ANIME MONDAY: Attack on Titan – “Crushing Blow – 57th Expedition Beyond The Walls Pt. 5” Review

Previously on Attack on Titan:

Erwin succeeded in capturing the Female Titan but before they could figure out her identity she was eaten by a swarm of Titans. When Erwin called for a retreat he noticed that the human inside was nowhere to be found. Meanwhile Eren & the Spec Ops Squad are attacked by a rogue soldier who kills Gunther! Spoiler Ahead!

Gunther is dead, and Eren & the rest of the Spec Ops find themselves dealing with the cloaked soldier that killed him. As they make their way through the forest things start getting even more hectic when the soldier turns into the Female Titan! Eren once again contemplates turning into a Titan but is once again stopped by Petra and the others who decided to kill the Titan and allow Eren time to regroup with Levi. Eren leaves the fight in their hands, but as he watches the battle take place, he realizes that the choice he made may have been the wrong one.

This episode is a step up from last episode by a pretty wide margin, and last week wasn’t a bad episode by any means. The longer the show goes on the more you see just how badly the humans are losing the war against the Titans and this episode is one of the prime examples of that truth.

Once again the title explains the situation of the episode perfectly as almost every scene in this episode is a gut punch of the highest degree. Starting with…

The death of Squad Levi

When Petra, Oluo, & Eldo decide to handle the Female Titan on their own, they actually put up a fairly decent fight and manage to back the Female Titan into a corner. Taking out her eyes and forcing to back into a tree to protect her backside while they slice away at her arms so she can no longer protect her neck. The animation in these scenes is very fluid and show just why these three are part of Levi’s Squad with them coordinating moves even after losing Gunther. That is until the Female Titan bites Eldo in half.

These scenes are pretty tough to watch (and that’s alot coming from the death being handed out at a discount in the show) as each of them suffers a fate more horrible than the last. Petra is stomped into a tree, breaking her back in half, and Oluo (who comes close to slicing her neck before she hardens it) is kicked with amazing ferocity. Before the fight is actually started the scenes are inter cut with scenes of Erwin explaining to Hanji why their tactics aren’t working. they aren’t taking risks and prefer to play it safe and clean, and they won’t win that way. Despite the horrible deaths something good does come out of it as we see Eren turn into a Titan again.

The fight between him and the Female Titan is a spectacle, it’s akin to a championship boxing match as they land hits while also feeling each other out. Eren has little control over himself and you can see the regret in his face as he fights, thinking that if he transformed earlier the others would be alive. He even starts to give in to his Titan desires as he says hes going to kill the Female Titan and eat her (complete with a sadistic grin). This is also the second time we see fear in the Female Titan’s eyes as she tries to hold off Eren’s assault, she pulls out a few moves on her own but is ultimately caught off guard by Eren’s ferociousness, hell even punching his jaw off doesn’t stop him. Eventually though she does cut off his head when he gets distracted, and bites him out of his Titan form’s neck swallowing him whole.

Enter Mikasa, she watches the events go down and suffice to say she doesn’t take it well. As she relentelssly persues the Female Titan to save Eren. She does the work that took three of the Spec ops Squad to do as she manages to break down the Titan and bring her to her knees before she is stopped by Levi.

Levi doesn’t say much this episode but he does have the most to deal with as he comes too late and sees his entire squad dead. He doesn’t say anything but you can see on his face that it’s tearing him up inside. He stops Mikasa and the two back up and proceed to follow the Female Titan to wherever she is going. This is going to be good.

“Crushing Blow” is just that, everything in this episode is like a punch to the face. No moment is wasted and the tension and fear is turned all the way up to 11. While the mystery of the Female Titan is still unclear, it is clear that she is a threat that must be stopped. The war to survive continues next week as Levi & Mikasa engage the Female Titan.