I appreciate the title of this episode. All too often ‘I’m home’, (tadaima, ただいま) is associated with happy slice of life moments. Something like Attack on Titan needed to take this little phrase for it’s own and turn it on it’s head, and this episode certainly manages that.
This was an interesting episode that, like episode one, shone the spotlight away from the core cast who were still preoccupied in non-flashback world making their way to join the group of the cast who first encountered the titans. Saying that, Hange does seem to be piecing things together slowly, as this we saw her briefly looking at something through a microscope. Mainly though we got focus on Sasha, who as it turns out has daddy issues.
Her flashback scene (that is, even further back than she was already) with her father is ominous for the rest of this season. Although it told us a lot about Sasha’s past and the way she is now (the potato moment can finally be justified!), it just felt so slow. The only reason I can think that they spent so much time on this scene is that they want to dramatically kill her fellow villagers off in a future episode (and if they do, I don’t remember that happening in the manga…).
My worries were largely curtailed though in her second involvement in the episode. The scene in her village is stunning(ly gruesome) as Sasha attempts to kill a titan from eating a women in front of her daughters eyes, only for her to fail, lose and her horse and attempt to escape on foot. Although we didn’t get as much black and white information about her character in this sequence, I felt the way it added to her background was far better, and to give the previous scene credit, made use of everything else we knew about her really well. Everyone’s (or no ones, I don’t know that I actually cared) fears were then averted as it was revealed that Sasha’s father has not been eaten by titans and the rest of the village are safe – huzzah!
But all seriousness, this was actually quite important as the story panned over to Connie, who was simultaneously making his way towards his own village. We’re left with a bit of cliff hanger here as a full size titan is found lying on top of his house with deformed limbs. How it got there or what it was doing was left completely unexplained.
This was a mixed episode that seems to be trying to give the season a bit of rhythm between the highs and lows of being invaded by titans. Learning more about the side characters is also good, though I am concerned that they’re spending so much time on it when there are only going to be 12 episodes.
A solid, if largely unimpressive, twenty-five minutes of animation – next episode looks like we’re going back to ODM gear and fighting titans – I can’t wait.
What did you think of Shingeki no Kyojin’s second season’s second episode? Is a slightly slower pace justified if it helps to push along characterisation? Have I been unnecessarily harsh with my criticism of this weeks episode? Let me know down in the comments.