Attack on Titan Season 2 Episode 4

Reivew:

With the beast titan having climbed the wall last episode I kind of thought that having sent the titans after the group in the tower he was done. Oh no. He’s hanging around to cause more problems and it is just the kind of cruelty you expect from Attack on Titan.

However, rather than just get into the fight we’re skipping back two hours (what is with this season and time skips?). Connie is still obsessing about his village and it seems like he is trying to convince himself everyone survived but the common sense part of his brain keeps rejecting that notion.

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Ymir is far more vocal this episode than I ever think we’ve seen her and it is to her detriment as she let’s something that seems like it should be important slip (however the show is not lingering on this point as there are titans to fight).

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Anyway, the fight actually starts out pretty well. Given how the soldiers have done previously against titans I wasn’t convinced it was going to be a long fight, but the scouts are actually pretty good. You know, until the beast titan launches boulders at the tower, they run out of blades and then gas. It all kind of goes downhill from there. Leading to the final scene and the big reveal of the episode, which most of us saw coming about midway through the episode but was still pretty cool.

This episode was excellent. It hit all the points I loved about the first episode of Attack on Titan ever. The feeling of being desperate and trapped, actual fear of the titans, the inevitable deaths, the few shock moments of survival, some reasonable action in amongst frantic action and waiting. It just kind of kept you on edge and waiting and was satisfying in what it delivered. More like this, please.

Attack on Titan is available on AnimeLab.


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Attack on Titan Season 2 Episode 3

Review:

Sometimes this show gets its logic just right. While I still think my theory that the people in Connie’s town turned into titans is sound (and nothing this episode refuted that even overly optimistic girl) the group continued onto the wall to look for a hole. At that moment I started thinking if the villagers turned into titans there wouldn’t necessarily be one. And sure enough not long after group coming down the wall one way runs into group going the other along the wall and neither group found a hole.

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It’s unbelievable that you can say this with a straight face because even if the villagers had actually fled, it’s unlikely they outran Titans.

This episode sets up quite a lot. The scouts by the wall for some reason take refuge in a castle ruin (why there is a ruin inside the walls where space is short is still something I’d question) and as soon as they set up there I just kept thinking death trap. End of the episode, they are besieged by Titans and half of them don’t have any gear or weapons. Awesome. Hange and Armin continue to theorise about Titans from limited and incomplete knowledge but at least they are trying to use their heads and the end of the episode sees them, Eren and Mikasa heading to the castle (though they don’t actually know that the other guys are there or that the Titans are attacking it). This could be an interesting next episode.

Also, Beast Titan makes a brief cameo doing a King Kong over the wall.

Attack on Titan is available on AnimeLab.


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Attack on Titan Season 2 Episode 2

Review:

From an action point of view, not a lot happened this episode. We probably should have expected that given how many characters are not currently geared up for a fight. Sasha, however, manages to shine. Through flashbacks of her past we learn a bit more about our food obsessed character and then we see her taken an axe to a Titan, even knowing that realistically there’s no real way for that to be effective. Still, Sasha manages well enough for someone practically unarmed and then poorly armed given the threat (and let’s just be happy there was only one Titan because otherwise this would be really hard to swallow). Eren, Levi and co get a small moment in this episode but they aren’t the focus and it is more like the show is just reminding us they exist and the final moments of the episode are given to Connie who is having a less than fantastic return to his home village. It does look like next episode is going to crank up the action a bit from the preview, but I actually really liked this episodes focus on Sasha.

Attack on Titan is available on AnimeLab.


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Attack On Titan Season 2 Episode 1

Overview:

I think everyone knows the story but in case you have somehow managed to avoid it, humanity is living in fear behind three walls and in season 1 the titans broke through one of the walls and chaos ensued. Then they found out some people can turn into titans and now they are super paranoid about spies. Season 2 picks up right after the final fight of season 1 so watch season 1 first if you haven’t.

Review:

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Everyone in this show continues to yell or be super dramatic or completely defeatist. And while we get that humanity is on the brink of extinction and tension is high, it is very hard at times to want to see the human race saved when watching this show. Actually, the best moments come when they are losing horribly to the titans. That said, if this had come out immediately on the heels of season 1, it would have fared better. It is interesting and a good continuation of where the story was, but this episode doesn’t have a lot of bang in it so if they were hoping to recapture that sense of wow that hit us with season 1 it kind of failed.

The second half of the episode delivers a good fight and a really interesting encounter with a new kind of titan (with predictable results but if you are in the show for the gore you’ll be happy) but again, it didn’t have quite the same impact of that first titan peering over the wall. Speaking of, and I know I made this criticism about My Hero Academia as well, what is with the opening theme? I remember how blown away I was by the music in season 1 and how hyped just hearing it could make me. This one… I’m not even sure the visuals go with it.

Anyway, I enjoyed this episode and it is entertaining enough (though a lot of the main characters had very little to do this episode). The show crippled itself with the long delay and I’m thinking they better build this quickly if they don’t want people to be over it, but if you actually enjoyed the story of season 1, this nicely picks up from where we left off.

Attack on Titan is available on AnimeLab.


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Attack on Titan Series Review

Overview:

Eren Yeager has grown up in a city surrounded by walls. Three in fact and they are the only things keeping the titans (really large humanoid monsters) from eradicating what is left of humankind. However, Eren wants out of the city. Then, a titan breaches the gate and Eren’s world comes crumbling down. Training as a soldier, Eren eventually gets to fight against the titans.

Review:

Attack on Titan is another one of those shows that will blow you away with the opening. The music, the action sequences, the sheer horror and visual feast presented in episode 1 just kind of freeze you in place glued to the screen. It hits every nerve and makes you just sit and take it in. And that high emotion can carry you clear to the end of this first series if you let it. However, what you find when you step back from those emotions is that while Attack on Titan is amazing in so many ways, there are some issues sitting beneath it that just continue to threaten to unravel your viewing experience.

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Firstly, I have to be honest and point out that I fell in love with this series in minutes of watching the first episode. I rewatched that first episode so many times I lost count, but it kind of did everything you would ever want from a first episode in an anime. We met the characters, knew what the threat was, and felt that threat. We weren’t just told titans were bad or scary. We saw them literally tear Eren’s world apart and lay waste to the town. It wasn’t the gore that sold this episode (although visually it is quite confronting). It is the way we see this destruction from the multiple perspectives. We see it from Eren’s point of view as he is helpless to save his mother. We see other characters who are either running or hiding or crying or trying to fight and failing. We get down and personal with them even though we only know some of these characters for a short space of time. But we also see the bigger picture. We get the sweeping shots of the city and the overhead view. We see the titans looking down at the fleeing humans and you can’t help but see ants scurrying from the rain. It’s an intense first episode and sets up a world and a conflict that are inherently interesting and clear.

The rest of season one maintains this clarity of titans bad but it does spend a lot of time muddying its own waters by building in multiple human conspiracies. While this is not necessarily a problem in terms of narrative, and is in fact needed unless all you want is human vs monster conflict, the issue is that very few of the characters in Attack on Titan are anything more that the mouth-piece of whatever ideal is needed in that setting. Actually, if we are honest, most of the characters shout. A lot. Repeatedly. I really, really wish some of these characters would stop shouting (Eren particularly).

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Possibly if these sub-plots (although it kind of feels like some of these human conflicts are going to end up being fairly important to the main plot) had been handled better or if the characterisation had been up to it this could have been a really interesting way to flesh out the world established in episode 1. Instead it all feels like clutter and a distraction from something that was infinitely more interesting.

By the time we get out of the city with Eren (okay, and Levi who is probably the coolest character I’ve come across in a modern action anime) the level of excitement has gone down significantly but this is where they start turning that around. The speed at which the extras get knocked off in this sequence (even though they are apparently trained for this) is disheartening (which I think is the point given we’ve kind of been led to believe they have a chance and this clearly shows they don’t). At every stage after this you get the distinct impression that these characters are well out of their depth and that sense of shared helplessness really helps drive home the drama as they struggle against the fate of dying without accomplishing their goals.

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Of course, there’s no getting around the elephant in the room. It didn’t end and then season 2 got pushed back and back. Season 2 is meant to come out this year so let’s hope but at the moment no matter how amazing an experience you had with Attack on Titan all you’ve been left with are questions, spin-offs and adaptations.

I know I haven’t spent a lot of time on characters. There are actually some pretty cool characters in this story but all of their character journey’s have been cut short at this point and time due to the story just stalling. So I’ll do a better review of the series as a whole once I know where they go. That and any of the extras we meet are likely to just get eaten anyway.

Essentially if you like action with high stakes and a bit of horror, aren’t turned off by gore, and you don’t mind characters who aren’t fully realised, then Attack on Titan will amaze you. It’s beautiful, fast paced, and dramatic and when it is at its best it truly shines and those moments will carry you over the slower bits. If we actually get a continuation that matches the feel and quality of season 1 then this could be a very memorable anime. Otherwise I think it is one of those ones that had its moment in the sun but without finishing won’t have staying power.


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