I’m having one of those moments where I’m feeling very strongly about Reiner and Bertolt, and I want to make an intelligent post talking about topics pertaining to moral complexity in Attack on Titan and how slowly but surely the whole cast is becoming murderers of humans, not to the degree that they have been, but in ways that are vastly more intimate and personal. But I’m also in one of those places where I just want to lie down and incoherently moan about them without having to do my fandom intellectual bit, which isn’t wholly appropriate for my blog.
Like, here’s the thing. What’s the difference between a boy who stabs two kidnappers to death, having planned the killings in advance to rescue another child, and who justifies their deaths by saying they were less than human, a soldier who has never killed before shooting another soldier in the heat of the moment to save the life of a comrade, an infiltrator becoming a monster and personally killing dozens of soldiers with her bare hands as part of her mission, and two children being used to destroy the means that protects thousands of people, bringing about their deaths indirectly but at least partially knowingly on behalf of someone giving the orders?
Isn’t that one of the big questions? It’s tempting to say that the one who is responsible for the most human deaths is the worst, or the one responsible for the most innocent deaths, or the one who killed most personally. It’s tempting to say the one who is the worst is the one who is on the “evil” side in the narrative as constructed thus far. But how do you weigh these against each other? They are all killing human beings, but in wildly different circumstances. Some were done out of justice, or a need to survive. Some were done on orders. Some regretted their actions immensely. Others believed they were the right thing to do. All of their hands are stained with blood. The question is whether we want to morally rank these characters based on the factors presented or not. Is that really the point?
Who do you think actually wants to kill people, indeed.