I’ve just started my semester in one of the universities in Tokyo and what better way to kickoff than to finish a Shingeki no Kyojin marathon? Some thoughts:
1. I may be a self-professed fudanshi, but I’m more of a Eren X Mikasa shipper. (Well, personally I’m not inclined to ship Eren at all because I find his characterisation to be particularly irritating and to a certain extent, 2 dimensional at times. ) I don’t actually see the link between Eren and Levi simply because their relationship throughout the entire series has always been firmly maintained as strictly professional.
2. The plot is brilliant; I love the plots and twists which seems to occur once every two episodes or so. Fantastic writing, brilliant direction and the animation is pretty well-done too. The only issue I have is that:
a. there is an overused motif of the power of friendship, love and courage will save the day. This motif has been flogged halfway to death by anime since the 1950s and it can get slightly tiring after a while.
b. I find it sociologically problematic how the mini plot lines find its resolutions (especially the ending of the anime) in brutality, violence and outright strength. To win, all you need to have is brute strength and whoever has more power, wins. I can of course, bring in a hooksian analysis on how such an ideology is complicit with patriarchal, misogynistic structures of power in society but I think what is important is that, even as the anime tries its best to subvert an overriding theme that the world is not a kind of Schopenhaueresque landscape filled with cruelty and darkness: we see this in the selfless bravery of Eren as a little boy, the camaraderie of the 104 Cadet Corps. However, even as this ideology is subverted at times, the subversion only acts to reinforce that very same ideology as the very 104 Cadet Corp members who was seen laughing and cracking jokes in one episode were abruptly killed off in the next. We see how the selfless bravery of Eren eventually becomes an impetus for Mikasa to turn into numb killing machine in order to protect her “brother”. What I find intriguing really, is how this ideology is maintained and restructured, even in the face of impeding destruction of Mankind. Is it perhaps, to borrow a certain phrasing from Zizek, easier to imagine the end of society rather than to think of a post-patriarchal, post-capitalist ideology that restructures society?
Just my first few thoughts so pardon the incoherence!