Attack on Titan has finally returned in its anime form, from WIT studios after a lengthy break to make a poor imitation that was totally successful, but they haven’t lost the Attack on Titan magic. The striking music and the stylised art style compacted to create a great first episode for Season 2. The episode as a whole felt like a great reintroduction with just the right balance of recap and entirely new material. (Unless you’ve read ahead in the manga as I have which I have to say they are adapting quite well) The only no-manga related content in this episode are some filler flashback scenes, with Eren lamenting about his mother. I prefer that they added characterisation as original material for the show, rather than cut important characterisation scenes from the manga. The only thing that was noticeably different than the manga was the timing of Mike’s death in relation to everything else going on in this Arc. If I recall correctly, in the manga many of the other scenes in this episode as well as episode 2 and certain parts of episode 3 occur before Mike is killed by the mysterious ‘Beast Titan.’
Mike’s death helps establish the sense of dread that was also established in the first episode of the first season of Attack on Titan with the death of Eren’s mother. They are both used of course to remind the audience to always keep their guard up because characters can die at seemingly any moment. I believe the creator of the show specifically, are trying to mirror the first season much like Game of Thrones used to do with episode 9s. Every season when episode 9 of the show would roll around the audience knew to expect something epic, whether it be a massive episode long battle or the tragic killing off of a main character or characters, the audience was taught to expect the unexpected. This relates to Attack on Titan because I believe that the 5th episode of every Attack on Titan season will be similar; and because of my knowledge of the manga I would like to make a very vague prediction to what this event may be. I believe episode 4 will end with some ‘falling down’ and the audience will be left to wonder what on Earth is going on only for episode 5 to roll around the following week and this action having a Earth shattering result. Once you anime only viewers see it you’ll understand what I mean!
I would like give the episode and the entire season as a whole props for not showing the entire season in the trailer that came out. One of my biggest pet-peeves in entertainment today is when the trailer basically shows you everything you need to see about the piece of entertainment. A deferent example of this was The Amazing Spiderman 2, when literally the final scene was shown in the trailer. However it seems Attack on Titan only used clips from the first few episodes of the season leaving the second half of the season completely unspoiled. This works especially for the Beats Titan which the marketing team couldn’t have attempted to cover up, since it was heavily featured in the recently released video game. So thankfully they understood the audience and didn’t insult our intelligence.
Now I would like to get controversial by saying that my favorite opening for this show is the second one and that I really like both the opening and ending themes for this season. I think the ending theme is perfect both with the creepy music and the spoilerific visuals, which an anime only viewer couldn’t possibly begin to understand. I think the opening theme is the weakest so far but I really enjoy it, but I must admit it doesn’t musically reach the same level as the other two. There just feels like something is missing in the song, but I appreciate that they brought back Log Horizon for the opening and hopefully they will continue this strategy in the future seasons.
So now that we’ve to praised the majority of the episode let’s find some faults in it. One glaring issue that I haven’t seen brought up to much in the reviews in seen is the awful CGI horses, which weren’t in season 1 but there very prevalent in this episode and it was absolutely noticeable. But really that is the only negative aspect in the first episode, besides the fact that it didn’t really ‘wow’ me because it was basically exactly what I expected and that is why it gets the score it does overall.
As mentioned above for these aspects this episode gets a 7. Also I would like to mention that there was some subtle foreshadowing to many things in this episode that I’m sure the manga readers will understand and catch on to. Also I would like to let everyone know for their sanity: THERE WILL BE NO BASEMENT REVEAL THIS SEASON! That will most likely be the ending to season 4 sadly…