This string of episodes was just amazing. Really, I’ve heard that for an epic series, Shingeki no Kyojin has a simplistic story, and that is indeed true. However, this series is a master at emotions. Its aim is not to deliver the most complex storyline, but instead it’s here to deliver epic action scenes, and that’s something that was elevated to an artform here.
This just was complete despair. Episode 16 was all about everyone accepting the fact that they were all going to lay their lives in front of Eren. The two episodes featured this massive slaughter that had just about everyone run for their lives, with only some people escaping through some sort of miracle. That’s something that I have very rarely seen done better.
Oh, and tactics. Military bloody tactics. When was the last time that these were done so well? When was the last time at which you actually had an entire grasp of how big the army in question was? What the positions looked like? How the formations change depending on the situations? How well this was translated over to the animation screen? I mean, that was just brilliant. I remember how the small armies in Sengoku Basara, Guin Saga, and even Bakumatsu Kikansetsu Irohanihoheto were just lumped together as “one army”. Here, every squadron counts. Every position has meaning and affects what happens throughout these two episodes.
Also I still love the kinds of series that downplay their main characters. Eren again had nothing to do in this episode and thus we get to see much of the side-characters who could show their characters off. And really: the main cast remains the main cast: there are people with huge talents in this series, but they are all downplayed: Eren has huge powers, but they’re incredibly random. Armin is really smart, but he’s really weak. Mikasa is very nimble, but she often isn’t at the right time at the right place, and that commander guy is also very nimble, but a total asshole who left his subordinates in total darkness about his plans, nearly killing them. It’s amazing how well this all balanced out.
Rating: 6,5/8 (Amazing)