Episode five kicks off with the quick appearance of the Colossal Titan (or Bacon Beast as my late nephew had named him because his muscles made him look like he was wrapped in bacon… I miss him) who fucks up some of the defences the military has set in place, giving tinier titans an entrance into the city of Trost.
No one was expecting the titans to show up so damn soon after what happened in Shiganshina (five years have passed at this point), so when the Colossal Titan does poof in momentarily to stir stuff up, everyone starts to panic. Their reactions are extremely reasonable and for a moment I thought Eren was going to get blind-sighted by fear too, but the brat came through. His desire for vengeance and his rage ended up defeating his sense of fear, and that is one of my favourite things to see in dark fantasy, war-centric narratives.
The hardest part about watching episode five was knowing that it was going to kill off a lot of the freshly graduated class in order to set up the tone for the upcoming battle. Even though we only see a few of them for a fraction of a moment or two, it didn’t alleviate that sense of loss. If you’ve ever watched someone you love die—regardless of death type—it’s something that engraves itself before your eyes and will haunt you. When said death is a traumatising sort, then the haunt shall be a special concoction of agony.
Eren already knows what this is like having lost his mum to a titan, so when he sees people that he struggled with through boot camp for the last three years dying in the same ways, it further imbues his rage with emotional bloodthirst. I love seeing that expression on his face. Watching heroes fight for “the good of humanity” is great, but what I really enjoy is watching a hero go off the deep-end as it can say a lot about their personality. Eren will continue to get familiarised with extreme bouts of loss and trauma as the series goes on, and witnessing his impulsive reactions now really makes me wonder about how our “hero” will grow, both literally and figuratively, as this war rages on.
Eren being eaten instead of Armin was a fabulous jaw-dropper. I remember watching this during its simulcasting season and cursing up a storm that we had to wait a week to find out who the new protagonist would be since they just killed off the main screamer dude. I was rooting for Mikasa to go all über aggro on everyone. Also, Game of Thrones was not quite a thing yet, so that sense of being betrayed by the mangaka and series creator was mighty potent (if you were a TV show watcher only, that is).
Episodes six and seven mostly follow Mikasa as we learn about how her and Eren met, and thus became family. Then we get to watch how she reacts to the news of Eren being eaten. There really isn’t much for me to add to these episodes. It is as emotional and visceral with grief and anger as one would expect. Mikasa loses her cool-headedness and because of that very understandable reaction, unfortunately, it leads to multiple young deaths.
A part of me became very angry for the things she said to spurn those fresh recruits and graduates to their demise, yet, as a person who has experienced the almost tangible heart-break of losing one’s family—one’s only family—I also empathises on a much deeper level than I expected to. I cried when her anger was unleashed. Then I could feel my heart tighten with an even deeper understanding of the sense of worthlessness that she felt in the aftermath of that anger with respect to living on without Eren; that survivor’s guilt and ache.
Just when Mikasa falls into the bottom of the pit of grief, we get introduced to an ab-infested titan that kicks the shit out of the other titans. As she watches this very chiselled, emo-hair behemoth beating arses, she recognises the hatred he has for the titans, and she roughly says that it “was almost as if all the anger of humanity had been incarnated into this titan.”
Y’all, if that’s not a gigantic Eren Jaeger flag, then spiders are my best friend. One of the questions this could raise at this point is: are titans made via consumption of humans? It’s the most obvious one, however, given what happened with Eren, it’s also a legitimate one. Can every titan that consumes humans somehow “create” more titans or is it only special breeds (sounded like an apt descriptor) of them? Since we know absolutely nothing about the gargantuan gnats, these suppositions seem fair, I believe, at least at this point and time.
Of course, my mind went to other avenues: if titans consume cats, does that mean titan cats exist? Titan horses? Titan birds? Titan goldfish? And if titan’s don’t have a way of physically expelling the newbie titans (i.e.: via birthing canal or pooping them out), then do they explode out of the titan like a fucking chest-buster from Alien? That would be so dope.
Questions that may or may not get answered in the next set of Battle of Trost episode shenanigans, which shall cover segments eight, nine, and ten (which still isn’t the end of this particular arc thingymajiggy). I’m going to keep my fingers crossed for chest-buster-like theatrics and giant motherfucking titan kitties (and pretend I don’t know which one is actually true versus which isn’t because I am in denial, why lie?). 🥺
Source: Manga by Hajime Isayama
Genre: Dark Fantasy, Post-Apocalyptic
Season: Spring 2013 (Season 1)
Studio(s): WIT Studio
Director: Tetsurō Araki
Content Warnings: Strong violence. Graphic blood, gore, and dismemberment including consumption of humans. Intense depiction of displacement and refugee experiences. Brief depiction of oppression and starvation, and alcohol consumption. Brief scene of physical violence against kids. Food consumption. Death of animals.
AniList: Shingeki no Kyojin
Streaming: CrunchyRoll, Funimation, Hulu, Netflix, Tubi, Adult Swim