Less Shouting, More Plot, Still Great Action – Yes!
It’s taken awhile for me to get to this review and it isn’t because I didn’t enjoy the anime or that I didn’t have a strong opinion. It was more that the anime ended at a weird time of season and I’d already finished drafting my Summer anime reviews and scheduled them but I hadn’t yet gotten in to my backlog of anime to review and so Attack on Titan season 3 went on the list to catch up on at a future time and then I got busy.
But, now that I’m writing about this anime again, the only thing I can really think is ‘wow, I really had a lot of fun with season 3’. If you recall my pre-season thoughts, I was pretty pessimistic about Attack on Titan (Shingeki no Kyojin). Season one started great but meandered. Season two did whatever it did. I guess we did get an amazing reveal but it really felt like the plot was lost and we spent a lot of time just kind of reacting to things or rushing from action show piece to action show piece. Don’t get me wrong, some of them were cool, but it felt like the plot was lost or stalled.
Well, season three has come along and it has brought us some wondrous things. Levi getting into the action as Kenny attacks his squad in the early stages of the season is a solid and exhilarating beginning to season 3.One that captures the adventurous spirit as well as the danger and idea of life being pretty cheap very well and reignites enthusiasm for the series in a way that was badly needed (at least in my case).
Sure the fight across rooftops and through the streets of the district is over the top and from a physics point of view highly improbably(how dead is Levi if he actually attempted those stunts), but it is beautiful,fast paced, the sound perfectly complements it, and everything about the sequence just works from a raw emotional point of view. And it opens up the characters of Attack on Titan to us in a way we’ve never really had the chance to explore before.
From Eren and Historia, to the Ackerman’s, the false King, Eren’s father, Kenny, all of the cast get some life breathed back into them as we take a break from riding around on horses and fighting and actually look at what is behind all the mystery and intrigue. Do we get all the answers? Well, it is Attack on Titan so not really, but it brings together a lot of the plot threads, the half hints and ideas, and it seems to throw them back into forward motion in a way that ends up being immensely satisfying.
While I’m at it, I’ll mention that the OP this season is fantastic. I get that when you first hear it, or if you hear it without watching the show you will be wondering what that song is doing attached to Attack on Titan, but the opening perfectly captures what this season aimed for and ultimately accomplished. We see that the characters have grown up but that their pasts haven’t disappeared. Who they were and what they have been through has shaped them and continues to have an influence over their lives even as they try to find their own paths. The song and the visuals that go with it capture that, as well as the relationships these characters have formed. It really works and there’s a reason it ended up on my list of favourite OP’s for the year.
However, while the world and characters are being fleshed out there is a trade off. If you are after continuous bouts with Titans you may find season 3 a little bit of a disappointment. For me though, they more than made up for the lack of number of Titans early on by the sheer grotesqueness of the titan they fight just after the mid-season. And of course, by the end of the season we are back to many titans.
Still, the greatest accomplishment of season 3 is that it finally made me appreciate Eren as a character rather than merely tolerating him. As a shouting protagonist type, one of my least favourites, Eren has always been a sore point for me with Attack on Titan. While I joked early on in this season that gagging Eren helped immensely, when the gag came off, I found that Eren had finally moved forward as a character. Sure, there are still some stupid moments with him, such as his fist-fight with Jean, but Eren managed whole moments of character introspective later in the season without a single shouted line and with thoughts that I felt I could relate to and understand.This was quite the break through moment for him.
There are negatives of course. As I mentioned, there are less fight sequences this time around and so there are a lot of scenes of people standing or sitting around talking. There’s also a lot of characters from the political groups and military that you probably won’t be all that attached to getting a lot of screen time. And some of these moments could have been trimmed a little, though mostly I enjoyed it. The other thing of course is that we are still unfinished so now we’re back to waiting yet again.
Attack on Titan really does like to keep us waiting.
Overall though, I’d definitely recommend continuing with season three if you made it through one and two. In my view, this was the best Titan has offered us so far and I’m looking forward to see where they go from here.
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ATTACK ON TITAN 2