Mark my words: Attack on Titan Episode 31 will go down in the anime history books for having one of the most chilling plot twists of all time. Unfortunately for me, I made a terrible blunder 4 years ago by having read the manga and experiencing this moment through its panels. Reading the reveal was definitely a shock, and at the time, I was proud to have made the decision to dive deeper into the story that way. But not anymore. I admit it. I messed up. This is the first time I’ve regretted reading a manga.
What frustrates me the most is how “by the way” the disclosure was and that all I can do is imagine how I would’ve felt had I seen it for the first time as an animation. Still, the way it was approached was genius. Imagine leaving home for school in the morning while you’re parents sit in front of the TV talking about their younger days. Then just before you close the front door, you hear your father casually remark how exciting it was to eat all those babies in World War II and bursting into laughter after your mother reminded him how tasty they were with ketchup. Yeah.. I know right? Wtf!?
I do remember the manga dropping this info in a similar blazé fashion but the added visuals, the pacing and the slow build up of the other characters realising what was happening made it far more delicious. But once Mikasa went all Ryu Hayabusa, the regret truly started flowing. You know the situation is severely troubling once that young woman decides to attack first and ask questions never. Thanks to her swordwork, the image of Bertholdt clinging to his throat after having it cleaved open will probably stick with me for a while. Here’s a guy that’s just been exposed as the colossal titan, a.k.a: the dude on all the Attack on Titan promotional artwork, nonchalantly fucking up all the shit – crying like he did nothing wrong. I’ve never felt so conflicted. I weirdly felt sorry for him, despite the hefty betrayal.
Another weird element was Eren’s surprising level-headedness in this scenario. Thanks to another handy flashback, we see there’s a good reason why the main protagonist didn’t hulk smash immediately upon being told that his team mates are the reason this series even exists and are basically responsible for the death of his mother and the complete evisceration of Eren’s everyday life. It was a smart plan but I don’t think anyone could have predicted Reiner’s decision.
This entire sequence played out perfectly. The camera works goal to show us how deceived Eren felt, could not have been tighter. The yellow light imposed on his face as he witnessed Reiner and Bertholdt transform before him was a powerful motif, as was watching them rise like gods from the steam while the orgasmic rendition of that one song played in the background. The warm amber glow, once a light of hope and bravery had now become a radiant gleam of deception. I’d have clapped emphatically had I been alone in the house. As a random aside, I am curious to know if there’s anyone out there who had an idea on their true identities given that both titans clearly resemble Bert and Reiner in their human forms. Comment below if you had it guessed or were you as surprised as everyone else?
Once again I was compelled to check out the preview for next week and holy budget batman, it’s looking like they are spending all the rupees on this one. My body is definitely ready. And why wouldn’t it be? It’s been primed with what I feel is the best episode of season 2 so far.