WARNING: Contains spoilers. Written from the POV of a manga reader, so anime-only viewers please beware.
There was an earthquake in eastern Japan the other day, off of Fukushima. I was about to go to bed when the entire apartment began to shake. It wasn’t a big quake in Tokyo, just weak tremors going on for what seemed like eternity. Made me think, is that what the world’s people in the AoT universe felt when the wall titans were coming their way? Everything starts with a soft tremor, like aftershocks after a massive earthquake, and then all hell breaks loose.
In the anime we’ve not yet reached that part of the story. Instead we are brought back to a nostalgic time and place, back when the 104th still spent time together as friends with the same mission.
The episode opens with Hange annoying Eren in prison, and then with Levi and the 104th at the port meeting with Yelena’s group after they completed the port. Levi not even allowing her to shake Eren’s hand was too cute; brings me back to that time long ago when he had been so protective of the titan shifter.
Descendant of a Shogun
Then we see Mikasa learning about her heritage:
I’m so pleased the MAPPA animators decided to show the family crest in the form of a wrist tattoo like in the manga, as opposed to the embroidered handkerchief in WIT’s version.
I love this interaction between Mikasa and Historia. Look at them blushing at each other! How utterly sweet, how incredibly cute! I can’t get enough of this moment, they both look so different and yet totally adorable.
And then, and then, OMG, Eren smiles at Historia. See the look on his face? So tender, so loving. He is obviously happy that she’s happy. I think it’s the last time we see Eren smile. It was in this chapter (107) that I became convinced he truly did love her, and later on we see him being very angry indeed when he hears of Zeke’s proposal predicated on sacrificing her.
Another thing I love about this moment is seeing Hange in the background, observing them. I like to think they saw what I saw: the fact that Eren will do anything, anything at all in the world, just to protect Historia.
The anime cuts off part of Zeke’s dialogue with Kiyomi Azumabito: the manga panels in Chapter 107 where he talks of betraying his parents. They also change her literally salivating over her plans to profit from Paradis’ ice burst stone mines. Instead she’s just made to lick her lips. Rather disappointed here!
I really liked that manga version of a drooling Kiyomi and couldn’t wait for it to be animated. It shows just how much of an opportunist she was. (Much later we see her regretting her greediness, and willingly sacrificing her life so that the remaining soldiers and warriors can stop the rumbling.) I thought the manga moment was important in showing what she’s like as an unscrupulous business person. Too bad the animators didn’t feel the same.
When they illustrate Hange’s thoughts with a titan succession ritual showing a blonde woman with her hands tied, the titan about to devour her is pictured as a bald old man. I wonder why that is? If the girl is Historia it would be the titan of her thirteen-year-old child. In the manga only a mouth is shown in front of the girl. I wonder if there’s any significance to the full-head view of this new anime titan?
Historia accepts her fate, but our indignant protagonist declares it is out of the question.
I absolutely adore Yuki Kaji’s voicing of this moment. Eren in crazy angry super mad furious mode, he won’t hear of Historia being sacrificed. Incredible voice acting! The closeup of our titan shifter’s infuriated eyes is also on point.
There is that barely perceptible moment in the anime where Mikasa seems to be whispering to Eren, 「ヒストリアが・・・」(Historia ga) “Historia will be…”. I love this teeny weeny change from the manga. In the manga it looks like Mikasa is addressing the queen, just saying her name「ヒストリア・・・」”Historia…”. But in the anime it’s as if she’s telling Eren, Historia will be sacrificed, what should we do? For me it shows Mikasa caring for the queen just like their other friends. I love it!
Historia listens to Eren’s outburst and she tears up. Eren, kind, caring Eren. Yes, Your Majesty, someone does love you, very much so.
And then, and then, in one of the most beautiful transitions I’ve ever seen, we are carried from the queen’s tears in the palace to a droplet of water falling into a basin inside Eren’s prison cell.
Ahhhh, isn’t this amazing? Isn’t this fabulous? Isn’t this superb? I can’t get over the wonderfulness of this transition, so much so that I’ve screencapped it for posterity. I never thought I’d end up screencapping a washbasin! xD
Be still, my shipping heart! I adore Historia so much that if she’s walking in the palace gardens and there’s a mud puddle getting in the way, I’ll willingly lay down on it so she can walk over me without ruining her outfit. Eren cares for her so much that he’s willing to rumble the entire world, meaning we’re on the same page when it comes to Hisu adoration. So I totally love these gorgeously-executed erehisu moments in the anime. Thank you, MAPPA!!!
Eren is Hopping Mad
We are then pulled back into the present, with Hange questioning Eren in prison. “Don’t you care about Historia anymore?” they ask. To which he replies he inherited the Warhammer Titan and can get out whenever he wants, then demands that they come up with a better plan. He becomes genuinely scary here, grabbing them by the collar and being so angry lightning flashes across his face, as if he’s about to transform. Another incredibly well-animated moment, with stellar performances from both voice actors.
Historia is shown in her cabin’s veranda with the farmhand, and then we see the MPs arguing amongst themselves in Nicolo’s restaurant, where Nile Dawk proves he’s a decent human being. I wish they animated that manga panel of a mysterious hooded figure looking on as Historia speaks with the farmhand inside the barn, to encourage anime-only viewers to guess who it could possibly be.
After that we move on to the seminal railroad scene in Chapter 108. Hange and Levi arrive and the commander tells them of their plan to do some spying on Marleyan soil.
The anime scene on the rail car, however, cut off some of Jean’s dialogue. In the manga, he says that in Marley he wants to drink the various wines Nicolo has spoken of, but this has been cut in the anime. In the manga, he enumerates three reasons why Mikasa can’t inherit the titans:
- She’s an Ackermann, a clan they don’t understand too well.
- She’s half-Oriental, and they can’t tell if her kind can actually titanize.
- Kiyomi wants to make plans with her regarding Hizuru.
- All of which Jean sums up as being too many reasons for her not to inherit the titans.
(Of course, he doesn’t say what he really thinks: “I love you and don’t want you to die in 13 years.”)
In the manga, Eren listens to Jean’s reasoning, looks at her and says, “He’s right, Mikasa.”
Unfortunately, they removed (2) from the anime, and more tragically, Eren’s agreeable response to Jean’s dissuading. I really loved that moment in the manga because it shows just how far our two precious boys have come in their relationship: no longer fistfighting, they now listen to what the other has to say. Including these few lines in the anime wouldn’t have taken a few seconds. I’m really disappointed they decided to make these cuts; the Jean stan inside me is weeping 🙁
Still, I enjoyed the way they showed Armin chasing after Sasha’s barrel of water, and also Mikasa displaying her massive strength, walking by with these large steel beams hoisted over her shoulder. I liked the anime-only sight of the ants walking in line. Eren blushing courtesy of the sunset is pure gold. I think it’s the last time we see him being this cute and adorable with his friends.
Rift Amongst Friends
Next we see the friends back to the present and arguing amongst themselves, with Connie blaming Eren for Sasha’s death and demanding that Mikasa explain why he would laugh upon hearing of the tragedy. This event was truly heartbreaking to witness in the manga, and even more so in the anime because it feels more real with the voices. Very good performance from all the VAs here. I also liked the anime-only transition from flashback to present time, with Mikasa climbing a flight of stairs and looking out the window at the sunset.
MAPPA has done an excellent job as usual with the cinematography: good artistic vision, tone, look and feel. We get immersed in the SnK universe and can see clearly how in the span of four years they go from having some hope to seemingly none at all. The interiors and exteriors were all perfectly lit, with great camerawork and musical score. Aside from what I think have been unnecessary cuts, another neat anime adaptation.
Thank you so much for reading! What did you think of this anime episode? Please take a moment to share a thought or two in the comment section below. xoxo – hana
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