Shingeki no Kyoujin Episode 8: Rats in a Cage
The lives of everyone is in your hands…
Jean orders everyone to keep going as the titans are distracted eating the fallen, and the team crashes through headquarter windows to find the remnants of the supply team hiding under the tables. Enraged that they had been abandoned to die by them, Jean almost beats up one of the terrified people. However, this is interrupted by a titan headbutting through the wall, attracted by the many people in one room. Mikasa, Connie and Armin arrive to brief Jean about the situation of the new titan, and they flee the room to plan how to resupply. There are seven smaller titans in the supply room, and with no way to fight indoors with the 3D maneuver gear, they devise a way using the antique muskets kept by the officers in HQ. Armin’s plan is for the team to take out the titans without the gear, which involves putting most of the soldiers in a lift with the muskets with the task of blinding them, and the best fighters in charge of dropping down from the rafters to attack the weak spot. They successfully take back the supply room, and are about to leave when the “abnormal” titan burns out. Arising from the fallen form, in the spinal area, is Eren- intact, and seemingly unharmed.
This episode highlighted several characters- and why they’re necessary in the fighting of titans. I have mentioned that I didn’t understand how Jean made the top ranks, but for Armin, despite graduating outside of top ten, he finally shows his true potential. Actually, I think the rankings matter less to me than before, because time after time, it’s proven that rankings don’t mean anything unless you survive. With Mikasa almost deciding to give up her life and the fall of Eren, rankings don’t mean a thing unless you’re on an inside wall with the Imperial Police.
Jean has repeatedly said he has no desire to be here, and despite this, I understand the feeling that Marco was trying to convey to him. Jean has been a d-bag most of the time, but despite this, he is very much the leader. He understands it, and when he orders that everyone move while the titans are distracted- he understands that he is not superhuman. It is these split second decisions that can save your life, and why he feels this job weighs to heavily.
As for Armin, his plan was nothing short of brilliant, which makes up for all his shortcomings (maybe? a little) in the last few episodes. With the titans in the supply room and no way to fight with the gear, he devises the method of using falling momentum to fight the titans. Unfortunately, this means that the people sent up top pretty much have the lives of everyone in their hands, as the people lowered in the lift to lure the titans are pretty much defenseless (only muskets), and no way to attack the weak spot if the titan is still standing at full height.
Overall, I find it hard to blame anyone for anything in particular for failing, which I find refreshing. In other anime, you can immediately tell when someone is placed in the story to be a plot device or to cause certain kinds of havoc at certain times, but Attack on Titan’s character integrations are pretty believable and seamless. Even if Connie and Sasha missed (ARGH)…
In terms of “drama” and “dramatic impact,” this show really knows how to frame scenes. The moment when Jean looks to the wall and sees the giant fist crashing into the face of the titan – there’s this slow-motion movement that draws out the moment and really gives the full sense of how surprising it is to see that happening. There’s several other instances, such as the scene that briefly appears in the opening of everyone in the lift opening fire. There are some moments with derpy animation, but it’s not as obvious in between the better animated scenes.
I’m not going to go too much into Eren coming out of a Titan, but the regeneration for humans may come in handy later, if it turns out that the other titans are humans as well. The question is how well they can control the transformation, and whether the titans are more like titans (eating humans) or helping humans (eating/fighting titans). The repercussions will be severe, as having a titan is handy, but at the same time, titan spies may actually become a legitimate problem later on. Or maybe it has been all along…?
Mikasa with the “RIGHT IN THE FEELS” expression. ; A ;