This episode is breathtaking to watch for a number of reasons, though I’m still left wondering if this is the direction I ever wanted this show to go when I recall what was fun about season 1.
Attack on Titan picks up this week exactly where it left off with Levi being confronted by Kenny (who I guess we’ll get more back story on at some point but they are pretty heavy handed already with making it clear Kenny knew Levi when he was kid) and the ensuing fight. Now, this is a fantastic fight sequence. It throws you right back to the very beginning when you saw the ODM Gear in action for the first time and this is one fast paced chase sequence with aerial combat thrown in. It also knows when to take a pause and a breath, like when Levi got cornered in the bar. It’s just a well thought out sequence that gets the audience excited, show-cases the animation that this anime is known for, and also gives us a clear new enemy and problem for our group of main characters to deal with.
Does that warrant 11 minutes of an episode? Maybe not, but I will admit I didn’t really care the episode was half over and all that had happened was the end of a fight left over from last week. It was fun to watch and seeing Levi in action was thrilling (even if realistically there’s at least six occasions where he should be dead because people just don’t move like that).
There’s also some attempt at dealing with the emotions of the kids as they come to terms with having to fight people. They trained to fight titans. Some of them even mocked combat training against humans back in season one because they didn’t see a point when they would be fighting titans. Now the Scouts are the clear target of the Military Police and this puts them on the back foot because they aren’t used to dealing with human enemies. Armin and Jean provide a wondrous look into the turmoil they are all feeling while Levi actually provides a voice of reason rather than comfort.
A disappointment on the character front would be Mikasa. As usual, other than her obsession with Eren, she has very little to do in this episode. While she does provide some comfort to Armin after the dust has settled, Levi was forced to hold her back to prevent her from throwing herself after Eren despite losing any chance of victory.
Of course, there’s no way to talk about this episode without looking at the torture that occurs. Levi and Hange torture the enemy for information. They don’t just threaten it, they don’t play act like they will torture, there’s no hidden element here. They just straight up torture to get what they want. And while they might not be thrilled about it, there’s little hesitation in their actions. It definitely feeds in to the question about who the real monsters are in this show, which at least thematically came about in season one, but at the same time might be a bridge too far for some of the more squeamish viewers. There’s a big difference between watching characters fight and get eaten by monsters and watching humans torture other humans.
Then I just have my own mixed feelings about this as a direction for Attack on Titan. While this might indeed be interesting and the intrigue of heirs and politics could certainly make this season watchable, I kind of wonder where the monster slaying, screaming in defiance characters went and why it all needed to get this complicated.
Still, if this episode is a taste of things to come, there’s certainly going to be some fun to be found in watching Attack on Titan this season.
- Attack on Titan Series Review
- Attack on Titan Season 2 Series Review
- Season 3 Episode 1: Why Not Add Another Faction
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