For centuries, humanity has been hunted by giant, mysterious predators known as the Titans. Three mighty walls—Wall Maria, Rose, and Sheena—provided peace and protection for humanity for over a hundred years. That peace, however, was shattered when the Colossus Titan and Armored Titan appeared and destroyed the outermost wall, Wall Maria. Forced to retreat behind Wall Rose, humanity waited with bated breath for the Titans to reappear and destroy their safe haven once more.
In Shingeki no Kyojin Season 2, Eren Yeager and others of the 104th Training Corps have just begun to become full members of the Survey Corps. As they ready themselves to face the Titans once again, their preparations are interrupted by the invasion of Wall Rose—but all is not as it seems as more mysteries are unraveled. As the Survey Corps races to save the wall, they uncover more about the invading Titans and the dark secrets of their own members.
Unless you’ve been living under a rock for the past 4 years, then you’ll know that Shingeki no Kyojin (Attack on Titan) has been renewed for a second season. And with that, the show returns in full force. Remember the titans that terrorized humanity when they made their appearance from season one? Or when Eren transformed into a Titan himself and played a pivotal role to help humanity? How about the time when Eren and his friends realized that one of their comrades is also their greatest enemy? Shingeki no Kyojin wastes no time in giving the fans what they want and that’s a sequel
to talk about for years to come.
Make no mistake. The second season jumps right into the meat of the show like a bullet train. It doesn’t rely on boring narratives to recap dialogues but instead presents them through events. The first few episodes reintroduces the main characters such as Eren, Mikasa, Armin, Reiner, Bertolt, Sasha, Hange, etc. Time hasn’t passed long either since the defeat of the Female Titan. However, we are introduced to new enemies and conflicts. One of the more noticeable fans will notice is perhaps from the trailer – a beast-like Titan covered with fur. Other conflicts in the second season includes the evolving mystery of certain characters. The secrets they hold close gets more and more complicated as the story progresses and we learn their motivations. Furthermore, the second season builds more into the character relationships outside of the main cast. To say the least, Season 2 isn’t just about the war against Titans but how certain characters’ roles can impact the entire world.
Snk Season 2 attempts to do a lot of things. At times, it feels like a fantasy war-drama while other times, it feels like a mystery story. When you mix a lot of genres together, the show can be interpreted from many angles. Mystery will no doubt be one of the key factors that keeps the story engaging for the viewers. From this season, we’ll discover revelations about certain characters and what influences them to become what they are. These are often told through flashbacks and is done effectively through insightful storytelling. It shows rather than tell about events. Furthermore, it makes us understand the characters better. Now for some fans, this could be a sign that the show will fall victim to “slow pacing”. It’s slightly true as I do wish some episodes to pick up the pace more. It can hold the show back for fans especially if it’s a character that they don’t care about. However, it’s also important since SnK doesn’t toss away characters in favor of just the main cast. Major supporting characters such as Sasha, Ymir, and Krista gets more characterization that was not seen from the previous season. In addition, the series still spends time to get viewers to understand more about the trio of our main cast – Eren, Mikasa, and Armin. Unfortunately with just 12 episodes, don’t expect the second season to give all the characters their chance to shine. If you’re a fan of Levi, then I’m afraid I got some bad news.
Despite the engaging story, season 2’s mystery elements aren’t exactly difficult to decipher. It’s actually quite easy to piece certain pieces together. Every episode builds more and more into the story but some hints will be much more obvious than others. It leaves open to some predictable outcomes. However, I would also argue that season 2 succeeds at building up the suspense regardless how the outcome comes out to be. It injects psychology into the show through effective usage of narrative, dialogues, body language, and character interactions. In some of the later episodes, we can see how certain characters show their true selves in ways that will be very memorable. It’s made even more effective through the timing of certain scenes. Directing a show like Shingeki no Kyojin requires a creative mind to connect the script and I have to say, it did that pretty damn well. Finally, I am satisfied by the faithfulness of the adaptation as it adapts many manga chapters that I had anticipated. In fact, some episodes are actually adapted even better than the manga thanks to the cleverly timings of key events.
To sum up the production quality of the show, it’s pretty easy to say that Shingeki no Kyojin Season 2 is a firm example of how dark fantasy should look like. I actually had some complaints regarding the first season’s quality but those are pretty much are nonexistent in this sequel. Every episode looks fluid ranging from the intense action, character expressions, and choreography. To an extent, even the CG is done well and that’s no easy accomplishment for many shows. Character expressions highlight characters personality as it gets the fans more excited about them. Season 2 pulls that off flawlessly with characters such as Eren, Mikasa, Reiner, and Ymir. I can also safely say that the Titans in this season look just as intimidating as fans can remember, if not more.
Known for its high level production quality, season 2’s soundtrack doesn’t come far off either. Theme songs sounds familiar compared to the previous season but has more symbolism and scenes poured into showcase its story. Like most fans of the show, expectations for the OST should be high as Hiroyuki Sawano returns with his craft. It lives up to those expectations especially in some of the key moments that will leave you in awe. Finally, character voice mannerism just works wonderfully as the cast fits right into the shoes of their roles especially for characters like Reiner and Ymir. As I mentioned before, there’s a good amount of psychology that season 2 brings and some characters’ voices really brings to a level that’s larger than life.
Once again, Shingeki no Kyojin gives what the fan want ever since the first season ended in 2013. It’s been 4 years but upon watching the first few episodes, it felt like yesterday. It does its job at selling its story with its variety of genres mixed in together. With such a colorful cast of characters, it gets the fans excited to see what their roles will be. With a studio like Production IG, it’s safe to say that the quality remains in good hands. Now, I am slightly bothered by the length of the sequel. It’s half of what season 1 turned out to be and after all the waiting, it felt like a slap in the face for fans. Still, I’d say that the wait is worth it as time didn’t do its damage and it deserves a pat on the back.
Attack on Titan's first season never really sat right with me. A series more interested in cinematics (orchestrals, screaming aplenty) than it did in conveying a message or allowing its audience to care for the characters beyond whatever grisly death they inevitably succumb to. It was loud, its presence ever more so, and so I distanced myself from what seemed standard action movie cuisine.
After over three years of silence, its second season comes as something a bit more surprising. It trims away its grimy, cacophonous exterior and presents something, somewhat, more refined. The killing has found a purpose. The world the characters inhabit possesses some
semblance of depth. There exists a story with a direction, which is exactly why it will disappoint fans who were expecting it to perpetually wander amidst blood and steel.
To be sure, Eren and crew killing (and conversely being killed) is a formula that proved moderately entertaining in the first season, if only mindlessly so. But a second season? A third? Would it still be exciting, or would people begin to tire of it? I was in the latter camp, and so I find myself glad the goalposts were changed altogether.
That's not to imply that all of AoT's flaws have been erased. The characterisation remains a sore spot for the series, with Eren continuing to scream nonsense at the top of his lungs, incapable of anything but being a hot-blooded child who is somehow the centrepiece of everything in the world. There's nothing to his character except his being angry all the time, which is why I make no intentions of defending his presence.
So who is there to defend instead? Mikasa and Armin, the two other primary characters, while less frustrating and less offensive to listen to, don't possess much that wasn't already immediately apparent. They are flat, as are the side characters, so numerous and disposable that I found myself Googling the name of one of the story's new villains because I couldn't for the life of me remember who they even were. Other characters-- Sasha-- are so devoid of character that the only thing they are defined by is the quantity of food they eat. And while the second season gives you marginally more reason to empathise with them throughout their numerous backstory scenes, it still remains difficult to care much about the fates of any of them - a significant issue in a story centred upon war. It is why I never thought much other than "ew, gross" and "wow, that sucks" when any of the characters (of which there were dozens) were chewed, dismembered, and/or squished by abhorrent-looking humanoids.
This is why I think the best way to appreciate Attack on Titan is to focus less on the pieces, and more on the board itself. Attack on Titan's setting is genuinely fascinating, and uncovering its secrets is likely to be the greatest delight for viewers unsatisfied with mere violence. While walled-off communities on the verge of extinction isn't entirely new to anime (Space Battleship Yamato went there in 1974, and Macross in 1982), the massive scale of the cities behind the walls creates ample room for an animated (yet ever so bleak) world to exist. Discovering how the world's agriculture functions, its geography, the state of politics within the Castle, the cultists' activities, and the design of the soldiers' Vertical Manoeuvring Equipment is some of the most fun I've had with an anime in this year or last. More Attack on Titan isn't exactly a proposition that gives me thrills and tingles, but books and other media focusing on its world is something I would absolutely be interested in. A rich setting it is, and with the scale of the world now extending far beyond the walls, there is almost limitless potential. Potential, I suppose, which will probably never extend into its largely mediocre story.
A mediocre story is still a step up from last season, perhaps. The violence is now more of an accessory to the plot, rather than the inverse, which allows things to follow down a more linear road instead of one winding and circling around ad infinitum. Eren and his allies, as well as his enemies, now have a mission that extends beyond survival. There are antagonists excluding the Titans mindlessly chewing every fleshy thing in sight, which creates a more interesting dynamic, certainly, as the villains are treated as human beings rather than mindless lunatics bent on world destruction, as is seemingly the case in nearly every anime that has ever existed. Some fans may be disappointed that they aren't given a villain to detest, but I've always been of the opinion that a conflict in which no true 'good' and 'bad' side exists is a more compelling tale to tell.
The second season's highlight is no doubt its halfway point, a twist so suddenly and casually revealed that it is natural to doubt one's ears, provided you hadn't already guessed one of their blatantly obvious identities well-beforehand. The ensuing fight scene is neat, as it carries a level of emotional weight so lacking in anything that existed previous. But the extent to which some people have been praising the scene, as though it is the craziest and most "epic" thing that has ever appeared in anime, is certainly without much merit.
(It also deserves to be mentioned how downright silly some scenes can be, such as when Armin and Mikasa 'emotionally' eat their rations upon the wall. Moments like this make it considerably harder to take everything else seriously.)
The production quality of Attack on Titan's second season is a minor downgrade from the first's, a fairly disappointing detail when considering the three-year wait and shorter-than-expected episode count. The aforementioned reveal doesn't hit as hard as it should when one of the villains, who is supposed to be menacing, is suddenly given the cheap CGI treatment. The fight scene fares better, with its eyes moving and monstrous fist pausing in slow-motion, but by that point the damage the first impression has created is irreversible. Mediocre animation for AoT may very well be stellar in contrast to the average seasonal anime, but standards are different here, and the ballpark much larger.
If loud orchestrals are your jam, then things have not changed all too much between 2013 and 2017. The music is still loud and climactic, and the opening, while not quite as memorable as the first two, is a solid addition to the series from both a visual and musical standpoint. But if you're a bit like me, and don't exactly enjoy noise constantly pumping into your eardrums, then Attack on Titan can be a great way to receive a headache. And this is coming from someone who listens to The Money Store on occasion.
It would be a lie to claim I didn't enjoy my time with Attack on Titan. But I am uncertain how much of that is a result of my fascination with the setting, and what, if any of my enjoyment pertains to the actual anime. To claim Attack on Titan is something of great critical merit isn't something I could do without being disingenuous. Decent? Certainly, and a noticeable step above the turgid Hollywood fare its first season was, with the introduction of new antagonists and an actual, tangible story. But for those who waited years for more Titan slaying, I do start to wonder: were they ever really giving the rest of the medium a look?
There are anime that truly leave a monumental impact. Not just on the industry, but for each individual viewer. Shows that are so addicting that you just can’t seem to stop watching them. Shows that combine many pivotal elements of storytelling together to create something that is genuinely incredibly well produced. Anime that make you wholeheartedly pleased to have become a part of the anime community.
For me, Attack on Titan is one of these anime. Which essentially means that the four year gap between seasons felt like an EXCRUCIATINGLY long time…
However in all seriousness, I perfectly understand why it took so long to produce the
second season of Attack on Titan (AOT). A few anime sequels that I’ve seen have felt rushed and poorly put together. The plot lines becomes less cohesive, characters become more dull, and the animation quality either remains the same or dips in quality. These sequels are usually made within a year or two of the original’s initial airing date. Now while I’m sure that AOT fans would have much preferred an earlier release date for their beloved show, I respect the creators for realizing that they would have received far more backlash for releasing a swiftly produced anime that didn’t live up to the hype of its predecessor as opposed to putting a lot of time and effort into a sequel that matches the caliber of the original.
In fact, we should all be rejoicing that WIT studio spent time making AOT season 2 as great as it could be instead of releasing a half-assed sequel just to make a quick buck. And you KNOW they would have profited off the sequel no matter how abysmal it might have been. Its Attack on Titan after all, you know, the most popular anime in existence?
Since you probably already know the premise of this show, I won’t bother writing a lengthly (and boring) summary of it. AOT season 2 starts out directly after the last episode of season 1 and dives right into the story. While the first season focused on world building and brought about many mysteries, the second season begins unraveling some of them while revealing even bigger twists then the first season. Even though it was only 12 episodes, half the amount of season 1, I felt like the pacing was, for the most part, rather good. Action scenes weren’t too short or too long, and there were enough of them to keep me entertained while leaving enough time to properly develop the story. Flashbacks were used to further develop the characters, though I question the amount used in the anime, since it is only 12 episodes long.
I just love the setting of AOT. There really is nothing quite like it. Well, I guess that knock-off show involving trains has a similar setting, but that doesn’t count. The interesting and well thought out setting along with the anime’s precise execution really gets the viewers invested in the story, and I constantly kept wondering things like “What exactly are the titans?” and “What’s in Eren’s basement?” Ok, that last one sounds really lame on paper, but its a legitimate question that I’m sure many viewers are curious about. Luckily the anime answers some of these mysteries (which I can’t talk about because of SPOILERS!), but in explaining things, even more questions are posed that make me want to go to my local bookstore and buy the entire Attack on Titan manga just to find out what the heck is going on.
The most mediocre aspect of the first season for me was the characters. None of them really stuck out to me except for Mikasa, who is pretty awesome, but somewhat lacking in the personality department. Eren always felt a bit one dimensional to me and Armin only got a modicum of screen time, so I never really felt a connection with either of them. In the second season, we see even less of the main trio, but I actually agreed with this approach since it allowed for something that the first season desperately needed: developed side characters.
Season two dedicates a lot of time in developing the side characters, particularly Reiner, Bertolt, Krista and Ymir. This really helped to flesh out these characters which caused me to start to feel a bit of a connection with them. I respect an anime that takes the time to fully evolve its side characters instead of having a bunch of generic wastes of space that no one cares about whatsoever. This development also provides many new perspectives on the AOT world instead of having us simply see Eren’s somewhat narrow minded “I GOTTA GET STRONG AND KILL EVERY LAST ONE OF THOSE DAMN TITANS!” perspective, which was quite refreshing.
Linked Horizon returns to preform the opening theme song for Attack on Titan. I initially wasn’t all that impressed with the piece (it needed a bit more YEAGAR!), however as I continued to listen to it, the song really started to grow on me. Behind the anime’s masterful soundtrack is Hiroyuki Sawano. He has consecutively produced many brilliant compositions for other anime, including the first season of AOT, and the quality of his music is no different here. AOT’s soundtrack boasts many powerful orchestral pieces that help to amplify the atmosphere for many situations presented in the anime. The music is so good that I found myself on multiple occasions being captivated by the power and beauty of a few of the compositions present in the show.
The sheer emphasis on detail for some of the animated scenes in the anime (primarily when nothing was moving so that it looked like something taken straight out of a manga) is breathtakingly good. The overall visual presentation of the show is, to me, far superior to that of the other spring 2017 seasonal anime. However the animation is not without flaws. Probably the biggest problem that I’ve heard from the anime community regarding the visuals is a general dissatisfaction with the CGI colossal titan. I unfortunately have to concur, since I felt the the CGI was sort of choppy and didn’t fit in with the rest of the animation. My friend was even more disappointed, and he said that the CGI took away from the big armored and colossal titan reveal. Luckily the use of the CGI is very limited in the anime, and it started to look better to me anyway as the show progressed.
Where AOT really shines is its entertainment value. This anime is the most exciting thing that I’ve seen in awhile. Part of this is due to the cliffhangers that appear at the end of literally ever episode that left me constantly craving more. Whether it was developing the story, presenting a crazy plot twist, or showcasing an epic battle between titans, AOT never failed to keep my attention, a feat that very few things have ever been able to accomplish for me, so for that I give AOT major props.
I love Attack on Titan. Even with all of its flaws (which are few) it still manages to be an incredible viewing experience. Even if the anime doesn’t quite suit your tastes, I almost guarantee that anyone who watches it will be thrilled by AOT’s exhilarating presentation. Its not one of the most popular anime of all time for no reason you know. If you decide to watch this anime or have already done so, I hope that you are as captivated by it as I am.
Attack on titan needs no further introductions, we all know about it… there are some people who put it on a pedestal, and there are some people who denigrate it. I choose to be honest and interpret the facts as fairly as I possibly can, and not write a verbose review.
In my opinion, Attack on Titan is one of those shows that even though it does not shine quality-wise, meaning it doesn’t have “great” characters or “epic” twists, it is amazingly entertaining to watch.
The story is fairly simple and straightforward, but thicker than my expectations based on the previous season, it is
decently paced and has enough twists and “spice” to keep the viewers engaged and maybe draw the attention away from the lack of gravity on the characters’ side.
The premise and setting of the series is something I always found intriguing: the last traces of humanity trapped in an apocalyptic/dystopian world, giving their all to survive the man-eating monsters and live another day to fight. It sounds great, right? Hell yes!... but the execution of this great premise is lacking in many ways, or rather could have been done better.
For starters, some viewers, myself included, may find the pacing somewhat of a problem. I sometimes felt the show was dragging on, being laggard and just covering as little manga content in as much screentime as possible, ending up with a bunch of episodes and little story progression… but this pace issue frequently got clouded by fighting, so it wasn’t that big a deal., unless you particularly looked for it.
Of Course, the pacing of the show most probably is part of some dilatory tactics on the director's side, but that only makes things worse.
There is no “great” or memorable conflict to mention, no depth to the show and the story doesn’t have a clear direction.
The story of AoT got an awful lot more “messy” compared to the first season. In the previous season, the show had somewhat of a clear direction given by Erren’s aspiration to “kill all titans!!!”(as cliche as that may sound), his quest to find what’s in his father’s basement and Anne throwing sticks in his wheels, but this season, nothing about his father’s basement is mentioned, Anne is old history and her shoes have been filled by pretty weak characters, and Eren has way less intense scenes to get me hyped up, but that’s not to say other characters didn’t have some badass scenes.
As a side note, the random characters flashbacks were awful, the out of nowhere “Hey bro, I’m the armored titan” plot twist was deplorably executed, and throwing a bunch of Humanoid Titans in the mix did no good either, just made the show feel a lot more “random”. At every new human titan presented I sarcastically said “Oh, really? They’re titans too?”.
As I’ve already said, the story is fairly simple and highly predictable. I expected and wished the show would contain more subplots that would deepen the main plot and make it more interesting, not that it was necessary.
Subplots, they can be used to reveal important aspects about characters’ personalities and make them more appealing, or to present the story from different perspectives and give it a twist, or a bunch more other desired results, imminently making the story more complex, which is a good thing. What I wanted the writers to use subplots for mostly has to do with the conflicts in the series, which I’ll mention next.
When we think about the word “conflict” we immediately jump to violence, physical altercations, political matters, etcetera. Well, when it comes to stories, there are many, many types of “conflicts”, such as character versus self; character versus nature; character against fate; human nature; (etc.) that will never get old and can make a show so much better.
While I agree AoT employs various conflicts and I’ve witnessed some self-exploration, a lot of fighting against nature (portrayed by Titans) and a bit of human nature exploration, I don’t think enough emphasis was put on them.
Getting back to subplots. Amongst other reasons, I wanted the writers to use more subplots as a way to fluidly introduce and combine different kinds of story conflicts within a single narrative, so that tension would be generated by varied sources. Unfortunately, that didn’t happen, but it ain’t the end of the world, so… moving on.
All in all, nothing was particularly well done, or deplorably done regarding the story. Both the story and the execution of it, was tolerable, most of the times I found it decent but sometimes annoying. I have to give credit where it’s due: the show has no plot armor (except for Mikasa) and little plot conveniences, but it’s got nothing else going for it.
I consider the character side of AoT to be what’s really crippling the show. The characters miserably failed to make any sort of good, or remotely good, impression on me.
The characters - They’re like white crayon on white paper. Sure, the characters run around and they do stuff and say lines but none of it has anything to do with character and has everything to do with plot — as if the characters are just another mechanism to get to the next action sequence or the next plot point, and that is why AoT failed constructing and developing its characters.
The cast is composed of a large number of characters, but most if not all of them are just for decor, bodies in the background, lacking any vigor or personality and aren’t even worth mentioning. Considering the show focused the first half of its episodes on side characters and completely erased the main cast from the screen, not being able to develop those side characters is quite pathetic in my humble opinion.
The “main” characters aren’t much better, they are one dimensional, cliche stereotypes, lacking any interesting features or depth and frankly, they are boring and irritating.
I believe that in a good story, the main character, Eren in this case, should win or lose at least partly on his own strength and not just be rescued by someone else or some fortunate “random” event, and in the end, the protagonist learns and grows as he tries to solve his problems and face his actions.
Events that happen to the characters have to in some way affect them. Things cannot be the same at the end as they were in the beginning.
As you can probably guess, I am disappointed with Erren. He is a hard headed, hot blooded, impulsive, titan-hating young man who lacks self-restraint and the mind to see what his actions may lead to, and he is prefigured to try and yell his way through any situation, later getting his ass handed to him.
He oftens loses confidence in his powers and capabilities, later on regaining it (as seen when he almost defeated the Armored Titan). He is your typical avenging main character, he has nothing else to offer, he goes in half-cocked, panics, screams, gets his ass whooped, gets saved my Mikasa and then repeats, learning nothing from what has happened.
Besides those “amazing” and “awe inspiring” traits, Eren’s development goes no further than whatever he received in the first season, he is just like a large rock, be it winter or summer, snowing or sunny, the rock stays the same.
His character is so stagnant to the point it irritates me, the events he goes through and actions he takes affect his nature in no way, and that is just poor writing for the sake of poor writing.
As for the rest of the main cast, Armin and Mikasa, should they even be considered as main characters for this season? I think not, since they received so little screentime, held no important role the show couldn't have done without and had no great influence over the progression of the story. Anyway, I’ve barely seen Armin this season, and from what I’ve witnessed, he is the same as before, the tiny guy with the big ideas.
Mikasa, almost nothing changed about her either, she is as poorly constructed as ever. She is described as a goddess of 3D Maneuvers and overall combat skills, she has no flaws, and ironically, that is a flaw in itself. But, this season she turns into some sort of yandere girl, going on about “noone stand between me and Eren”, and that is just laughable.
As far as aesthetics and sound go, this season felt a weaker than before. The animation was fluid, consistent and overall pretty good, even the CG, but certainly poorer than what the first season had to offer.
With a mediocre opening theme and an ending theme I don’t remember listening to, the sound is nothing memorable, but the OST does the trick and facilitates the “hype” mood to set in. I consider the sound to also be inferior to what the previous season featured.
As for enjoyment. Oh, maaan... AoT was a highly entertaining watching experience, it got me engaged and hyped up for 80% of its duration, saw some very nice and juicy titan fight scenes and that’s exactly what I was looking for. Long story short, I had A BLAST watching this series, really did.
Although I had a lot of fun with the show, something felt missing while watching this season, but I’m not sure what. The music is still there, the visuals are still there, the gruesome, bloody deaths are still there and yet, it doesn’t feel the same as before. The atmosphere and vibe of the show changed, and not for the better.
To be honest, I’m not sure what the point of this season was and why the creators decided to do it. It’s clear the budget wasn’t that great so they weren’t expecting the show to bring in huge profits and it’s clear they don’t want to progress the story because they keep dragging things for episodes and episodes.
I guess the point of it was to revitalize or reignite the hype for the show, so it wouldn’t loose all it’s fans and end up forgotten like some old rock band from the ‘80, or maybe the purpose of it was to get people to buy and read the manga. Afterall, someone has to do it, just not me.
In conclusion, AoT is a decent show quality wise, it has a fairly good story that is, unfortunately, dragged down by poorly constructed characters, all coming in a package with good animation and sound. It is definitely not a bad show but nor the masterpiece or revolutionary, one-of-a-kind series people make it out to be.
To put it bluntly, AoT is the equivalent of a summer blockbuster: you watch it, you really enjoy it, you finish it and then you forget about it, or at least that would be the case if it weren’t for the fanboys constantly mentioning it.