*Minimum Spoiler Review*
TL;DR: If every weird conspiracy theory you had for SnK suddenly started becoming true... Well that's this season of SnK for you. From Titans dying like Titanic to Internal Gov'ts crashing like US Stock exchange on day two, this first cour of SnK will leave you screaming... KENNEEYYYYYYY!
If you didn't watch S1 & S2, don't even bother reading or watching this anime.
[Story: 7/10 , Characters: 8/10, Art: 9/10, Sound: 8/10, Enjoyment: 8/10]
"You Levi. You grown any yet" - Kenny Ackerman
This season of Shingeki no Kyojin or Attack on Titan should really be called Attack on Internal Government. From military coups to Historia becoming a waifu boo and Eren slapping himself to stop being Eren, this season definitely stands out from all the previous seasons... good or bad? Let's find out. What originally was supposed to be a 2-cour anime by Wit Studio, they throw another curveball towards fans by making it 1-cour due to budget & work constraints. That's alright since the anime delivers through their concise story adaptation, developed secondary characters, great non-hype music and as always stellar art & animation style. However, after finishing watching it, it will always leave you feeling empty as this season was less substance but more action, overall.
"Who decides... Who will you trust?" Erwin Smith
From the story stand point, director Araki & Koizuka did a phenomenal job taking some of the most boring drawn out manga arcs and presenting them in a different order to retell the author's story. Though S3 seems like it starts out of nowhere as no continuation is felt from previous season, you are immediately thrown into the internal world of life inside the wall with high paced action of people fighting people using ODMG but instead of swords vs swords we now have swords vs GUNS. Great job hooking puzzled viewers in and over the course of this anime we get to learn the real truth behind how politics is actually governed inside the wall. From who's pulling the strings, history of royal blood and finally the truth behind the man Eren's father really was. The best takeaway would be wondering, who really is the hero or rather who is actually doing what's morally right as shown through juxtaposing the childish views characters once had of this world vs adult views now they have chosen to accept. Who really thinks for the people and who are just selfish power hungry trash. The manga arc was boring but the director paced the story well for viewers to bite through it as well as some flashback stories of two key characters in this anime really solidifies Erwin's purpose of proving his father's hypothesis.
"The person that I killed... I bet they were a nice person. Someone that was much more human than I am..." - Armin Arlert
The main reason this anime gets praise this season is because we learn a lot of the history behind characters who we were somewhat curious about. This anime is no longer about Eren but more about the people inside the wall vs the beings outside the wall. From focusing on Historia's growth to Levi's tragic past and shedding light on the Ackerman Family & Reiss Family line, we get a sense of how the chess pieces are moving or have been moving all throughout history for mankind to come to this sort of standpoint. The anime also explores the change in psyche soldiers like Armin, Sasha, & Jean go through as they now have to cope with killing humans not just titans, a huge taboo. The beatdown lecture Levi tells them about we kill those who will harm us as self-defence & to protect our close ones parallels with IRL military soldiers and how they are trained to kill "units" not people. Because if you humanize your enemy, you will have hesitation vs treating them like "beasts". That's one interesting take-way from this season. Also huge shoutout to characters like Kenny & Hange, keeping the anime fresh with their torture techniques. Not to mention, the seiyuus for this season who were able to tell the story more through the anguish in their voice. Huge kudos to them.
"I never said who was right or wrong. I don't even know myself." - Levi
Aside from the somewhat linear story arc & developed secondary characters, time after time, if there is one thing this studio does justice, it's their animation & art style. This season they nailed it as well. Every panel was hand-drawn really well. The action sequences flowed really well. We harp the studio for taking forever releasing the anime but atleast they never flake on us on quality. The background score was really hype throughout all the fight sequences and the drops right before key enigmatic moments definitely escalates the excitement each episode. What stood out most though, was the opening of the anime. We are so accustomed to hype opening songs such as Feuerroter Pfeil and Bogen & Die Flügel der Freiheit by REVO of Linked Horizon that when a slow melodious anti-hype casual song as Red Swan by X Japan came to be opening song fans were lost and confused. This wasn't the SnK they knew and came to love. However, it grows with time and you get why that opening song was used instead of hype songs as this season wasn't about humans vs titans but more humans vs humans. This was what the directors wanted to drive home and by using opening song as this he set the battlefield for just that. So great foresight from their part.
"Go on and torture me already. That's all I did with this blood-stained hands of mine" - Djel Sannes
Overall, SnK S3 wasn't that bad of an anime. Is it as hype & story packed as previous seasons? Not really but given the manga arc the directors were working with, they did a pretty good job. By following not the path the mangaka, Isayama, had originally planned out to this new pacing, it served justice to the anime viewers. Though the studio will take a break after 1-cour and continue part 2 from Spring (hopefully) it will be worth it to not read ahead and spoil ourselves in my opinion. Attack on Titan has come to terms to know what their recipe for success is and that's minimizing Eren's wailing and maximizing Erwin's madness. Without spoiling too much, the series ends with their purpose tied back to the beginning. Definitely looking forward to the next season or second part as that will be real jaw-dropping moment for most fans out there who has yet to spoil themselves. Nevertheless, there is no point not watching this season of AoT. You've already invested in the first and second season, might as well binge watch this season. That's always the best way to watch this anime. The anime is building up to their denouement so why hop off the train now. Anyways, check it out & let me know later how you like it as well as share with me your favourite quote from the anime! Ciao.
P.S. Thank you for reading. I hope you found this short and supaishi review helpful!