So, one night... or I guess I should say morning... as I slowly drifted off to sleep at the wee hour of 6:00 AM, an idea occurred to me for a blog post. After mulling over this idea for some time, I went to sleep. I subsequently woke up, went about my day (I went to see War for the Planet of the Apes; great film), and completely forgot about my idea for my blog post. Until now. This blog will be dedicated to the characters of Sasha Blouse and Connie Springer (in case you couldn't figure it out), and whether they still have the potential to become real characters, or if they are doomed to remain soulless cardboard cutouts, destined to continue appearing in group shots with the rest of the main cast, despite having no real reason to exist. At least, that's what I want to write about. But I have a sneaking suspicion that this blog will lean closer to a "ranting on why they should have died a long time ago" theme. Oh well. Let's just see how this goes. ¯\_(ツ)_/¯
Let's start with the character that I at least still find entertaining, even if she doesn't serve a narrative purpose: Sasha. To her credit, Sasha started her life on the series as a decently interesting character. Her food obsession worked splendidly as a source of comedic relief in the series, and she cemented herself as a unique member of the main cast during the Battle for Trost, where she showed herself to be a coward, attempting to surrender to the Peering Titan when she failed to kill it, and trying multiple times to come up with excuses for why she could not return to the battlefield with the rest of the soldiers. In a cast full of courageous idiots, fearless beasts, brave nerds, and Mary Sues, a character like Sasha, who was able to provide effective comedy, and bring a unique personality trait (namely cowardice) to the table was a welcome addition.
Then, of course, I'm Home happened. A chapter in which Sasha was intended to die, but was saved at the last moment by an editor who apparently has way too much control over the Attack on Titan series, and a writer who cares more about his editor's feelings than his characters' development. Yes, Sasha was spared that day... but at what cost? Since I'm Home, Sasha has done little to nothing of importance in the story. Granted, I've talked with some people who insist that her archery was a key plot point in The Uprising arc, but I could just as easily argue that a new character could have filled her role. Probably Levi. That guy can do anything. Or maybe Connie. Give that poor guy something to do (wait, Connie's section comes later). And she didn't really do anything in the Return to Shiganshina arc. During the final fight with Reiner, she was knocked out before she could even use her Thunder Spear! Presumably so that Connie would have something to do (argh, getting ahead of myself again). I honestly can't think of anything of note Sasha has done since the Clash of the Titans arc that warrants her continued survival in the series. It's not like she's necessary for the success of the Survey Corps against the Titans. Erwin is. Oh wait...
Now that we've gotten through the character in this blog I actually like (believe it or not), let's go on to the one I can't stand. Good ol' Connie Springer. Where do I even start with this guy? There is no reason for him to get as much page time as he does. The last time he was even remotely relevant was when it was revealed his mother is a Titan. And that was nearly 40 chapters ago! Connie has gone on to do nothing since then. Seriously, go look at his wiki page. I'll even link it here. Go on and take a gander at this thing's page (I call him "thing" because "character" would be a vast overstatement). Connie has been in this series since chapter 2: 94 chapters, and his page is roughly the same length as Kenny Ackerman's (a vastly superior character who was in the series for a measly 17 chapters). Actually, you know what? Scratch that last comparison. Kenny was much more important to the series than Connie. I shouldn't have undersold him like that based on the length of his page.
I think the thing that angers me the most about Connie is that, in a different series, with a writer who knows how to juggle a large cast of characters, I would like Connie more. The main reason I hate Connie is because Isayama keeps writing the series as if Connie is a major player in the events that unfold. But he isn't. Sure, he's there when ever something big happens, but that's only because he's stalking the rest of the main cast wherever they go. If Connie was handled in the way that Isayama handled Moblit Berner, a character who appeared sparingly, and wasn't randomly shoe-horned into every shot in which Hange appeared, I would like him more. But he's not handled like Moblit. He's constantly being drawn into every shot in which the rest of the main cast appears, despite the fact that he received no story or development that is required of a main character in a series.
Also, while I'm on the subject of Connie being places he doesn't belong, why the HELL is he in Squad Levi? Isn't that reserved for the Survey Corps' very best? I mean, every other member deserves to be there: Eren is a Titan, Mikasa is invincible, Armin and Jean were personally involved with the mission to capture Annie and Stohess (and Jean spent the entirety of the Clash of the Titans arc with Erwin, so I'm sure Erwin put in a good word for him), Historia is a secret noble who knows the truth of the Walls, Sasha... um... wait, why is Sasha in the squad? Hm. Well, there's another point against Sasha, too. Seriously, Sasha and Connie get to be a part of Squad Levi for... surviving, I guess, and my man Thomas gets a giant middle finger after riding nonstop for 12 hours to report Titan sightings in Wall Rose? No wonder the Survey Corps is such an unpopular branch, at least the Military Police try to hide how corrupt they are.
Sasha and Connie, Together Forever
And now, I'd like to take a moment to discuss my inspiration for writing this blog: the second season of the Attack on Titan anime. Now, as I mentioned earlier, Sasha was supposed to die at the beginning of The Uprising arc, and was only saved at the last minute by an editor who cares more about his own feelings than this manga's story. As a result of this last minute change, Sasha was saved, but she failed to appear in the rest of the arc, as it was too late for Isayama to rewrite it to include her. Which is fine, the story lost nothing from her absence. At least, that's what I thought. The animators behind the Attack on Titan anime vehemently disagreed. They believed that Attack on Titan's flimsy little story would absolutely FALL APART without Sasha around to carry the series on her shoulders! So they wisely decided to shoe-horn her into the rest of the Clash of the Titans arc (thank goodness they did, right? The anime probably would have been cancelled if they hadn't). And they did this two ways: anime-original scenes including Sasha, and, my personal favorite: GIVING HALF OF CONNIE'S LINES TO HER. My dear blog readers, I need you to understand, there cannot be a more damning indictment of a literary character's worth than giving their lines to someone else. The way the anime handled Sasha and Connie's characters was basically just a roundabout way of admitting that the two of them are interchangeable, and have no impact on the story. Seriously, I cannot stress this enough: when a creative team decides that one character is so unimportant that they can just steal lines from him to give to another character who shouldn't even be appearing, it means that the character is... well, not a character.
Ah, well... I knew that intro was a lie. This blog was just one giant rant on why Sasha and Connie are pointless. Oh well. My one bit of solace in writing this post is the idea that watching the anime adaptation of his manga gave Isayama the same moment of clarity that it gave me: maybe he was forced to admit that his handling of Sasha has been less-than-stellar, and that his handling of Connie has been downright awful. Maybe it was what he needed to finally start developing them as characters. Or maybe he just realized it's time for them to die (I'd prefer the latter, especially for Connie). Or maybe he's just a blissfully oblivious to these characters' shortcomings as ever. Maybe my Sasha and Connie will live forever as the not-characters they currently are. In fact, that's probably what will happen. Oh well.
I know I put a "Part 1" in the title of this blog, but I don't know if I'll do another. I probably won't, but... who knows. I'm sure I'll find another character I can rant on. Peace, I'm out.