Don’t worry- no spoilers here.
Well, Attack on Titan’s second season has been going on for quite a while, and there’s still half of it to go! It’s been alright so far, but there’s honestly a lot more to it than that. This season has certainly been exciting, but really, has it been meeting expectations? Does it have that magical, special quality that we’re all looking for?
The answer- maybe. But you know- it’s not quite like the original.
Back To The Old Grind
So, watching the first few episodes, you’re hyped, ready for more brutality, for more titan-killing, cliffhangery, awesome action–I know I was. You get a taste of it in the first episode, a taste of the brutality, the sheer “WTF” factor. It’s standard Attack on Titan: you got action. You got the same GREAT animation, the same great music, and you even have the crazy plot implications that provide intrigue and suspense. The second season, technically speaking, carries the torch of the first very, very well, looking, sounding, and feeling like Attack on Titan.
From the first season to the current one, I can definitely say that if you’re looking for a high quality, high budget anime that continues the tradition of the first, these first episodes of the second season are a great indicator, in regards to sheer technical finesse. Attack on Titan’s first season, from a stylistic standpoint, was absolutely wonderful, and I’m very happy to see that the second season has carried on that tradition. Action, adventure, and of course, no aversion to seeing some pretty brutal deaths, these episodes have proven that they have built upon everything the first season was famous for!
Almost. It’s close, but…something does hold it back.
A Difference in Storytelling
This season of Attack on Titan, for all its great animation and beautiful scenery, is just undeniably slower-paced than its 2012 counterpart. Where the first season slammed you in the face with new, interesting concepts, action every other episode at least, and moments that provided backstory, character development, and jaw-dropping action simultaneously, this one…doesn’t do that all at once. We are graced with some good character moments, animation, and interesting backstories to make up for it, but…that’s just not what gave the first season its flair.
Surprisingly enough, you don’t get any action from the three main characters until basically halfway through the season. It’s honestly rather surprising, waiting four years for…to many, what must appear to be simple character building. Having read the manga, it DOES make sense as to why they chose to do this, but it came at the cost of something that the original anime did very well- a sense of danger and suspense. Titans, while still grotesque and monstrous, just don’t carry the sense of danger that they used to.
There are other factors that slow down the show that I can mention off the top of my head as well. For one, big character moments, although badass in their own right, simply don’t have the development and significance that they did in the first season. And another thing: in every single episode, there’s some sort of “two hours before” kind of flashback. It works on occasion, but having one (or more) in what seemed like every episode seemed like a bit of overkill to me.
Basically, Attack on Titan this season isn’t quite like it was before. It’s not the anime that every person has to watch every single week, it’s not the next big thing like the first one. Muddled down by slow pacing, lack of screen time for our main characters, and, honestly, too little information given for moments to feel extremely significant. It’s…odd, watching the series which is clearly Attack on Titan, but not having that same sense of tension and fear.
That being said. This season is still DEFINITELY worth the time.
There are still some great times in the first few episodes that, despite lack of buildup, are done excellently. The action scenes are still very well done, providing that sense of dynamic movement that not many other anime can achieve. The music–oh man, the freaking music–is top notch, adding to the effect of some of the more prominent scenes in a huge way. Powerful, melancholic, tense, exciting, the music provides a way to experience all that and more to certain scenes, and that’s not even mentioning how damn beautiful the animators have made the series so far.
Now, with everything said and done, I’m getting the feeling that this season of Attack on Titan is going to be one best viewed in sequence with the first season. Some of the flaws of the second season- slower pacing, lack of focus on main characters, and lack of character development, can actually be fixed (mostly) if one considers viewing the series right after the end of the first season. From an action-packed ending, to a slightly more slow-paced, character and plot-heavy arc, that would make the most sense to me. At least. That’s the feeling I’m getting from the first six episodes.
It’s not quite the old, original Attack on Titan, but honestly, it’s still good, and something I’m definitely looking forward to, as the season enters its last half. ESPECIALLY considering the ending to episode six, which actually blew me out of the water with the sheer overflow of hype.
But then again, that’s all my opinion. If you guys have watched, what do you guys think? Yea, or Nay?