Attack on Titan ep15: brilliantly eccentric or eccentrically brilliant?
It appears the life of the Recon Corps is not for those of faint of heart, or soundness of mind. I do expect that Eren will find his new home more of an asylum than a castle or barracks. After all, this group of misfits is starting to show itself to be a unit of extreme personalities on par with that of Angel Beats.
This episode turned out to be a lesson in chemistry. As Eren arrives at his new temporary home, a abandoned castle in the middle of the woods, he meets all sorts of characters. Some he’s already familiar with, like Michael who appears to be Commander Erwin’s right-hand man. A guy with a sharp mind, who likes to sniff out people, literally. Or the cute Petra, who apparently is a pretty competent Titan killer despite appearances. Or Orlo, someone with a ton of titan kills, but a sh*tty and petty personality. And list of killers goes on and on. For once, you see a situation where a titan is pretty much screwed if it gets anywhere near the camp. It’s something that Eren takes note of, because if he loses control, he won’t have time to regret it.
With Levi being in charge of Eren’s squad, he quickly sets about instructing his unit to clean the castle. It seems this ruthless killer has at least a strong sense of military duty. Eren takes note of this strong sense of responsibility and talks to Petra about it. She responds by telling him that Levi may have been a more laid back or free-spirited person in the past, but it’s only something she’s heard. She also tells him that he was a well known underworld thug before Commander Erwin managed to recruit. It seems Eren will have some layers to uncover to get to know Levi better, God help him when he tries to peel that onion.
After a long day of cleaning, the squad gets together at the end of the night for dinner… or coffee. there doesn’t appear to be much to eat. It’s here that Hanji catches up with the group, and Eren is abandoned with her while she starts talking about the titans and her experiments with the two titans they’ve most recently captured. It’s a creepy story, full of instances where Hanji is just too damn close to the captured, brainless monsters. One tale after another, what she calls experiments may very well be considered mere torture if they were any other creature. But valuable information is being gathered. An interesting thing learned is that the titans seem to merely run off of solar energy to get around. They appear to be absolutely impossible to communicate with, and the smaller they are, the less advanced they seem.
Hanji also has a very strange tradition of talking to the titans before naming them. Telling them of a old story about a tribe of humans that hunted and ate humans, and were splendid cooks with human meat as well. I don’t blame some of the soldiers being freaked out to the point of vomiting. Some people just can’t deal with the thought of eating another person.
It appears that Hanji has a very, very strong sense of empathy towards the titans. It’s something that peaks Eren’s interest. He wonders how she can show that empathy when the titans have hunted and killed so many, so pointlessly. Hanji responds by saying that she has felt hatred for them, but that she senses something deeper in them. Something hidden that no one as of yet can see. She wants to find a different, smarter way to fight, even understand the titans. She doesn’t believe what is seen is their true state. It makes me wonder. Are the titans really just a virus run wild? Regardless, her words win Eren over, and he asks to hear more about the titan experiments. A decision he will forever regret, as she yammers on and on, as if blocking a bill on the congressional floor.
Morning comes, and a worn out Eren is still being given the worst, most unforgiving information when the the monotony is shattered in the most shocking of ways. Both of the captured titans have been killed! It’s a crushing blow for Hanji, and it’s quite clear that someone, or some people have conspired to slaughter them in the night. A very interesting turn of events that Erwin shows up to tell Eren to personally reflect on. There seems to be some deep division within the Recon Corps. And it’s more apparent then ever that Eren isn’t safe. And it’s not in spite of his titan of his titan form, but because of it.
End of episode.
Well, for a clearly transitive and character building episode, it certainly wasn’t boring. Though I was taken aback by how Levi is far from the lazy layabout I expected when I first saw him several episodes ago. His sense of duty runs strong, if not a big coldly as well. And the cast of misfits that accompanies him is rather disturbing, Hanji being the cherry on top, of course. Then again, it’s almost to be expected when you consider they’re basically on a suicide mission for every mission they go on.
I was worried that Hanji would be some mad scientist bent on chopping Eren up, and that may still be true. But there appears to be some logic, sense and humanity within her. Whatever hypotheses she has going through her mind, I’m getting the impression that she believes that if they’re not human on the inside, there’s at least some form of intelligence or reason behind their existence. She’s quite clearly the star of this episode, and injects some much needed creepiness into the narrative. The existence of a character like her’s is practically a given. How could such impossible creatures like the titans pop up, and human curiosity not be sparked by their existence. Sure, hatred and terror are also natural responses, but so is the quest for knowledge. It’s what Eren’s friend Armin represents. The need to know. Then again, it may be the whole reason for the disaster and humanity’s near extinction as well.