Well, I have the lyrics for the opening now. They're pretty much Eren perspective lyrics, probably written for this show. So we'll move on.
Pixis calls Eren a real man and summons strategists. Armin is alarmed that they're putting his offhand thought into action. This is the student to reality mentality. When you're a student, you're waiting for your life to start. They aren't doing that anymore. The titans are there, and the garrison expects more proof to stave off Eren's execution. Eren has figured this out, as well as stating that Pixis may know something that they haven't realized yet as well.
Still frames. This anime has really high production value, so I'm always wondering why they choose still frames for the moments they do, but there doesn't seem to be a clear reason at all. I guess this is capturing a hopeful moment. Again. We'll stick with that until I see something glaringly wrong with it.
Below the wall, everyone in the garrison and the leftover trainees consider the upcoming mission to retake Trost suicide. They've set up the precedent that missions to retake territory are suicide, means of culling population, so this is unsurprising. Soldiers encourage each other to make a scene, and many agree that they want to at least see their families before they die. Jean listens. Jean thinks.
On the wall, Pixis states that, in history, it used to be the prevailing opinion that, if a great external foe appeared, humanity would unite to defeat it and stop fighting among themselves. Eren says that's a fairy tale, as the situation has arisen, but humanity is far from united. Pixis agrees, but believes that if it doesn't happen, humanity will die out anyway, as the fight will become too difficult.
I still haven't decided whether the writer of the manga is a proponent of this ideal or not. I can't find the person originally responsible for this sentiment. It's somewhat prevailing, I think, in our society. Ultimately, at its core, AoE critiques it. Perhaps unity only occurs when only one person is left alive.
As Eren and Pixis walk by Hannes, Eren motions for Hannes to focus on his own mission. Hannes is relieved, as Eren's demeanor suggests Mikasa and Armin are also okay. But he still won't take any lip from you, boy.
Pixis offers Eren a drink from a round flask that looks like a pocket watch. Eren probably assumes it's water, takes a swig, and spits it out. Pixis looks amused rather than annoyed.
These two scenes illustrate that age is pretty irrelevant. Eren is rising above Hannes already, but the unpleasant ingestion of booze suggests he's still a child, though the talk with Pixis implies he is not necessarily naive. Well. At least not in every single possible way.
Pixis is apparently really loud. He calls to the entire group gathered on the ground, fifty meters below him, and they can hear him. I would hate to be on the wall with him. It would be like standing next to several fog horns.
Pixis informs everyone that Eren is the product of a top secret military titan transformation project, and he can summon and control a titan body at will. At least one of those things isn't a complete lie. The job of the troops is to protect Eren while he stops up the hole in the wall.
Connie states he doesn't understand, and Ymir, looking nervous, tells him to shut up. She, like Team Immersion, is not really confused.
Behind Pixis and Eren, Armin is gathered with some higher ranking garrison members around a map of the walls. He has an idea for the plan, but he says he is only a cadet. The man says he doesn't care. Armin states that all the titans inside Trost already will be drawn to the largest group of humans who can engage them with canons, but Eren will still need a small, elite guard to protect him from titans who continue to spill through the existing breach. The other two agree that this is a good revision, but all three are nervous about the untested assumption that Eren will actually perform as intended. In the end, they explain that they need to act before the district is crawling with titans, and it becomes impossible. They also run the risk of losing Wall Rose. In addition, the woman says, "there is a limit to how far people can be pushed by fear alone."
I'm not really sure what this last statement is supposed to mean. I assume she is suggesting that fear will propel people to defend themselves to an extent, but it will ultimately make them give up. Eh.
On the ground, no one really believes the ridiculous story about Eren. Many of the military prepare to desert. The Captain from before is about to slaughter them all--wow, good job--when Commander Pixis announces, suddenly, that any deserters at this moment will go unpunished. He says that, once you have experienced the fear of titans, you can no longer fight them, so you should leave now. He adds that, if you want your family to also experience this fear, you should leave as well.
The first man to desert decides that he cannot let that happen to his daughter. She is is only hope.
All right, animators. I believe you. It's fucking stupid though.
Pixis brings up the supposed mission to reclaim Wall Maria. He says conflict did not begin because only a fifth of humanity was sacrificed. He goes on to state that Wall Sina can only accommodate half of those who remain. If they don't stand now, people will not die from the titans, but from fighting over resources inside yet another wall. So Pixis uses the threat of humanity turning on one another to make them unite.
Eren thinks he understands his role, even if he can't perform it. Well. That's uplifting.
The commercial bookend explains that belts allow for 3D axial control. Priceless information at this point. That we couldn't possibly have figured out. The gear is also super light.
Eren's elite guard address their doubts to Pixis. He says he hates losing, but he's been doing it since he was born. He isn't really referring to making himself lose in chess, but that's an illustration. He's used to losing. But here, he says he hates it. He wants to win against the titans badly, and if they want to win, too, they have to believe Eren can do it. Or they'll just keep losing.
Pixis then gives command of this group to Ian, and the other two agree. Pixis justifies this by saying the he is able to tell good booze from cowpiss, so he trusts him. Yep. I would get along with this guy. I guess it's just to say he is able to draw good opinions from information and experience. Booze is used here, again, to gauge a sense of experience.
Eren and Mikasa argue about whether or not Mikasa can come. She's initially placed on the decoy team, and Eren insists he's not her kid or her brother, so he's not her responsibility. Just then, Ian approaches and tells Mikasa they need her skills on the elite team. So the entire argument dissolves. Mikasa is still pleased. She isn't looking for Eren's approval. She clings to some idea of him more than Eren himself.
Mikasa and Eren separate from Armin for another freeze frame.
Mikasa and Eren bicker some more. Ian and his group tell them to stop playing house. Deserved. They also express their concern over Eren directly. He doesn't really say anything to put their minds at ease.
The decoy operation begins. Everyone is terrified. Next.
The woman who is not Mikasa in Eren's guard tells him that people will die for him in this operation. I get trying to psyche him up and realize the gravity of the consequences, should he fail, but if he doesn't do it, all of humanity will die anyway. So it loses its impact for me. She then devolves into listing names. I guess it has the effect she wants, because Eren resolves to make it happen. I just quibble over them dying for Eren. They're dying for a chance that their families might live. Very few of them give a fuck about Eren, ultimately. He just happens to be the one who can make it happen.
Pixis gives his last speech highlighting the importance of attempting the first victory over titans. To be fair, the first victory of mankind over titans already occurred when the recruits recaptured the HQ, but apparently that wasn't on a large enough scale. And he wasn't involved, so I guess he can't take credit. He uses the titular phrase "attack on titan"s, in any case.
Eren transforms and roars. Mikasa is certain he will lift the rock when he turns around and punches her in the face.
Also known as punching the roof she was standing on. Spoiler, he din't actually hit her.
But that's for next time.
This episode was probably the weakest so far. They covered pretty much nothing in twenty minutes. Pixis gave a lot of bullshit, uplifting speeches. I'm sure he believes about 25% of what he says. The conflict between Eren and Mikasa is also beaten in, again. These, I'm sure, are the two competing pieces of information he takes with him into his transformation. One is save humanity, and the other is fuck Mikasa. It's a symbol of the point stated earlier. Humans would rather kill each other than unite to save their entire race. So Eren holds onto his fight with Mikasa over his resolve instinctively.