Thoughts & Feelings Column: Attack on Titan- Season Two

h

Show Summary

The first season of Attack on Titan premiered in April of 2013. It begins about 2,000 years from now in an alternate universe where mindless man-eating giants (Titans) have pushed humanity to the brink of extinction. A series of walls were built to preserve what is left of the human population, and various military structures were created to help battle the impending threat.

However, after almost a century of peace, a colossal aberrant titan appears out of nowhere and breaches the first wall. Smaller titans flood the area, and the protagonist Eren vows to kill every titan in existence as revenge for all mankind. Over the season, we see Eren and his friends train to fight titans as the crippling loss and inevitable extinction of humanity looms over the entire cast.

Season two of Attack on Titan picks up right where we left off in season one after Eren and Annie’s titan exposures.

Episode Twenty-Six

It’s been four years since the initial release of the show, and about three since season one’s official end. Though there has been a series of compilation and live action movies released in the delay, this is a considerable amount of time to spend between seasons. This is not unheard of and a lot of series I love have actually pulled similar stunts; however, every time I see a series pick up after multiple years off I get worried about pacing, writing, and animation quality. Attack on Titan does a lot in episode 26 to relieve these worries.

Episode Twenty-Seven

With episode 27, we are continuing the saga of Wall Rose’s breach and a delve into the lives and backgrounds of some of the fan favorite characters with little screen time last season. The show is setting up some major twists and turns, so there are some great bits of suspense and mystery as we move forward.
This was a truly great episode of AOT, and I think that the this show has gotten better over the years. The suspense and dread you feel during these events feels real and feels like it all actually matters which is something I don’t believe came across well in the first season.
Crista asks a very important question: Where could the titans be coming from if Wall Rose isn’t broken?
This episode’s title card promises more information on Historia at first glance; however, this time we are provided with Ymir’s history and motivations more than any solid understanding of Christa. Which, considering we know very little about Ymir, too, works since her death is imminent.
It’s episode 31 which means we are almost halfway through the spring season. It’s not quite time for recaps, but AOT takes about two minutes to remind us what happened in the last episode. Considering there was no real precedent set before now for the cold open it’s really not a huge issue, but I did find the idea a little surprising since it’s only five episodes into the new season. I suppose I’m just wary of lollygagging with AOT since we had so many years without it.
A lot of both episodes 32 and 33 are battles and quick flashes of scout training. It does feel like we are putting off more reveals, but I’m a terribly impatient person and I understand that pacing is key. Objectively, we are looking  a great group of episodes that build this arc so we can continue to empathize with Reiner and Bertholdt, though that time is long past according to Eren. The breakneck speed at which the show was moving in the first half has slowed to a more manageable pace, and it’s obvious this is where AOT wants us to be for the remainder of the season.
Overall, quite a few questions are answered in this set of episodes, so even if the show seems to be slowing itself down in the middle of the action- at least it’s for good reason. It’s also about time that we get some concrete answers on titans since most people watching the show aren’t far enough in the manga to understand what is really going on. We also don’t know if the anime will diverge at any point like most ongoing manga-to-anime adaptations do. However, even though we are given much needed information in thirty-five, episode thirty-four is the weakest entry in this season, yet, centering far too much focus on Eren’s childish anger using everyone around him as a set-up for thirty-five’s reveals.
The best way to describe episode thirty-six is to imagine a room where everyone is shouting and moving erratically in a maelstrom of chaos that just doesn’t make a whole lot of sense- it’s just pure emotion and confusion and everyone is on a different page.
The promise of season three in 2018 helps keep you from being too worried about the state of this bloody battle as things begin to look bleak toward the end. I think this announcement does wane the dire situation, but there isn’t much you can do about spoilers in this day and age. With a final episode for the season comes more reveals to keep you baited for season three, but luckily these aren’t portrayed as cliffhangers and we can rest assured that we are on our way to discovery. It’s frustrating to still be out of the know at the end of all this, but just think about how the scouts feel- they know even less than we do as viewers.