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Saturday, 3 June 2017

Attack on Titan S2E10: Children.

Attack on Titan
Series 2, Episode 10

We're almost at the end of this series of Attack on Titan, which means that it's time for me to start consider what my next anime ongoing will be. Right now, it looks like it'll probably be either Knight's and Magic or  The Reflection, so either one will at least be a significant change of pace from 'that anime where really big people eat other, less big people.'

Anyway, when we left off last week, the Scout Regiment was about to reach the Forest of Giant Trees, where Reiner and Bertholdt were hiding out with the captured Ymir and Eren, setting us up nicely for some chasing and battling antics in this episode.

So, does this episode deliver on that promise? Eh, sort of, but what it lacks in battling and chasing shenanigans it makes up for with some interesting backstory and lore additions.

In this week's episode, Reiner and Bertholdt depart with Ymir and Eren, fleeing the Scout Regiment as they close in on the forest. Trouble starts, however, when Ymir insists that they need to capture Christa now, as she wants one last chance to see Christa before she's eaten by one of Reiner and Bertholdt's fellow warriors. In flashbacks, we see Ymir's life outside the Walls, and how she ended up becoming a Titan Shifter.

So, we'll talk about the flashbacks first, since they -- functioning as effectively our first real glimpse of life outside the Walls -- are easily the most interesting part of this episode, for all that they're pretty short. 

Reiner, the MMA episode was several weeks ago.

In them, we see that Ymir was taken off the streets to be the figurehead for a cult who believed she had 'the blood of the king.' There are a lot of visual similarities to the Wall Cult (the 'head priest' wears practically identical clothing), but the idea raises almost as many questions as it answers, not least of which being 'who is this king they're worshipping.'

Perhaps more interesting than that, though, is that we see the cult is a target for the government (thus confirming that there is some kind of government outside the Walls), and that that government is both more technologically advanced than the one within the Walls (since they're carrying rifles) and seem to be the source of the Titans, as we see them injecting cult members with something that transforms them into Titans, and then setting them loose, as a punishment.

(Visually, there are some similarities between these government forces and the Nazis, so we'll see where that goes in the last two episodes -- if it goes anywhere. It may well be that we don't actually find out what's going on until the third series, if we even get a third series.)

See? V. wall cult ish.

That's only a small part of the episode, though, and the majority of it focuses on Ymir's decision to join Reiner and Bertholdt, and her later insistence that they have to go and pick Christa up. Eren doesn't feature into the episode in a major way, but he gets points for trying to trick and then beat up Reiner -- a man much larger than him -- despite having no hands at the time.

So, Ymir's betrayal doesn't really come as a surprise -- in fact, I'd be more surprised if anyone didn't see it coming -- especially since she is somewhat preoccupied with/completely if perhaps unhealthily in love with Christa. I still don't see Ymir's betrayal lasting very long, since Christa is clearly going to be horrified by it, and since Ymir probably doesn't want to hurt anyone else in the Scout Regiment.

Still, it was nice to see her holding her own against Reiner and Bertholdt and forcing them to go along with her plan, and moreover, it was nice to have some humanising moments for Bertholdt -- both in the form of a surprisingly cute scene between him and Reiner where Reiner urges him to tell Annie about his feelings for her, and in a much grimmer scene with Ymir where she asks him if he resents her for eating his friend -- especially since we really barely know Bertholdt, because he's always been just Reiner's friend in the show so far.

Just guys being pals.

Somewhat surprisingly, this episode ends without any out-and-out confrontation between Reiner, Bertholdt, and the Scout Regiment, instead seeing them escape the forest with the scouts in hot pursuit.

Still, if the preview is anything to go by, the next episode will have Reiner and Bertholdt waylaid by wild Titans, allowing the scouts to catch up with them and for the battle between the two groups to  begin in earnest. It'll be very interesting to see if Ymir sticks with Reiner and Bertholdt, and it'll also be interesting to see whether the series can finish on a satisfactory note (while still leaving itself open for a third series) or if it'll just stop, as anime adaptations so often do.

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