A Review of Attack on Titan, Season Two

After four years, several fake sequel announcements, 5 OVA’s, a weird middle school spin off and two crappy live action films, Studio WIT has finally delivered us the long awaited sequel to one of the most internationally successful Anime of the last decade. Is it burdened by having only 12 episodes this season? No. Does it answer the questions we were left with at the end of season one? Kinda. Does it improve upon the first season’s flaws? Absolutely.

Attack on Titan appropriately begins right where the first one left us hanging. Annie Leonheart, the Female Titan, has used her Titan ability to encase herself in a crystal cocoon. In the aftermath of her battle with Eren, a piece of the wall in the capital city has broken off revealing something no one could have predicted… a Titan within the wall. This leads Hange Zoe to believe that the walls may have been built using Titans.

At the same time, Connie, Sasha, Reiner, Bertholdt, Krista and Ymir are stationed within Wall Rose when word spreads that Titans are invading. They are deployed to evacuate all nearby towns until the military can assess the situation and take out the Titans. To make matters worse, an unusually intelligent Titan known as the Beast Titan has entered the fray.

Within the first episode, so many more questions are asked, making the cliffhanger at the end of season one look like child’s play. Why are there Titans in the walls? How did the Titans breach Wall Rose? Who is the Beast Titan? The beginning of this season managed to put to rest any worries that reading the manga would have made any of the twists and turns less exciting. Studio WIT reminded me from the start exactly why I fell in love with this series.

Yes, Attack on Titan is only 12 episodes this time but the story feels more self-contained since the whole season is covering just one arc in the manga. The first half of the season takes ample time to expand upon the flashbacks of supporting characters, centering entire episodes one specific character’s backstory. The second half brings the main trio (Eren, Armin and Mikasa) back into the fold and concludes the main conflict of the whole season, the reveal of the Colossal and Armored Titan.

Despite knowing who they were, I was still blown away by the reveal and the chaos in the episode following it. In fact, there was one particular moment during the final episodes that elicited a roar of excitement out of me. It was a reaction I didn’t imagine myself experiencing and I’m grateful to have experienced it. I truly believe Studio WIT has a greater talent for telling this story than the original manga and you can read more of my thoughts on that here.

I’m even more impressed by the revelations that weren’t spelled out to the audience. A huge appeal of the series is the mystery surrounding the outside world and the Titans themselves. In addition to the questions we had at the end of season one, there are so many little revelations about the world. The ending is another cliffhanger but it is a lot more satisfying than season one’s conclusion and teases great things on the horizon, which brings me to my next point, the Uprising Arc…

On the day that season two’s final episode aired, something unexpected happened. Not only was season three confirmed, it was confirmed to come out in 2018. This is exciting but the next arc in the story might be divisive amongst the fanbase.

This season acknowledged that there is some sort of political/religious faction within the government that is hiding something potentially nefarious. These revelations are tied directly to key characters in the story. In order to close the book on that conflict, the next arc in the manga focuses on a lot of conflict within the walls, meaning without Titans. I was concerned that the show might begin to decline during that arc. Now, after season two, I’m far more optimistic.

The writing still has occasionally awkward dialog and some redundancies, but ultimately there is a lot of meaningful interactions between the characters. With so much time this season dedicated to world-building and developing supporting characters that only hardcore fans previously cared about, Attack on Titan is really taking the time to deepen its characters.his is important, because if the next season is going to be a lot of politics and human vs human conflict, the show needs to improve its writing from season one

This is crucial because if the next season is going to be a lot of politics and human vs human conflict, the show needs to improve its writing from season one. Thankfully it has done just that. I just hope they can improve on the elephant in the room, Eren Yaeger.

In my review of the first season, I talked about how Eren wasn’t the best protagonist because he lacked any substantial development and mostly was just angry all the time. It would be a shame if the show’s only method of remedying this issue was to have Eren be absent for the first half but the show actually addresses a lot of my complaints about Eren and makes those flaws a part of Eren’s development.

Despite this, the parts of the manga I have read past this point leave me worried that he won’t improve, but like I said, I have a lot of faith in the production team behind the anime. I especially enjoyed the characters this time around. As previously stated, a lot of time is dedicated to characters only really hardcore fans cared about up until now. It helps that the story is framed around only them for most of the first half.

Sasha Braus and Connie Springer typically come off solely as comic relief because of how they are established in the training arc from season one. The only scene in the first season where I felt like I learned more about Sasha was during the Female Titan arc where she warned Mikasa that the Female Titan’s cries were that of a dying animal “with nothing to lose,” hinting that Sasha’s background is in the woods as a hunter.

Connie had even less characterization, so I’m glad that season two gives them the spotlight early on and makes an effort to make them more than just jokesters and in Sasha’s case, they made her kind of a badass. Although it would be criminal to go without talking about Krista and Ymir.

Krista was always just the cute, perfect girl who seemed completely out of place and Ymir was just the standoffish bitch who tried acting cool but really just wanted to hook up with Krista (but that’s just my interpretation). Season two fixes all of that and their individual arcs, as well as their relationship, is easily the best characterization on display this season.

Jean doesn’t show up too much until the end, Levi shows up even more rarely, Hange is cool as always, and Erwin has some of the most epic moments of the final confrontation. It’s as if he was self-aware of how little he was in the rest of the season and made up for it by being as badass as possible. Ultimately, season two finally took the time to justify the number of characters in the show. Moving on, Attack on Titan has also managed to look better this time around.

The character designs in tandem with the beautiful backgrounds have been upscaled for this shorter season and at the cost of a few scenes of shotty CGI, Attack on Titan has managed to present sharper, more detailed visuals and more consistent visual quality past the early episodes of the series.

Screenshot (5)

Character designs look sharper than ever

Attack on Titan season two is better than season one. It fixed major problems with characterization and tightened up its visuals all while delivering an exciting arc that had a lot of time dedicated to conversation and character building. There isn’t more I can say other than I’m satisfied and excited for what comes next. Thank god we won’t have to wait long.

What did you think of Attack on Titan, season two? Leave a comment and tell me what you are excited to see from this series in the coming years, and as always, I’ll see you next time.

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