Before I discuss what happened in the latest Shingeki no Kyojin (#63, read here), I have to point out ALL THE BONDAGE. Not only are we treated to a whole lot of Eren tied up and gaged (here, we see two different views on the same page):
But then we get a very seriously Not Safe For Work image of “torture” (that maybe Erwin is condoning?) that’s being done to the nobles deposed in the coup:
This takes an especially bizarre turn when you take the time to read that the plan seems to be force feed this guy his own bodily waste, while leaving him naked except to dress him in lady’s hose and heels (…what??) Oh, and apparently to parade him around town like this once a month or something….
If I were a citizen of this town I’d be very much like, OH I AM SO GRATEFUL TO COMMANDER ERWIN FOR GIVING ME THIS LOVELY NEW REGIME. Because, wow, before we had to put up with lies in the newspaper, but now, well, now we get to see the supposed enemies of the state (who got no real, public trial, btw,) degraded and paraded through the streets.
SO MUCH BETTER.
Well, maybe I can hope that Erwin is just placating the torturer guy for the moment and won’t really let this go on. Tough to know, though, since in another nerve-wracking moment, the bald-general guy wonders when there will be peace between men and Erwin says, “When everyone is dead, except one man.”
Right, the story…. erm, apparently, in-between the bondage fetishism, there is one of those. Let’s see, from Historia’s perspective we “remember” a big sister that loved us (who looks just enough like Ymir to give me pause.) The king, Historia’s father, tells her that touching Eren must have brought back these memories, so he tells her more of the story of what happened at the church–which we saw some of in flashes from Eren’s p.o.v. in the last chapter.
He says that he had five children, all of whom Eren’s dad killed, including the big sister that Historia so lovingly remembers. We’re then treated to a fairly horrifying set of memories of Eren’s dad in Titan-form beating and eating the “big sister” (whose transformation looks a lot like Annie’s female titan form). There are spines ripped out. (It also has weirdly sexual/rape overtones, FYI.)
These memories have previously been repressed, the king/Historia’s dad explains. This idea of memory suppression is underscored in the Erwin bit because somehow Erwin and his crew also know about the church (maybe Zoe sent a message?) and bald-general guy points out that all these lost memories are probably related to that secret Erwin’s dad kept/spilled.
Then, back with bondage Eren (whose arms must be completely numb by now), the Ackerman serial killer guy tells everyone they have to go. Historia’s dad decides now is the time to inject Historia with a syringe that looks a lot like the one Erin has seen all the memories with his dad, which we’ve had from the start of the manga/anime. Historia’s dad insists that “big sis” is still alive and Historia can get her memories if she’ll just let him jab her.
Hearing all this, Eren freaks out and threatens to bring down the walls Jericho style.
Meanwhile, we’re also given a weird little tidbit in which Levi asks Mikasa if she ever had a moment of “awakening.” She thinks back to having murdered her attackers and then says that yes, she has. Levi says he’s felt one, too (though we don’t see what it might be).
But, what this strange, unprompted revelation means, it’s really not clear. Given that everything else in this chapter seems to be about Titans it makes me wonder if, as Commander Erwin implies in that earlier scene, the Ackermens are part of the group of people who are resistant to having their memories changed… and if this somehow relates to why Mikasa’s family was shunned.
Personally, I feel that, despite the bondage weirdness, this chapter played far more than many of the previous ones to the mangaka’s strengths, which is to say, the Titan storyline.
I like the questions this chapter poses. For instance, is it going to be revealed that the five “dead” children of the king are actually the shifters? Given that the “big sister” looked like Ymir and shifted like Annie, maybe? Or maybe somehow Annie and Ymir’s faction somehow stole the king’s heir’s powers, as the king and his cohorts seem to be ready to use Historia to do to Eren?
And what is the Ackerman Awakening about? Is it related to the titans in any way?
Those kinds of questions intrigue me, at least. And, you know, I guess half-naked, chained Eren is pretty ripped…