This article contains spoilers for the Attack on Titan* anime (up to Episode 31)
and manga (up to Volume 12 + some chapters from Volume 22)
Hey, everyone! I’m Mokugyo, the manga-and-anime loving writer here at MANGA.TOKYO! Every week, I just can’t wait to watch the anime adaptation of Attack on Titan (Shingeki no Kyojin)! This second season is just as exciting as the first, as we had expected. I am also reading the manga, and I strongly feel that every anime episode is very faithful to the original work. Although some of the illustrations in the manga are not drawn that well, those scenes become very beautiful in the anime. The anime inherits every dramatic and energetic aspect of the original work.
Today, I would like to write an article about Episode 31. A very surprising new fact was revealed in this episode. Please be aware that this article will have spoilers from Episodes 1 – 35 of the anime and volumes 1 – 22 of the manga.
The Amazing Revelation of Episode 31
I’m sure we can all agree that Episode 31 is one of the major episodes of this season. In this episode, it was revealed that the Armored Titan’s true identity is Reiner Braun and the Colossal Titan is Bertholt Hoover. It must have been a huge surprise for those viewers who have never read the manga and had managed to avoid spoilers. It was very shocking that Eren’s true enemies, who killed his mother, were members of the Survey Corps all along.
When we look at some posts on Twitter and videos made by the Attack on Titan anime fans and overseas fans, it was very clear that this episode was shocking to many people.
— Hymn of the Fayth (@williammoalaeua) June 9, 2017
How the Story of Episode 31 was Illustrated in the Original Manga
In the original manga, Reiner and Bertolt’s true identity was revealed at the end of the tenth volume. Hajime Isayama, the author of the manga, had once answered in an interview that he would bring a huge turning point in the tenth volume. As he had announced and planned, he surprised the readers in this volume.
When the members of the Survey Corps were trying to move away from the wall, Reiner suddenly calls to Eren. Then, in his usual speaking tone, he tells Eren that he himself is the Armored Titan and that Bertholt is the Colossal Titan.
For those fans who only watch the anime, I’m sure it was hard to believe that such shocking words just suddenly came from Reiner’s mouth.
Of course, this was a shocking scene in the manga, too. What was more surprising was that this scene was drawn in a very small panel. Reiner’s lines were spoken even more casually than in the anime. Because this shocking truth was suddenly revealed, I was very, very surprised when I was reading it.
Right after this scene in the anime, there is a flashback scene in which Sasha says something very stupid, so it becomes comical for a moment. In the original manga, Sasha does not show up in the flashback. Also, another thing that was impressive about the anime was the moment it becomes completely silent. The flag gets blown away by the wind, and the sound of it drops echoes in the silence. This strong ‘pause’ is also not included in the manga. On top of this, the rain stops and it becomes sunny in the anime, but the weather does not change in the manga. We can see how many stage effects were added to this scene in the anime adaptation.
In the original work, Reiner turns into a titan right after he reveals his identity, and there weren’t any pauses during this scene. Therefore, everything just occurs successively in a rapid speed, and Eren immediately turns into a titan in order to battle with the Armored Titan. This scene from the manga was quite impressive.
— Nawafpl (@nawafpl1) May 7, 2017
A Mistake in the Anime Cut in Episode 31?
Just like in the anime, in the manga Mikasa tries to kill Reiner and Bertolt before they turn into titans. Therefore, Reiner’s right arm gets cut off. However, in the anime, this cutting scene was rather unclear. The scene may have been too violent to illustrate in the anime.
Nevertheless, in the anime, when Reiner and Bertolt are standing next to each other before turning into titans, we can see that Reiner’s right arm is gone. From this, we find out that Mikasa did cut off his arm. However, what’s interesting is that, right before this scene, when Reiner pushed off Mikasa from the wall, his right arm was still there. It appears only for a second, but we can clearly see his arm illustrated, so some fans assume that this may be a mistake in the anime. Others say that this might have been done to follow TV content regulations. Either way, it is very surprising how fans are watching every single detail.
— Aareon❄ (@TBEHollow) May 9, 2017
Did the Manga Readers See This Coming?
Out of all the Attack on Titan fans, there were some people who predicted that Reiner and Bertolt may be titans. However, I assume the number of such fans was rather small. That is why, for most readers, it was very shocking when this big event came up in the manga.
In the manga’s 41st chapter and the anime’s 30th episode, there is a scene in which a tower is about to fall down and Bertholt tries to bite his hand to turn into a titan. However, he did not transform in this scene. Although it was a quick scene that many people did not even notice, some readers were able to make a prediction that Bertholt is a titan.
I feel that there was only a small amount of people who predicted that Reiner is also a titan because there is a scene in which he saves Connie from a different titan. Also, at the beginning of the manga’s serialization, the illustrations were rather poorly drawn, and the scene with the Armored Titan ends quickly. The features of the titan in the early chapters are not as distinguished as in the anime. In the animated version, we can see that the Armored Titan’s hairstyle and hair color resembles those of Reiner. Thanks to the poor drawings, almost no readers of the manga were able to guess the true identity of the Armored Titan.
The manga is being serialized in a monthly magazine, and a new volume of the comic series gets published once every four months. On the other hand, regarding the anime, it has been four years since the end of its first season. As a result, I’m sure there were many people who unintentionally came across spoilers before watching the second season. Those fans who were able to watch the anime’s 31st episode without any prior knowledge of what was coming were very lucky!
— Jes (@qveenbangtan) June 3, 2017
A Completely Different Composition in Episode 35
In the anime’s 35th episode, there are some flashback scenes of Ymir. Although most of the events that occur in this episode are based on the manga’s 47th chapter in Volume 12, Ymir’s flashbacks only come up in Volume 22. In the anime, Ymir’s past is revealed at an earlier point so that it would be easier for the viewers to understand why she is always thinking about Christa. For those fans who only watch the anime, the flashbacks must have made it easier to understand Ymir’s motivations. In the Attack on Titan anime adaptation, there are many episodes in which the story’s composition is slightly changed from the manga, and we can say this technique was very prominent in Episode 35. If Ymir’s past was revealed at the same time as in the manga, it would have taken couple of years for those scenes to get animated.
If you have only watched the anime adaptation of Attack on Titan, I strongly recommend that you to read the original manga as well. It is a very entertaining book. In the latest chapter of the manga series, another unexpected event occurred. We cannot take our eyes off both the manga and anime of Attack on Titan!