This Attack on Titan review contains spoilers.
Attack on Titan Season 2, Episode 8
While nowhere near as action-packed as last week’s episode, this week’s Attack on Titan, even with, Eren, its main protagonist largely absent, turns out to be a solid episode all things considered. We got to step back in “The Hunters” for a good look at the relationship between Mikasa and Eren, their childhood with Armin and Hannes, and the universe’s military culture, specifically the clash between the Survey Corps and the much more coddled Military Police.
Mikasa and Eren
We left off last week with Eren gaining the upperhand in his fight against the Armored Titan when the Colossal Titan (or his ginormous torso) decided to fall on them, and we picked up this week with Bertolt and Reiner kidnapping both Eren and Ymir, leaving the rest of the Survey Corps defeated and unable to follow. It’s at this point that the show found time to delve head long into Mikasa and Eren’s relationship, and their childhood with Armin and Hannes.
It looks like some things just don’t change. Pre-teen Eren was just as hot-headed as fifteen-year-old Eren, Mikasa is still cleaning up after him and saving him from trouble (with moderate success, no thanks to Eren himself), and Armin is still the smart, sensible kid he’s always been.
The highlight of the scene, of course, has to be Hannes’s pep talk, which shines quite a light on the difference between the generations and the mentalities people within the Attack on Titan universe have; Eren called their lives “false peace”, but to the majority of humanity who just want to live in calm, freedom is a small price to pay for safety within the walls.
Going back to Mikasa and Eren. One thing I admire about Attack on Titan is its lack of focus on a romantic relationship. But while that could be said about almost any of the popular shounen franchises out there, I especially love how this series has so far handled Eren and Mikasa, who could easily have been pigeonholed as a couple otherwise. Instead, we got this rich, deep history where Mikasa’s loyalty to Eren could be based on any number of things or all of them—from gratitude for having saved her and given her hope to friendship/companionship/family kinship to comradeship—with any notion of romantic love being the least important of them, if important at all.
I do get the sense that Mikasa is in love with Eren from this episode, but Eren’s too hellbent on killing Titans or other reasons to reciprocate. The point is, it doesn’t seem to matter to her whether he does or doesn’t, just that he remains happy and safe and preferably within her general vicinity so she can make sure he doesn’t screw things up, and I think there’s something very lovely about that.
The Survey Corps vs. The Military Police
The Military Police are assholes.
Sure, that was a little harsh, but I’m certain I’m not the only one hoping that Levi would kick someone in the face when they started mocking the Survey Corps for crying wolf about invading Titans.
I hope we will see more of this interservice rivalry and how it plays out though. It’s such an interesting and universal thing within armed forces, especially given the high stakes in a world as dangerous for humans as Attack on Titan. You have two branches of military ultimately serving the same cause—for the betterment of humanity through different means—yet, petty infighting somehow still happens despite the vows they swore to uphold, even to the point where its detrimental to the cause.
I wonder where the Garrison stands in all of this.
I know that Eren’s had, like, three of his limbs chopped off, that he’s been kidnapped and woken up in a place he doesn’t know, trapped with two of his worst enemies and one other person he can’t really trust, but I think he, too, would get a warm, glowing feeling if he knew that he’s important enough to humanity that they send an entire legion after Reiner and Bertolt to save his ass. That is, until he realize that most of them are probably going to die doing so.
Obviously, Eren is going to be saved in the next couple of episodes. He’s the main character; there are certain happenings he’s going to be immune to. What’s not obvious and what’s making me slightly worried is the outcome for everyone else because, in the grand scheme of the story, they’re expendable. Either way, I look forward to how it’s going to play out next week.
– I’m going to have to disagree with Armin, albiet semantically, when he said Eren lost the fight against the Armored Titan. Eren was winning, he could’ve taken Reiner out had Bertolt’s Colossal Titan Torso not interfered. The fight was, at best, inconclusive.
– I love how there’s a three-second freeze screen dedicated to explaining military-rationed crackers and how to eat them. As if we common folks don’t know what crackers are. I also love how Mikasa and Armin feel the need to eat their crackers as aggressively as possible.
– Those crackers look like bricks. They must be really airy if they can be bitten apart that easily.
– Armin and Christa look so much alike, it’s a little disturbing.
– I wonder how much it hurts for Eren and Ymir, losing and regenerating their limbs like that.
– Why is this episode called “The Hunters”? Who are the hunters? I’d say Reiner and Bertolt, but they didn’t get enough screen time. And nobody else in the episode did any hunting.