Shingeki no Kyoujin Episode 2: A Childish Hatred
Hannes drags Mikasa and Eren out of immediate danger. Eren is enraged that they did not save his mother, and Hannes admits what everyone is feeling – which is fear. They make a break for the boats, which are overflowing with refugees from the district, and not everyone can get on. The Stationary Troops try to hold the gate open to allow for people to flee, but are forced to close it when the cannons are ineffective in stopping the titans. A titan breaks through the gate between the district and the main division of the wall “Maria,” and with that, the first ring of the human wall falls. Eren, Armin, and Mikasa are left as refugees in the second ring. The humans send an attack force of hundreds of thousands of volunteers and forces to attempt to take back Wall Maria, but only a few hundred return alive, and Armin becomes an orphan. As a group, Mikasa, Eren, and Armin pledge to join the forces to take back the wall and fight the titans.
It’s not a secret that “Attack on Titan,” at its heart, is a drama. As the titans break through into the district, the dispassionate eye lands on the hand of Eren and Mikass’s mother, as the crow pecks at it…there is no denying that death is a very real thing in this show. Hannes, of all the people I thought would stand up and fight takes the route to ensure the survival of the children, and for that, he apologized in tears to Eren. In a world where the weak die and the strong fight back, Hannes had failed, and yet not. There is a sense of sadness that the adults cannot solve the problems that have plagued the world, and as they die, the children must take their place.
That Stationary Troops, and from the looks of it, have never fought giants before, and who can blame them? The artillery demonstrates just how complacent the humans have become. Even with the troops, and the years of “peace” before this, it is clear the humans are underpowered. The cannons are not for use on moving targets, and from the looks of it, the titans are either too fast, or it has no effect. The boats are slow and could not hold everyone, and I suspect they never planned for the growth of the population.
The sacrifice of a small district is the logical conclusion, and from the looks of it, the walled cities are governed by old bureaucratic men. Eren and Mikasa’s district is a small pocket on the edge of the wall, and closing it off would have killed the remaining survivors in the area, but saved the outer ring of the wall. Hannes fails in this aspect in thinking outside of his emotion, demonstrating that none of the Stationary Troops ever understood the full extent of their responsibility.
So this is the question…cut off the infected limb, or lose the body?
Armin becomes an orphan in this episode, and it was subtle. As he holds his father’s hat, I feel that his story is overshadowed in Eren’s rage, and that will be something that needs to be worked through. With all this hatred, it helps Eren grow, but it also stunts his judgement. That’s where Mikasa stands. I feel that her love for Eren isn’t anything that you can describe, as he is her only family now. Armin has to deal with his father leaving on a mission that I would define as suicide, but as stated, the deaths of those people that went on that mission to take the wall back was not in vain, as it alleviated the food shortage. This is ties back to the old giving way to the new, as it felt like the father knew it was to make room for his son in the world, and left him his hat. Or maybe I’m reading too much into it.
Eren doesn’t have the full grips on his current situation, which is both a flaw and a blessing. By concentrating on important things, he survives, but on the bigger picture, he doesn’t stand a chance. In his fight with the Stationary Troops, he almost wastes the food, which I really hated about him. However, Mikasa, reliable as ever, teaches him a lesson, and this is what his strength is. Armin is definitely the negotiator among them, which people tend to underestimate.
The biggest allusion in this episode, and the first one, is the play of religion in the time of crisis. I didn’t feel a shred of sympathy for the man wandering in the market in the middle of the chaos. I just feel that this is going to build into something bigger, as when people are unsure, they tend to something that will assure them, and in this case, most likely, would be religion. I feel this might work for keeping the peace, but in a way, this is turning their face away from the genuine danger. However, this is what it takes to join the troops, rather than be recruited. The drive to live and die, not for anything glorious, but to survive.
There’s a dream sequence, and I wonder what exactly was injected into Eren, and how it will come to fruitation through the key around his neck.
Flash forward, and it is several years later, and all three friends have joined, and are about to begin the real training. I have chills running down my spine already, because this is where the steel is forged. If you can’t survive training, you won’t survive outside. But what’s guaranteeing you’ll live beyond that? It’s all about pushing forward, past all your doubts, facing your fears, and going for it.
Armin is defined by logic, Mikasa by love and foresight, Eren by hatred. By themselves, they’ll fall, but together, they might have a chance.