Attack on Titan, Episode 05: Reality Bites

So, any expectations of Eren Jaeger and the corp going forth an immediately kicking giant butt all but faded away in episode five.  The group gets it handed to them, and very quickly.  Dismemberment, probably death, and lots of spilt blood fill the scene as the giants show that they only seem slow and lumbering – their reflexes are incredibly quick when their prey is in sight.

After the training episodes, this one returns the series to the fearsome tone conveyed earlier in the series.  The giants are, at this point, my favorite anime villain ever.  This is how you create a great villain – they make you feel dread and think about the possibility probability that characters you root for can die at any point and any time.  In this way, the series carries a Saving Private Ryan kind of feel, conveying the horrors of this war, fantastical as it is.

In the face of danger and imminent death, Eren remains headstrong, brave, and haughty.  He will not sit idly by, and through flashbacks, we find out a little more of what he and Armin want and what they seek, which is in one word, freedom.

Eren Jeager and Mikasa Ackerman
Art by めろ

It’s hard to make this episode into something optimistic or hopeful.  After all, the quest for freedom, and even less than that, survival, is getting squashed completely and easily.

Yet, Eren continues to fight so that he won’t remained confined within the walls of civilization – he wants something more.

I’m reminded of something far less drastic and perhaps more common to anime viewers.  Not always the most sociable of people, it’s easy for us to stick inside our own walls – whether we place them around our home, work, etc. – and not venture out into the world.  I’m not even talking about the extreme cases we think of of when the terms NEET or otaku pop up – I’m only speaking of when we get lazy/bored/scared/etc. and decide to stay in our comfort zone instead of making the effort to go out and interact with people.

For those of us who feel comfortable living this way, we put ourselves in a prison.  And while it may offer safety, comfort, and ease – just as with the lives of the humans before the opening attack – it also keeps us from the possibility of finding more in our lives.  I believe that life is about relationships, and we’re all the poorer for forming less and less intimate ones.  Despite all the pain and hassle of developing relationships, we’re all the more richer for doing so – and all the more freer from our shackles of confinement.

It’s easier said than done to proverbially and literally get out of the house, but it’s almost always worth it in the end.  So go and have dinner with your friend – your digital technology will wait, even if it features titans ready to crunch up all your favorite characters.



7 thoughts on “Attack on Titan, Episode 05: Reality Bites

  1. i agree with you about staying in our comfort zone and not wanting to meet people.. Not to say i am Mr-Sociable but generally like Eren, if i need to “take down a titan” , i will do it.

    also Love how this anime kills off anyone so easily. makes the anime more exciting ! can’t wait for the next episode 😀 !

  2. I’m very conflicted about this episode. Yes, it was a brutal taste of reality, but it’s all for naught because we know that Eren isn’t dead. In episode two it appeared that his father gave him some sort of injection and the key to the basement of his house. I have a feeling that injection gave Eren some kind of superpower and it’s my fear that’s going to cheapen the gritty realism of the series and allow him to “cheat” his way to becoming a titan slayer. This anime still excites me, but that excitement is becoming more and more tempered.

    1. I’m not opposed to something like that…after all, humanity obviously needs to level the playing field! But we’ll see how the series approaches it, because I can’t imagine that everything will go that easily. That would be like a lazy shounen approach.

  3. Interesting way of looking at Shingeki’s wall there, TWWK. To me, the wall is a huge metaphor for humanity’s struggle between willful ignorance and painful discovery, but I guess it can be applied to our personal lives too.

    Thanks for writing the post! I think I’ll go break open those walls of mine now, it’s been a while.

    1. Haha, go for it!

      And yes, your analogy would be right on the dot and looking at it from the broader, more significant perspective. Thanks for sharing. 😉

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