Attack on Titan, Season 2, First episode review
(WARNING: I’m one week late and I’m aware of this fact. I just didn’t expect the analysis of the opening and the ending to be this long.)
It’s been four years…
And they’ve only announced 12 episodes.
To be frank, considering the messed up agenda, it’s not that bad. It’s better than having a completely rushed second cour with reused scenes. Remember the mess episodes 22 to 25 were? Yeah I’d rather not have that again.
Considering the openings and the endings, I’ve written a word here. I was planning to do it in the same post but there was useful notes that could foreshadow what was going to happen in this season and later in the manga. I thought therefore it deserved a post of its own.
After a short recap, the episode starts with the capture of Annie.
Annie being taken into custody - Ep. 26
This scene makes me think of the forensics taking a dead body, which implies this might be indeed the last thing we see of her.
The episode then hooks the ending of S1 with the events from chapter 34, with Pastor Nick from last season telling Hange to cover the Wall Titan, before going on with the episode titled The Beast Titan. The opening has been very dynamic, as expected from Linked Horizon. We’re holding our next earworm here.
From what I’ve seen so far, this season does have improved graphics over the first one: character faces drawn correctly, Erwin’s nose being right, Reiner and Bertolt getting beefier, more CG animations added, with titans and horses, which is a nice touch since it doesn’t go into Berserk 2016′s levels of obnoxiousness, to the point of making the animation awkward. There’s still the gross lipstick effect on female characters…
They added an extra Erwin scene, where he indeed expressed his lack of surprise concerning titans inside the walls. Him thinking it might have been possible stays consistent with his character.
They also added a different Hitch and Marlowe scene where both express how all these people died without reason. Needless to say, it’s very different from what the manga had to offer and almost feels… a bit empty.
Hitch and Marlowe’s scene in the manga - Ch. 34
Empty because it seems to happen after Googles took control of the situation, yet it would’ve been nice to see the two of them worrying about Annie, to see at least they care and her being off is a tad suspicious.
The next scene is the famous scene were Hange makes Nick talk. Another segment from the manga was excluded because the civilians did witness the Wall Titan, both in this episode and in the opening. So there was no point in adding it. Kudos to Romi Park’s performance for breathing life into Hange’s character. That scene was tense… however.
I can accept tiny bits being scraped to condense the episode to fit half a volume in it but I’m less forgiving with scraping tiny bits of dialogue that makes even a secondary character relatable. In this scene. While the anime did a good job at making Nick’s faith invulnerable to threats it omitted one of my favourite passages:
Pastor Nick’s backstory - Ch. 34
It was what made Nick human: he had no family left and sunk into alcohol as a result, and faith is the only thing that saved him from his crisis. So instead of a fervent pastor who found a new lifestyle, the anime makes him sound like a crazy fanatic.
His hairstyle is a bit different, not that I mind.
It was also one of the rare, but not unique moment where Hange was downright serious and scary, to the point not even Moblit’s word manages to resonate with them.
Next scene is the garrison member (instead of Thomas, or it’s him but he changed branches or something) rushing to warn Erwin, followed by a neat rewind effect to where the next events are going to unfold.
Shot of Rico and the
wonderful Rogue Titan smashing the Female Titan - Ep. 26
As you can see, one screencap that implies the involvement of the Garrison and the other that’s… placed to fit the timeline at which these events happened. Not a bad move. The animation quality however…
Nice to see the apparition of these titans within Wall Rose coincides with Annie and Eren’s fight. There must be something fishy underneath this…
In the past, we have the whole sequence with everybody on standby, till titans appear. We’ve got a nice pack of people isolated to find who has been the conspirator, starring Connie and Sasha slacking, Reiner and Bertolt playing chess with a nice animation, Ymir and Krista discussing next to a table. As Sasha and Mike detect incoming titans with their sixth sense, the episode closes chapter in 10 minutes, opening included, leaving 13 minutes for chapter 35, the ending and the preview.
We’re seeing Nanaba hoping next to the window, looking as beautiful as ever, telling everybody to prepare themselves to rush within Wall Rose’s interior. Some parts have been deliberately scraped as to why members of the 104th have been isolated.
The CG animation - Ep. 1
That’s a pretty one I admit, with the previous preparations from each SL cadet. Too bad they scraped parts as to why these people were retained, which fleshed a sympathetic side to Nanaba’s character.
Nanaba feeling bad for the 104th - Ch. 35
This is the same case as Nick. Even if the reason had to be hidden, that passage could’ve been at least included for further implications.
I loved the break between the moment the titan appeared and the one where it suddenly started running towards the formation. The forte of this episode was without doubt a good action combined to excellent music. Good thing to kick off a 4-year long waiting.
I’m curious about who dubs Gelgar, as well. This part of the chapter ends on Mike in action before going on something completely different… A scene that wasn’t supposed to appear now. Aside from the Eren and Mikasa moment that was mostly added as an extra scene it doesn’t really serve a purpose now. I’ll take it as a foreshadowing for later.
No offense but Eren’s kind of a dick in this scene though. Telling Mikasa to buy another scarf when it was her only memento. Not cool.
Next is an eruri scene kinda similar to the one added much later that lasted a couple of seconds and it was mostly talking about Mike’s situation and that small hope he’ll make it out alive.
But since we’re following the manga and the episode has to end on chapter 35…
We’re introduced to that weird titan that enjoys taking a walk.
First shot of the Beast Titan - Ep. 1
Who also grabs Mike’s horse, abuses it while strangling him and aims for its owner a couple of seconds later.
And who can also talk.
Note: in the manga it looked like he wiped his hand from the midget titan’s blood, but in this episode he waits for it to evaporate, completely unfazed.
That scene is absolutely terrifying. I’ll remind everybody that Mike was supposed to be second compared to Levi as a SL member and he was completely terrified as that titan was stealing his 3DMG, with no horse, his legs broken and four titans surrounding him.
But Mike was someone filled with hope.
Mike screaming - Ep. 1
As long as the fight was going on, nothing was lost. But the Beast Titan, being a troll but not on purpose, sends the surrounding titans to devour Mike.
And this roar of fight became a cry of despair as Mike’s life ended with titans tearing him apart. Thanks a lot Kenta Miyake for the power put in Mike’s voice. Congratulations, seriously. The visuals made it worse.
And this first episode ends on an ominous ending. That was a nice kick to every SnK watcher to put us in the mood again. I forgot how much I liked this arc and waited so long for it to be animated.