Monday, November 24, 2014

Attack on Titan Episode 23: Smile/Stokess District Raid Part 1

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 unique and phenomenal storytelling 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 23: Smile/Stokess District Raid Part 1

The last two episodes have been super heavy on the losses but finally, it is time. Time for the big question to be answered WHO IS THE FEMALE TITAN?

Hold on to your butts because this flashback is going to spoil it all for you.

On a cold crisp morning, somewhere within the Walls a tough young girl practices her fighting technique relentlessly, as her father encourages her.

Annie, from a young age, is being trained for…something. Trained tirelessly, mercilessly to fight.

The episode begins with the distinct Roman profile of Annie as she awakes in the Military Police barracks. Does that profile look familiar?

This is life in the Military Police; a loosely held together organization that is mostly corrupt. Her comrades are the grasping, sneaky sort looking for an easy life.

Ha, really kind of like the Slytherins.

Their superiors are a weak, selfish lot and hand off assignments to the recruits to do, saying that if they screw up THEY are the ones that are going to pay for their officer’s mistakes. Nice.

Then they go back to playing poker.

This is an episode that looks closer at Annie and really shows her to be a complex person.

If it isn’t REALLY REAALLY obvious by now, yes Annie is the Female Titan. BUT.

She is a sympathetic villain.

She is shown to have empathy, even when it’s probably going against orders. She did NOT kill Armin when she probably should have, and will come to regret it, as we will soon find out. It’s obvious she feels something towards Armin, probably not romantic feelings but friendship? Admiration? Something that draws her to him and you can see why, Armin is very compassionate, smart, has trustworthy companions, and is not powerful but powerful in his own way with analysis and tactics and I think she admires that.

It takes a hell of a lot of courage to be ‘weak’ but put yourself into danger knowing you aren’t Hercules.

Maybe she wishes she had the freedom to be like Armin.

It is very obvious that something very powerful is driving her. Why has she decided to go against the ‘good’ guys? What do we not know here?

I don’t think she’s a bad person. I think she’s a soldier and she has carried out her duty on the battlefield. Levi’s Squad was a part of that battlefield and ask anybody who has been in a war, they will tell you it is you or it is them. Kill or be killed, and that’s no joke.

However, there is no denying that she took pleasure in massacring those soldiers. She strikes me as an extraordinary predator; the thrill of the hunt and the taste of blood also drives her.

Annie is a soldier with a purpose that borders on fanaticism and we still know nothing about what drives the Titans because this is all caught up in that.

So, as Annie is doing guard duty in the district of Stokess who should come out of the shadows but Armin!

He, Eren and Mikasa are lurking in the shadows and tell Annie that they need to get Erin out of the district ASAP because the Military is looking to dissect him (true).

She’s reluctant, she doesn’t want to help him but remember what I said about Armin and his tactics? He deftly maneuvers her into a position to where she can’t refuse, using to what is referred to as a ‘guilt’ trip.

She agrees BUT as she does she slides on a metal band over her finger. Ohh, snap with the foreshadowing.

So the foursome are now wandering the backstreets ‘escaping’ while Annie asks some very… leading questions that are getting harder and harder to answer without tipping the fact that, yea, Armin is going to betray her. I mean that ironically because Annie is the mole in the military but…

Armin stops before a set of stairs, leading down to an underground passage and Annie stops cold.

She refuses to go down and THAT is suspicious.

This whole, ‘Annie, help us escape!’ spiel was actually to confirm or deny that Annie is, indeed, the traitor who killed the specimen Titans and slaughtered her way through the Scouting Corps to get to Eren.

And it’s becoming abundantly clear that their former comrade Annie is starting to appear suspicious all over.

She suspected a setup from the beginning, which goes to show how damned sharp she is.

Eren, in his inestimable way, refuses to believe that she would betray them and screams at her to get into the tunnel, thus proving her innocence. Why did they choose a tunnel? It would be the one place where a Titan would not have an advantage, and she knows it.

Armin is in a sort of denial himself; realistically he knows that yes, the traitor is Annie, she has Marco’s gear which means she killed him, but doesn’t want to believe someone who trained and fought with him could kill him (and his friends)

That would be a difficult thing to reconciliate.

By now all parties realize the truth, and what danger they are in and Annie… laughs.

She laughs and says, even for a moment she was glad she could be a ‘good person’ for Armin. But now it’s time for her be a soldier.

Mikasa has had enough – her and Annie are actually very alike. Mikasa knows that if you don’t kill the enemy your friends will die and she is ready to go after Annie, former comrade or not.

If you take careful notice of the streets around the foursome you will realize that there has been nobody around for some time now. As soon as Armin gives the signal undercover agents (Scouting? Military? Don’t know) come swarming out and grab Annie before she can bite herself.

Remember how damn resourceful and smart Annie is?

Yeah, that ring that she put on earlier has a hidden thorn inside of it. It’s too late, Annie becomes the Female Titan.

No comments:

Post a Comment