Mid-Week Review: Attack on Titan – Episode 39: “Pain”

I don’t think I was ever expecting this show to go in this direction. That first season blew everyone away with its incredible opening, its fantastically animated action sequences and its relentlessly bleak premise. Then it took approximately one thousand years for the second season to come out and everyone forgot about it. We’re in the third season now, and the frequent character deaths and aerial action have been replaced with political intrigue and government conspiracy.

Mid-Week Review: Attack on Titan - Episode 39: "Pain"

I mean, it always felt like it was going in this direction in some respect. So many of the people in positions of power always looked shady as hell. With their gaunt expressions and vertical lines all over their faces, how could we not think they’re shady as…

Following right on from the the previous episode, my wish gets granted; we are subjected to far less Erin and far more Levi. Briefly delving into the later’s origins and his history with the notorious Kenny; the father figure/mercenary/dog of the government. Kicking straight off with Levi fighting for his life against Kenny and his crew. I know I just mentioned them, but I really forgot how fantastically animated the aerial battles in this show were. Characters flinging themselves around cityscapes using their waist mounted grappling hooks. Levi especially is the best of the best in this regard using them for mobility and as weapons.

Mid-Week Review: Attack on Titan - Episode 39: "Pain"

After a very fitting confrontation in a old west style saloon, given Kenny’s appearance and demeanour. Levi gets the better of his old mentor and manages to regroup with the rest of the team to rescue Erin and Historia, both of which have been knocked unconscious. However, thanks to Jean’s lack of bottle, the rescue ends in failure and the mysterious benefactors get their prize.

Aside from team Levi, we’re shown more of the scheming of the king and his council. I’m still not sure what the hell they’re up to at this point, but the show does a great job of making them seem like the most stuffy of untrustworthy old codgers possible.

Mid-Week Review: Attack on Titan - Episode 39: "Pain"
I’m enjoying Erin’s new role in the series

The second half of the episode features Armin’s mental breakdown over killing a regular human being (Which, come on dude, you’ve been through enough nightmarish shit by this point that I don’t see why this effects you as strongly as it does.) as well as Levi and Hange’s kidnapping and torture of a member of the Military Police in order to find the location of Erin and Historia. The biggest revelation of which ends the episode: Historia is the true heir and rightful Queen of the walled cities.

I am really digging this new season so far. While half of the cast feel kind of throw away, I like Mikasa, Levi and Hange enough that this political intrigue angle is working for me. It’s weird, the fewer titans that show up, the more I’m getting out of this show. Shame about that opening song though.

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