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A Dim Light Amid Despair: Humanity's Comeback, Part 1

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This article is about the third episode of the anime. For the fifth chapter of the manga, see A Dull Glow in the Midst of Despair.


Quote1 Grisha... Today, your son became a soldier. Quote2
— Keith Sadies observes Eren's progress

A Dim Light Amid Despair: Humanity's Comeback, Part 1 (絶望の中で鈍く光る ―人類の再起①― Zetsubō no Naka de Nibuku Hikaru -Jinrui no Saiki (1)-?) is the 3rd episode of the 1st season and the 3rd episode overall of the Attack on Titan anime, produced by Wit Studio and Production I.G.

Overview

Keith Sadies, the instructor, starts breaking psychologically some of the new cadets a a manner of rite. The appearance of Sasha Braus eating a potato in front of him makes her suffer a hard punishment. That night, Eren tells his new comrades about Shiganshina District, the Colossal Titan and his will to join the Scout Regiment. This makes Jean Kirschtein mock him and the two start hating each other as soon as they continue to argue. The next day, the cadets start training with the omni-directional mobility gear, but Eren is not good at it. He asks for advice from Reiner Braun and Bertholdt Hoover and the following day he manages to balance with a broken belt. Keith notices this and gives Eren a new belt. He then says that Grisha's son has really become a soldier.

Summary

Keith Sadies, the instructor of the 104th Cadet Corps, is psychologically breaking down the new cadets as a rite of passage to break them down so they can rebuild them as soldiers. As an officer and his attendant pass by, they notice Sadies does not subject a few cadets to this abuse and the officer simply notes that their expressions distinguish them from the rest of the group as being present to the fall of Wall Maria two years earlier. These cadets are shown to be Annie Leonhart, Mikasa Ackermann, Reiner Braun, Bertholdt Hoover, Eren Jaeger and a freckled cadet (ironically, Armin Arlelt is not spared).

Sasha eating a potato

Sasha eats a potato in front of Keith Sadies

As their instructor continues to go down the line, he notices Sasha Braus eating a stolen potato. Everyone is stunned at her complete lack of tact in eating the potato at that exact moment. As Sadies attempts to understand why she is eating the potato, Sasha splits her potato in half and gives him a piece before smirking, saying that they can share it.

Later, Eren, Armin, Marco Bodt, Conny Springer, and Mina Carolina watch Sasha do her punishment of running until exhaustion but notice that this punishment did not faze her as much as when she was told she would not be given any dinner. Marco, one of the cadets, remembers that Eren was not fazed and Eren reveals that he and Armin are from Shiganshina. The rest of the group is surprised and begin pressing Eren for details of the Colossal Titan.

Eren talks with his friends

Eren tells the cadets his memories of Shiganshina

This leads to other cadets crowding around Eren at dinnertime and he describes the appearance of the Colossal and Armored Titan. He becomes sick as he remembers his mother being eaten at which point Marco suggests they no longer question Eren and force him to bring up things he would rather not bring back. However, Eren simply attributes this to eagerness to begin his training and kill all the Titans with the Scout Regiment.

Jean Kirschtein interrupts Eren and mocks his decision to join the Scout Regiment. Eren does not appreciate Jean's desire to join the Military Police simply to live in the interior Walls and the two prepare to fight each other.

The bell signaling the end of dinner rings, breaking the tension and the two drop their disagreement with each other. As people begin to leave, Jean catches a glimpse of Mikasa and becomes smitten with her. He attempts to start a conversation with her but only manages to say that her hair is beautiful.

She acknowledges that compliment and Jean follows her outside where he sees her with Eren. As Mikasa reprimands Eren for letting his emotions get the better of him, Eren remarks that Mikasa's hair is too long and she begins to wonder how short it should be. Jean is devastated and wipes his "trust" onto Conny's shirt as he looks on, completely dejected.

Sasha has completed her punishment and falls to the ground when she smells food. She instinctively grabs it and it is revealed that Christa Lenz has brought bread for her. As Sasha is practically worshiping Christa, the freckled cadet comes by and Sasha wolfs the bread down before falling asleep from exhaustion. She questions Christa's motive in helping before taking Sasha to her bunk.

Eren looks for help

Eren asks Reiner and Bertholdt for help

The next day, the cadets begin practicing with the omni-directional mobility gear. Eren utterly fails to keep himself steady and takes extra tutoring from Armin and Mikasa, which control the gear quite good, especially Mikasa. He knocks himself out and Mikasa and Armin help him to recover. At dinner, other cadets mock his performance especially after his pledge to kill all Titans.

Back at the dorm, Conny and Jean do not offer any suggestions and Eren goes to Reiner Braun and Bertholdt Hoover for help. Although they are reluctant at first, the group exchange their stories of how they first encountered Titans. After talking about their motives, Reiner gives Eren some tips about the gear and they part as friends.
Eren controls his balance

Eren controls his balance with the broken belt

The next scene shows Eren back at the practice rigging as Sadies let him try to balance himself on the omni-directional mobility gear one last time before he will be shipped to the landfills. At first, it appears Eren can maintain his balance and his peers begin cheering, but just as quickly, Eren flips upside down again.

Sadies has him put back on the ground and after a few moments of contemplation, has Eren switch gear with Thomas Wagner. Eren easily keeps his balance and Sadies reveals his gear was defective, impressing everyone as Eren could keep his balance, even for a while, with the broken gear.

After seeing this, Sadies mentally notes to Eren's father, Grisha Jaeger, that his son has become a soldier. Later, a training session is shown, in which Eren is able to keep up with Mikasa, showing that he has mastered the gear.

Characters in Order of Appearance

Anime and Manga Differences

  • When Eren is at the dining room feeling embarrassed for his failure at balancing, a small column of steam emerges from the bandages of his head. This could be both a sign of his shame and a reference to his Titan healing abilities.
  • Part of the conversation between Eren, Armin, Reiner and Bertholdt happens while they walk through the field, while in the manga, they just talk at the bedroom.

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