Someone on Facebook mentioned how Armin had an opening to attack Bertl’s neck. I think if it had been any other character in Armin’s place, it could have happened. His combat skills are less than impressive (we’re talking about 2/10 here). He has neither the coordination nor the agility to pull such a move. Also, when I did a close up of his panel I noticed his eyes are closed and his facial expression looks troubled. Either I am reading too much into it and he was just blinking or he momentarily gave in to panic. Even if it was for a mere second, his mind hadn’t been on the right state to move and attack. Maybe he never really lost his focus and purposely stood still, but judging by his facial expressions on the next page, it could be the former. He had been trembling while talking to Bertl after all.
I’m going on a tangent here, but Armin and Mikasa are going to get a lot of backlash from fans when this is animated. (Brace yourself, the ‘Armin is useless’ and ‘Mikasa is impulsive’ comments will be coming). I’m not condemning her for her actions. Yes, they probably could have bought more time for the other squad to move in, but it’s not like she failed to save Armin after her sneak attack prompted Bertl to get more aggressive. I’m still unsure of how things could have gone differently had she not popped out like a ninja. What was Bertl going to do after he was done talking to Armin? Just walk away and proceed to turn into bomb? Try to kill Armin? Would Hange’s Squad arrive on time to finish off Reiner before he turned? If the outcome was going to be the same, then what difference does it make if she attacked? Anyway, I’d rather not dwell on could-have-been scenarios anymore because it’s making feel even more…uh, whatever I’m feeling about this chapter.