Attack on Titan Season 2 was one of the most anticipated shows of the year, let alone this season. Four years of waiting after a cliffhanger season finale fuelled with emotional intensity and more questions than anyone could have imagined, I had expected so much more from this season. I already know that going into this review, my opinion may be an unpopular one. But you know what, that’s totally okay.
For anyone unfamiliar, the basic premise of Attack on Titan revolves around humanity that has been secluded behind gargantuan walls to protect them from gigantic humanoid, sexless creatures known as titans that like to eat humans. The world is broken up by different divisions, as such each wall is named in conjunction to the areas they protect. The further inwards you go, the more tightly protected the cities are supposed to be. Humans are currently trying to fight these extraordinary creatures, while simultaneously attempting to crack the mystery behind their existence.
The first episode of the new season picked up pretty much exactly where the first one ended. That was nice. The recaps were kept relatively short to compensate for the time elapsed in between seasons without letting us drown in repetitiveness. There were a lot of minor things that I noticed about the show after a few weeks of watching. Some of them are good, but the rest are decidedly not great at all.
Let’s start with the technical stuff. The animation quality was good. Compared to the first season, that’s all it was: good. Initially, I felt the animation was far superior to the first season. But after a recent re-watch of the all 26-episodes, I’m inclined to disagree with that notion. The improvements overall were very miniscule in nature, which was one of the biggest disappointments that I felt. Wit Studio has produced some other shows within the four year span, all of which had spectacular animation. One such example is Kabaneri of the Iron Fortress (Kōtetsujō no Kabaneri), which was essentially a steampunk version of Attack on Titan. Nonetheless, it was gorgeous to watch with action scenes dripping in details and meticulous incorporation of CGI elements. Was it perfect? No. Was it a vast improvement over what they originally started with? Hell yeah. But alas, it wasn’t implemented with this new season of Attack on Titan. Part of me thinks that they didn’t want to deal with devastating time crunches that the company experienced when Season One was airing, where the rush and pressure produced shoddy work. I can respect that, but I still hoped for something a little bit more.
The action sequences themselves felt naked without the implementation of CGI similar to the styles used in the original season. There is a drastic change in artistic style in regards to movement and motion, that felt like a genuine step back. The lack of sharpness and the clarity that comes with computer enhancements, made the retrogression simulate hand-drawn sequences. Normally, that’s not a bad thing, but when you’ve already got your audience familiarised with better quality, it would be ill-advised to defer to something less than expected.
Some other things that I didn’t care for consisted of the overall plot, it’s progression, and implementation. The entire premise of the 12-episode season is basically a human treasure hunt, a damn slow one to boot. Detailed revelations on the existence of the titans was severely limited. We learn one or two things that lead to a much bigger picture, yet in the end it takes five hours to get there, and it’s really not that extraordinary in the grand scheme of things. The vast chunk of the season is devoted to long stretches of dialogue that could have been accomplished in half the time that they actually took up. If there weren’t dialogues, then there were an immense number of flashbacks, most of them we could’ve done completely without as they were snippets from the first season. There just wasn’t nearly as much storytelling as there should’ve been. There’s a whole lot of build-up to something super badass, only to fall utterly short with total dissatisfaction.
In any case, Attack on Titan does maintain it’s high-intensity suspense that just propels you forward one scene after another with disgustingly hungry eyes. You get so invested in what the hell’s going to happen next that the time flies by, making each twenty-some-odd minute episode feel like mere seconds in length. It’s always been damn good at enrapturing your entire attention. I adored that, missed it immensely even. It’s a trait that works very well for a series that has built itself up on viciously violent imagery and heartbreaking losses. Nonetheless, this may be its only redeeming quality.
Overall, I was not impressed with Attack on Titan Season Two. Having to wait four years for only 12-episodes of dialogue and flashback regurgitation seems like a colossal waste. I would have prefered waiting longer for a much better and beautiful storytelling experience. While I am happy that I got to watch this while it simulcasted, I’m very sad that I felt so frustrated with it.
5 potatoes outta 10!