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In the first season of Attack on Titan we got a lot of shocks and surprises. One of those is the reveal of the Female Titan’s identity. But, what was the Female Titan doing before her first appearance? The new special episode gives a small look at exactly that.

[Note: This article contains major spoilers for Attack on Titan Season 1.]

For 100 years, humanity has been living in in relative safety in huge walled-off city from giant man-eating Titans—giant humanoid creatures. But, one day a Colossal Titan breaches the wall and the Titans lay waste to humanities last bastion. In the aftermath of the destruction, our hero Eren Yeager vows to destroy every last Titan and joins the military to master the art of killing Titans.

The latest OVA (original video anime) episode of the series titled “Wall Sina, Goodbye –Zenpen-” takes place in between the 16th and 17th episode of the series. The story follows the character Annie Leonhart one her day off before a large mission. Rather than spending the day resting and relaxing, she’s on a hunt for a missing person. But, this person has a dark secret and it’s up to Annie to find out what’s going on.

It’s rather interesting the focus of the OVA is Annie since we know her fate as the Female Titan. Yet, we actually learn a bit more about her character than previously let on through the mystery she has to solve. While it seems all she has to do is find a missing person, when we look a little deeper the story is an exploration of her guilt and how she deals with it.

We actually see Annie’s guilt manifest in a dream before she even begins her manhunt. The dream hearkens back to the events of episodes 5 through 12 in the first season. In these episodes, a city is overrun with Titans and it’s up to Eren and company to stop the onslaught. While Annie takes part in the events, she’s more or less in the background. However, there’s one critical moment we see in her dream. She steals a set of Vertical Maneuvering Equipment from one of her living comrades. Yet, because she left the man—her supposed friend—to die a gruesome death, she’s stricken with guilt. It’s a fantastic scene to open the OVA because it informs Annie isn’t just some sort of cold and calculating character we initially think she is. But, rather she’s just as human as the other characters and thus can succumb to trauma.

So then, why does Annie take on the missing person case? It has nothing to do with her traumatic experience nor does it prepare her what’s to come. The reason is two fold. First, Annie’s roommate blackmails her into it. Since Annie needs a day off for a “thing,” she asks her roommate to cover for her. But, the roommate wants something in return. So, she gives Annie an ultimatum: take her missing woman case or no day off. Now, Annie could just as easily say no to the job. Yet, because the “thing” Annie needs to do is chasing Eren, she has no choice but to accept. However, this conversation is played off as two roommates keeping each other out of trouble and doesn’t touch upon Annie’s trauma. It’s just a clever rouse for Annie.

The second reason for Annie taking the missing woman job, though, stabs right at the heart of her trauma. It’s so she can 1) forget about her dream and 2) keep her mind of what she has to do the next day. In other words, she takes the job to take her mind off any killing she’s done and will do. It’s really interesting seeing this play out with Annie because we don’t expect this from her. Consider, during the final half of the first season of Attack on Titan she murders a lot of people in cold-blood and doesn’t even flinch. Yet, the OVA is telling us this actually eats away at her psyche—especially when it involves her friends. Hence, she needs some outlet to take her mind off of this and the job it the perfect excuse for how involved it is.

The job isn’t as simple as asking people if they’ve seen the woman or tracing her steps. It involves a lot of sleuthing and strong arming people on Annie’s part. And surprisingly, this actually takes her mind off of her trauma and chasing Eren. This makes a lot of sense because it requires her to stay engaged with the people she’s speaking to and her surrounding in general. For instance, her first major lead is that the woman may be involved in the illegal sale of drugs. While this piece of information partially comes from the woman’s police record, much more of it is comes from Annie manhandling some thugs. But still, she alone has to connect the pieces together in order to find the woman she’s looking for. And so the deeper Annie goes down the rabbit hole of information gathering and physical altercations, the more she’s able to forget about what’s ailing her.

We didn’t get to learn much about Annie during the events of the Attack on Titan TV anime series. But, this OVA opens up a new revelations about her and how she is actually suffering from her actions as a double agent. And that opens up many possibilities for her character should she ever come out of her crystalline coma.

Attack on Titan “Wall Sina, Goodbye –Zenpen-” was released with the 24th volume of the manga on December 8, 2017. There is now word on an international release.

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