Since I’ve milked out all the analysis possible from Attack On Titan’s Return to Shiganshina Arc, I think it is only fair to look at the arc(s) that got us there in the first place. That means that we have to travel back to Trost, the location of the first battle in ‘modern day’. In this episode, I will be taking a dive into the main debate that the arc plays with, rationality versus instinctual behaviour. I will also discuss where the arc excels from a technical standpoint and my overall feeling for this part of the show. On the side, I talk about my experience with the conclusion of Berserk’s Golden Age Arc and I share a few of my thoughts on Grave of the Fireflies (1988).
there are spoilers in this episode and the show notes:
MUSIC IN THIS PRODUCTION:
Warden by Alex McCulloch
Mandatory Overtime by Joth
Difference by chasersgaming
Go Lucky by chasersgaming
by Eric Matyas
SOURCES REFERENCED IN THIS PRODUCTION:
Arafumi Imai (SakugaBooru)
Story Arcs (Shingeki No Kyojin Wiki)
Eren Jaeger (Shingeki No Kyojin Wiki)
Trost District (Shingeki No Kyojin Wiki)
Most of the links to the anime discussed in the episode can be found on my personal MAL page.
Note from Jamal:
Thanks for reading the show notes. I really appreciate the support from this year and I hope the show grows even further in 2020. Even if it’s just one of you, thanks for listening to my wacky anime analysis journey!
Plot Summary: The Battle of the Trost District is our first battle arc that takes place in the ‘modern day’ of the show, hence we meet a new, fresh Eren Jaeger who has graduated from the 104th Training Corps. The new graduates are thrown into the deep end and are tasked with engaging and defeating the Titans in the region of Trost, one which is located on the south edge of Wall Rose. The soldiers face a shock to their systems as they engross themselves within the fierce reality of war.
Rationality vs. Instinctual Behaviour: This is probably the main debate I think comes out of this arc (whether this was an intentional subtext I’m unsure about), as there’s this ambiguity as to what motivates / affects their actions in this new realm of combat. Eren (and a lot of the crew) seems to ignore the rational component / element within him and fights almost purely on their psychological disposition, becoming enraged at the fall of their fellow soldiers. These animalistic notions are encapsulated within Eren’s new Attack Titan form. This idea is played with even more by Mikasa who brings a human nature concept into the mix (“this world is cruel”) but accepts that the retaliation to this innately cruel world is to survive, countering the idea that instinctual behaviour is the only thing driving the soldiers. This is probably a paradox in this arc that I can’t be truly solved – a logical (no pun intended) answer would be that it is either on an individual basis or a combination of both (one dominates the other).
Technicalities: On the whole (as an early notice) I don’t usually have any visual complaints for the entirety of the anime (or even the manga). Visually, the part that stood out to me was Arafumi Imai’s work on Eren vs. the Colossal Titan as well as the contrast between the ‘3D’ environment with the ‘2D’ sprites grappling through it. Both of these moments create a lot of depth (again, visually) and are simply splendid to watch. It’s a shame that the strong outlining from this season was not carried consistently into the other parts of the show, since moments like this really prove their beauty.
I think the BOTD arc is one of my favourites as despite its sensationalist nature, (which can come across as over-the-top and potentially subtract from the ‘seriousness of conflict’) there’s a strong subtext that comes with it, that is toyed with. This made it more nuanced than I once thought it was.