Attack on Titan Season 2 might not have given fans exactly what they were looking for, but it certainly delivered what the series desperately needed.
After four years of waiting, Season 2 of Attack on Titan manages to revive some of the hype that had died down in just 12 episodes. In a season where viewers are jumping on the My Hero Academia train, and everyone seems to be obsessed with Eromanga-sensei, Attack on Titan manages to stay relevant.
This review contains MAJOR spoilers from Season 2
Saying that the expectations for this season were super high would be a major understatement. And they got even higher after it was confirmed that the season would only be 12 episodes. The disappointment did not only come from having fewer episodes but also because chances of getting answers to the biggest questions got significantly lower.
That’s not to say this season doesn’t give any. We know now that there are Titans inside the walls, the identities of the Colossal Titan and the Armored Titan, and Eren’s secret power “The Coordinate,” among other things. However, the bigger questions remain, and we have added a few more to the collection: What’s outside the walls? Who are Reiner, Berthold, and Annie working for? Who is that man that came out of the Ape Titan at the end? Hopefully, some of these questions will be answered next year in the recently announced Season 3.
Season 2 covers what’s known as the “Clash of the Titans” arc. With a bigger focus on characterization rather than on action-packed scenes, the series felt slower than usual as a result. And even in more action heavy episodes, there are constant flashbacks to the characters’ backstories and their motives. Fortunately, the silver lining here is that the series finally gave us much needed characterization and character development for all the cast. During the first season, the side characters were barely developed, and they all fit into stereotypical categories.’Potato Girl’ Sasha was the comedic relief, Reiner and Berthold were the cool big brothers, and Ymir and Christa were the tomboys and the Mary Sue of the group respectively.
This time we leave Eren, Armin, Mikasa (and even fan-favorite Levi) behind to highlight the supporting cast. Sasha, Connie, Ymir, Christa (Historia), Reiner and Berthold are finally full-fledged out characters that we can grow attached to. This can only mean good things for the story overall. It’s not only that we care more about them during fight scenes, but the exchanges between characters are now a lot more interesting. We see the always happy comedic duo Sasha and Connie come face to face with the cruelty of this world. Reiner and Berthold teach us that you can’t trust anyone, and that things are not always black and white. And Ymir and Historia serve to present a backstory for things that might be going on behind the scenes (or the walls).
That’s not to say the main trio don’t add to the story this time. Eren’s character is more mellow this time around, and it’s easier to sympathize with him after Reiner and Bertholdt’s betrayal. He and Mikasa share a very touching (romantic?) moment in the finale that ties back into their days together in Shingashina after Hanne’s death. Finally, Armin is as smart as ever and even has his twisted moment in Episode 11, which continues to hint that he might be Erwin’s natural successor in the Survey Corps.
This much-needed characterization also brings new points of view. If in Season 1 it was clear that the conflict was humans vs. Titans, now things might not be so simple anymore. We learn that humanity (especially the royalty and the church) might be as evil as the Titans, and that the Titans (some of them) might not always have a say in the things they do. These new perspectives bring a lot more depth to the story, as well as many more debates on who’s in the right or the wrong.
So what about the animation, one of Attack on Titan’s main highlights? Let’s just say Studio WIT is no stranger to production issues. In fact, they already had their fair share of problems with the first season. At the time they still had help from prom Production I.G, but this was not the case for Season 2. And even though the art was as beautiful as always and there were some great animated scenes, there were also some bits in which the dive in animation quality was noticed. Also, the fact that the Colossal Titan and the horses were CGI didn’t sit very well with many viewers.
As per the soundtrack, Hiroyuki Sawano does not add many new tracks to the original OST. Still, there are a few remixes of classics like ‘Vogel in Kafig’ and ‘Call Your Name,’ as well as some new remarkable tracks like ‘Barricades’ and ‘Ape Titan.’ ‘Shinzou wo Sasageyo’ might not be as hype as the first two openings, but it quickly grows on you, while the Ending delivers the beautiful, yet creepy factor (and so many spoilers!).
Attack on Titan fixes most of its pacing and characterization issues while offering both answers and new questions. All in all, it almost feels like an appetizer for things to come, but it was one hell of an appetizer!