What do you think of the recent chapters of the snk manga? I love your meta and miss reading it… Hope you're doing well! <3
Hi! Sorry I’ve gone off the grid, my Tokyo Ghoul blog got real popular so it’s been taking up most of my time. And thank you! I’m doing good B)
I really like GrizzledVeteran!Reiner, his relationship with the Warrior Youth, and getting to see the Fall of Shiganshina from his perspective. His speech at his family dinner was one of the most powerful and moving scenes in SNK to date, making the guilt lying on his mind and the murky greyness of this moral universe subtly but surely apparent to the reader. Annie screentime is always appreciated and we’ve also been given the gift of the wonderfully creepy yet somehow endearing Pieck.
But what has blown me away with gale force winds over these past couple of chapters is the extreme intensification of parallels between Eren and Reiner. I’ve talked about their similarities here and here, but recent chapters have cranked it up a notch.
Reiner starts out as a kid with very little talent but a whole lot of spirit.
He places little value on his own life if it means changing the world.
Both search long for a missing father to find disappointment down the end of the road.
He eventually realises that he has become a “hero that will save the world” not due to his destiny, but due to the secret meddling of others.
And he becomes disillusioned, the spirit that drove him forward quelled to existential uncertainty and despair.
His commitment to his ideology came into conflict with his commitment to his friends…
And his commitment to his friends ultimately won out.
And to make these parallels all the more explicit, we have these two pages.
The same three-panel formula, in reversed positions no less (Reiner on the right, Eren on the left): they look up at the sky in the first panel, it makes them realise something in a reaction shot in the second, and the third depicts the wall opposite them that stands between them, even when their sky, and themselves, are the same. We also have Bertholdt’s parallel Armin running up to meet Eren to round off the connection.
Throughout SNK, we’ve had three major images that have received symbolic focus. Each image corresponds to the make-up of the world. The Earth is represented through the Walls, symbolic of security but also isolation and confinement. The Sea was for a long time a symbol of hope and freedom, but upon finding it, Eren discovers it’s just another kind of Wall - another fragile protective barrier keeping them penned in. So we come to Chapter 91, and a new symbolic focus comes into play - the Sky.
People are separated by Walls and Seas, but the Sky unites them all. Walls are manmade, just as prejudices are, and can be knocked down; Seas are natural, like the biological differences between Eldians and Marleyans, but they are still traversable. It is the Sky that must remind us that the differences that divide us are petty. Eren and Reiner, two people more alike than brothers, are made into enemies by the Walls and the Seas when the Sky tells them they are one and the same. Thus the Sky is the series’ true symbol of hope and freedom.
Given this imagery and the focus we’ve had on him in these recent chapters, I believe Reiner, along with Eren, will be key to uniting the Marley and Eldian peoples if they can embrace the Sky and leave the Walls and the Sea behind.