By Jared Cyhowski / May 27th, 2013
Episode 6: The World the Girl Saw – Battle for Trost (2)
Episode 7: The Small Blade – Battle for Trost (3)
After the climactic ending of episode 5 we would all expect for the story to pick up where we left off. Eren has just been swallowed by a titan while Armin is left hopeless. But what happens instead is an episode that focuses on Mikasa’s background story. We are given a larger picture of this strong female character, with episodes 6 and 7 centralizing much of her growth around the theme of death. It’s quite a common theme, yeah?
Episode 6 starts with a shocked Armin not knowing what to do with himself, and for a moment he’s forgotten what just happened to his childhood best friend. I tend to wonder what I would do if I were in his shoes. I don’t think I would have been able to save Eren either, and so sitting there dazed sounds about right. After he snaps out of shock, he’s cold as ice in tone and flies off, but on his way he finds more dead companions. It’s all gloom and bleak, no matter how you look at it.
The episode shifts to Mikasa, and in the way I see it, the next episode and a half are all centered on her to express growth and to fill in her background. We’re taken back to Mikasa’s childhood which shows us that the world of Attack on Titan is never really kind. The flashback tells us a story of how her mother and father are both slain; her father on purpose, with her mother’s death being a horrific “accident”. The three men who arrived at her house had the goal to enslave Mikasa’s Asian mother and auction her off to the highest bidding pervert. Instead, as any mother would do, she fought back and tried to give Mikasa a moment to escape such a pending cruel fate. They kill her mother, and the men take the younger Mikasa instead as she alone is better than nothing.
Eren’s first encounter with Mikasa is when he saves her. It’s incredible to think that a young boy would have the guts to take on three grown men and succeed in killing two of them. But the twist lies in that Mikasa picks up a knife and actively murders another human being. The way that Attack on Titan’s creators handled the moment in which she needed to kill in order to survive was fantastic. She states that she had seen death before, that although she never involved herself in any fashion with the act of killing that it was still around her. It was a fact of nature that suddenly clicked in her head, animated wondrously with a bolt of lightning and swift movement. This is the point where Mikasa learned to fight, to not allow herself or Eren to die.
Now that we have a better understanding of why Mikasa sticks by Eren’s side as much as she can, episode 7 is a bit tough to watch. The beginning stresses just how screwed the trainee corps is, with so many of them dead and helpless. Armin’s despair in his revelation that he failed to protect Eren and everyone else from his group was heartbreaking. When Mikasa learned of Eren’s death she immediately stopped herself from breaking down and instead turned her grief to an awkward encouragement. She ignites the trainee corps to go along with her to take back the supply building, now abandoned and overrun with titans.
With all of the flying Mikasa had been doing with the three-dimensional maneuver gear I’m surprised she didn’t run out of air gas sooner. From the looks of it she had been doing a large quantity of fighting, as I don’t think I’ve seen another person slay a titan yet. Regardless, she does run out and separates from the rest of the group. Jean then continues to lead the group closer to the supply building, but instead leads them to another instance of death. Again, there’s more tragedy to behold as the trainees are consumed. Jean, Sasha, and the others just stand by as they listen to the horrifying screams as they realize that they can’t do anything. It’s tragic, and made me wish that there was a way to instill more courage into their hearts.
As a titan approaches Mikasa, who is still separated from the group, she gives up for just a moment. But then it’s like something clicks with her to fight once again, sort of similar to when she killed the man in episode 6. At the gut-wrenching last second she slices at the titan and dodges two or three of his sweeping blows. Just as all of her energy seems to be expended, another titan comes from out of nowhere and kills the other titan. This was simply incredible and unexpected. I mean, everything we’ve learned up until this point is that titans eat humans and never fight with one another. The fact that this titan came along and pretty much saved Mikasa is a big deal.
Then, as another titan approached, he fights that one as well and punches his head off! That’s crazy! We get to see some neat regeneration in the titan’s hand, because even his blow damaged himself. This was all such an epic moment that I can’t help but wonder what exactly is going on. I haven’t read the manga at all but I have a strong feeling this may be Eren or a representation of Eren. But that theory makes no sense as everyone who has been consumed by a titan has died, or at least that’s what we’ve seen. I have a suspicion that maybe being swallowed whole produces a different effect. That, or maybe this all has something to do with Eren’s father Gurisha and whatever the heck was hiding in his basement. Or how about that scene with the injection and Eren screaming how Gurisha had changed? Yeah, maybe that’s what’s going on. I guess we’ll find out soon enough!
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