Witnessing despair unfolds in fiction has always been one of my guilty pleasures. It provides a sense of rushed growth, of emotional development, coated with the deception that it justifies such progress. That whatever misfortune happens, it justifies how the character came to be.
Probably because hardship and despair hit human instincts the hardest. Just like in Majestic Prince, the fear of death, the sign of trouble, triggers a person’s fight or flight instincts. No matter how rational you try to force yourself, suppressed urges fight back the hardest, against reason, against logic.
It also shows a character’s real worth. People who run their talk abandon ship at first sign of trouble. Not limited in anime but even in real life. Ever know of somebody who likes to brag, to make shit up, only to shrink and hide when the real trouble begins?
Challenges like that evaluate humans. Human nature verifies our existence and decides whether or not we are characters worthy of being a character.
And what these past two episode of Shingeki no Kyojin excel the most is such portrayal of character. Of human character.
It’s not just Mikasa’s fight or flight instincts or her SeeD mode, but how this episode emphasized on Mikasa’s strength as well as her weakness. The very weakness that she tried to bury underneath her overwhelming display of strength.
And not many series can do this so well nowadays. To portray a character in two episodes encompassing her whole identity as seen from different perspectives that merits a mix of admiration, of awe, of beauty, of ugliness, of disgust. The raw human nature portrayed under the pressure of an ideal and the realization of the destruction of one’s comfort zone.