This may have been a slower episode compared to the first episode, but my gosh there was so much world building and a lot of time was taken to basically humanize these characters. Like I said in my previous post, there were a lot of things I overlooked in these chapters because I was so attached to the characters we started out with and felt no attachment to these new characters. However, revisiting these chapters in animated form made me realize the importance and significance of seeing the enemy’s perspective. Since because we only saw from the perspective of those within the walls, we only saw them as enemies that were attacking without reason. But here, we actually get to see that they are just normal people like they are, living a life even more restricted than those who were within the walls. Ironic really. They’re all just people trying to survive in their conditions.
There were definitely a lot of things that went over my head the first time reading the chapters when they first came out. So it’s been fun revisiting these chapters in animated form because I’m definitely getting a lot more out of the story from watching rather than reading, not to mention also learning. Such as the Marleyans don’t seem to know that Zeke is of royal blood. I could have sworn they knew, but from how Zeke was acting, he may be keeping that info to himself or just doesn’t know it himself. Though considering what Grisha did to him growing up, I can imagine that he knows full well what he is, but chooses to keep it on the down low. But why that is, I’m not entirely sure or remember. Though considering he commented how he’s worried that Colt won’t be able to do the same things he can as the Beast Titan points to the fact he is well aware he is of royal blood than not knowing. But that secret must be pretty difficult to conceal considering his abilities, though it looks like he’s just chalked up as a “wonder boy” who is just special.
But man, I feel so bad for wanting Reiner to just die back in the first couple seasons. He’s such an interesting and tragic character. On one hand, yes, what he did back in season 1 when he broke down the walls was terrible and unforgivable. But there was definitely more to his reasons than just killing everyone. He and all the rest of them were essentially brainwashed to think these people were just “devils.” He went into this mission with that mindset, but when he got there, he only found that they were just normal people. Everyone in his group developed a fondness for everyone in the cadets, realizing that they are just normal people, not the monsters they were brought up to believe they were. Berthold admitted they weren’t “devils” and Annie cried over seeing Marco killed. While this doesn’t detract from what they did, it honestly makes me feel really sad for the Warrior trio. He even stated in season 2 that he and the others were just kids who didn’t know any better.
That scene where he was talking to the candidates to receive his titan was just so bittersweet. They all looked up to him so much, but you can tell that it pained him to see them all so naively pumped and determined to become one of the nine titans, especially Gabi who is actually his cousin. When he pictured the group as a mirror of him looking at the Berthold and Annie and the others and he reverted to being a young kid again just broke my heart. He doesn’t want them to suffer the same fate as he and the others had. He’s trying to watch out for them as best he can. On the outside, it looked like Reiner was checking Falco’s loyalty. But it seems like he’s basically warning Falco not to be so open with certain thoughts or run the risk of actually being turned in for thinking and speaking such “treason.” But it also seems like he wants someone who has Falco’s mindset rather than Gabi to take the Armored Titan.
It’s honestly really sad to watch because you can tell that Reiner is just broken and depressed from everything he’s gone through. Realizing that he’s killed SO MANY innocent people at such a young age and just having to live with that guilt for years. I can’t even imagine how someone would feel going through that. When Reiner was telling his story of his time on Paradis, initially he phrased it to seem like it was terrible since he was surrounded by “devils.” However, notice that he called them people rather than “devils” and essentially humanized them, describing them as if they were normal people (which they are). And the only reason Reiner called it “hell” was because of how much he grew to care and know them. It felt so telling when Gabi was confused by the concept of there being “all sorts of people” and commented on how they should have all just been bad people. It is a little disappointing that they opted not to actually show what Reiner was explaining like they did in the manga, since I feel like that would have really added to the scene and hammer home just what exactly Reiner’s point was since it seems it confused a lot of anime viewers.
Because of his attachment to the others within the wall and his brainwashed loyalty, it seems like he just is incapable of acting like himself ANYWHERE. He had to pretend to be a soldier within the walls, but now it feels like he’s pretending to be a warrior in Marley. He’s being pulled in two different directions and it’s just tearing him apart from the inside. The look on his mother’s face after he told his story was so telling as it seemed like she realized that the things they all grew up believing wasn’t something he believed in anymore or is waning. (But also the fact that someone else could have overheard it as treason, which is why she quickly closed the window)
There were so many minor details that just said so much in this episode. Such as the fact that the Cart Titan is this poor woman who constantly forgets how to be bipedal because she is a titan for so long and needs a crutch to walk because she’s so unsteady and I can only imagine also malnourished. She was a freaking titan for TWO MONTHS STRAIGHT. Also the way that the Eldians who are suffering from PTSD are treated and that they are constantly monitored. Not to mention that Eldians aren’t even given seats on the train and are basically just treated like cargo. And also the fact that they treat their kid going to war on the battlefield like she’s talking about her day at school. That’s just so unsettling. And then there’s Galliard who would have become the Armored Titan and the brother of Marcel, the one who Ymir ate to become a Titan Shifter…
Okay, embarrassing talk for a moment. I cannot BELIEVE that freaking Toshiki Masuda voices Galliard. As soon as his voice clicked in my head, I had to pause the video and yell no several times like that clip from The Office because FOR CRYING OUT LOUD, he ALWAYS appears when I least expect him and I hate that I can recognize his voice almost immediately. Flips table out the window
Yes I am tsundere towards this man.
I also noticed that the animation felt a bit weird compared to Wit Studio’s animation. However, it was because most of the movement was rotoscoped. On one hand, because the characters were rotoscoped, it allows for some more genuine character movement and it feels very real, but on the other hand, it feels a bit stiff and the extra movement can feel out of place and a bit distracting in a 2D world. It’ll take me some time to get used to the new animation style, but I can say with confidence that it is not a downgrade.
Unlike what happened with Nanatsu no Taizai.
This episode was a strong second episode with it’s world building and humanization of these enemy characters. And that says a lot about the quality and storywriting for this series. Nothing is what it seems and it’s naive to just “take sides” or label people as “good and bad.” Because then, you’re taking in a similar mindset as Marley. And the theme that comes up a lot is that people just need to talk things out with the other, seeing things from their perspective without any blinders. There’s just a lot of things going on in this one episode and it’s so well done.
Also yes, I did notice a certain character hanging in the background (and the character in the last moment of the first episode) but I will refrain from talking about him because spoilers.