What We’ve Been Waiting For
It is hardly a surprise that Attack on Titan Season Three Part Two took out my reader’s choice for anime of the season. Attack on Titan is one of those series that has a fairly persistent fan base who got used to being patient after the long wait between season one and two and whose expectations of the series have considerably lowered since the explosive first episode. That isn’t saying that the popularity of this instalment only came about because of lowered expectations, but the impact this season had certainly can be attributed to this season raising the bar for the series right back to where it started.
While part one of season three established the secret behind the royal bloodline, season three part two continues to build on our new understanding of the world. While the first half of the season is dominated by an extended battle between the beast titan, colossal titan and armoured titan and the scouts, the second half of the ten episode season is almost entirely back story and reactions to the events.
Emotionally it works a treat as the explosive action draws you in and then you are hit with one emotional bombshell after another until the very end of the series where you are left wondering what the next move might be but given a tiny glimmer of hope (which knowing Attack on Titan will be quickly snuffed out when it returns but at least they left us with a small ray of happiness).
The action is as good as it ever was in this series with some amazing sequences early on. Levi of course steals the show with his incredible flurry of attacks on his path to taking down the beast titan but his screen time is still fairly minimised. Necessarily so as the scouts as a regiment need their moment to shine under the command of Erwin before utter annihilation for the sake of distracted the beast titan long enough for Levi to land an attack.
Erwin’s genius as a motivator is on full display here but I find it interesting that even Erwin questions his own decisions that have lead to this point. Whether he is acting for his own sake or for humanity is something he ponders with Levi before he whips the rest of the scouts into a frenzy for their final charge. It is impossible to know whether he came to peace with his decision or not however he held true to his course right to the end even if he did second guess himself.
It kind of takes away some of the shine of Levi’s actions when you realise it cost the lives of nearly two hundred scouts to achieve. But that is standard Attack on Titan where bitter sweet is the standard and sometimes they forget to add the sweet.
While the Levi’s battle is impressive it doesn’t take away visually from the battle on the other side of the wall with Eren, Armin, Mikasa and the others. The sequence is well choreographed, well timed, and all and all these two battles are incredibly fun to watch. Okay, maybe fun isn’t quite the right word given the death count, but you will be entertained.
However, what I felt the crowning achievement of this season really was is how it has aged these characters. We’ve jumped time before in Attack on Titan but Eren, Mikasa and Armin just seemed like slightly taller versions of themselves. Now we see them genuinely age and develop with their attitudes and personalities bearing the full weight of what they have been through and learned over the course of the series.
I never really hid the fact that while I liked the first season of Attack on Titan I could not stand Eren as a character. He wasn’t quite in the same league as Asta when it came to annoying shouting protagonists, but he would have run him a close second. Seeing Eren as he is at the end of season three part two of Attack on Titan is glorious. He didn’t just suddenly change who he was. His transformation has occurred incrementally since the beginning of season two. That’s what makes it work so well and feel so authentic. Eren has gone from one of my least favourite anime characters to one I very much want to see what the next step of his story is.
Now, with nearly half the episodes given to back story and dissecting what that means and reacting to it, the question becomes whether or not this slows down the series. Many other anime would in fact have gotten bogged down in their own exposition and while the information might be important the enjoyment factor would have wound down.
Not so with this series. Grisha’s past as revealed in his diary is incredibly compelling viewing and every bit as riveting as any of the fights from the first half of the season. Considering the implications of what he is revealing as well as the tragedies that shaped his life prior to arriving within the walls, it is one of those back stories that more or less had to be told and I am really glad they gave it the time it deserved.
That said I’m not going to get heavily into spoilers here but just know that this season will change everything about how you have viewed the world of Attack on Titan prior to this season, provided you aren’t reading the manga in which case you already knew. I imagine that going in knowing what the reveals are would change the impact these scenes will have, but for me they were game changing.
Historia also steps up to the plate. While she is sidelined early in the season by her role as a leader, or at least a figurehead leader, Historia returns in the second half and makes her presence felt. By necessity her role has changed in the series but it is her decision to reveal the truth to the people that really makes me respect her as a character. After so many secrets and lies have shaped the world these characters live in it makes perfect sense that when the truth is known it should be shared.
With great music, great action, good character developments, and the plot moving along at a good clip with reveals tumbling over themselves to mysteries that have been lingering since the beginning, there is a lot to recommend about this season of Attack on Titan. For those who walked away during season two, it might be time to jump back on the Titan bandwagon.
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- Attack on Titan Season One Review
- Attack on Titan Season Two Review
- Attack on Titan Season Three Part One Review
- Attack on Titan Season Three Part Two Review
- Attack on Titan Season Three Part Two Episodes 1 + 2
- Attack on Titan Season Three Part Two Episode 3
- Attack on Titan Season Three Part Two Episode 4
- Attack on Titan Season Three Part Two Episode 5
- Scott and Karandi Discuss Attack on Titan (Part 1)
- Scott and Karandi Discuss Attack on Titan (Part 2)
- Attack on Titan Season Three Part Two Episode 6
- Attack on Titan Season Three Part Two Episode 7
- Attack on Titan Season Three Part Two Episode 8
- Attack on Titan Season Three Part Two Episode 9
- Attack on Titan Season Three Part Two Episode 10
- Images from: Attack on Titan Season 3 Part 2. Dir. T Araki. Wit Studio. 2019.