Attack On Titan S2 – Episode 1 Review!

One simply cannot imagine my glee, excitement and over joyous reaction to when news of Attack on Titan, one of the greatest anime – in my humblest, biased opinion – being renewed for a second season, graced my ears. As a fan, I was ecstatic, back in 2014 and simply could not wait for the new season to bless my screen. However, that was all I could do; wait – an excruciatingly long wait, at that. Horror stories of the upcoming season being delayed to a 2015 release date had me shaking in my sleep. Looking back, I was blissfully unaware of the reality of the situation. However, regardless of the rocky road, here we are!

Attack on Titan season 2 is finally out, and I can’t wait to review it. Of course, a lot has changed in the years between the release of these two seasons in both the anime world and my own.  Part of me believed that the hype for ‘Attack on Titan’ or ‘Shingeki no Kyojin’ had ceased and tamed over these years. And, of course, I was wrong. Though it may not be as successful as the first season, it is still living up to the expectations set and is gathering positive reviews from a plethora of sources.

The season follows on right from where the first season left off and is a continuation of the action and story that occurred previously, revolving around the titans, Eren Yeager and the survey corps. So, if you are deliberating watching the second season, I would recommend that you watch the first season before you begin your journey through season 2.

Episode 1 Recap:

00:00 The episode begins with an air of drama, an eerily suspenseful chime of the bells featured at the end of season 1’s last episode resounding, creating a parallel between the two. A book resides in the centre of the screen, it’s pages fluttering open, and the camera cinematic-ally zooms in to a monochrome picture of… a titan. The picture switches to colour, and a dramatic monologue recounting the history of the walls, titans and the war of humanity that stays centre in Attack on Titan is revisited. Highlights of the first season, such as the Colossus titan wreaking havoc and the Armoured titan flash before the watchers eyes, letting us know that Attack on Titan is back while increasing the pace of the episode.

1:35 After an intense catch-up, we’re back to reality. Annie has been caught, and while she’s crystallised and unmoving, offers vital information as a titan shifter, so is carted off. However, she’s quickly forgotten as the survey corps move their focus to a more terrifying observation; the titan hidden in wall Sina. Titans have always looked gruesome and horrifying, and this one doesn’t disappoint when it’s eyeball creepily moves, and it seems to gain consciousness. Shock echoes through the crowd, before Pastor Nick desperately exclaims that the titan must be kept out of the sunlight. Oh yes, I am loving this.

2:44 Season 2 so far has been nothing but impressive, and even the opening credits add to this, with gorgeous visuals and animation. Nothing sounds as patriotic as this intense, battle ready song playing with flashes of action and our favourite survey corp members standing tall in line, with their hearts illuminated.

4:25 Contrasting with the action in the opening sequence, it switches to Erwin and the survey corps mulling over the reality of the titan residing in the wall, and the various reactions many are having to what occurred previously, criticising how many innocent lives were lost. Hanji decides to take a more direct approach, threatening to kill Pastor Nick if he doesn’t explain why there are titans in the wall. I can’t help but love how badass she is, and the ease with which she brushes it off as a joke when Pastor Nick chooses death over talking.

7:46 Suddenly, there’s a change in atmosphere as an ominous bell chimes, and we’re grimly informed of the fact that there are titans inside of wall Rose. This news is followed by a dramatic flashback, and we’re suddenly thrown back into reality 12 hours before this situation arose.

8:30 Here we see Sasha, Connie, Reiner and Bertholdt seemingly waiting for something, looking bored out of their minds. They reminisce over the towns they used to live in, and Reiner states he’ll help Connie sneak out to see his family again while also bringing to light the strangeness of their current situation. It almost seems like the calm before the storm, and this feeling only grows stronger as Sasha suddenly shoots up, looking terrified.

9:58 Her comments of hearing footsteps are brushed off by Reiner, who tells her that if she’s right, wall Rose would’ve fallen, creating a sense of dramatic irony as we, the audience, know that’s exactly what has happened. It then cuts to Miche’s alarmed expression, as multiple titans are heading their way from the south. Oh god.

10:25 Sasha continues to exclaim that she’s sure she heard something, and Nanaba proves her right, informing everyone of the terrible truth. He states that they have no time to gear up, but must immediately evacuate everyone. The intensity of the situation grows as we’re now outside, and Nanaba uses his manoeuvring equipment to join Miche on the rooftop of a house. Miche informs him of the fact that 9 titans are making their way towards them, and we get some ugly visuals of the disgustingly morphed titans gracing our screen. Nanaba dramatically states that this is the day humanity has lost, which Miche can’t help but counter admirably. The patriotism runs deep with this one.

11:55 The horses charge into the forest, and the action has begun! Miche barks out orders, and I can’t help the anticipation welling inside me at this point. Connie states that the titans are coming from where his village is situated, and the terror of this situation sets in as he asks to visit his village after having taken the other members to the villages nearby. Both Reiner and Bertholdt choose to accompany Connie on what is now ‘humanity’s darkest day’.

13:35 However, something horribly chilling occurs now. The titans reach the woods, the survey corps scatter and then… the titans stop. Suspensefully, the camera stills on one of the titans heads, and everything slows down; successfully garnering chills down my spine. Then, they run. Gruesomely. Horribly. Unnaturally. My stomach lurched at this sudden change and pick up in the pace of the situation, the intense music making everything much more terrifying. Frantically, Miche decides to use himself as bait for the titans, and the survey corps are told to have faith in the fact that he’ll make it back alive based on his skill. The last we see of this scene is the violent build up to the massacre of a titan, conducted by Miche, before it flashes to the break screen. God, I live for this kind of content.

14:53 And, we’re back! But not to the action – of course not, that would be too anticlimactic. Instead, we’re in another flashback where Mikasa and Eren are children, and Eren is getting schooled by his mother. He then wakes up, in reality, and Mikasa is sitting at his bed. The two exchange some conversation before Armin storms into their room, looking frantic – bearing the news of wall Rose’s demise. The reality of the situation is seemingly setting in on every character now, making the previous situation with Miche all the more intense.

17:01 Levi enters Erwin’s office, irritated at the titan’s pestering nature, and once again we’re told that Miche can survive this task. At this point, it all seems like inevitable foreshadowing that will make Miche’s demise seem all the more chilling. As such an able, strong member of the Survey Corps will be killed brutally by the titans. However, it successfully makes me personally want to root for Miche, and makes the battle as a whole much more important.

17:25 Miche successfully hacks a chunk of a titan’s flesh just below the nape of its neck out, and things are looking up for him. He states that there are only four of the ugly creatures left, making us, the audience, aware of the fact that he’s done a pretty good job kicking titan butt so far. One particularly big-eyed titan turns around to face him, and he sheaths his swords, deciding he has brought enough time. However, he then thought tracks his worry for the ‘abnormal’ and ‘furry’ titan to his side, who towers terrifyingly over the woods, seemingly minding his own business. After having time to admire it’s titan abs, only second to Eren’s, something truly terrifying occurs. The beastly being decides to pick up Miche’s horse, catapulting it towards his direction. Oh god.

19:02 Miche falls, and is grabbed by the big eyed titan. Oh, how quickly it all went wrong, I can’t help but think. The titan takes a bite, Miche screams, and then the unthinkable happens. The beast titan tells the other titan, devouring Miche, to wait. What?! The absolute terror on Miche’s face is mirrored on my own, because a titan has just spoken. Everything stills, and the stupid titan unceremoniously takes another bite, which is followed with another comment of ‘huh, didn’t I say to wait?’. As someone who didn’t read the manga and refrained from seeing spoilers, this was an absolute shock to me. This giant titan then squeezes the baby titan so it’s eyes pop out, then turns it’s attention to Miche, asking him what the weapon he uses is called. Oh goodness.

20:05 At this point, I think we can all relate with the dumbfounded disbelief Miche is undergoing. Hell, I was experiencing it along with him, a hand to my mouth in utter shock at this development. The titan seems way too intelligent, which is a horrifying prospect as it makes mankind’s adversaries seem all the more powerful. He then takes the weapon with him, leaving Miche absolutely traumatised. However, in his delirious haze, he makes a dumb move; he decides to fight back. To this, the beast titan simply says ‘you can move now’, and just like that, Miche is devoured by the remaining titans in a truly chilling and gruesome way.

22:14 The episode ends on this note, leaving me highly anticipating the next episode that will follow.

Episode Review:

While the outcome of this series seemed very uncertain and doubtful for the previous months before it’s release, this solid first episode has diminished my worries for this season and only leaves me with excitement and anticipation for what’s to follow! The beginning of the episode was simply entrancing, and sucked me right back into the essence and overall atmosphere of Attack on Titan; it was almost as if nothing had changed from season 1. One stark difference between this season that I can point out is the fact that it strays from solely focussing on Eren, like the majority of season 1. Even in this episode, we merely got 2 minutes of action time with Eren, which makes sense as the situation is no longer revolving around Eren. It is much larger, and affects so many more than just our blue-eyed, angry protagonist.

It’s refreshing to see the anime focus on some of the secondary characters in the way it did today. As it widens the perspective of the viewers watching. Hopefully this will continue in the second episode of this season, which seems to be focussed on Sasha; one of my favourite supporting characters. The action scenes in this episode were beautifully executed, and though they were short, the visuals and animation were appealing to the eyes. Overall, I can’t wait to review the next episode, which will hopefully be coming soon!

LeeTaeyongsWife
NCT Enthusiast - Drama Addict - Music Critic.

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