Attack on Titan ep18: fodder
So much for the strategy of outrunning and outmaneuvering the titans. With the murderous tornado that is the female titan bearing down on the entire Corps, there’s little time left to think or hope. And what little time is available to some is more of a curse than a respite, as they’re left to wonder of their mortality and they wait for hope or death.
Fresh from barely escaping an assault on the female titan, Reiner, Jean and Armin are left with a little time to think about their situation while Armin’s wounds are getting dressed. Jean meanwhile is constantly whistling for his horse to return. If it doesn’t, they’re only left with two horses amongst three soldiers, and someone will have to be left behind. Good thing that’s only a temporary problem as it seems that Christa has noticed their flare and shown up with two extra horses. It looks like for now, the mission will continue.
We now get clued in to the center of the formation’s situation, as they constantly see flares going up signaling change in direction, and the approach of the female titan. And speaking of her, we get to see what she’s been doing since kicking Reiner, Jean and Armin’s asses. She’s been kicking more ass.
She runs into a squad of veterans, who attempt to take her down. And here we see that she’s only gotten more adept. A well thought out and coordinated plan by the soldiers is absolutely beaten by her. And they weren’t even going for her weak spot, they were merely trying to stop her temporarily buy cutting her tendons or spine. Instead we see four soldiers murdered easily, as if they were flies or roaches. For me, the scene with her twirling a soldier on his wire like a yo-yo is… disturbing. You know there’s a dead man on the end of what wire, and you can only imagine what’s happened to his organs under all that force. I think the guys that got stomped on, kicked through a building or punted on his horse several miles all got off “easier”.
With pretty much all their scouts and a majority of their forces on the right wing massacred, Erwin directs the Corps towards the forest of giant trees. And by giant, he means GIANT! These things dwarf even the titans themselves. While the center of the formation goes through the center, the other sections are directed to go around and take up ambush positions in the forest.
No one it seems can figure out just what the hell Erwin is thinking. All they do is take up their positions in the tall tall trees and watch as titans pile up below them. Even deep inside the forest, Levi’s squad mates don’t even seem to know just what the hell is going on. And that’s not good because the female titan has finally shown up in the forest, slaughtering soldier after soldier in stunning and terrifying fashion.
As the female titan bears down on them with astonishing speed, Levi’s squad draws their swords, but are on the verge of panic, too. Levi tells them to cover their ears as he draws his flair gun.
End of episode.
This show feels less like a show to me, and more like a roller coaster. And maybe that’s why I’ve heard and seen so many comments talking about how much more people are enjoying this arc over Trost. While Trost felt like an inevitability, even before it happened, this arc has felt like a clear step up in pacing and intensity. But I’m not doing a comparison of the arcs, nor am I reviewing this one. I’m giving my thoughts on a single episode, so I’ll move on.
In spite of this showing constantly being on the move and in a state of panic, I appreciate that for a few brief moments I got a scene where Jean gets to stop and think. I know this guy has been a pretty big and selfish douchebag, but the show is intent on showing that his desire for self- preservation and bouts of cowardice aren’t necessarily bad things. They’re ways of making him clarify a situation and look at it objectively. Calling for his horse, he knows that they don’t have much time to wait, nor figure out an alternative plan. He wastes no time facing the prospect of his mortality should his horse not return. Honestly, in that scene I saw Jean as the middle ground between Reiner, a near peerless fighter in 3D gear, and Armin, one of the smartest characters in the show. The presence of the three soldiers also illustrate that despite being the cream of the rookie crop, the female titan is an entity that can’t be dealt with be any mere human.
Main characters tend to get lost in the shuffle at times of transition, and amongst a large cast. It’s still pretty amazing that Eren has been almost a forgotten entity in these past two episodes. In this episode we see that perhaps he’s made the least progress of the rookies so far. He looks incredibly lost in Levi’s squad, a possibility that is further emphasized by him being in such a tight knit and strong group. I dare say that he’s almost the “princess” character in this arc, with him being in the most protected portion of the Corps, and much of the Corps believing that the female titan is after him. I don’t expect this trend to change, not immediately anyway. The Recon Corps is no where near their destination. So they either flee back, or overcome this female titan and keep going, but I’m not sure Eren is part of that victory plan. They still need him much later in the mission. And with it being well known that Eren is terribly unstable in his titan form, I can’t see them giving the go ahead for him to change and risk having too abnormal titans in their midst.
I guess the one “complaint” I would have would be no one understanding why they needed to go into the giant forest. For those who had survived the female titan, they should know they can’t outrun her. For everyone else, they should know that they’re at a significant disadvantage fighting on open land, relying on horses for all their mobility. Even if that’s not Erwin’s main goal, the titans shouldn’t be at the tops of trees, so they’d still be somewhat safer than trying to outrun her. Panic doesn’t seem like a good enough excuse for this attitude, then again a lot of this complaining is coming from rookies. My guess is that Erwin brought them here for the advantage in terrain, a chance to perhaps get some soldiers some rest while distracting dumber titans, and maybe he has hopes that titan reliance on solar energy will allow them to wait until night to slip past the less energetic monsters. I’ve been fooled before, so maybe he and Levi have some sort of last effort gimmick to get them out of this mess, though I can’t imagine Levi’s gonna deploy more than some sort of flashbang in this situation.
An exciting episode overall. In this season where I’m watching so many slice-of-life and comedy shows (C3-bu, Watamote, Love Lab, Uchouten Kazoku & Servant X Service), I’m glad I have Attack on Titan being consistently exciting and terrifying. the fact that it’s so damn good at what it does allows me to enjoy other shows so much more.