Shingeki no Kyojin 84 – WTF EVEN

I’m super confident that Isayama-sensei intended “WTF EVEN” to be the actual title for this chapter.  He left it blank, so I’m pretty sure that must have been his intention, right?  Because WHAT THE F*CK EVEN was this chapter.

SPOILERS

.

.

.

Okay, so we ended the last ridiculously bleak chapter with this supposedly difficult moral choice between using the super-Titan injection to save the life of either the burnt-to-a-hairless-crisp Armin or killed-by-his-own-stupidity Erwin.  It didn’t seem like much of a choice to me.  Erwin has not had a successful plan since, like, forever, and most of Erwin’s so-called “genius” ones go like this most recent “plan,” which is to say it’s kind of a success on PAPER and not so much in reality, what with a 99% casualty rate.

But, I mean, frankly, if were Levi, I would have looked at my choices and said, “Screw you guys, I’m giving the Titan power to myself because even though I’m not a big thinker at least I have balls of steel and I hit where I’m aiming 10/10.”

Whatever.

The majority of the chapter was various people making cases for who to save and in the end, as usual, Levi makes the best choice possible in a sh*tty situation and let’s his boyfriend die/saves Armin.

It’s been a bad week for my various OTPs.

Over in Bleach, I have to deal with the fact that, if the current time-skip reality is real, then somehow Captain Kyouraku has to survive without his life partner, Captain Ukitake.  That’s… that’s not okay with me. That breaks my heart into tiny, little pieces, forever and ever, particularly as the two of them, with their thousand year old relationship, has been, in my mind, my anime/manga analog to my own LOOOOONG term relationship with my wife.

So that hurts.

Now, well… if I shipped Levi with anyone it was Erwin. They were the same age, there was some chemistry… I dunno, I liked the idea of them, even if I didn’t read a whole lot of SnK fics, the few I did read were often Erwin/Levi.

But the couple I really loved?  The ones I would have called my precious cinnamon buns?  Bertholdt and Reiner.

So, just to poke ourselves in the eye some more, let’s just relive the horror that is Bertholdt’s death, shall we?:

shingeki-no-kyojin-7993333.jpg

Not that losing his head bothered Reiner much, but I guess this is goodbye?

Everything that’s currently wrong with SnK, for me, can be summed up by the above scene and this tiny, unremarked moment that follows:

shingeki-no-kyojin-7993351.jpg

Is this Titan sick or is she just continuing her rampage?

shingeki-no-kyojin-7993357.jpg

Uh, guys?  Eating Bertholdt killed this Titan…. anyone want to even wonder WHY????

So… apparently eating Bertholdt was a bad idea.  When Hange showed up with Berholdt, she thought it was a good idea for Erwin to eat Bertholdt.

shingeki-no-kyojin-7993267.jpg

Or maybe that’s Levi… I guess that’s Levi.

The point is, someone’s brilliant plan had been to shoot Erwin up with the Titan syringe an then feed him Bertholdt.

Which is a weird plan, but is at least based on the idea that had been floating around that Titans can gain other Titan’s powers by consuming them.  Was that wrong?  Or is there something about Bertholt’s Titan-ness–maybe the fact that he’s a Shifter? Or maybe something about the way he became a Shifter?–that makes him poisonous to Titans?  Could his poisonous nature be a clue as to the ways in which the shifters are different from the ‘normal’ Titan population?

The problem with this manga is that I don’t know if anyone cares.  I don’t mean the readers (some of whom are probably as burned out as I am, but), I mean the characters living in this world. They characters themselves don’t seem to be at all curious about the major questions in their world.

No one took the opportunity to talk to Bertholdt when they had him prisoner.  Unlike Annie, Bertholdt wasn’t encased in crystal. This was a huge opportunity to appeal to his human nature. He clearly still thought of these people as his comrades.  As misguided as it clearly was, he called out to them for help in his final moment.  They all stared at him and watched him die, but some part of him had hoped to appeal to their higher selves, to their sense of justice.

A BIG PART OF ME HAD THAT SAME MISGUIDED HOPE, but that’s because a big part of me still expected the Survey Corps to actually be the good guys, even though they have proven time and time again that they are clearly the villains of this story.

They’re finally starting to talk more obviously like villains, referring to Erwin as a demon and talking about how death is freedom from the Hell of this place.

Only villains would go through their world this unexamined.  They had an opportunity with Bertholdt.  They could have tried to ask some of the important questions, they could have tried to reason with him, tried to win him back over with kindness–he’d always seemed, previously, to be a little on the fence about the Shifter’s plans.  But, no.  They tortured him by cutting off his limbs and then watched him be eaten by a Titan without even lifting a finger to stop it–even when they still thought that having one of their own people devour Bertholdt might be useful.

And when the Titan that did eat Bertholdt seems to have been poisoned by him, they all just seemed either unaware or only vaguely interested (I think Hange actually looks) and then went back to their stupid pity party.

They’re villains.

They’re extremely STUPID villains.

What’s frustrating about this is that Isayama-sensei took the time to draw all of this and didn’t make anything more out of it.  I presume, maybe?, the poisoned Titan will become important to the next chapter, but I don’t know that I trust that it will given the fact that Isayama was clearly OK with wasting the opportunity to have Berholdt become a double-agent or just even tell us more of the Shifter’s agenda before our heroes villains slaughtered him.

I think this WASTE is underscored by Commander Eyebrow’s big reveal.  That secret that he’s been carrying since his schoolboy days? The one that apparently got his father killed for talking about?

Seems to be the scientific method.

shingeki-no-kyojin-7993303.jpg

This is the secret? Demanding proof?

I…

I don’t even know what to make of this.  Yay for Isayama-sensei actually giving us this moment so Erwin didn’t die with us all wondering what that big question was that got him in SO MUCH TROUBLE FOR in school.

But what the f*ck? A two year old could have asked this.  How do we know for sure something doesn’t exist, if we’re not allowed to look for it?

Um, wow.

Yeah, get in the corner, young man, and THINK ABOUT what you just said!

WHAT?

I mean, I guess we know now why Erwin is so stupid.  He was literally not allowed to learn the basics of scientific thinking.  Apparently, introducing the idea of scientific thinking to the classroom is punishable by the mysterious disappearance and death of your parent.

Okay, this could be a really amazing moment, right?  Like, this is the moment in the manga where our jaws drop and we all turn to each other in the fandom and start freaking out, “OMG this really is a crazy-a$$ dystopia!”

But I feel like we already knew that.

I feel like all this backwards thinking about the divine right of kings and Hange’s take over of the free press (presented as a good idea, no less,) and Levi’s ruthless torture of prisoners with no real information gained, and the fact that certain members of the previous ruling class are being force-fed their own sh*t AND paraded through the streets once a year BY OUR TEAM to show the populace what happens when you step out of line…

WAS A PRETTY F*CKING HUGE CLUE.

So… I don’t know what to make of this?  I mean, maybe I’m suppose to imagine myself as Levi and, with syringe in hand, thinking, “F*ck me, this was your big secret, Erwin? That you got in trouble for demanding proof? …”

“….”

“Yeah, I’m going to go ahead an shoot-up the other guy, k, big guy? ‘Cuz that’s just DUMB.”

Kind of like this whole manga, if you ask me.

And damn it.  I liked Bertholdt.

Advertisements

6 thoughts on “Shingeki no Kyojin 84 – WTF EVEN

  1. I really don’t know what to think about this chapter, much less the story so far. I first got into it with the anime, and really dug all the parallels people were making with Fullmetal Alchemist.

    Except at this point it’s so not like that. It’s like a crude mixture of everything i didn’t like about lotr (which I found tedious and kinda… Actually, tedious is it) and Mockingjay (the book. I loved the movies, but the book is so deadened I just… Ugh). We’re presented with a right to the throne without questioning it (if the royal family remained secret, and had a long line of Titan shifters that CHOSE not to save humanity, why put the secret bastard kid on the throne instead of deposing the royal family entirely?), and the increasingly military state that appears to be growing. It feels less like the toppling of a dystopian empire, but the RISE of a dystopian empire, all beneath the tedious ruination that war has.

    Really, I’m setting my “keep or drop” point at the basement. If it doesn’t have answers or move the story forward in a new direction, I think I’ll have to officially drop the series.

    • Full Metal Alchemist is a manga I’ve never read. I watched the first series, but never FMA: Brotherhood. It’s clearly one of your favorites and, as I’m growing to really respect your opinions on such matters do you have a recommendation for me? Should I consume all the things FMA related that I haven’t yet? Skip the manga? Skip Brotherhood? Let me know.

      But as for the rest, I agree. 7emptymirrors/Josey told me that she thinks that the Titan who ate Bertholdt is maybe Armin!Titan? But if that’s the case, the focus of that moment seems way off… and falls squarely into “I don’t even know what ‘s going on any more” which is something I almost NEVER say about a manga.

      I will confess, since you did, that I could NOT make it through LotRs (the books) because of that tediousness you talk about. I liked the Hunger Games books right up until the end, when the bleakness of the last paragraph made me throw the book against the wall and say, “Well, what the hell was the point then?” So your sense of those two books/movies in relation to SnK seems spot on to me. I don’t know if I’ll make it to the basement, as it were. I really loved the first season of Attack on Titan/SnK and it’s often really difficult for me to give up on a thing when I’ve come this far… but we’ll see. As I’ve been joking, I’m beginning to think that in Eren’s basement is going to be al the fucks I once gave about this universe. 😦

      Boo. Such a wasted potential.

      • Oh, I DEFINITELY recommend both Brotherhood and the manga. They’re the same story (the 2003 anime was made while the story was still going on, and it’s basically creator-approved fanon after a specific point in the story) but for the fact that Brotherhood speeds through the early part of the story to keep from tediously retelling the same stuff to the ’03 fanbase, and glosses over a lot of the contents of volume 15. I’ve not seen the sub, but the dub for Brotherhood is FANTASTIC. The movies are largely additional material (Conqueror of Shamballa is largely an epilogue to the ’03 anime) and not particularly relevant to the larger story, but I’ve heard that Sacred Star of Milos is pretty good. The storytelling (and the story itself) is a lot of what I expected out of snk: a compelling story, depth of characters, timely payoff of mysteries and storylines as new ones are introduced.

        I… think Bertholt’s death was meant to mirror Marco’s? It certainly held that kind of vibe and honestly I’d have much preferred it being Reiner sacrificed. Armin becoming a titan shifter by eating the one person he most wanted to communicate with is… horrendous. Having Bertholt live and Reiner die would’ve made a much better story like, can we please just let Reiner die at this point? He’s just not that interesting. Or have a staged break-out of Annie. Just… SOMEthing to make the so-called evil titan shifters interesting again and start giving us answers. Heck, have Ymir be a part of the break-out team and try convincing Christa/Historia to come with her again, giving us a glimpse and knowledge of what “life beyond the wall” is like.

      • FMA is one of the few anime I watched dubbed, so I may try FMA:Brotherhood subbed, but it’s good to know that the dubbed is actually good. I’ll have to see if my library has FMA–although I’m sure I can find the manga collected somewhere on line if they don’t.

        And I agree with you. The biggest issue I have with SnK right now is that we know NOTHING about the Shifters. I was hoping for a kind of loyal opposition (actually I wanted the same thing from the Quincy, honestly)–a sense that the other side was at LEAST as justified as “ours.” And, you know with SnK the bar is set pretty low. Right now the biggest evil thing that the Titans do is eat people. Compared to torture and bullying the free press, I kind of feel like a little cannibalism isn’t all that bad, you know? 🙂

  2. But the SnK anime OST! Now that is incredible music. I also liked the lined, shadowed and shaded style of the manga and hadn’t found it in any others with that frenetic anxious feeling in the panels. (That’s all I can bring to the discussion at this point having lost track of what the what long ago but am intrigued by the dialogue you guys are having.)

    • I loved that opening music, honestly. Good anime, for sure.

      My only problem with the manga style is that I can’t always tell characters apart (see my review). Like the fact that I didn’t know that was supposed to be Armin as a Titan? Yeah, that’s kind of critical. But, hey, I’d tell you to catch up… but I may be quitting soon, myself.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s