Attack on Titan is back after a two and a half year hiatus, and before I delve into this review, be warned – spoilers for this episode AND Season 1 are ahead! If you haven’t already, read my Season 1 review here.
Season 2’s first episode, entitled “Beast Titan”, picks up right where last season left off. I’ve read the manga novels, but the point where I stopped is right where Season 2 starts. I’ve also played the video game, the extra missions (made available after beating the main game) are part of this story arc. As you can probably tell, I’ve been waiting a while for this, so excuse me if I end up AoT fanboying a bit. Here’s a little background on where the show left off: In the season finale, Eren (Titan Form) went up against the brutal Female Titan, revealed to be a former ally, Annie Leonhart. The two clashed in a battle that resulted in Annie encasing herself in an unbreakable crystal shell, and a piece of Wall Rose falling off, revealing a Titan inside.
Before I jump into the actual review, I would like to talk about the new intro and theme. This isn’t the first time the show has pulled the ol’ bait ‘n switch with its opening credits (the first season’s intro changed mid-season), but I actually like the change this time. The music that played during the first half of Season 1 was perfection to my ears. It was catchy, fun, and was a great introduction to each episode. However, they changed it in Episode 14, and I wasn’t a big fan of that. The music is okay, but it lacks the charisma of the first theme. The opening theme to Season 2 is pretty good in comparison. I think that at this point, nothing can really top the first theme, but it’s definitely a step up from the last one. The new ending theme is also very good. It’s the same deal as the opening: the first ending theme was great, the second sucked, and the new one is alright. I’m not really sure why they don’t stick with the same themes for each season, but I hope that they just keep these.
Alright, now let’s get onto what matters most. Is this episode any good? In my opinion, it is. The premiere has a lot to like about it, which is good for fans of the first season (me), as well as those who want a satisfying adaptation of the manga novels (also me). Since the episode picks up right where the finale left off, it feels so much more realized, and more like a complete and continued story. Since the series hasn’t aired an episode in two and a half years, I expected it to take more time to get back on its feet, but it surprisingly that wasn’t the case. This actually felt like a direct continuation of the last episode. Maybe it’ll be more evident in future episodes, but for now, it works perfectly.
As for characters, we don’t really get much of the fan favs. It’s definitely nice to see Eren, Mikasa, and Armin again, but we don’t get to see any of them for very long. The main story in this episode focuses on what happened 12 hours before Eren and Annie went head to head in the Stohess District, and also shows the arrival of a new – and certainly formidable foe: the Beast Titan. One thing I like about this episode is that it doesn’t tease anything. It shows what the Beast Titan is capable of right from the get-go, which is nice to see. Speaking of which, this episode certainly doesn’t hold back on the violence. The first season was incredibly gory, and seeing allies of Eren get swallowed and killed was certainly not for the faint of heart. Based on what I’ve seen in this first episode, it looks as if the series will be doubling down on the cringe-inducing gore that made up Season 1.
The writing is also fairly good. The series’ scripts for each episode have never been groundbreaking in any sense of the word, but they’ve always managed to get the job done. The show has always had a lot of action, and while it’s thrilling to see, it’s nice to have some good dialogue to go along with it, which this series has never really managed to acquire. I do hope that the dialogue will get better, but as of right now, it’s just acceptable.
As far as action goes in this episode, it’s (unsurprisingly) light on the thrilling sequences that made Season 1 such a hit, but it works in the episode’s favor. Since this is only the second season, viewers haven’t come to expect much (and fans know where this is headed), so the episode still has plenty of free range to spend time deepening characters’ backstories and motivations. So far, the anime has followed simple instructions — directly adapt the manga novels into a television format — but now that there is a lot more going on, I’m starting to wonder if the season might actually veer off the path laid out for it and make some changes.
Overall, the season premiere of Attack On Titan lived up to my expectations. It was a great and bloody way to get back into the world of the Titans, and I have very high hopes for the rest of Season 2. I’m going to give Episode 1 of Attack On Titan: Season 2 a 9/10.
Just a heads up, I’ll be reviewing and recapping each episode every week until the season finale. This is bound to be a great season, so next week, join me in looking at Episode 2 – “I’m Home”.