Thoughts & Feelings Column: Attack on Titan Season Two – Episode Thirty-Seven

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The promise of season three in 2018 helps keep you from being too worried about the state of this bloody battle as things begin to look bleak toward the end. I think this announcement does wane the dire situation, but there isn’t much you can do about spoilers in this day and age. With a final episode for the season comes more reveals to keep you baited for season three, but luckily these aren’t portrayed as cliffhangers and we can rest assured that we are on our way to discovery. It’s frustrating to still be out of the know at the end of all this, but just think about how the scouts feel- they know even less than we do as viewers.

1Let’s get started.

 

Ymir continues her personal struggle through this episode as Historia shouts that Ymir needs to live for herself. While I do believe this is what Ymir was already doing in the first, I understand that Historia is far too close to the situation and far too infatuated with Ymir to see the girl’s glaring flaws. Ymir finally decides to help Reiner and Bertholdt knowing that she will be fed to someone in their group who can better use the Titan power. Obviously there is something terrible about living inside the walls that we all don’t understand at this time, but Ymir has managed to grow after 60+ years and has learned to live with herself in a way that isn’t reliant on other people. Of course, this epiphany is late coming as Ymir’s time is numbered as long as she is committed to helping Reiner and Bertholdt.

2Speaking of Historia, there’s a big of great animation when she kicks into action after cheering Ymir on. If you watch this episode for anything, it should be for her movement in that scene.

This is, of course, an Eren-centric episode considering his true Titan nemesis stands before him. Mikasa is useless with her injuries, and her pity for Eren’s position causes her to untie his hands. If you remember back a few episodes, Reiner mentioned that Eren’s body is too exhausted to transform- and even though Eren has managed to regrow most of his body, it’s not enough to allow him to transform into a Titan.

Eren bites and tears at his own flesh to the blood that once transformed him into a Titan. It’s all in vain, and Hannes comes to the rescue. Unfortunately, Hannes isn’t the type to survive. He is the second person that Eren cares for to die to this smiling Titan. The battle looks bleak as the scouts in the background are eaten or crushed by the onslaught of Titans. Eren loses what little composure he had and muses about how nothing has changed in all these years- he is still useless and weak.

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Mikasa comforts Eren with her own confession that he has always been at her side and demonstrated how to live with purpose; however, just as Mikasa possibly goes in for a kiss, Eren rises up with new vigor. Eren is still unable to fully transform, but he is able to recreate the same strength from his Titan form as a human. The most interesting development isn’t Eren’s superhuman ability, though, it’s the fact that Eren told the Titans to attack the smiling Titan—and they did. Eren has the ability to “coordinate” the Titans with his thoughts. Now we understand why Reiner and Bertholdt were so adamant about getting Eren to their homeland.

6We later learn that the Squatch Titan has the ability to create, so given what we now know about Eren I have to wonder if all Titan-people are able to retain an ability of some sort and what those parameters are. I’m sure more of this will be revealed next year.

Back inside the walls, Hange and Conny also meet up with Levi to inform him of the working theory: Titans are people. Below, the kids all theorize about Eren’s ability. With high hopes, Eren proclaims he will use his power to plug up Wall Maria and defeat Reiner. Even with the grinning Titan finally dead, Eren hasn’t lost any of his hate and distaste for Titans or Reiner’s cause.

The outro is actually pretty lame and undercutting for a show that seems to pride itself on being cool, but the overall impact of the episode still manages to remind us why AOT is one of the leading mainstream anime at this time. At the end of the day, Attack on Titan’s second season was better than the first in terms of execution and story, but it still suffered from a plodding pace after Eren re-entered the fray. I’ve never loved AOT’s performance and season two doesn’t do anything to change my opinion; however, over the course of the spring season I’ve realized that I hadn’t soured on the show as much as I had believed over the years. AOT is still fun to watch, and I’m looking forward to season three next year where I’m hoping we can actually get answers to all these questions.

Mostly the question of “What came first, the Titan or the human?”

Overall Season Rating: B

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