Monday, July 14, 2014

Attack on Titan Episode 4 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 4: Night of the Detachment Ceremony/Humanities Comeback 2

So last time we had a brief introduction to the training camp for Titan slayers (hypothetical Titan slayers, as you’ll see in a moment.)

It’s been two years since, and the cadets are getting close to graduating. We open this episode with a training exercise in the woods. Here is:

Reiner – big, blond, kinda dumb but built like a brick wall, sturdy and dependable. The other cadets get along with him great and look up to him.

Armin – He may be little and not as physically capable as the other cadets but he is pretty brilliant minded and suited for stratagem and plotting.

Jean – (John..dammit I’m not sure which one to use) is incredibly good at using the 3D gear but is overconfident and it gets him into trouble.

Bertholt – Reiner’s other half. He has good potential but seems to lack aggressiveness, kinda like he’s just along for the ride.

Annie – hoo boy, Annie. She is crazy strong, top marks in everything but is also cold and not sociable whatsoever.

Sasha – good intuition but is a nutbag, straight up. Still she’s a decent soldier.

Connie – tiny, flexible and good with the 3D gear but dumb as a fence post.

Mikasa – the number one soldier, she’s pretty much a prodigy; inhumanly good at everything.

Aaaand Eren – average all around except for his psycho will which allows him to work harder than anybody.

There we have it – our main characters for the story (mostly). We have an important little scene afterwards; the cadets are finishing up some hand-to-hand combat while Eren wonders, why? It would be suicidally stupid to attack a Titan on foot with a knife.

Dumbass Reiner has a moment of brilliance and provokes Eren into attacking Annie to ‘show her how to be a true soldier’


You can predict how that turns out.

But Annie has a good point that she brings up (at the point of a training knife) – why is it that the top ten cadets are taken into the Military Police, and thus are taken away from where they would be needed most? The strongest soldiers never see battle – they become the King’s guard.

Hmmm, something be going down in Ye Olde Europe town.

One moment here to point out another thing that sets AoT apart from other anime – character design.

It’s really interesting that each and every character is unique. Anime has an unfortunate habit of making cookie cutter character designs where the only thing distinguishable between them is hair color (Sailor Moon much?).

Look at Annie’s design; she has a Roman nose, a European face, she’s gorgeous. In fact, all of the cast is pretty much designed as Ye Olde Europe, except for Mikasa (we’ll get to that in a later episode).

Body types, facial features, eyes, hair – everybody is unique and its awesome.

Okay, back at it. Jean and Eren go at it again at dinner time to no one’s surprise. We have one more comedic moment before the seriousness starts in again. Eren and Jean’s scuffle attracts the instructor who appears like a demonic wraith ready with the smack down.

‘What’s going on’ he asks, as everybody panics. Mikasa to the rescue,

‘Sasha farted.’


Comedy gold.

Welcome to graduation day. 218 cadets passed the ranks and all of our main cast managed to get within the top ten rankings with Mikasa as number one. The cadets have a choice of three different branches to join:

Garrison – who guard the walls

Scout – who go outside the walls and battle Titans directly

and Military – who guard the King and keep peace in the city

Can you guess which branch Eren wants to join? The Scout regiment has an insanely high death rate and only fools and crazy people tend to join them, so yea, of COURSE Eren is going straight for the Scouts.

He makes a stirring speech about killing Titans, and humanity will strike back, what have we trained for, bla bla bla. Sadly, some simple minded fools listened to him and decide to join the Scouts with him, including Mikasa and Armin because we wouldn’t have a show unless the Trio weren’t together.

We have a very important character point for Mikasa as the Trio discuss their future plans. She says simply,

‘I don’t want to lose any more family’

It can be argued that this is the driving force behind Mikasa. She’s experienced some pretty horrific things in her short life and it has twisted her, and driven her to the soldier she is now. She has become strong to avoid losing anything else that’s important to her, and God help you if you threaten what’s important to her (Eren).

People often mistake their relationship as romantic or unnatural but to me, to put it simply, Eren has become Mikasa’s well-spring. Let me explain; in the book Gone With the Wind there is a scene where Scarlett’s father has passed away after a long bought of illness and madness. It is explained that every person has a well-spring, something that keeps them going, whether that be a thing or more often, a person that you rely upon completely. A spouse, relation, friend or dog – you are happiest and most fulfilled with that thing/person in your life. And when that thing is taken out of your life, some people’s well-spring is broken, and in return, are broken. I’ve seen this with my own family; my grandmother lost her twin and was never the same again, my mother would tell me that it broke her and the person that I grew up with wasn’t the same person she knew as a child and this is what it is meant by ‘well-spring’

Eren is Mikasa’s well-spring. Remember that, because we are going to come back to it in a few episodes.

A very quick excerpt from the Scouting corps:

Commander Erwin – one smart mofo, runs the whole shebang.

Levi, Hanji and …damn I forgot his name – leaders under Erwin who are all veteran survivors of countless run-ins with Titans. Each is a little insane in his or her own way (Hanji, I’m looking at you)

Five years has passed since that fateful day in Shiganshina, our Trio have grown up to become fine soldiers (though they are still in their teens. If they were 12? when the attack occurred they are now 17, which ain’t exactly old and wouldn’t fly in reality, in a real military setting)

Everybody enjoy this last moment of squishy happiness as Sasha steals meat from the officer’s mess because juuuust as Eren is feeling confident in humanity (a red flag if there ever was one)


Look who’s back.

In an instant the wall has been broken, again, and its Shiganshina all over again, except this time Eren is ready. He’s got the crazy eyes, he’s got the will and now he’s going to attack the fucking 60 meter giant like an ant attacking an elephant. Till next time, ta ta!

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