Only three episodes have aired at the time of writing this.
Attack on Titan season 2 seems to be the most talked about show this season, all thanks to the immensely popular first season which aired in 2013. These new episodes throw us right back into the action where the first season left off at, however, there seems to be something different this time around.
As the first episode of the new season starts off, it becomes apparent that there’s an overwhelming sense of dread and anxiety in the each of the characters. Each of the soldier’s eyes seem to reflect their fear of inevitable death by the overwhelming force of the titans. Despite the heavy mood engulfing his troops, Mike tells his peers that “You only lose when you stop fighting”. Despite these words of encouragement, the motivation only results in Mike’s brutal death at the end of the episode. Sometimes, you need to know when to run away.
After this, the story shifts to spotlight Sasha (potato girl). Through a flashback, we learn a bit about the country life she left behind in order to join the military. Usually, a well-placed flashback like this would hint at an inevitable death for that character, but not in this case. While scouting an abandoned village, Sasha comes across a titan eating a mother right in front of her daughter’s eyes. Sasha believes that she can save both of them, but soon realizes that doing so would only result in everyone’s death. She makes a rational decision to save the child and herself and tries to get the hell out of there, but her clumsiness causes her horse to run away, frightened by the titan pursuing them. When all hope was lost, Sasha instructed the child to escape without her as she stayed back to distract the titan. She gave it everything she had to blind the monster and happened to escape through sheer luck. (the titan blood allowed her to slip out of its grasp and escape). The episode concludes with Connie discovering a titan amidst the rubble of his old home, despite the fact that it does not have the ability to walk.
I could really feel the unease of the characters in this episode, the feeling was overwhelming. The lighting and color palette is darkened to help establish this mood in the second half of the episode. One scene which is worthy of mention is when the squads are on horseback traveling around the perimeter of the wall. There small area lighted by the torches gave off a sense of claustrophobia while the heavy breathing enhanced the atmosphere. The soundtrack played a big part in this episode which left me on the edge of my seat while watching. The episode ends on a cliffhanger showing the squad in the castle ruins surrounded and at the mercy of the titans.
Impressions Thus Far
The second episode is what really inspired me to write my thoughts. I read/watched the anime early on in my anime career, but I don’t remember the first season leaving me feeling like this. I’m currently going back through the manga, and while the feeling of hopelessness is present, it is not the as prevalent as what I’ve seen on season 2. Because of this, I want to reflect upon what made Attack On Titan resonate with me.
Attack on Titan was appealing not for it’s fantastical take on shounen fights, rather the human elements to the story. The politics, the fear and unrest amongst the people, and the sheer overwhelming presence of the titans and the hopelessness of the human race. I feel like season 2 has taken what I found good about the first season and seems to be running with that to create a much different series than what we have seen before
I believe Attack on Titan is at its strongest when it focuses on the humans, not the titans, because at its core, it’s a war story. These types of stories shine the brightest when they focus on the lives of the people living through the trauma, not the event itself. I couldn’t care less if this season has no action at all, I would rather see how each character learns to cope with the situation they were thrust into.