So after three and half years of wait, several false starts and a whole lot of hype, the ball is finally rolling with Attack on Titan season 2.
Episode 1 picks up right where season 1 left off, going back to the wall in Stohess district and the titan that appears to inside it. For the most part, the episode focuses on two groups – Hange’s squad who interrogate one of the Wall Cult priests, Pastor Nick and the Scouts of the 104th Cadet Training Corps and their superiors.
What we learn quite quickly in this episode is that some people inside the walls knew about the titans protecting humanity – this Pastor Nick makes evident as he desperately tells Hange to stop the titan being hit by sunlight. This small tidbit of information isn’t enough for Hange (and quite right, too) who demands more information before almost through the priest from the top of the wall.
If that wasn’t enough for everyone to worry about, a messenger arrives from the Scouts south of Wall Sina. Titans are within the walls and wall Maria is presumed fallen.
Cut to the scouts that disappeared for the final three episodes of season 1. In this cut we also see a reversal of time and some pretty disturbing looking scenes as we go back twelve hours. Section Commander Miche (I’m going to write Mike from now on as that’s the official translation) is command of the group of cadets who would seem to be under suspicion following Annie’s capture – while Connie, Sasha and co. debate this possibility it becomes clear that it hardly matters as a group of nine titans are spotted heading towards them.
An evacuation is planned and the Scouts set out to get as many people to safety as possible, as quickly as they can. Mike acts as decoy going off to fight the group, somewhat successfully defeating five out of nine before deciding to retreat. Enter biggest villain of the show so far – the beast titan. I’ll leave this for you all to experience yourselves, but I promise it’s a pretty impressive entrance – not only is he intelligent, but he doesn’t seem particularly interested in the small picture (i.e. the one human in front off him), instead taking an interest (by talking!) in Mike’s ODM gear.
It was fast paced in the manga, but you can really see why this season is only going to be 12 episodes – lots has happened already and by the looks of the episode preview for next week, that is set to continue!
Where are the main three characters you ask? Where is Levi? Where is Erwin? Well all of these characters are around – but only for a bit. Erwin and Levi have a short meeting to tell us how bad things are (really, because I hadn’t noticed). Eren has a dream with a message from his mother about not always fighting people head on (important later) and Mikasa doesn’t move from her position at the end of season 1 but is holding her precious scarf from Eren – I’m still hoping she’s not marginalised too much, even if she’s not as important for a while in the manga. Armin… well he turns up with one line to report the bad news.
As for production values, the art hasn’t changed much since 2013 which, of course, is a great thing, but the animation is amazing, some of the scenes in this episode lend themselves to it of course, but every transition seems so crisp and well executed. The opening song from Linked Horizon didn’t jump out at me like the two from the first season but I’m willing to let it grow on me as the actual sequence is pretty awesome!
Overall this was a pretty good start to the series that completely contrasts to the slow episodes that somewhat characterised the mid-section of the first half of season 1. As we find out more next week I’ll aim to do some more feature style pieces for each episode to sit alongside these episode insights.
What did you make of episode 1 of the new season of Shingeki no Kyojin? Has it lived up to the hype or were you left feeling a bit flat? Any big surprises? Let me know in the comments!