Attack On Titan’s 3rd Season is now complete, which calls for some analysis! In today’s episode, I will kick off analysing the show by looking at Erwin’s Speech from Episode 16, which brings forward a philosophy, or an approach, that I am very excited to discuss. Let the Get In The Mecha Attack On Titan Analysis begin!
THERE ARE SPOILERS IN THIS EPISODE AND IN THE SHOW NOTES
Some Plans for the Future
For Attack On Titan, my plan of action is to do an OP analysis for this section of the season, alongside a Return to Shiganshina Arc review. After that, it is my intention to analyse each arc one by one, with a minimum of one arc per episode; these will be split up and not one after the other as I have other plans as well. Stay tuned!
A few things that I will touch on today:
- What is the context behind the speech? (Plot Summary for the Return to Shiganshina Arc)
- What is Erwin’s approach to the problem?
- How does this resonate with the rest of Attack On Titan as a whole, including the content to come?
MUSIC & SFX IN TODAY’S PRODUTION:
Go Lucky by chasersgaming
Mandatory Overtime by Joth
SFX by SubspaceAudio
Cinematic Drums | Alexander (http://www.orangefreesounds.com/cinematic-drums/)
Licensed under Creative Commons: By Attribution 4.0 International License
(Cut to 8 seconds, faded in and out and beginning and end)
SOURCES USED IN TODAY’S PRODUCTION:
FANDOM PAGE (Story Arcs)
The Return to Shiganshina Arc has definitely been a big one, with a lot of information to digest and many fated encounters finally taking place. However, I don’t think it’s worth getting bogged down by all this info, so instead I’ll zoom into a component that really caught my eye, Erwin’s Speech. In all honesty, Episode 16 of Season 3, particularly the moment of the speech, changed how I view the show moving forward, and also how I view the previous parts.
PLOT SUMMARY: The Scouts are cornered. Physically, they’re cornered by the rank of Titans surrounding the perimeter of the Shiganshina District and mentally ‘cornered’ as a result of their low morale and declining resources. With Eren’s hands full with Bertolt and Reiner, there won’t be an easy escape from this battle and sacrifices have to be made…
Erwin approaches the situation as a fatalist or a person that embraces the idea / possibility of death with open arms. Despite being insanely dark and unexpected, I do think this viewpoint balances itself out. Firstly, he makes the case that all those present on the battlefield, including his very own men (or regiment) do not have any value, or better put, their lives will simply mean nothing, if they all make the ultimate sacrifice, that is charging towards the Beast Titan. However, it is this second part that makes this really valuable. As one of his soldiers question his first statement (when he alluded to the fact that they all have the same amount of ‘value’), he puts this into context, saying that the fallen are not ‘meaningless’. At first glance, I thought this was contradictory, but after this it all became clear. ‘Meaning’ is created for the dead, through having people live on for them and in reverse, ‘meaning’ is created for the living through having those dead comrades ‘up the stakes’ of their own lives.
If we skip slightly further into the episode and even to the end of the season, it becomes more clear as to how this is really important. With the vast majority of the Scouts losing their lives in the death charge, including Erwin, it is now essential that Eren & co. discover what is in ‘The Basement’ and uncover the truth behind the history of Eldia, Marley and The Titans, as that was what Erwin wished to accomplish for his Father. This very same concept can be applied to characters such as Erwin, particularly during the events of The Uprising Arc. To reverse Erwin’s concept, achieving the goals expected of them (discovering the ‘truth’, collecting The Nine, etc.) gives the dead reason ‘to be dead’.
Ultimately, Erwin’s speech adds an extra layer to the show, on top of the many layers that Attack On Titan has attempted to create across multiple arcs. The Return to Shiganshina Arc has definitely been my favourite arc in the show so far and although I may not agree with the MAL score (I don’t even know if scores matter at the moment to be honest), I am excited to see how the anime continues to build these layers going forward into The Marley Arc and The Final Arc.