Yeah, I know, I should be studying but it’s Attack on Titan and I am a weak, weak human being. To be fair, typing up this review was way more interesting that contemplating all the ways in which I do not give a shit about advertisement layouts.
Please keep in mind that this review takes a closer look at some of the foreshadowing that I missed while reading the manga and are way easier to spot and appreciate when caught up with the story. I haven’t spoiled anything but I do draw attention to the important hints dropped.
Also, this is long. Oops.
This is my favorite episode so far and for good reason. You want the trademark gory action? It’s here. You want character moments that hint at shared secrets? It’s here.
The entirety of Soldier is set in Utgard Castle where the 104th graduates – Connie, Ymir, Christa, Reiner and Bertolt – along with four senior scouts have taken refuge in. As titans can’t move at night, they seem to be safe. In the conversation that follows, we see that Connie seems to have latched on tight to the hope that his villagers have all escaped despite being aware of the problems with that theory. When he brings up the titan that reminded him of his mother, Ymir pulls a Ymir (i.e, a concentrated dose of pure bitchiness with some practicality as garnish) and mocks the hell out of him.
I now have the image of titan sex in my mind. Thanks for that, Ymir.
Later, the veteran scouts keep watch while the kids rest, save for Ymir and Reiner who have an odd encounter. There are a couple of things that’s remarkable about this scene. First is the unsubtle but confusing conversation about sexuality. When Reiner interrupts Ymir as she’s searching a chest for some food, she teases that she didn’t take him for someone who had an interest in women. Reiner agrees coolly and retorts that Ymir has no interest in guys. The latter is true since Ymir seems wholly Christasexual but Reiner’s situation is a bit more puzzling. He admits to not having interest in women but there’s been two instances – one later in this episode and one in the first season – where he says he wants to marry Christa. And while this seems unimportant at first glance, it’ll soon be revealed to be only one of the inconsistencies concerning Reiner’s character.
Now for the second thing. Ymir finds some canned food and identifies its contents as herring. But when Reiner takes the can from her, he’s unable to so much as identify the language on it. A tense exchange follows where both of their expressions express more shock and hostility than a strange language warrants. Speaking of, how’d canned food get there in the first place?
Unfortunately, they’re interrupted just then by those pesky titans who are somehow able to move at night. The kids are told to barricade themselves in the castle while the other four fight them off. But despite their best efforts, it’s too late and a few of the smaller ones get inside.
The 104th work together to get rid of the first one and manages it with a cannon. During this scene, there are once again a couple of things that stand out. First of all, we’re treated to a flashback where little Reiner and little Bertolt are with another kid. Reiner is pushed out of the way of a titan’s grasp by the unknown kid and eaten in his place. Secondly, there’s a slightly strange conversation Reiner and Bertolt have as they’re pushing the titan back. Reiner says he wants to survive and go home and Bertolt happily agrees. However, we’re told back in season 1, episode 3 (I think) that these two lived in Wall Maria. They don’t have a home to go back to. So what are they talking about?
(Yes, I know what they’re talking about but I’m trying to keep this spoiler-free.)
Back in the present, a second titan catches the group off guard and for a moment, it seems like Connie will be titan chow. But Reiner pushes him away in a move reminiscent of the kid who saved him. Though only Reiner’s arm is the casualty rather than his life. Things seems grave for an instant but then Reiner just…fucking lifts the titan still chewing on his arm and goes to jump out of a window with it.
This guy’s really something else.
Thankfully, he’s saved from dying along with the titan by Connie who slices its jaw open and Ymir who kicks it out the window. Christa patches Reiner up and Connie thanks him for saving him. Reiner brushes it off, saying it’s his duty as a soldier. Connie asks Bertolt – Reiner’s closest companion and the only other person from his home village – if Reiner has always been like that to which Bertolt replies that no, in the past, Reiner was more of a warrior. Reiner just seems confused by that.
Soldier and Warrior. They’re synonyms but the way Bertolt phrases it makes it clear that there’s a significant difference between the two. The questions keep piling up.
Back with the senior scouts, things are going well. They’ve decimated most of the titans and hope is in the air.
Remember the similar situation with Mike back in episode 26?
Yeah, shit hits the fan. Never trust hope spots in this show. The Beast Titan throws huge rocks at them from Wall Rose, killing two of the scouts and leaving only Nanaba and Gelgar alive. Even that would have been a salvageable situation were it not for the huge wave of titans rushing the castle while the Beast Titan hollers like a demented banshee. It climbs down the Wall afterwards but the damage is done.
Nanaba and Gelgar fight valiantly but it’s no use. There are too many titans and they’re out of both gas and blades. Gelgar has the fortune to have his head bashed in before being eaten but Nanaba doesn’t have the luxury. Just like with Mike’s death, it’s disquieting to see someone who fought so bravely until the last moment completely lose it as they’re torn apart and eaten alive. The moment her head’s bitten off seems like a blessing.
Dammit, I liked Nanaba. Why do I get attached to characters in this story? They all die anyway.
Now that the veterans are all dead, only the 104th kids remain. Christa states her wish to fight and die with the scouts but Ymir berates her, saying that their deaths are more than an excuse for Christa to get herself killed. That came out of nowhere. We really do need some background on these two girls because at this point, the only people who understand them are each other. Ymir goes on to say that Christa is not like Connie or the others. They don’t want to die while Christa doesn’t even care. She just wants to die as a hero.
Yeah, that sounds like a totally normal and completely healthy mentality.
Ymir borrows a knife from Connie, saying she’ll fight with it. She asks Christa to remember their promise and live a life she’ll be proud of…
And then Ymir jumps off the castle roof and turns into a fucking titan.
Next episode will be wild.
And here’s some impromptu Nanaba appreciation: