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ATTACK ON TITAN #23 - - Watch & Learn

The Female Titan's identity... REVEALED AT LAST!

Unless the show throws some massive curveballs at us over the remaining episodes, I suspect this installment will wind up serving as a tidy distillation of ATTACK ON TITAN’s uneven qualities on the large.

For the first half, I couldn’t help but compose some mental notes in preparation for a pithy write-up dismissing this as the worst episode of the series. With barely-distinguishable secondary and tertiary characters taking center stage for some awkwardly-overlong monologues, it sure felt like filler as it’s defined by most circles of fandom. Sure, the notion of having an ensemble cast large enough to represent an army at war sounds great on paper. In practice, though, it leads to an awful lot of scenes with barely-established characters whom you really don’t care about.

Now, having written that, I’m starting to wonder if the writing staff’s deliberate M.O. has been to bore the audience at key points (or to “lull them into a false sense of security,” if you’d prefer more charitable phrasing) so they’re that much more stupefied when the excitement suddenly ratchets up. I phrase it that way because I’ve had this exact experience with several episodes throughout the season, going all the way back to the first, and it’s really starting to seem like a high-rolling cardsharp’s bluffing strategy.

And I’m not talking about a guy simply trying to minimize the emotions expressed on his face. No, I’m talking about the ones who’ll intentionally make themselves look like idiots or jerks in cold, calculated performances intended to confound their opponent’s expectations.

I say all that to set a proper context for how much better the second part plays than the first. Of all the ways that the Female Titan’s identity could be revealed, I truly can’t imagine a scene more tense, tight and thrilling than the botched ambush Annie avoids in this episode. It’s so excellent, in fact, that it seems almost incompatible with the rest of the episode.

So you see where I'm coming from?

Watch this episode, "Smile - Raid on Stohess District" 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
rubberluffy is online on Sept. 23, 2013 at 6:43 a.m.

A chunk of the first half was in fact anime original. The black market dealers (more beating-a-dead-horse CORRUPTION! stuff) was definitely filler. It was all somewhat short in the manga, with just Annie's monologue breaking down that one dude, but the anime stretched it all out, of course.

Lurkeroon Sept. 23, 2013 at 6:51 a.m.

Attack on Titan as a series has put all other cliffhangers to shame. Within this one series I have nearly fallen off as many cliffs as I would have after watching several other series. Titan gets me every episode.

And I kinda caught on to Annie once I realized they were highlighting some of her motivations. Usually a shonen series would give expository flashbacks and go through the steps of lazy writing to reveal what the character was up to, but Titan took a different approach. I enjoyed it.

takashichea moderator on Sept. 23, 2013 at 11:15 a.m.

If I wasn't spoiled by a fellow wiki editor (cough Toxin45), I would have been somewhat surprise. Then again, it was somewhat obvious going by roll call of everyone who was present, considering the possibility that they could bring out a new character. When Eren fought Annie, her fighting style as a Titan was startling. I remembered from when she kicked Eren's butt during training. I don't know martial arts, but I think it's Muay Thai, Annie's fighting style.

@rubberluffy:

I hope you don't give up on the anime. All those padding is somewhat cushioned by the cliffhangers. For me, I can't even drop this show.

@Lurkero:

Same here with the cliffhanger. (off tangent) In regards to cliffhangers, Legend of Korra's season 3's episode 3 had a marvelous cliffhanger.

rubberluffy is online on Sept. 23, 2013 at 11:57 a.m.

@takashichea said:

@rubberluffy:

I hope you don't give up on the anime. All those padding is somewhat cushioned by the cliffhangers. For me, I can't even drop this show.

Well there's only one episode left, so I can't really give up, but I can hope the inevitable second season gets a whole new staff.

YotaruVegetaon Sept. 23, 2013 at 2:03 p.m.

No, I don't really agree with you, Tom.

Is it filler, or side story intersecting with our main story? I guess the manga readers know that for sure. I think this wasn't about people we don't care about. Yes, this is a squad of people we're being introduced to, who may not even show up ever again. It's not about those people, though. It's about Annie, and Annie's motivations. We'll no doubt learn more about what brought her to becoming a killer of her own people, the type of killer that people were afraid Eren was. She talks about the weak people, and the people who just stroll normally through life. Is she betraying humanity, or lifting it up?

Oh, and if this is filler, then I like filler because Armin is an ACE detective! Maybe I'll call it a 1/4 filler episode.

Now I'm wondering if people here really looked at Annie's eyes (yes, her eyes do give a strong clue that she's the titan) and other clues to deduce she's the culprit, or did you get information from elsewhere? I wish there was no doubt but to trust you, but from now on, I don't read any spoiler material in the comments.

metalsnakezeroon Sept. 23, 2013 at 2:13 p.m.

I remember read this part in the manga and being super surprise of Annie being the Female Titan. It gets even more interesting when I look back at all of her moments and notice the tells the author have left. Real mind blowing stuff.

Yeah the few bits of the first half were anime original. It was to build a little of Annie's view on life and to make us question her role in all this. It would probably help those who didn't check out the manga but it wasn't done well.

salbingon Sept. 23, 2013 at 10:17 p.m.

Why does it feel like mostly every review I read has more bad things to say about the manga/anime of something, then good. I've never seen such a in-depth write up on there dislikes and only one single bland paragraph for the good.

takashichea moderator on Sept. 23, 2013 at 10:32 p.m.

I did enjoy Annie's scenes especially with Marlow Freudenberg.

@YotaruVegeta:

Not just her eyes and face and her ass. Besides Armin bringing in Marco's equipment and us taking his word for granted, I say another strong clue was Annie's fighting style reflected in her Titan fight with Eren was big one.

(Just read your comment about not reading spoilers. Thought, I replied to you.)

Marshal Victoryon Sept. 23, 2013 at 11:12 p.m.

1st half i think was partcial sucker punch an build up.It throws ya a litle If you had guessed her . But I think it balanced out well enuff.

@YotaruVegeta: @takashichea: clues were not heavy handed but there for the takeing.Hair , eyes, fighting style.Run down of suspects was the final coffen nail for most.

Now all we need to know is what is her gamble?

zaldar is online on Sept. 24, 2013 at 12:39 p.m.

@YotaruVegeta: Wait...how can you be lifting humanity up by killing humanity? We kind of left culling the 'unfit" behind after world war II...

LHWKnighton Sept. 25, 2013 at 1:40 p.m.

I know where they are going to end with the next episode, however I don't want it to end just yet.

shit just got real we find out that Annie is the female titan... well most of us knew she was but still.

and did anyone see that look Mikasa was giving Eren when she said that he was holding back because it was annie.

Jealousy is a very strong emotion.

takashichea moderator on Sept. 27, 2013 at 1:06 a.m.

@LHWKnight:

They haven't announced season 2 yet. It will take a while since the manga is at chapter 48 or so. We're on chapter 33 right now.

LHWKnighton Nov. 10, 2013 at 3:33 p.m.

N@takashichea: I meant i don't want the first season to end. I am 100% curtain that the series will continue

takashichea moderator on Nov. 10, 2013 at 3:35 p.m.

@LHWKnight:

I know. It's better if season 1 ends than to keep going. The pacing is going to make the anime intolerable. It will give time for the manga to get some space.

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