Attack on Titan – 03

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Two years after the Titan attack destroyed their home, Eren, Mikasa and Armin begin boot camp, and their drill sergeant suffers no foolishness, especially from one Sasha Blouse, who just can’t help scarfing down a hot potato while he’s talking (the tension of the exchange is highly amusing, showing off Titan’s sense of humor even in such bleak setting. (The sergeant also thinks Armin Arlert is a dumb name.)

It’s a common strategy: strip the cadets down and then build them back up, in their case, into Titan-killing soldiers. As the sergeant walks down the line, we learn how the recruits are from all over, and have enlisted for many different reasons. Many don’t cut it and leave to work the fields on the first day. Others will wash out later. I liked how the sergeant knew from the look of the cadets who’d already gone through the wringer.

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Eren is eager to get through training so he can start kicking Titanic ass on the front lines, but he hits a snag: the omni-directional mobility gear all soldiers need to master. In short, he sucks at it. He has all the motivation and determination in the world, but appears to lack the aptitude. This is a huge setback for his life goals, and you can see in his haunted expression at dinner that he fears failure and his own weakness far more than any Titan.

This episode also presents the opportunity to spread out beyond our core trio to several interesting supporting characters, some of whom may well end up in the same unit as Eren. The aforementioned Sasha is a bit one note in her relentless pursuit of food, but Jean Kirstein’s honesty about wanting to join the military police so he can serve in the safe(r) interior provides a welcome contrast to Eren’s puffed-chest gung-ho act.

Even better though, Jean and Eren don’t just come to blows over the disagreement. A bell rings, and the two make up, perhaps aware that fighting each other is a waste of time. Then there’s Reiner Braun, who like Eren & Co. is one of the few cadets who has seen the Titans firsthand; in other words, who have seen hell.

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But the undisputed rockstar of this episode, and of the show so far, at least for me, is Mikasa Ackerman. We learn a little more about her intensely close, co-dependent bond with Eren; neither of them want to ever be apart from the other; both feed off of one another’s unique energy. She aces the OGM, makes someone fall in love with her just by walking past, looks awesome no matter what her length of hair is, and even owns Sasha by not surrendering her bread.

She also rejoices when Eren finally gets the OGM right (turns out he had a defective belt, but even managed to balance properly on that, proving he’s more than capable). But she’s also the only one who doesn’t see self-satisfaction in Eren’s face. She sees relief that he doesn’t have to leave her.

Not that he would have to: had he failed, she would have gone with him to the fields; Armin too, probably. Because if there’s one thing that’s working out for these three kids in this dastardly post-apocalyptic fiasco of a world, its the three of them sticking together.

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End-of-Month Rundown – October 2015

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This month, we thought we’d take a look at exactly how much we were writing about each show. One unscientific conclusion to be drawn from this superficial analysis is that “Better Shows” don’t always equal “More Words”…but they can.

Average Episode Show Word Count (Words per review):

Mobile Suit Gundam: Iron-Blooded Orphans: 987
Taimadou Gakuen 35 Shiken Shoutai: 745
Owarimonogatari: 703
Ushio to Tora: 686
Gakusen Toshi Asterisk: 665
Rakudai Kishi no Cavalry: 646
Owari no Seraph 2: 607
Noragami Aragoto: 590
One Punch Man: 589
Subete ga F ni Naru: 569
Sakurako-san no Ashimoto: 564
Utawarerumono: Itsuwari no Kamen: 406

Top 10 Episode Review Word Counts:

Mobile Suit Gundam: Iron-Blooded Orphans – 01: 1,138
Mobile Suit Gundam: Iron-Blooded Orphans – 03: 1,073
Owarimonogatari – 02: 1,029
Mobile Suit Gundam: Iron-Blooded Orphans – 05: 987
Gakusen Toshi Asterisk – 03: 922
Mobile Suit Gundam: Iron-Blooded Orphans – 02: 893
Mobile Suit Gundam: Iron-Blooded Orphans – 04: 846
Taimadou Gakuen 35 Shiken Shoutai – 04: 820
Taimadou Gakuen 35 Shiken Shoutai – 03: 803
Rakudai Kishi no Cavalry – 05: 792

Bottom 10 Episode Review Word Counts:

Utawarerumono: Itsuwari no Kamen – 03: 301
Utawarerumono: Itsuwari no Kamen – 02: 308
Utawarerumono: Itsuwari no Kamen – 05: 400
Owari no Seraph 2 – 04: 422
Sakurako-san no Ashimoto – 04: 431
Gakusen Toshi Asterisk – 05: 435
Utawarerumono: Itsuwari no Kamen – 04: 438
Sakurako-san no Ashimoto – 01: 462
Noragami Aragoto – 01: 482
One Punch Man – 02: 489

Author Verbosity (Words per review):

Braverade: 713
sesameacrylic: 651
MagicalChurlSukui: 603