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.
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.”
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?:
Everything that’s currently wrong with SnK, for me, can be summed up by the above scene and this tiny, unremarked moment that follows:
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.
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 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.
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?
Yeah, get in the corner, young man, and THINK ABOUT what you just said!
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.