Attack on Titan – Episodes 32-34 (A Feature-Length Review)

It’s been a hot minute since I’ve been back on here. As per usual, the humdrum of reality has crept its way back into my day to day life, and I’ve fallen a bit behind with the talking of the Titans and all that. So, to make up for that, we’re going to do a “feature-length” review, three episodes to catch us all up before we talk the newest episode, later on. Now, with my humblest apologies for this extended absence, let’s dive right into the swing of things.

“Episode 32 – Close Combat”

Now, a central theme of these episodes, as I’ve found out, is that the main focus usually starts with a backstory of the character centered in the focus. It started with Sasha, proceeded with Krista and Ymir, and now, we’re looking at Reiner and Bertholdt, as this episode starts with them in a flashback scene, with Bertholdt talking to Reiner and Eren and their group and asking Eren why he’s a part of the military. You all know the answer. But enough of that, it’s time for a TITAN GRUDGE MATCH, SET FOR ONE FALL!

And so we’re all clear on who’s who, here’s a handy key for all to follow: Reiner = Armored Titan; Bertholdt = Colossal Titan; Eren = Eren.

Bertholdt goes after the crew atop the wall, taking with him Ymir and a fellow soldier into its mouth, all to Krista’s shock and horror. Hange’s pissed off, though, and orders an attack to be carried out against Bertholdt, but he’s crafty and retaliates with punches of his own. The thing is, someone that big is real slow, so they go after the neck, the weak spot; Bertholdt’s smart, however, and ignites steam from his neck to get them all away. Nothing to do but wait it out, since their gear is useless with all that steam coming from its body, so Hange calls forth Armin and a few others to go after Reiner. And as a side note, Conny hasn’t been briefed on the whole situation at hand. That’s gonna suck, when he finds out.

Meanwhile, Reiner and Eren are trading blows, with Eren being punched down by, in his words, that “big piece of s**t.” He then wonders if Reiner was holding back, during their training, because now, he can’t move, after a few full-force blows. Yeah, Eren isn’t taking this whole thing well. MIkasa tries to deus-ex-machina her way in, but her blades are useless on that armored body of his. Eren waxes poetic about his change of heart toward Reiner before sitting up, proclaiming that he must erase Reiner. Personally, I’d rather Eren DELETE him, but that works, too. And so, he goes for a hard punch, only to be met with an even harder punch from Reiner. Ouch. That ain’t WONDERFUL, at all. (Side note, I want to hear Papenbrook say “delete” when the dubbed episode airs. Don’t let me down.)

And just like that, it’s time to flash back to their training, this time with Eren and Annie. Short version, Annie wipes the floor with Eren, but so does Mikasa, with Reiner. She shows up, saying she wants to learn that move Annie used on Eren, an overhead throw into a choke hold, so it looks like there’s gonna be a good fight brewing. Who will win? Heck if I know, Eren gives up remembering it midway, citing “Who gives a s**t, anymore?” as his reason. But he sure does remember that move, locking Reiner in a choke hold and tossing him hard to the ground. Reiner tries to punch out of the hold, but Eren locks in a triangle choke, and then locks in a devastating arm-bar, shattering Reiner’s arm piece by piece before just ripping it off. Eat your heart out, Alberto El Patrón. But this fight is far from over, though, folks. Hannes then arrives atop the wall and takes immediate notice of Bertholdt’s Titan body starting to deteriorate from all the steam, and then notices Eren’s Titan form, to his shocked intrigue. Hange then moves down to Eren and tells him, simply, to find the best course of action. Eren nods, and Hange has a fangirl moment, not expecting a response from him.

So what course of action does Eren do? He aims for the leg, but Reiner’s starting to get some hard offense in. Once broken apart, Reiner lunges back forward, but Eren catches him in a fierce choke hold, which allows Mikasa just enough time to slice the back of Reiner’s knee, one of the few weak spots he has in that Titan form of his. The leg gives out, and Eren tightens the hold even further, looking to rip his head off the body. It isn’t that easy, though, as Reiner starts to crawl his way out, stopping to give a fierce growl, as if to scream for help. And help starts to come, in the form of Bertholdt’s Titan skeleton falling down from the wall. This doesn’t bode well, friends.

“Episode 33 – The Hunters”

So what happened when Bertholdt fell down to the scene? Well, for one, Reiner reversed the hold and bit into Eren’s flesh, leaving a now-human Bertholdt to carry a now-wounded Eren atop Titan!Reiner’s body, and away they go. What a major anti-climax to a real great pay-per-view quality fight, this is on-par with… never mind, I’m getting off topic.

Let’s take a breather, though, with our favorite drunkard, Pixis, napping and boozing it up as he’s being briefed over what’s transpired recently. Things are rather quiet in the Trost District, with many of the military congregating in the quiet piece, but Levi’s in a mood of “time to lean, then time to fight Titans,” because that’s just the kind of jerkhole he is. Sasha and her squad soon arrive to inform Pixis and everyone else about Titans running afoot, and they’re of their own kind. Meanwhile, up top at the wall of the scene, Hannes and Armin are looking over the injured and wounded, Mikasa among them. Not their finest hour, for sure.

As per usual, it’s time for another flashback, this time going back many years, with a much younger Eren being accosted by a trio of jerkfaces. Many cans of ass-whoop are opened, before Mikasa shows up to kick ass and take names. The jerkfaces run off when a military man shows up, the only one who isn’t acting like a lazy drunk, and just like that, flashback over. What a purpose that served. Mikasa, in the present time, then wakes up, only to be told that Eren’s long gone. Things are real dire, and Mikasa’s in a bit of disbelief over everything that’s happened. Some time later, Erwin and his squad arrive, atop the wall, ready to assist and get everyone the hell out of here, even if Eren is MIA. Hange isn’t ready to end things, though, asking for and receiving a map of the nearby area; sure, Reiner and Bertholdt may be gone and weakened, but who’s to say more Titans couldn’t show up and cause more chaos?

One question remains unanswered, though: where was Eren taken, anyway? Where could Reiner and Bertholdt have run off to, with Eren in their possession? Well, he’s been taken deep into the forest, with the two rogues looking down at both him… and Ymir. She’s awake, although sans an arm. This fight is far from over, as the military squad heads out for their next rescue mission, in search of Eren.

“Episode 34 – Opening”

What a weird title for this episode, “Opening.” Anyway, Erwin leads the charge with the whole squad on horseback, heading deep into the forest in a spread formation. And within this forest, of course, is Eren… well, 90% of Eren, he’s missing his forearms. And that’s bad news for him and Ymir, they’re surrounded with Titans all over the forest, trapped deep inside Wall Maria. Even worse, they’re both sans ODM gear, while Reiner and Bertholdt are packing heat of their own. In short, they’re trapped, and even worse, since their bodies are in the middle of recovery, they can’t transform into their Titan forms. Or so says Reiner, at least. But what do they want to do with these two? Reiner speaks up and tells them that they want to take them to his and Bertholdt’s hometown, albeit not until nightfall when the Titans around them rest.

Now, when you think about this plan, it sounds really solid and systematic. If they turn forms, they either fight off the Titans nearby and risk their own lives, but if they get out, where do they run to? And if reinforcements come, they have to fight off all the Titans nearby, and risk their lives, as well. Either way, nobody wins and nobody comes out the victor. Smart, systematic, and sinister. But this only poses more questions, such as why Reiner and Bertholdt want them to come to their hometown. So many questions can only be answered in 24 minutes, show. And to quote Ymir, “This situation couldn’t be any s**ttier.”

And then, Reiner starts talking like a complete idiot. Here’s his logic: since the wall wasn’t broken of any kind, he infers that they both have earned a promotion of sorts, given their high performance and such. Yeah, kind of a big fatal flaw in this plan: YOUR IDENTITIES HAVE BEEN REVEALED. Y’all are rogues, enemies, antagonists, on the other side of the law. There is NO promotion in store, only a jail cell, if they’re both lucky. Thankfully, Bertholdt is more sensible, simply saying that they’re not soldiers, they’re warriors. Whatever that means. And then Reiner’s PTSD comes back into play, remembering “that fateful day,” and remembering the day when Marco – you know, Jean’s butt buddy – got eaten. So what does this all mean? Well, Ymir infers that his mind and heart are in two different places, a constant stream of contradiction. Still doesn’t make up for treason, but hey, whatevs. Eren, however, isn’t all too kind toward this change of pace, as he’s got some memories of his own. Turns out, Titan!Reiner was there when Eren’s mother got eaten, seeing how they were the ones that breached the wall, all those years ago. And the fact that Eren was lied to, it makes it that much worse.

And so, we go into a screaming match between Eren and Reiner. Not as impressive as their fight from earlier, honestly. But hey, sometimes you just need to blow off some steam. By this point, there’s about four minutes left in the episode, we should be due for a third-act climax and cliffhanger to lead us off. What will it be, for this one? Perhaps nothing too grand, but after some meandering and waxing poetic, Reiner and Ymir find some common ground: protecting Krista. And, again, I have to mention this: Reiner, she’s just not that into you. Let it go, man. But, Reiner gives Ymir one simple question of what she holds dearer: her own life, or Krista’s future? Eren, however, has a question of his own for Ymir: who’s their real enemy? Heck if Ymir knows, that’s her only answer.

And to cap off this episode, the sight of military flares appear in the sky, with one hour left until sunset. This arc is far from done, friends, we’ve quite a ways left to go.

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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