Attack on Titan returned for its 8th week in a row, to possibly its weakest ever outing. This episode reminds me of the weakest parts of this series, and that’s our 3 weak main characters and the struggle this show has with its identity. Not only this, the episode was also hindered by an unnecessarily long, drawn out flashback that was literally only a page long in the manga. This episode was also, painfully slow in the pacing department and only covered one chapter of the manga when it easily could have covered the following chapter as well. If the following chapter was covered this episode would have been as epic as episode 9 is going to be next week.
As mention earlier, to me, this episode highlighted and personified the main two complaints I have with Attack on Titan. These are the 3 main characters and its struggle with its identity, this applies to the manga, and it isn’t a hindrance only of the anime. The predominant complaint that I have with the main characters revolves around there motivation and their characterisation. Armin is the generic smart but cowardly one and Eren is only slightly more complex than the typical Shonnen protagonist. But my true criticism are toward Mikasa and her motivations and seeming love for. My first problem is that we never see them interact in any meaningful way, Eren never talks or thinks about Mikasa besides in the flashback when he saved her. Eren sometimes talks about the faith he has in Armin so there relationship fells realistic and genuine but Mikasa and Eren have minimal compelling or interesting scenes or character moments together. Therefore (AT THIS POINT IN THE STORY!) The other complaint I mentioned was it struggle with its identity, which was clearly evident in this episode with its childish and stupid message, which was accompanied by a near cringe worthy scene of Armin, Mikasa and Hannes eating rations. The message of, ‘We just have to stick together’ lacks the complexity this show has established and seems like it belong in a show for children rather than a show as gritty and realistic as Attack on Titan. I thought that type of message and stupidity was beneath Naruto and I especially expect more complexity from Attack on Titan.
After basically shitting all over the episode this far now I’ll mention a few elements of the episode that I appreciated. I appreciated the detail Isayama included about the transfer of information in his story. This was evident in this episode through the fact that Levi, Erwin and Jean only now learning that the wall wasn’t compromised and there was no whole. I also appreciated the establishment of tension between the differing branches of the military. The Garrison regiment and the Survey Corps seemingly have a friendly relationship, which is on display in the scene in which Pixis and Erwin discuss the on goings of their world. But the Military Police has a militant and superiority approach to the other regiments. This is all set up for the events guaranteed to go down in Attack on Titan Season 3 and possibly 4. Another great aspect of this episode was the fact that Bertolt was intelligent enough to kidnap and seemingly kill a random member of the Survey Corp to obtain their gear and escape. Hopefully that also clarifies to anyone worrying what happened to the other guy Bertolt swallowed last episode.
This episode overall gets the low rating of a 5. This is because of the overall disappointing nature of the episode, but next episode is shaping up to be massive and full of juicy dialogue. Also to all those that are fans of the romantic elements of this show specifically relating to Eren, Mikasa, Ymir and Historia may want to get excited about the remaining episodes of this season.