Wednesday, June 21, 2017

10 Second Anime - Shingeki no Kyojin S2 - Episode 37 [END]

As despair grows among the Scouts fighting against the horde of Titans, Eren discovers a new power and a ray of hope for Humanity. Season Finale.

Episode 37 - "Scream"


Wow. That was an exciting finish. Not only that, my concerns from the first episode of this season got answered by the end too. Not too shabby for 12 episodes.

Let's have a helpful flashback to show this particular Titan killing Eren and Mikasa's mom to let us know what the emotional stakes are.

Here's an intra-episode cliffhanger - is Ymir really going to kill Erwin or is she just mad that she has to rescue this guy from all the Titans he brought with him. Yeah, she mad.

This show is still brutal. Erwin's giving orders and the dude he's talking to just gets scooped up and bitten in half.

Hey, that's nice that Hannes gets to save those kids to make up for not being in time to save their mother, but should he be strong enough to block a Titan slap like that?

This battlefield is utter chaos. Titans are running around randomly and Reiner is dropping them in like bombs from the air too.

Ymir's loyalty is steadfastly with Christa. Since she's with the Scouts at this moment in the fight, she's on the Scouts' side. We'll see if that changes.

Christa's first Titan kill last episode was to save Ymir and now she's all confident. Watch out Mikasa. Christa is looking a lot more beautiful turning, tumbling, and flipping in the air than our dark-eyed beauty.

Aw man. Eren's biting his thumb ineffectively again. There's got to be a Viagra tie-in with this show, metaphorically, at least. Of course, 4 years ago, it was all about performance anxiety. Here, it's because he's not totally healed up yet. Don't worry Eren. It happens to a lot of guys as they get older. Cough.

Poor Hannes. Hard to fight a Titan in an open field like that. It was only a matter of desperate time.

Such an ugly scene, but look at how beautiful that background art is.

Crap. This is the scene where even Mikasa has given up hope and she's finally thanking Eren for all the things he's done and meant for her when his family took her in. If Mikasa gives up, you know it's bad.

Oh, no kiss for you, Mikasa. Eren hasn't given up hope yet. Even if it means you get to see him splattered by a Titan punch.

Yeah! There's that special power the eye catch from last episode hinted at. This is what Reiner was talking about with Eren being "Coordinate." It's not a title. It's a power!

How did Eren get this Titan Power? Well, we'll have to wait until next season, I guess.

Eren is punching with Titans! It obviously controls Titans and even the conscious Titans feel Eren's screamed directive.

Shouty McShouterson actually means something for this show. Whodathunkit? You shout your head off, Shouty McShouterson! I can see why Reiner is so pissed that Eren actually had this Titan Power and just learned to use it. He is the worst person to have it, especially when Reiner and Bertholdt remember what he said when he was asked why he wanted to join the Scouts: to kill all Titans, everywhere.

This Coordinate Power answers the "why now" question and the reason for Reiner, Bertholdt, and Annie's mission to the land of Walls.

Aw. Ymir is leaving again. Eren having that power to control Titans means that Historia has a future behind the Walls. Ymir just wanted to get Christa away from all the Titan attacks and escaping with Reiner and Bertholdt gave her the best solution. Now she doesn't need to do that.

But Ymir was a traitor to the Scouts, so she's going to take her chances with whatever land Reiner and Bertholdt came from. She's also grateful that their mission was responsible from waking her up from her decades of being an unconscious Titan.

Epilogue time. After keeping people in the dark for a week, they let them back out saying the breach in the Wall was fixed. Of course, there was no breach, and Hange confirmed that all the Titans between the Walls came from Conny's village.

Levi realized they've been killing people this entire time. Erwin had a nice big smile that Levi didn't like. He described it as being one step closer to the Truth of their situation, but it could also be seen as one step closer to solving the Titan problem once and for all.

Erwin with one less arm means he won't be doing much leading from the front anymore. Or maybe he'll figure out a way to do so. He's one of the biggest monsters in this show, really.

And this is why they popped Ymir out of the neck of her Titan last episode: so we could see who's controlling the Big Monkey Titan. Glasses? This couldn't be Eren's father?

We never did see any of the other Beast Titans from the opening credits, but since the next season is next Spring, instead of another four years later, I'm assuming Production IG has been powering through a batch of 25 episodes and we're only halfway done with their work product. Bring on 2018!

Final Thoughts.

If you read my first post of the season, you would know that I had concerns for how the show was going to treat the overall story after a four year hiatus. Thankfully, the production team acted as if there had never been a failed live action movie franchise, a chibi farce middle school setting spinoff, and four years of no main story anime. The only sign of time progression was an ill-advised used of CGI for the Colossal Titan's return and a much appreciated use of fluid camera techniques for the action scenes.

My main concern for the story was the "why now" question. Why did the Colossal Titan and Armored Titan attack the Walls after a hundred years of peace? The answer was revealed during the kidnapping of Eren and explained in the last episode. Reiner's team's mission was to find the person with the Coordinate power. The details of how this power was stolen, how it ended up in Eren, and where this power is supposed to reside is all part of the fun of a story unfolding. But this revelation explains why the invading Titans attacked the cities (to cull the survivors to make finding the hidden Titan easier). It still took a long time to find someone who could turn into a special Titan like they could, but once they isolated Eren, it was easy to see why Reiner got impatient. Their mission was almost over. They just needed to get Shouty McShouterson to go back with them. Well, that didn't work out, did it?

As for the other mysteries introduced at the end of the first season and in the first episode of this season, I'm happy with the progress. The Priests of the Walls' story will center around Christa/Historia with more of that story explaining what Ymir went through. The Beast Titan stuff will center around Eren and his father's research. 37 episodes into this show and Eren still hasn't made it to his father's basement, which was the point of the whole confrontation with Annie. Also, Conny's village turning into Titans that listened to the Monkey Titan's orders will factor into this too.

I'm satisfied with this continuation. The episodes following Conny and Sasha felt like an interlude, but they still fit in with the procedural aspects of building this Titan-infested world. Character development is also an important part of this show so we can be extra shocked when one of them dies. That part of the show didn't change from the first season either.

A lot of the mystique of the show's debut four years ago was the gruesomeness and goriness of the violence. But that was always just decoration. The meat of the impact was that we actually invested time and emotion into these characters before they were brutalized. There have been many shows during these last four years that have been just as explicitly violent, but Shingeki's flavor of gore was always adding in the emotional impact. People screaming for their mothers, looking at someone they tried to protect one last time, getting swallowed mid-sentence: this brutal flavor of violence matched exactly the first season's despairing take on death perpetrated by relentless monsters.

One last thing I want to mention is the sky and clouds in this show. The passage of time let the artists progress in making background art even more beautiful than the first season. I think four years of development of lighting and painting techniques helped this show quite a bit. Now if they could only do something about Armin's eyes... Let's see what the Spring of 2018 brings us.

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