I’ve been watching Attack On Titan, though I’m not a manga reader (have you seen the art? It’s hideous!). My reasons are very simple, it’s because I want to see how people playing Spider-Man with swords can take on horrific man-eating giants, because the entire thing is gorgeous, both the wire-slinging and man-eating parts. The story and premise are nothing we haven’t seen before, but it’s trying something neat, so I’m giving it a pass.
So it’s not odd at all that by episode 3, I finally found a character to root for. Potato Girl, voiced by the delightful Yuu Kobayashi, who serves as the show’s comic relief. Eren wants to kill all the giants because of revenge, Mikasa wants to protect Eren and keep him from doing something stupid, like, I dunno, getting his sorry ass killed. Fairly standard, right? But Potato Girl, well, she just wants to eat! Giants didn’t eat my mom, and I thankfully have no friends who keep on getting themselves into trouble for me to rescue them, but often I am hungry and craving for a goddamn potato.
However, there’s something the episode did really shitty at, and can you guess what it is?
That’s right! Eren’s entire ordeal with the wire-gear aptitude test. See, you’re in the army, the only army, the one standing between humanity and the giants. You’re going to stick that pointy end into a giant’s fleshy, vulnerable bits, so you gotta handle that gear correctly. Eren can’t even balance himself right in a contraption that simply pulls you up on the ground to dangle on your two feet, so he’s in danger of being sent away.
But it turns out to be that Eren’s belt mechanism is broken, so he had been trying to perform a balancing exercise on a handicap, and he could actually do it! Isn’t that the first thing they should inspect before hauling Eren up? The mecha anime equivalent would be making a character use a simulator to determine her piloting aptitude, but no one bothered to check if the simulator was configured properly, so the enemy moves way too fast or the mech’s balancer is defective. So she fails.
I’m annoyed because it’s lame, because it’s such a transparently dumb shounen trick to show that Eren’s actually good, because surprise! It wasn’t him, it was his belt. And he’s impressive, because he managed to balance himself a bit despite his handicap! It cheapens the drama concerning Eren and his determination to throw himself at the giants who ate his mom, because it’s contrived and insults the audience’s intelligence.
Well, at least next episode seems to promise actual action. And more Potato Girl!