After waiting for a long while, Attack on Titan returns with a huge comeback the audiences have been wanting since the end of season one. Ever since the first episode of the second season, I was pulled into the season, just like I was for the first. While this new season does have its perks, I pinpointed some minor errors throughout the unexpectedly short season, more than I had with the first season. Well, sit back and enjoy this review as I discuss my thoughts on this long awaited season of one of the popular Shounen series of all time.
(Warning: This review will contain a few spoilers from both the series and manga, so for those of you who haven’t seen the second season, haven’t read the manga, nor seen the series, proceed with caution before reading this review.)
Taking place in the events after the first season, Eren, Mikasa, and the rest of the characters figure out the mystery of the titans hidden inside the walls. In addition, the Corps fight other titans and discover the new titan shifters hidden among the group of soldiers.
So, the synopsis is pretty much simple, for the most part. Just like the first season, the second gives the audience more hidden meanings to the story and complex situations to think about whenever foreshadowing reveals itself even in the most underrated scenes. Although figuring out the hidden meanings behind the story can be challenging and fun, placing some complex and rushed story bits into the short episodes make the series…almost less enjoyable. Since I have read the whole manga, I had a hard time watching the filler plot holes without trying to pull my hair out.
There are a few of them that are acceptable, though, such as the comical interactions with Reiner Braun and Ymir in episode five and the flashbacks with Krista (also known as Historia from episode six). These scenes with the characters reveal some secrets ones would not expect from the characters, even for those who have read the manga, like me. There are some indirect and direct hints to some romance between Ymir and Historia in a few frames that one would have a harder time scavenging for in the manga. At first, I did not believe it at all, but the more frames I saw of those two, the more I supported the relationship.
Speaking of Ymir, some of the anime viewers would practically have no idea who she is before watching the second season because of how little screen-time she had in the first season. This season has a lot to do with Ymir and how important she is to figuring out the truth about the titans. In episode ten, about half of the episode has a flashback on Ymir: about where she came from and why she is the person who she is in the series. Although I enjoyed seeing her personal flashback, I felt as if it was too soon to put it in the second season. In the manga, the readers don’t know about almost everything there is to her character until chapter eighty-seven or eighty-eight.
Before getting into the other aspects of the series, I would like to mention the character developments of Sasha Braus, Connie Springer, and Hanji Zoe. These three definitely deserved more time on screen at the beginning of the series, but they were left on the sidelines. Now, the anime viewers finally get to see new sides to these comedic relief characters and see why the manga reader adore these characters. In addition, Armin Arlert gets a bit more development towards the end of this season and it will definitely excite the Armin fans. In my opinion, I wished to have seen him way more on screen, not just because he is my favorite character, but for the fact that he is one of the main characters in the series who gets the least amount of screen-time.
Also, I would like to mention the budding romance between Eren and Mikasa the fans have been debating about. There are more frames in the second season that show proof Mikasa does in fact have feelings for Eren…and Eren might have feelings for her! After a certain scene where Eren is captured, Mikasa shows a lot of emotion not just by using her words, but using her small movements that are shown in episode nine. She wraps the red scarf Eren gave to her around her mouth as she looks to the distance, crying to herself. In the last episode, Mikasa thanks Eren for always being with her and the two are sitting really close to each other. To me, when reading the manga and seeing this scene, I was so ecstatic and cheering for the two.
(Mikasa wrapping Eren’s scarf around her face.)
Just like in the first season, the art and animation look flawless and gorgeous, especially during the middle and ending episodes. The same art style is used in the previous season, but it improves after each episode. Some of my favorite frames I have seen in this series are from the end of the fifth episode where Ymir and Historia are having a tender, heart-warming moment after Ymir fights off a large group of titans. The art in this scene looks so crisp, and the colors make the frames stand out from all the other ones in that episode.
(This animation is just GORGEOUS!! And just look at the way these two are staring at each other! <3)
There was just one flaw with the art…and that would be the use of CGI animation for the Colossal Titan. I understand that the animation company was possibly on a budget, yet I did not like watching the movements of the large titan fighting the cadets. It did not fit with the environment of the anime and stood out immensely from the original animation style.
Since I am always listening to the soundtrack for Attack on Titan, I noticed almost instantly that a few of the tracks from the first season were used. Some examples include The Reluctant Heroes, Vogel im Kafig, and especially Call Your Name. This song was used in so many scenes, but in different compositions from the middle to the end of the second season. While Call Your Name is my favorite track from the series, I wanted to hear more unique and different songs for the anime…and I did hear a few. A few of my favorites have to be Barricades, So ist e simmer, and 2VOLT. These songs composed by Hiroyuki Sawano stand out so much and bring an exciting hype to the series. In addition, the new opening, Shinzou wo Sasageyo, and ending song, Yuugure no Tori, make a huge comeback to the series. These tracks will excite the viewers, making them want to listen to these songs repeatedly.
Just like in the first season, AOT season 2 has a lot of hidden references to the manga and biblical allusions, especially in the ending song. Paying attention to these allusions will help the viewers understand pretty much the whole entirety of the series, and even the truth about the Titans! Manga readers will probably notice these symbolic references a bit easier than the anime viewers, but they are still somewhat challenging to interpret.
When first watching this season, I started viewing it immediately in English Subbed because—it’s Attack on Titan. Who wouldn’t want to start it right when it airs?! The Japanese voice acting excels in capturing the emotions of the characters, making them more believable during a certain scene. None of the voices are too low or too high pitched; the voices picked for each character fit just right for them. Now, I have been rewatching this season Dubbed, but I will discuss that in another review of mine. All I am going to say for right now is that it outshines the first season’s dub.
Overall, Attack on Titan season two has a lot to offer for the fans and will keep them on the edge of their seats; and while it may have more flaws than the first season, that doesn’t mean it’s not worth watching…which is why I am giving this season a four out of five stars. If I wasn’t a manga reader, I would have given this a perfect score, in my opinion, but there were flaws I couldn’t help but notice, especially for the plot and the lack of episodes there were. Anyway, I enjoyed this season and I am really hoping for a season three to air soon. The anime has a lot—and I mean A LOT—of catching up to do. The current manga chapter right now is chapter ninety-four, but the series probably stops at around the sixties or the seventieth chapters. If there is going to be a third season, I am really hoping that there will be twenty four episodes that air instead of twelve. For now, though, I am going to enjoy the fact that this popular, amazing anime has aired an unforgettable season for all fans, readers or viewers, to enjoy.
Warnings: Profanity, Lots of Blood and Gore, Some Nudity, and THE FEELS!!!