This episode of Attack on Titan is a real turning point for me because it showed me again why this anime is a necessity. As someone who has been reading the manga the entire time the show has been down I often wondered if I could be entranced or even bring myself to care about characters who belong to the manga: whose fates and backstories I now know. The truth of the matter is that while the author of the manga came up with some ideas that were brought to life beautifully by the creators of the anime, I have never felt particularly moved by anything he has done. The execution of the plot and the art in the manga have always made me roll my eyes, so I figured that watching the anime would make me feel the same and I’d be watching for only some characters.
Well, that’s not really the case as of this episode. Watching Sasha’s episode, which is a part of the manga I love, is of course something I can enjoy. Last episode was more or less interesting foreshadowing and then waiting for what this episode shows to happen. But this episode we see a lot of the subtleties the manga made dull to me finally come to life. The focus of this episode are the individuals in the castle and their struggle to survive without their gear, while also focusing specifically on Ymir and Reiner.
The importance of this episode cannot be overspoken as it shows really important elements: Bertholdt and Reiner are anxious and comforting each other, reminding each other they will definitely survive and return to their hometown. We even get a flashback to one of their friends being eaten by a titan (when one of them almost gets eaten by a titan) and it shows us their determination- but that is not all it does. The importance of this titan is shown at the end of the episode, but not before we’re given a lot of hints about it. We see a lot of panic and horror as the regimen members who are with them end up being crushed by a boulder thrown by the Beast Titan and then eaten by a new onslaught of titans also sent by it. While the manga always does a decent job at showing horror, this episode is a great example of the genuine horror the anime can instill in much better ways than the manga.
The focus of Ymir is pivotal even as the scouts try to survive throughout the episode. Her identity at the end is revealed to be something you might see coming or not- but either way it’s a breathtaking cliffhanger to leave the episode on. While I was fond of Christa and Ymir in the manga I really love what the anime did for them and my heart breaks for both of them every time they suffer. But as the mysteries continue to unravel, will the anime continue to do a justice the manga might be lacking? I am hoping so.
On that note, today’s mystery solving award goes to Connie, who seems like he almost got eaten for his skills!