Shingeki no Kyojin Episode 14 Anime Review

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…into a Titan-bowl of Macaroni and cheese. I know I would be starving if I had to do that much work.

New opening this week! And, sad to say, I prefer the old one, even though I can see they put a lot of time and effort into creating this second opening. The first opening had an essential element that’s missing from this new opening – horror.

In the first opening, there was a brief few seconds of flashing titan faces, coupled with Japanese words. What made those few seconds so special was the choice in colour. The colour combinations used were typical of pulp horror novel. When I saw those few seconds in the first episode, I immediately knew I was in for a treat. That attention to detail to unify the anime with the opening theme really set the mood for that first episode. I couldn’t wait for the mystery to unravel, so I went running to read the manga after that.

This is an anime review, so don’t worry about spoilers. I’ll be talking in broad general terms.

I was delighted upon reading the manga, and in a few days caught up to the latest chapters. Inside, the world was based on a certain mythos which would have given the whole mystery away, so I won’t be elaborating here. Not only were the themes explored complex, but the manga also had references to masterpieces in the art world, sometimes in a single “insignificant” panel!

The anime has picked up on these references and enhanced it. I felt the trial scenes in the manga was too short. I really like the amount of extra detail they placed into it, taking the time to actually substantiate all sides properly. It’s understandable that it was difficult to do this in the manga since it is after all a Shounen manga, and the excitement has to be up, given that their reader base is not notoriously known for patience. But with an anime, and being able to hear people argue, probably allowed the show creators to dedicate more time to it. What I wish could have been done better, was probably a few shots of the judge’s face to up the tension, since viewers will try to scrutinise him and guess what his next move will be.

The screenshot I took showcases the beautiful artwork on the ceiling of the courtroom which the animators have done a wonderful job in its inclusion. I did a google search, given my lack of an art background, and suspect that the painting isn’t a direct copy, but instead a reference to Leonardo Da Vinci’s last unfinished piece – The Battle of Anghiari, 1505.

It is a lost painting, just like how Eren has lost his memories. Amusingly enough, recovery of the painting was halted due to political squabbling. I don’t know if the animators knew about this at the time of creating the courtroom scene, since it was halted in September 2012, but its a very apt nod to how we humans are our own worst enemies sometimes. In the painting, there is a man spread-eagled on the ground, below a tunic-ed man with a spear, reminiscent of what Eren is going through as well, with the possibility of being killed despite his intentions to do good for humanity. “Its central scene depicted four men riding raging war horses engaged in a battle for possession of a standard.” In the courtroom, Eren is being fought over between the Military Police and the Recon Corps – the MP wanting him to die, while the Recon Corps willing to take him in.

This struggle for survival and in the painting of the Battle of Anghiari is a theme that is infused throughout the whole anime. There are other artwork references which are coming up, along with foreshadowing, that will be revealed to an astute eye. Hopefully, I got the painting right. Otherwise, it’ll be pretty embarrassing given how I’ve linked the two up.

Hmm… After reading more about the battle which the painting was based on though – The Battle of Anghiari, 1440 –  I’m quite sure I’m correct. I don’t want to spoil anything for anime watchers, so I’ll just leave it at that for now.

Ahhhh, I can’t wait for the next episode!

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