Friday 20 April 2018

Attack on Titan: Season 2 ★★★★★

I’ll admit that I don’t watch as much anime as I should do anymore. This is partly down to two reasons - one, I don’t have enough time, so an anime has got to be really good to keep me wanting to spend my time on it, and two, there’s just so many out there and it’s hard to find anything that’s truly original. Of course, this isn’t necessary for someone to enjoy an anime, but once you’ve watched a lot it becomes all too easy to predict what happens next (and obviously the same can be said for films and games).

Unlike many others, these days, ‘Attack on Titan’ is one that I’ve come back to quite willingly for a second season. I’m sure I’m not alone in being thoroughly disappointed upon finding out that it was only 12 episodes, rather than the 25 I’d been expecting, but the initial season had been so captivating that I was excited regardless.

For those that can’t remember (I mean, it was 2014), season 1 left us with the shocking revelation that titan-shifters do in fact exist, which was a pretty big game changer to the previous idea that titans and humans were completely separate. After a big fight between Annie and Eren in their Titan forms, Annie is now encased in crystal and left in the vicinity for research purposes. The first couple of episodes within season 2 throws two more shocking revelations at us - the existence of the Beast Titan, and the discovery that titans are not only outside of the walls but encased inside them. 

These shocking revelations just keep coming at you during the second season and it’s what makes the show so gripping and fascinating to watch - you learn pretty quickly not to get too attached to anyone, and also not to think you know everything (as you most certainly don’t). There’s a lot more backstory in this one, sometimes with whole episodes dedicated to life before the Titans, but there’s also a lot more focus on the research side of the Titans as we learn more about how they operate and how they are linked to the human world. Despite being filled with so much content, season 1 only scratched the surface. 

The other part I felt that the writers implemented excellently was the character development. This time it’s not about Eren, Mikasa, and Armen as you would expect, but rather the side characters that fight alongside them, such as Ymir and Sasha. It’s refreshing, as so much exploration was done on the original three during the first season, and it goes to show how big and in- the world actually is and how in-depth it is.Somehow, I think there’s actually more character development in these 12 episodes than there were in the 25 episodes of season 1.

Going back and watching season 1 again after watching season 2 makes for some interesting viewing. You’ll notice so much foreshadowing that you won’t have picked up on first time round, and it has a really positive effect on season 2. Character motives make a lot more sense, although it is interesting to see how much it differs to the original manga, such as the fate of certain side characters. 

Alongside all this season 2 of ‘Attack on Titan’ is also just an excellent example of how to effectively balance super slick animation within such fast-paced action, and highly emotive scenes that will have you fighting back the tears (as if we didn’t see that scene enough during the first season. I’m not sure how future seasons will pan out given the storyline of the manga, but what I’ve seen so far has been captivating. 

Hannah Read

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