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.