During a 104th Cadet Corps wilderness exercise in which Jean and Eren once again display their rivalry, a gang of thieves steals the cadets' ODM gear and takes Christa as a hostage. The cadets put aside their differences to rescue Christa and their equipment, and together they overpower the thieves. When Armin later reports the situation to the commandant, he wonders if the attack was a part of their training all along.
In the year 848, the 104th Cadet Corps are on a training exercise navigating the desert on horseback within a given time limit, all the while recording the group's progress. For this exercise, the 104th are split into two teams, one led by Marco Bodt, and the other led by Thomas Wagner. On both Marco's and Thomas' groups are Armin and Mikasa, respectively, who are tasked with recording and evaluating each member's individual performance. Commandant Sadies required both teams to not rush themselves, wanting the exercise to be simple and devoid of urgency.
On Marco's team, Eren becomes impatient with the slow pace, but Jean argues there is no point rushing as putting in extra effort will not better his chances of entering the Military Police. Sasha and Conny, meanwhile, complain of the lack of excitement with Jean agreeing. Spotting a lizard, Jean decides to try hunting it, stating that securing food is also part of their mission. Eren intervenes, demanding Jean stop fooling around but Jean insists there is no point taking things seriously. Marco reprimands Jean, telling him disturbing the formation will be documented. As the quarrel exacerbates, it is suddenly broken up when Sasha shrieks that the lizard is delicious, muttering that it could have fed them well. The team decides to move on.
Elsewhere, Thomas's group find that their ODM gear has been mysteriously stolen. Noticing track marks, Reiner deduces that a caravan of thieves is responsible. The group decides to speed up their operation to warn Marco's team of the thieves and return to camp before anything else happens.
That night, Marco's team eat their rations around the campfire, with Sasha stating the lizard would have been tastier. Eren and Jean get into another argument, criticizing each other's reasons for joining the military. Armin considers recording the incident, but Marco insists he refrain. As the squabble continues, Christa notices a figure moving in the distance, but the others fail to notice.
Later, while the others sleep, Christa sits on the lakeside with her horse. Suddenly, a figure appears behind her and she lets out a scream, awakening Eren and the others who find themselves at gunpoint by masked thieves. The thieves begin gathering the group's mobility gear, stating that the gear is wasted against Titans, but will sell handsomely on the black market. Eren seizes the thief's rifle and orders his squadmates to attack, but the others do not dare resist. Jean tries to make a break for it, but during Eren's struggle, the rifle accidentally discharges, grazing Jean's cheek and paralyzing him with fear. Seizing his gun back, the masked thief knocks Eren to the ground, repeating to not move if he values his life.
The thieves round up the mobility gear and also take Christa hostage, stating they will release her once they are safely away, but only if Eren and the others do not pursue. As the thieves ride away, Eren angrily shouts at his squadmates that they could have been stopped if they had all fought together. Jean, however, rebukes that Eren's reckless actions could have gotten them all killed. Eren questions if they are abandoning Christa, but Marco states they are better off retreating and asking Sadies for assistance. Furious, Eren storms off to rescue Christa even if he is alone, but he is stopped by Jean who insists he is coming too. The rest of the team joins in, all of them determined to stop the thieves.
Conny questions how to find the thieves, and Sasha suggests securing a vantage point to search their surroundings. Scaling a mountain, the team spots the thieves' campsite. Armin deduces that the thieves will use a road to leave the forest and sell their spoils, and the cadets move to intercept them. Working together, Conny and Sasha block off a road using foliage, forcing the thieves to funnel into a narrower path. Lying in wait on the narrower road, Eren and Jean ambush the caravan holding the mobility gear and successfully subdue the men on the cart. On the other cart, Christa manages to protect the two boys from gunfire, but a stray shot takes out their cart's wheel, causing it to swerve and crash. Eren and Jean emerge from the wreckage unharmed as Marco and the others catch up. Equipping their mobility gear, the cadets continue their pursuit. Before joining, Armin fires a green signal flare.
Having lost the mobility gear and down to only one cart, the remaining thieves decide to sell Christa instead. Their escape is cut short by the arrival of Eren and Jean who set loose the carriage's horse using their blades. The cart crashes and the two remaining thieves hold Christa at knifepoint, ordering the cadets to surrender their gear and back down. Suddenly, Mikasa and Annie emerge from the trees and disarm the thieves. Mikasa puts her sword to the thief's throat, but Christa tells her to spare him, having heard that the thief has a daughter. The rest of Thomas' squad catches up, having followed Armin's flare.
The thieves are taken into custody by the Military Police with no casualties on either side. Armin later submits his report to Sadies and questions if they were right to pursue the thieves or should they have turned around. Sadies replies that the only right action was doing what was most important to them. Armin wonders if meeting the thieves was perhaps part of their exercise all along.
Elsewhere, Marco muses that he should not have been chosen as the leader for the exercise and suggests Jean would have been a better fit, though Eren disagrees. Marco laughs, stating that someday he will understand. Looking to the sunrise of a new day, Marco wonders what kind of soldiers everyone will become.
Currently Publicly Available Information
Wasteland Excursion Training
An exercise where the cadets are split into two groups and make a round trip through the wasteland. They leave the training base at the same time on separate routes, retrieve an object at the checkpoint, and return to base. The exercise aims to test their vigilance in tedious, low-risk situations.
Characters in order of appearance
- This is the only anime episode where the narrator identifies himself as Armin Arlelt.
- Despite the fact that this OVA is numbered 3.75, placing it after A Sudden Visitor: The Torturous Curse of Adolescence, it is stated to take place during the year 848, a year before the events of A Sudden Visitor.
- In this episode, Jean learns that Sasha knows how to cook. The next time this skill would be brought up is in A Sudden Visitor: The Torturous Curse of Adolescence.