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ATTACK ON TITAN #21 - - Watch & Learn

This show's like a steak. A bloody red, sinewy steak.

As I’ve said, watching ATTACK ON TITAN has been more-or-less akin to eating a juicy steak with a fair amount of gristle on it. You’d describe the experience as great, on the whole, but you still feel like you’re frequently chewing through stubborn fat string to get at the stuff that’s actually tasty.

(Which is to say that this show could benefit from a story editor armed with one of those scissors that are so popular, right now…)

This episode was unquestionably a good portion of TITAN steak. The ruckus between Eren and the Female Titan was as strong a fight as I’ve seen in any anime - - absolutely visceral. More to the point I'm making here, though, it makes the slower portions of this arc look better in hindsight, as the frustrations they built up comes to a thrilling catharsis. Eren’s transformations have been fueled rage since the get-go, of course, but no Hulk-Out has ever made you feel like you’re in the guy’s head (figuratively and literally) the way this one did. Moments like this make TITAN’s classification as a supheroic horror war ensemble epic seem like something awesomely unique.

Going even further, I dig how TITAN’s showing itself to be an inversion of many familiar anime tropes. We already know that the 3D gear provides an interesting inversion of the kaiju/mecha dynamic we’re so familiar with, but I also can’t help but wonder if Eren’s revelation about self-belief is a direct potshot at the philosophy of GURREN LAGANN and its ilk. That sort of thing can easily twist into a lot of vague and incomprehensible hooey, so it’s likewise easy to view the Guardsmen’s gruesome deaths as being this show’s cold, hard illustration of the pragmatic consequences of such notions.

A tenuous idea, perhaps, but I’ll bet these creators all know eachother. I’m sure they’re giving throwing plenty of subtle and not-so-subtle ‘answers’ into their work, and the phrasing so closely recalls GURREN LAGANN’s that it really doesn’t seem like it could be a coincidence.

Watch this episode, "Crushing Blow - 57th Expedition Beyond the Walls" here and decide for yourself, then read my write-up on the previous episode here.

About the Author

Tom Pinchuk’s a writer and personality with a large number of comics, videos and features like this to his credit. Visit his website - - tompinchuk.com - - and follow his Twitter: @tompinchuk
Marshal Victoryon Sept. 9, 2013 at 12:55 p.m.

One of the long payoffs that um pays off.Some people have griped about the animation style of the seires an i honestly dont understand that. A few open world runing with the titans an recon kinda looks just servicable than spectacular .But over all i think animation an style of the art if well above average.Some real good camera angles .Tho when they are saveing on the animation budget it does show.

One could argue it needs a bit of editing down.But the other side of the coin it could have easly been edited to much.Id rather have more than less.

YotaruVegetaon Sept. 9, 2013 at 1:56 p.m.

Even within Gurren Lagaan, believing in your big bro doesn't really work. Kamina is dead.

So Titan and Lagann seem to be on the same page: you are the hero. Believe in yourself, because you have super awesome special powers.

@Marshal Victory: I see the complaints about animation trickery their way a little bit, but now those complaints have to melt away. The Female Titan is AWESOME!

BTW, anyone have guesses on who the female titan is? Someone named names before. It's narrowed down to a few people, right? It was someone who was present at the first transformation of Eren, someone who has also been sticking around for the ride since then. It's also supposedly female, even though the basic look of this person is portrayed as male.

I will say it again: CONSPIRACY! This female titan is not doing this solo. She is getting orders from someone, and may even have a co-conspirator in that forest. We learn that maneuver gear is a no-no in titan transformation, so someone tossed her a Spider-man style go bag to transform into fake Survey Corp member.

Lurkeroon Sept. 9, 2013 at 2:45 p.m.

That escalated quickly.

I don't like how soon Eren was able to gain control of his Titan form. At least it seemed like he had control. Perhaps since his only goal was to attack the other titan it didn't require much thought.

YotaruVegetaon Sept. 9, 2013 at 6:09 p.m.

@Lurkero: He has more control, but Female titan has so much more training under her belt than him. He was just motivated by rage. The Female titan's so badass that she's got a body hardening technique from anoteher anime! :) Now that's badass!

Galenbetaon Sept. 9, 2013 at 6:12 p.m.

eren should've won

takashichea moderator is online on Sept. 9, 2013 at 8:35 p.m.

Like yllekkram said in the last W & L and YotaruVegeta said, it narrows down to female characters who can kick butt. There are only 6 women in this show unless they bring out a new character. I can't say anything because I was spoiled a while ago by a wiki editor.

@Marshal Victory:

Adding to your government conspiracy, I apologize for the abrupt comment. Thought I finish it, I'm guessing the government wanted to create a race of superhumans. There.

@Galenbeta:

Like Mikasa, their heads weren't in the game since rage took over.

Here are some birthdays for the characters.

Marshal Victoryon Sept. 9, 2013 at 9:03 p.m.

@Lurkero: I think he had partial control .An since it was partial thats why he ended up where he did in that fight.

@takashichea: So were down to 3 factions an 6 females ? If they al board a train this could be a math problem. Um your not counting Hanji Zoe cause shes seen with the leader of recon while on the run an the disguesed titan is cutn up some of the recon higher ups.Sasha Braus cant be one either .Shes see on a tree limb with Mikasa Ackerman during the female titans chase an main attack on erans group.

If an i say if some physical characteristics cross over like color of hair.... an ill leave it there.But then again were jumping the gun a bit that its a female we have seen already.

I dont think its military as the faction who causeing all of this.Feels more church to me.Which could easy have fingers in gov an military.Govment would work to.But some of the church parts ( what little they was) stick out to me.

takashichea moderator is online on Sept. 9, 2013 at 9:11 p.m.

@Marshal Victory:

Yeah, I miscounted, but I didn't include Hanji.

  1. Krista Lenz
  2. Ymir
  3. Riko
  4. Annie
  5. Hannah
  6. Sasha
  7. Hanji

They didn't mention the Church much. Still, there are something fishy because humans couldn't have created those tall walls in 100 years with their current technology.

Rxanaduon Sept. 10, 2013 at 6:05 a.m.

If I had to add anything to the discussion over who the Female Titan is, I would suggest just picking out all the blondes shown within the series. Given that all but one is actually within the search team, I'd have to say Annie is the Female Titan. Their faces are a bit similar, much as how Eren's Titan form looks similar to his human form. Aside from those major points, those are the main things I can go on. From what I remember, Annie didn't join the Recon Corps; she's part of the Royal Guard.

Unless they introduce someone else is introduces later on in the series (such as the woman in the tank top in the intro sequence), I'd have to go with Annie being the Female Titan.

This, however, leads to another question: if Eren and whoever is controlling the Female Titan can turn into Titans in the first place, are all of the Titans controlled by humans? If that's the case, then is this conflict just between humans and mutated humans?

I say "mutated," since it's implied that Eren was given his powers by his father 5 years prior. If that's the case, is there some sort of mutagen responsible for creating Titans in the first place?

Marshal Victoryon Sept. 10, 2013 at 11:35 a.m.

@Rxanadu: Ya i agree its a bio chemical thing. would kinda be disapointed at this time if magic shows up.

@takashichea: Ya an the church threw a hissy at the trial to.The lack of them in the rest of the shows kinda makes me want to look there.It could be the military to. Using the best from the center castles to keep control.But then again what would they benifit from by bring down the outer area? it actualy puts more people upon them .

The walls are something i look at when i think of the churhc an how they hampered the recovery an defense.

takashichea moderator is online on Sept. 10, 2013 at 12:57 p.m.

@Marshal Victory:

Magic is so out of place. The series is more medieval sci fi without the technology if they reveal the Church is behind this to cleanse all inferior humans (the Titans). Don't know why I added eugenics in the equation. yeah, I'll be mad if they do introduce magic. Though, it's likely.

Edit: our discussion is all over the place. I blame Marshal and YotaruVegeta. *Just kidding. It's me, too.

I say Attack on Titan has become predictable. Did Gargantia surprise me back in spring? I can't remember. Though, I did expect crazy robot, but I was wrong who Gen Urobuchi butcher off at the end. I know for sure Valvrave surprised the hell out of me.

@Rxanadu:

Don't want to spoiled anyone. So far most folks know it's her without even reading in the manga ahead. I put in a box here. Yup, you're right.

YotaruVegetaon Sept. 10, 2013 at 6:42 p.m.

@Rxanadu: I think there are only a few special, human-piloted titans. We know that the Colossal titan is one (same amber lightning storm), Eren and Female titan are the others, and the Armored Titan is a strong possibility as another.

Speaking of the Colossal Titan, does anyone think that it is also a human from within the walls? When we didn't know a thing about titans, we just thought that this titan magically appeared out of thin air. Now we know different.

Marshal Victoryon Sept. 10, 2013 at 8:38 p.m.

@YotaruVegeta: Ya i think it was controled .It focused its attak to let the others in to .But for what reasons?Other than leting the titans take over a wall area that is.

@takashichea: Mmm i duno predictable might be a streach.We have good predictions now as the fog of war clears .Valvrave was full of plot twists of olympic caliber.Gargantia tiped its hand here an there.Oh they are rleasing 2 "lost" episodes of it still yet.It had a big mind blowing plot reveal that i think most on the boards saw where it was heading problably.But we knew half way in .

Titan tho stil throws curve balls .Didnt expect so many of one group to fall.Also one could look hard at a upcoming fight an maybe see some more clues to who is the female meat mech pilot.This is a series i might buy in manga form .But not till the anime is done.

Daniel_Newton moderator is online on Sept. 12, 2013 at 5:12 p.m.

Started watching this the other day and I'm finally all caught up. I should have checked it out sooner!

This episode was unquestionably a good portion of TITAN steak. The ruckus between Eren and the Female Titan was as strong a fight as I’ve seen in any anime - - absolutely visceral. More to the point I'm making here, though, it makes the slower portions of this arc look better in hindsight, as the frustrations they built up comes to a thrilling catharsis.

Couldn't agree more. Ever since we learned of Eren's Titan powers I'd been looking forward to an inevitable Titan brawl, and it was extremely satisfying. I hope the focus stays on humans fighting Titans and doesn't shift into Titan-on-Titan action too much, though.

Dig Deeper into Attack on Titan

Humanity fights for the survival of their very race against the gigantic humanoid Titans

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