Sunday 2 April 2017

First Impressions: Attack on Titan Season 2

Attack on Titan Season 2
Attack on Titan season 2 is available in streaming form via Crunchyroll

It's been nearly four years since the final episode of Attack on Titan's first aired, but that wait has finally come to an end. With a premiere date of April 1st it all felt like Studio Wit could be playing one cruel joke on us all, but the show's second season has finally arrived! It's easy to get worked up about how this season is only going to be 12 episodes long as opposed to the original's 25 (and how that will affect the show's very glaring pacing problems) but right now it just finally feels good to have the show back at long last. Will 2017 finally be the year non-manga readers find out what secrets are hiding down in Eren Jaeger's basement? Or will this be another year of thrilling action painfully cutaway to further flashbacks and exposition?

The Wall TitanZoe Hange

Entitled "Beast Titan", season two episode one (or simply episode 26 if you'd prefer) picks up right where the last episode left off, with the defeat of Annie Leonhart and the discovery of a Titan sealed inside of Wall Sina itself. As Eren recovers from the previous battle, Hange presses Pastor Nick of the Wall Cult for more details about this disturbing discovery. Following that, the action flashes back 12 hours earlier as Connie, Sasha, Mike Zacharius and other members of the Survey Corps learn of Wall Rose's fall from their station at Wall Sina. As Mike stays behind to fight the oncoming Titans, the appearance of another abnormal Titan reveals a terrifying secret.

The Beast TitanMike Zacharius

While the most important question this first episode raises is of course "why are there dinosaurs in the opening sequence?", that doesn't mean the content itself isn't full of its own twists and turns that immediately hook you back into the world of Attack on Titan. Eren, Mikasa, Armin and Levi only make brief appearances in the episode, and this isn't necessarily a bad thing. The show has always done a great job of being about the wider members of the Survey Corps and this was Hange and Mike's time to shine. Hange's scenes were particularly gripping as they opened the whole can of worms that there are organisations that know far more than they are letting on in regards to the Titans. Hange is a character that's usually remembered for her quirkier personality traits so to see her seemingly snap quickly lets the audience know that things are really getting serious now.

Of course the real drama came from Mike's showdown with a hoard of Titans, proving very quickly that this show hasn't lost it's penchant for fast-paced action and incredibly disturbing visuals. As well as being treated to some of the most grotesque Titans thus far, season two has gotten off the mark pretty quickly with the brutal death scenes. The titular Beast Titan leaves a pretty big impression as the first truly intelligent giant humanity has encountered, with this one taking a particular interest in the 3-D Gear as well as commanding the mindless monsters like a pack of wolves. Even if you don't remember Mike all that much from the first season he's quickly re-established as a soldier second only to Levi in terms of skill, but this episode shows that even the strongest minds can quickly be broken.

Eren JaegerThe Titans

After four years of waiting Attack on Titan needed to start back with something pretty big to suck viewers right back in. While this episode didn't have much of the main characters or many of the answers, it posed plenty of new developments and mysteries as well as displaying all the qualities that made the show so critically acclaimed in the first place. Hopefully a 12-episode season will allow for much tighter storytelling, and with the character deaths already kicking in it's time to start placing your bets about who's gonna make it out alive. Attack on Titan is back, and it's only in seeing it on screens again does it hit home just how much it's been missed.


No comments: