Shingeki no Kyojin #65 opens with so much excitement. SO MUCH potential.
In fact, it looks like finally, in this chapter, we will be given “the secret behind the Titans, their role in the formation a world long-forgotten by mankind…”
Go read it. I’m sure you’re as excited as I am to finally get some big clues as to what’s been going on all along.
Am I right?
WHAT THE ACTUAL F*CK??!
Okay, obviously, with that tantalizing beginning, I started reading all the words very carefully because this is something we’ve all been waiting for… well, possibly from the moment the Wall of Maria fell or, at the very least, since the Titans were discovered inside the walls (and the question of their connection to the government was first raised.)
What we’ve learned in the last few chapters is that the (Abnormal?) Titan Power and all the secret history/memories of mankind are inherited down the generations of the True royal family in a weird cannibalistic ritual.
Eren’s dad for, as yet unknown reasons, disrupted the last ritual and ate the successor to the Power and Knowledge. Eren’s dad then–again, for uncertain reasons–injected Eren with the shifter formula and… maybe offered himself to Eren to be eaten, or was eaten accidentally by Titan!Eren.
Hints were made in the previous chapter that mankind had, at one point, known the secret history, but had had its collective memory wiped (again: somehow.) It was intimated that there were a few people who were able to resist this global brainwashing. As suspected by many, including myself, the Ackermens (and this weirdly racist sounding “certain Asians”) are among the immune.
I had thought (hoped?) that Kenny’s appearance at the B&D cave where Eren has been displayed in chains for the last several chapters might mean that Kenny Ackerman (aka serial killer guy/Levi’s “foster” dad) was a shifter. I made this connection because he seemed so disappointed when the True King (Historia’s deadbeat dad) explained that only a person of royal blood would get the Knowledge and Secrets if Eren is eaten. I’d assumed that Kenny might have been wanting the Secrets and Knowledge for himself and had been planning to shift and eat Eren. Thus, his disappointment–aka his plans for double-crossing had been dashed. I’d really, REALLY hoped that if Kenny Ackerman was a shifter and that this was his plan, it might signal the beginning of a story arc that might reveal what the Abnormals (the Colossal Titan, Armored, Dancing, etc.) were up to.
Instead, we’re treated to a flashback from Kenny’s point of view that confirms that the Ackermans and “certain Asians” are immune to the mind wipe. A LOT of pages are expended on this “surprise,” which seemed obvious to me.
Another thing that’s explained that doesn’t really seem particularly shocking or revealing is that the Ackermens were once some kind of Pretorian Guard to the True royal family. This is revealed shortly after an aside about how Kenny managed to track down his sister, who had been prostituting herself and is now pregnant (in the past).
If I’m right about what this means, this makes me very… bummed.
Because I’m going “call that sh*t” now and say, Levi (or Mikasa) will turn out to be that child.
If it’s Levi, I am made of disappoint.
For me, this inherited bloodline of ass-kicking takes away a bit of the awesome shine that had clung to “Humanity’s Strongest.” (TBF, the shine has faded with all the torture, but at least Levi was an amazing fighter, right?) All of a sudden, Levi just happens to have the right midiclorians. (Yes, that’s what I said. MIDI-F*cking-CLORIANS.) He was born to it. He didn’t rise himself up out of the gutter and make something amazing of himself. Nope. He was just born with the right blood the right secret formula of special pumping through his tiny, cranky little veins. He inherited what is, IMHO, HIS ONLY REDEEMING QUALITY.
Thanks so much for that kick in the teeth, Isyama Hajime-sensei.
I may go cry now.
Okay, back to the “secrets revealed!” Because here is where we descend into the WTF territory for me, at least.
Something in this guy’s flashback, pisses him off.
Maybe he’s angry because he’s been protecting this toady dead-beat dad of a “king,” and has only just now realized that he’s wasted his life because Historia’s Dad can’t transform himself and take his Rightful Place back.
Fine, I guess that’s upsetting.
But, Historia seems really up for it. She’s Royal Blood, so what’s the loss, exactly?
She’s so keen that, even after Kenny trash talks her whole life, she still gives Eren the shounen eye of INTENT and declares that becoming a Titan and eating Eren is her “Mission.”
Even Eren should be happy with all this because Historia declares that with her Secret Knowledge and Titan Power she will use it for good to free humanity from the reign of terror of the Titans.
Kenny’s motivations become unclear at this point because he alternately threatens Historia’s dad (his True King) and tries to force Eren (the enemy?) into shifting by slicing up Eren’s forehead. Apparently, in Kenny’s twisted mind, it’d be better if Titan!Eren and Titan!Historia battle it out for Rightful Rule.
At this point, the whole thing (and by that I mean the entire manga) is beginning to sound very Medieval in its thinking, and not at all logical.
Western civilization gave up on the idea of Rightful Rule/Divine Right of Kings some time ago, and I have a really hard time buying into it now–especially as screwed up as this True royal family seems to be and which Kenny enumerates at great length while trash talking Historia (yet while still apparently thinking that a Titan cock fight will end with the Righteous Victorious.)
Shingeki no Kyojin… you are losing me.
But back to the story… hearing all of these things discussed and finally having his gag removed by Kenny, Eren is… well, he’s depressed. Even though Kenny’s swipe across his forehead is bleeding into his eyes, Eren is like, “DUDE, JUST EAT ME.”
I feel your pain, Eren.
Of course, for Eren this is all about his angst about wanting to be the actual shounen hero in a decent shounen story (sorry pal, you got the dystopia where sh*tty things are done by sh*tty people for no reason whatsoever.) So, he just figures: f*ck the storyline so far and everything everyone has invested in, just eat me. Everything that has been done, he says, has all been for the wrong reasons, my dad stole the Rightful Knowledge and Power from their True owners, and since Historia is on the whole “Titans must Die” theme… you go, girl. Eat me, I quit.
The very last scene we see Historia injecting herself, the Titan! smoke billowing and the Survey Squad arriving TOO LATE (or just in time, depending.)
At this point? I’m with Eren. Just kill me now.
Apologists are already trying to make this better by saying that maybe the plan all along has been that Eren’s spinal fluid (which, it is explained by Dead Beat Dad King, is all that must be consumed for him to be properly “eaten”) contains the antidote for Titanism.
That’d be a thing.
But, so how is that going to work? Historia “eats” him and is suddenly cured? And then what? Eren and goes out and offers up his spine to all the Titans?
Is that the end we’ve been waiting for?
Is that the information Annie went comatose/cocooned for in order to protect?
Given all this Divine Right crap we’ve been getting all over the place, I’m going to go out on a limb right now and suggest that all of the Abnormal Shifters are going to turn out to be the supposedly-slaughtered royal children. There’s about the right number of them (with the exception of the talking “ape” Abnormal, who, I’m going to postulate right now is the King/Deadbeat Dad and his claim in this chapter of being unable to shift is really more that he doesn’t do it quite right, and thus can’t be a true form Titan) and, since–so far–our mangaka seems kind of obsessed with Divine Right/inheritance of superpowers, this is feeling more and more likely.
I don’t know how to feel.
Also, FYI, SnK: Before the Fall chapters 8, 9 and 10 are out.