What has always grabbed me the most about Attack on Titan is how, as a complete product, it is able to seem entirely epic in everything it does. Whether that be from the obvious titan fights or the more obscure moments of regimented cleaning, Shingeki no Kyojin knows how to do big.
There is actually very little action pertaining to the story in episode eight, but somehow this whole episode encapsulates just what I’ve been talking about in terms of tone. The fight between Reiner and Eren is ended quickly with Bertholt strategically falling on them allowing Reiner the chance to pull Eren from his titan form and run away with him off into the distance. The majority of the soldiers were knocked out by the steam from the colossal titan and the rest of the Scouts, along with the Military Police, and positioned in Trost ready to deploy. Cue build episode.
As an individual episode I thought this was actually pretty good. We got some really good back story into Hannes (remember my challenge article??) as well as some solid (if slightly unnecessary) reinforcement into Mikasa’s reasons for fighting. Jean is confirmed as not written out of the story as part of all of the characters we like but get no airtime returning. There is of course a but to all of this. This episode contained no plot. Last episode contained no plot. Episodes two and three contained very little plot. While, as a fan of the series, I appreciate all of the background we’re getting into our characters, you could cogently argue that thus far half of this season hasn’t really progressed the story – which is fine if you’re truly invested for the long haul, but if you’re just an average viewer who wants to see fantastic anime, I’m not so sure.
This lack of plot development is exemplified by one of favourite parts of the episode. We get to see a flashback of Eren going to fight some bullies who have stolen the bread Armin bought for his family. The flashback involves Hannes have a great laugh at proceedings, Mikasa being much stronger than Eren and basically saving him before Eren runs away from everyone chasing the bullies. This all feeds into an emotional speech from Hannes to Mikasa and Armin on top of the wall about Eren being a pain, but a good one at that. So yes – I unashamedly I enjoyed this because I love all of these characters (apart from maybe Armin, but pass on the details), but this third of an episode doesn’t actually tell us anything new about the characters or progress the story in anyway. If you’re lukewarm on Attack on Titan but had seen all of the show up until now, you would know everything this sequence sought to tell you already. Essentially, it’s filler to pass time waiting for Erwin and co. to arrive at the end of the episode.
Perhaps I’m wrong here and this is just me taking my pent up anger about only having twelve episodes for this season out on one particular episode, but based episode eight, I really couldn’t recommend this season to people that wanted something more from Shingeki no Kyojin. And that comes from a massive fan of the series.
Well that was a rant wasn’t it? Did anyone else feel like this about this episode or am I overreacting here? As always, share your thoughts down in the comments and let’s have a chat about the episode.