Attack on Titan – Episode 29 – “Soldier”

I’ll preface this with a question for you all: where’s the hype for Titan gone? Maybe it’s the four-year absence, but the excitement and the feeling of “I NEED to watch this now!” isn’t there for these new episodes. Not even the Toonami crowd seems to care, it’s been placing fourth behind Dragonball Kai. And the worst part is, these episodes are REALLY good, too. All of the multi-part nonsense is gone and everything has been streamlined to trim the fat, yet the excitement doesn’t seem to be the same as the first go-around, back in 2013. Pity. But what do you all think the reason behind the lack of hype is? I’d like to know, leave a comment or reach me directly – @AureOfAzure on Twitter – and let’s get a talk going.

Before we get back to the fight at hand, we have to go back from a couple of hours later – I’m sensing a theme with these episodes – where our young soldiers are making casual chit-chat among the likes of “How the hell are we gonna get out of here, THIS time?” Okay, not really, but you know that would be a possibility, given the circumstances. Krista poses an interesting question, what if the Wall isn’t broken and the Titans are coming in from elsewhere? Mysteries abound, such is the gimmick of this series – what’s this, what’s that, who’s this, where’s that, all those questions. Conny then speaks up and makes mention that the big Titan somehow reminded him of his mother, which causes Ymir to go into hysterical laughter at such a scenario. Oh, Ymir, you saucy bitch, I don’t know how Krista puts up with you.

And then we come to one of the biggest little scenes – at least, within the fandom – of the series, thus far: the little talk that Ymir and Reiner have. I’ll just transcribe the first few lines of their conversation, per the subtitles on Crunchyroll, and pick up from there.

Reiner: “Ymir? What are you doing?”
Ymir: “Prowling at night, Reiner? Come to see me? I’m shocked. I was under the impression that you had no interest in women.”
Reiner: “Yeah. And it doesn’t seem like you have interest in guys, either.”

I won’t mince words here. As it pertains to the canon of this series, yes, Ymir is gay, homosexual, a lesbian, however you’d like to label her sexuality as. Reiner, on the other hand? His status is more a case of “the jury’s still out.” There have been hints, like this one, but nothing has been made explicitly clear that states Reiner is – or isn’t – gay. As far as we know, he could be an asexual fighting machine, like Luffy, or as hetero as JJ from Yuri!!! on ICE, or even as gay as… well, most of the cast of Yuri!!! on ICE. The point is, nothing’s been made clear, and if the manga is any indication, that little bit of his character will be as ambiguous and unknown as Todd in the Shadows’ face.  Moving back along, though, at the end of this scene, Ymir passes Reiner a can of food, a can of herring. Only he can’t read the lettering on the label, but she can. This means that she’s a… never mind, time to fight! Yet another fakeout, I see. And so, our senior officers proceed to kick ass and take names, but the door to their barracks has been broken into – uh-oh. And sure enough, a Titan made its way inside, with a look of “HIIIIIIIIIII.” on its stupid face. But in comes Bertholdt with a spear to the Titan’s eye, and Ymir with a frigging cannon being shoved down the stairs to crash to the trapped beast. Improvising does seem to work, every now and then.

Of course, where there’s one, there’s bound to be another, as another Titan emerges, but in the nick of time, Reiner gets Conny out of harm’s way to take the bullet for him, by way of a big ol’ bite into his arm. Ouch. So what does Reiner do? He lifts the Titan up into a fireman’s carry, Conny slices its neck with a knife, and Ymir gives it a SUPERKICK out the window. As for Reiner, leave it to Krista to tend to his broken arm, by way of ripping off part of her skirt to use it as a sling. You better worship this woman, Ymir, day and night. Meanwhile, back outside, the senior officers are starting to get their asses kicked, with two casualties confirmed and more Titans approaching the compound. At this rate, it’s going to take a miracle of some kind for the tides to turn for the soldiers—aaaaand they’re dead. How cruel, wiped out and eaten alive, that’s a scary way to go out. So what’s the plan of action here? Ymir’s getting Conny’s knife and is going to use that to fight. Bold strategy, let’s see if it pays off for her, as she lunges off the tower balcony, knife in hand, slices her hand, and starts transforming—WHAAAAAAAAAAAT??? Holy cuss word, what a cliffhanger. This fight is going to get real good, now, folks.

As promised (and delayed), I’m including some brief thoughts on the English dub for the first episode of this season here. Firstly, I have to commend Funimation on a 3-week turnaround for these episodes, something that would have been unthinkable even five years ago. The opening narration from Armin, as played by Josh Grelle, is great, as is his performance in the role in general, and it is so great to hear Jessica Calvello play our favorite non-binary science freak in Hange again. I’ve always had a soft spot for her energetic vocal performances, as well as her more softer moments in this role, specifically. And of course, Bryce Papenbrook does what Bryce Papenbrook does; thankfully, Eren not showing up a lot in these first few episodes will be kind to my ears. The direction that Mike McFarland gives is perfectly solid, as are the written scripts courtesy of John Burgmeier, but there are some slight Tatum-isms in the script; more of the same from the first season, so those who liked it will like this, and those who had problems with it will more than likely have problems with this, as well. Que sera sera, see you soon for the next bit of this awesome battle.

Attack on Titan is licensed by FUNimation Entertainment and is simulcast subtitled Saturdays at 10:30am EDT on Crunchyroll and FUNimationNow, with an English simuldub on Saturdays at 12:30am EDT on Adult Swim and Sundays at 10:00pm EDT on FUNimationNow.

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