eren, who is glad for their kindness.

Welp, this is the day – the day that decides whether Eren will continue his quest to be a soldier or not. He’s up, he’s doing it, he’s doing it-

Nope. He falls flat on his face again. Well, that’s it the shows over.

No, not really. Master Chief Trainer Guy asks for Eren to trade harnesses with another recruit and –

Viola, Eren masters the 3D Gear, his own gear having a mechanism failure that was screwing him up.

I guess that means the series continues.

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