Shingeki no Kyoujin Episode 4: Paths Divided
Don’t you find it odd that we train to fight titans…in order to get away from them?
Fast-forward two years, and the class is training in the woods. Armin struggles with his lack of strength, but with the shortcomings in one area, there are others that can compensate. Annie tries to sneak off during training, but Reiner and Eren try to teach her a lesson, only to be beaten thoroughly. During the fight, Annie asks the question that becomes the contradiction in graduation- why do the top fighters go to live in the inner city, where it is safer, instead of fighting giants directly? The ten top graduates are picked to become Imperial Police, but many of them decline after hearing Eren’s speech. The graduated class meets atop the Wall Rose when the Colossal Titan appears yet again, breaking a hole in the wall.
Though it might seem harsh, but if the top ten graduates are the group that they picked, I can’t really imagine that the others are any better. But after all, if they haven’t dropped out in the last two years of gruelling training, there must be some chance for these people.
The training scene was particularly hilarious, as Reiner stands out as a leader type. The training overseer pegs each person based on their strengths and weaknesses, and later in the episode, that characteristic is illustrated, making each character more believable. Reiner has the ability to draw “trust” from others because of his leadership skills, and he shows it by going through with the thorough butt-kicking from Annie. When Annie leaves training, Eren and Reiner underestimate her, and get flipped onto their backs in the self-defense test. Where most people would have backed off when they see their friend beaten in a situation that is partially their fault, Reiner goes through it, and I really like that about him. During this part, Annie shows off her strength, and Eren realizes what he hadn’t thought about in the last two year-the meaning of graduation.
It was alluded to in the episode where everyone was introduced, but there are some people that choose to enter into the training to join the corps for things other than fighting titans. The top ten graduates get to work in the inner city as police, and from the sounds of it, it’s a personal army for the King. Sure, it is safer, but what you are becoming is…idle. Idle in the safest place, the place furthest from the titans. Guarding the Wall is an acceptable group to join…I feel the reasoning for the way the divisions work is generate incentive to join the corps. Work harder for a chance to be in the inner city, and if not, you can choose the other two corps. There are people that take it easy to get the best “marks” and not to fight titans, and all to be in the inner city. I wonder what kind of people get to live there, since there is clearly a hierarchy.
The graduation is a fateful experience, because it might be the last time that everyone will be in the same place, alive and relatively happy. A lot of the graduates might be sad that they were unable to make top class, but through Eren’s speech, many of the top class decided to join Recon in order to fight outside the walls. This is not a light decision, because this is the difference between “life” and “death.” But is it “living”?
Mikasa chose to join Recon with Eren because Eren was going there. While she terms it like “family love,” I think there might be potential for something else there (if Levi doesn’t steal him away first, hurrhurrhurr DON’T MIND MY SHIPS, KAY). She breaks up a fight for Eren, but somehow triggers it into escalating again through jealousy on the part of Jean. I really love the little touches in between all the drama like that.
And, Potato Girl (Sasha XD) stole the show again this week. Her food stealing habits haven’t changed in the last two years, and I’m surprised she still made the top ten list. Mikasa shoves bread into her mouth as an apology for lying to the overseer about the loud noises in the canteen, so I suppose they’re closer than before. The group is horrified, then bemused that Sasha’s reasoning for stealing the food. Her words were that when they take back the wall, they can have more meat, and other foods. Not the dramatic backstory of Eren or Reiner, but a valid reason to fight titans nonetheless. That said, who actually gets to eat the meat, if not the soldiers?
Her quick thinking outside of stealing food saves the lives of others. I felt sorry for the guy getting a rappel stuck through his leg, but falling to his death is probably not what he was imagining his graduation to be like, all thanks to Sasha’s quick actions.
AND WHO THE BLOODY HELL IS ACTUALLY WATCHING THE WALL, WHY IS IT A SURPRISE A GIANT COLOSSAL TITAN RANDOMLY APPEARS WTF.