After so many big moments in the last couple of episodes,
Attack on Titan made some smart calls at the start of this episode. Seeing the
relief tinged with guilt Eren felt as Armin woke and Eren hugged him was
perfect. Seeing Levi, the one who made the final decision, still seeming to be
at war with his own emotions clearly conveyed just how big a deal the previous
moment was. And then Armin. His horror at what had happened, his disbelief that
he was chose and not Erwin, and then his near panicked response as he realised
just what weight was getting dropped onto his shoulders.
All of this conveyed through a single scene that brought
together the threads from last week when the characters were nearly at each
other’s throats over the decision. Hange in particular asked the pertinent
question of Eren and Mikasa. Whether they think they can do what they like
provided they take the punishment?
Then we move from this quiet moment on the walls to the
equally quiet and eerie walk through the town. I loved the juxtaposition
between the young Eren and Mikasa running through the streets with the still
and somewhat shocked older pair that walked almost mechanically toward the site
of Eren’s house. The moment lingered uncomfortably long as we saw scenes of the
people who used to live there before they faded away again leaving only broken
buildings and the plants that were over-taking the town.
However, we then get to the moment we’ve been waiting a very
long time to see. The basement itself.
I wasn’t actually surprised when the key didn’t work in the door. It seemed like the typical thing Attack on Titan would pull. So many characters dying to get this boy and this key to this door and it didn’t even work? Seemed like exactly the kind of thing this story would do.
Levi’s response was suitably measured given the situation
and then we began the search through the basement in earnest. There’s really no
words for how it felt waiting for them to find something. Knowing that even if
it wasn’t going to be what the characters wanted, there had to be something in
that basement or the story was literally going to fall over. Waiting then and
knowing that the episode was going to conclude before we had more than a small
taste was kind of torture.
I will point out that while I’m not a big fan of the ED this season, at the end of this episode I absolutely appreciated the journey for these characters shown throughout the closing credits. This season really is building on every step of that journey and it seemed perfectly fitting this week. Not to mention, you kind of have to hang around for the after credits sequence this week.
I know exactly what emotional impact Attack on Titan was
going for this week and I know exactly why it missed the mark for me. While I
can respect the effort and I think a lot of people will be happy with how it
all unfolded, I end up feeling very much like Armin’s sacrifice in episode 5
has been completely undermined.
Which of course, might very well be the point. Armin
formulated a plan, he put it into action, he resigned himself to the outcome,
and he held fast right to the end. He as a character had more control over his
fate than almost any other this narrative has thrown at us and he didn’t die
screaming and pleading for his life or in a puddle of tears and piss. He died a
Only, Attack on Titan doesn’t really like heroes. Or at
least that’s how it seems. It is a world where the horrible and the scheming
rise to the top and the honest and noble are beaten down or killed before they
have the chance to succeed. So in that sense, undermining everything that
happened at the end of episode 5 may very well have been the point in which
case it succeeded admirably but that doesn’t mean I have to like it. Armin has
long been one of the few characters in Attack on Titan I’ve liked and seeing
his will getting overthrown like that was pretty depressing.
However, if we take Armin out of the equation, this episode
did an excellent job with Levi. Also with Mikasa, and Jean, and Hange, and even
Eren. Emotionally each of these characters faced choices that truly have no
right answer and all of them have horrendous repercussions if they make the
wrong choice and yet each of them, in their own way, stepped up to the plate.
It is rare that I say that I admire these characters for anything but their
absolute guts in the face of insanity, but episode 6 brought out the best in
them even as they almost tore each other apart.
Armin or Erwin, who to bring back? Erwin, who sacrificed
every scout essentially for the chance to maybe bring down the enemy and a
chance to peek inside the basement or Armin who sacrificed himself and thought
of how to save the others so that they might continue the journey. I kind of
agreed with that random scout that Erwin should not escape this hell so easily,
but Levi’s point that Erwin was the character they made him be was understood.
So instead of moved or caught up in the story, my head is spinning with all the what-ifs and maybes and questioning each of the character choices up to now and in this moment. The one thing that is true is that this episode was very Attack on Titan. I don’t know how I feel about it. I don’t know if I’ll ever sort out the mess it just created when I think about this situation. I do know though that I’ll be watching the next episode as soon as I can because at this point I just have to know what is in that basement.
Welcome to part two of the collaboration between Scott and myself as we discuss Attack on Titan and its latest developments as well as ask those pressing questions that have been on our minds. I had a lot of fun with this particular collaboration and it was a long time coming because Scott and I have had a number of scheduling conflicts. Hopefully this isn’t the last time we work together because this was a really fun conversation. That said, let’s get into the second part and if you missed part one, be sure to hop on over to Scott’s blog and check it out.
Watch out, there are spoilers below if you are not up to episode 5 of Attack on Titan Season Three Part Two.
So, I wanted to ask you what your thoughts were on the Beast Titan. Mostly because I’m utterly confused by that character.
That’s a good question. I guess he’s related to Eren somehow? Maybe? Not knowing about him is kind of frustrating. I’m even confused on whether or not he knows about baseball because he’s been using pitching throws to chuck a bunch of rocks.
Yeah, the baseball references were a bit… let’s just call them odd. They absolutely didn’t fit with the rest of the world given we’ve been given no indication baseball, or team sports of any kind, are a thing. But I’m even confused as to his motive. He showed up all big and bad and then just disappeared for huge chunks of time only to conveniently show up at times when it is really inconvenient for the scouts. I just feel like if his objective was simply to destroy the humans he probably could have accomplished it a fair while ago without all the games.
A Titan sports anime would be kind of entertaining though. But in general, I definitely agree. There is something more to his interactions then just eliminating humanity. I don’t mind be left in the dark when it comes to some things and all his actions are guided in some way, but I wish Attack on Titan at least gave him more than flashbacks that only last a minute or two that let us in on him. The only thing that comes to my mind is that Attack on Titan is leaving us in the dark for a reason. I hope it’s a good reason.
Me too. Attack on Titan has this tendency to drag things out a very long time before getting to a reveal though so I’m not expecting answers any time soon. But there is one question I need answered by the end of this season. And that is of course, what is in Eren’s basement?!
OMG, yes. The question that has been there ever since the second half of season one. Eren’s dad was hopefully up to something interesting and extravagant for making us wait so long. Probably not though. I have a feeling that it’s going to be a combination of a mad scientist lab and carry some important historical documents about this world. What do you think, Karandi?
I think that would be nice. I keep having this horrible feeling that after dragging it out this long they’ll get there and find the house completely collapsed in on the basement or it all burnt up in the most recent explosion/fire in the town. That would be so cruel to the viewer and so typical of Attack on Titan. The other option is that it is something completely game changing only I have no idea what that would be. Maybe a new syringe that gives Eren’s titan the ability to disintegrate other titans with a look? I’m mostly joking about that.
It’s still possible though. Definitely would be the longest and most aggravating shonen power up I’ve ever seen to achieve if that was the case. Whatever it is, I definitely feel like it would hopefully change everything that we know so far even more. Didn’t even think about it all being ruined until you brought that up for some reason or another, even though that is an obvious thing that could happen.
Maybe I just have too negative an outlook on life at this point. Then again, I have sat through three seasons of Attack on Titan and I can’t think of one time when everything actually went their way without some casualty.
Completely fair. Definitely not the kind of show you watch casually or when you need something uplifting. Still, I find it so captivating for some reason. Dang, it’s been such a long road.
Agreed. Season one grabbed me with its first episode and while I found a lot of the second half of season one and a lot of season two meandering, there’s something compelling about the story here and the world they are in. Then season three started building on all of that and now I’m completely hooked again with this second part. What’s really true is that none of the last couple of episodes could have happened without all of that previous stuff as even though it wasn’t as fantastic to watch there’s really nothing at this point that we could discard and have the impact we’ve been getting. This one is definitely one where we have to take a long view of it and episodic reviewing doesn’t really fit with the story and yet we’re all trying to do it anyway.
I’ve been generally more positive with Attack on Titan’s second season then some people, because it had enough good character moments to make it at least passable as a watch, but I agree. Throughout most of season three so far, it’s been mostly hit after hit with. While still having issues like the Beast Titan being there for some reason, everything else has very worth it. I really like how the ending of this part of season three has been focusing on the Scouts training because it really fits with everything that has happened this season and is a big reminder of what the humble beginnings were like.
Anything else you want to discuss before we wrap this up?
Not much comes to mind for me, how about you?
Super important question: who do you think would win a fight between Mikasa and Levi?
Somewhat biased opinion, but I am leaning towards Mikasa a little bit because she’s younger and probably has more energy to spare when it comes to combat. A little bit of that younger and plucky vs experienced and veteran sort of thing.
You don’t think Levi’s experience would give him an edge?
Oh dang, you got me. Still, I know that combat is somewhat about the same with swinging from at each other and attacking with swords, but maybe Mikasa could come up with some attack that Levi wouldn’t expect. Of course, then again this me thinking on the fly here about this. Gah.
Not that it matters. Unless Levi kidnaps Eren in which case I’d put money on Mikasa winning the fight. Don’t stand between her and Eren under any circumstances.
Agreed, Not even Levi could withstand that rage.
But I think we’re done. I’m so glad we finally managed to organise this and I had a lot of fun even if we’re still both stuck waiting for the next few episodes to find out what actually happens. Want to bet all our guesses turn out wrong?
You know what, I would take that bet. This show can throw some curveballs at us (hopefully not from a beast titan), so I expect that is what is going to happen. I’m glad we finally got around to doing this.
Guess now we’ll wait and see what Attack on Titan throws at us next.
But hey, Attack on Titan has just been great to watch this season and if you want to join in speculating about what will happen throw Scott or myself a comment or a question. I’m just going to ask you keep them spoiler free for those of us who haven’t read the source.
Wow! Ouch! Wow again. And let’s throw an ‘ooh’ in there for
Yep, episode 5 of Attack on Titan Season 3 Part 2 has
rendered me effectively speechless and trying to describe the emotional
response to this episode results in onomatopoeia, word salad, and mostly
inarticulate phrases. Shock, horror, celebration, stunned silence, horror
again, utter depression, minor triumph, followed by the stillness that comes
from being so confused about how I feel and yet moved nonetheless.
It isn’t as though the episode is some model of perfection.
There’s sections of animation that aren’t as polished as some of the sequences
we were getting in season one, the character points are all very much
orchestrated as are the emotional notes. It isn’t in the slightest bit subtle
as we see the death and disaster roll out before us and other than a moment of
excellent timing there’s nothing overly clever about it.
What makes this episode work is that it is the culmination
of the all the events leading up to it. Each character moment, whether it is
Levi, Armin, Eren, Jean, Bertholdt, Reiner, or the random scout who apparently
survived the suicide charge, fits beautifully as the next step in their journey’s
even if that step seems to be the end of the line.
This is where episodic reviewing is a problem. In terms of
spectacle, this episode brought it. Again, it could have been more polished in
places, but it looks good enough (significantly better than a lot of anime out
there). There’s enough going on to keep the audience hooked and invested with
sufficient pauses for the characters to have their moments. However, this
episode doesn’t progress plot or the like. It consolidates a sequence of events
we’ve been watching and invested in over the last few weeks and as such it
nails the perfect emotional climax.
I’m not going to say what happened, you should just watch it. However, new respect for Levi. That was pretty amazing. Eren gets an incredibly bitter-sweet triumph with a heavy dose of the bitter side of it. And Armin… well, as I said, just watch the episode.
In my review of episode 2, I said there was a real pleasure
in seeing the humans occasionally looking like they might come out on top. The
key phrase being ‘looking like they might’. See, realistically what hooked me
into Attack on Titan in season one was how utterly brutal it was and seeing the
humans getting beaten down and driven into a corner. The humans who broke and
the humans who stood and fight and the utter indifference the titan showed
regardless of the character of the human in front of them.
Therefore, it kind of makes sense that episode 4 of season
three part two (that is such a mouthful) hit me very much like the very first
episode of Attack on Titan. While for a lot of season three (part 1 and now
part 2) I’ve been finding reasons to enjoy it again and new respect for the
characters, this episode actually managed to bring back the awe and the very
real horror of the situation the characters are in.
There were so many moments that just left me breathless and
I watched many sections multiple times just to try and absorb and process what
had happened. It wasn’t that the episode was fast paced. Arguably, it is quite
slow in how it moves forward. It is more that each event is so pivotal to this
fight and there’s so many emotions attached with each section that my brain just
froze and I had to watch it again.
Whether it was Armin freezing in his role and then throwing
the torch to Jean in an act of desperation, Mikasa’s reaction to Eren getting
kicked through the air to land atop the wall, the scouts freaking out as yet
more groups are wiped out in an instant as the beast titan flung broken
boulders at them, or Erwin’s ‘motivating’ speech before the last charge, every
single moment just hit hard. Everything is so raw and human as characters faced
with an insurmountable challenge either crumble or attempt to rally for a last
act of defiance and it is beautifully brutal in its delivery.
It has been a fair while since I’ve really gotten this swept up in an episode of Attack on Titan but realistically there isn’t a thing about this episode I would change. It just worked. And while we’ll once again have to wait for the next episode to really see the outcome, I’m actually happy for now. I need the time to contemplate and digest and that is the mark of a really solid episode of anything.
This world really is cruel, but that’s what makes it such a compelling viewing experience.
Understatement thinking that leaving us mid-battle was going
to become the standard this season. Not that there is anything wrong with this
episode as it gives us some more Bertholdt and Reiner moments back before they
revealed their identities before plunging us back into the battle.
It does feel odd to be getting this kind of back-story now
on these two characters who have been there all along, however it does put a
new spin on the death of Marco all that time ago and we continue to see that
pretty much the world these characters inhabit is just plain horrible. There
have been so any moments in Attack on Titan where the phrase ‘that sucks’ has
been appropriate and seeing the characters this week and the choices they make
and the choices they could have made which were ultimately just as bad, you can’t
help but agree with Bertholdt when he points out that the world is ‘cruel’.
For the scouts there is a moment of triumph but also tears
as they finally bring down the Armoured titan but even then, what little
success it was is momentary before taken from them again. However, even before
we realise the futility of their efforts, Conny and Sasha are dealing with the
trauma of essentially taking the life of someone they trained with and worked
with. This isn’t a nameless titan or an unseen enemy but someone they know very
well and they were directly involved in taking him down. While the other
characters attempt to remain more detached you can tell the action takes its
toll on all of them.
But, there’s no time for processing emotions when you’ve got
a colossal titan blowing up and setting fire to the town. Armin might briefly
attempt negotiation but what is there really to negotiate in this situation?
Neither side intends to change their minds now so the conclusion is decided
before they even really begin.
Despite the very limited progress in terms of time, it feels
like a lot happened and to be honest the visual sensation that is the end of this
episode (even if the animation was quite what it could have been) is more than
enough payoff. There’s something just gut-wrenchingly horrific about the
entirety of what is playing out here and the colossal titan flailing about
surrounded by the burning buildings that it is using as projectile weapons is
kind of the perfect visual to capture the true horror of the entire scenario.
This war is either just getting started – or it’s about to end tragically for everyone.
I feel like this is cheating and Attack on Titan should just
call it season 4 but whatever, here we are for season 3 part two. As usual the
humans are in a terrible situations, titans are terrifying, and every character
is walking around like the weight of the world is on their shoulders and every
line of dialogue is delivered as if it is the defining moment of the episode.
But none of that is new and if you’ve watched Attack on Titan up to this point
that isn’t going to make you walk away now.
Besides, this episode looks great, the plot seems to be
progressing nicely, Eren doesn’t shout, and the hook at the end of the episode
to get us to come back for the next episode was pretty spectacular. There’s
just very little to complain about as this gives us more of Attack on Titan.
I still have to wonder about the sense of walking past the
sleeping titan in the dark and not dealing with it. I just kept thinking as it
stared at them creepily in the dark that it could be sending messages or doing
anything for all they knew and yet they left an enemy alive behind them. That
just seemed to be asking for trouble. Not that it really mattered given they
were clearly always going to be walking into trouble.
Armin actually got to play an active role for the first time
in awhile and I loved his reaction to being put in charge of something. It was
a rare amusing moment in Attack on Titan that hit the perfect note and yet didn’t
distract from the overall tension of the scene. It’s a shame Mikasa remains
pretty much solely Eren’s shadow and seems to still have no personality or life
However, the coolest moment of the episode goes to Levi who
is very much going with a stab first and ask questions never approach to
dealing with the enemy. It may not have actually worked but it was still a definitively
All and all, here we are for another round of Attack on
Titan. Here’s hoping it all works out.
While this episode is entirely the first part of this
massive battle they seem to have set up, at no point does it feel like Attack
on Titan is dragging its feet. From Erwin making his decisions and ordering his
troops to seeing Levi in action before cutting to the awaited Eren and Reiner
rematch with the other scouts ready to make a move, it all comes together
beautifully and even while you are waiting for everything to fall apart and the
screaming, shouting and dying to kick off again (come on, this is Attack on
Titan), there’s a real pleasure in seeing the humans occasionally look like
they might come out on top of something.
There were a few moments visually where the titans movements
felt really clunky or large groups of people or titans seemed barely animated,
however you can kind of see why when you look at the incredibly fluid motion in
the second half of the episode. While it isn’t quite as thrilling as the first
time seeing the ODM gear in action, it is still pretty awesome to watch and
Eren’s fighting style as a titan has become vastly more polished now that he’s
a bit more trained and more self-aware.
As an episode, about the only issue is that it directly
picks up from the previous one and leaves us hanging still in the midst of
battle (and I suspect that’s going to be the MO for this season for awhile
because it feels like this battle is going to take a lot to get through). Binge
watching it would be awesome but waiting a week in between means very limited progress
given I’m wondering if we even saw ten minutes of actual conflict play out.
This doesn’t actually make this bad, but it is where seasonal watching is at a
distinct disadvantage to those who wait for an anime to be completed.
Still impressed by Eren’s lack of shouting, fairly happy
with how events are unfolding, and certainly keen to see what happens next.
Attack on Titan’s third season definitely got me hooked back into the story and
part two seems to be setting up a pretty spectacular battle here.