Note: Originally published on my other blog Wonder | Wander.
Attack on Titan (Shingeki no Kyojin) totally blew me away with its original concept and animation when it premiered way back in 2013. Since then, it’s been almost four agonizing years of waiting for the second season to drop made worse by a lackluster live action adaptation which unfortunately included my girl-crush Kiko Mizuhara as Mikasa Ackerman. That’s why I can’t stress enough how excited I am now that it is back with new episodes. And I’m happy to report that it still delivers the blood, horror, action and intrigue that have come to define the series.
The show knows how long it’s been since the last episode so this one starts with a quick recap of the events from last season, ending with the defeat of Annie Leonhart / Female Titan and the discovery of a titan embedded within the district’s wall. Hange and the rest of the Survey Corp at the site are understandably surprised, terrified and confused and they struggle to come up with something to do until Pastor Nick shows up and orders them to cover up the titan and prevent it from getting sunlight. Hange senses that Pastor Nick knows something that they don’t and she tries to wring it out of him through intimidation but he doesn’t buck. She releases Pastor Nick but the knowledge of titans lurking in their “safe space” revived the fear she hasn’t felt for a long time. Still, a conspiracy brews and I love how Hange reflects our fears and frustration in the face of the unknown.
From the center of the action, we cross hundreds of miles to the edge of Wall Rose where the 104th Cadet Corps are stationed under the watchful eyes of Section Commander Miche. A group of titans breached the wall somehow and are heading straight to their outpost. Miche quickly dispatches the entire squad to warn the villages near the walls to evacuate. The titans quickly gain ground (yes, the creepy sprint is back and I’ll never get over it) and Miche was forced to stay behind to give enough time for the rest of squad to disperse.
Eren, Mikasa, Armin, Levi and Erwin make a short appearance here just enough to let us know that they’re okay after that epic showdown with the Female Titan. I’m glad to know they’re all doing well but it also breaks my heart that their respite is so short and they have to face the horrors again.
The last part brings us back to Section Commander Miche who valiantly took one for the team by trying to contain the titan horde. He manages to take down four of them but the entrance of a 17-meter tall chimpanzee-looking titan takes him aback. After assessing that he has bought enough time for the Survey Corp and that the beast titan seemed oblivious to its surroundings, he decides that its time to leave. He calls on his horse and – surprise, surprise! – the beast titan grabs it and throws it to Miche’s direction. Apparently, it was just biding its time. Miche learns to his horror that the beast titan is not only sentient – it asks how the 3D Maneuver Gears work! – but it can also control the other ‘less intelligent’ titans to do its bidding. When the beast titan does not get the answer it wants, Miche naturally ends up as titan fodder. Yikes.
Attack on Titan Season 2 absolutely wastes no time in building up the suspense as we are left with more questions and no answers in sight: Why are there titans on the walls and what is the involvement of Pastor Nick and the Church of the Walls with them? What is the beast titan and where did it come from? Is it another titan shifter? If it is a titan shifter (which I am positive it is), who is it? I don’t think it is someone we know yet because he is curious about the 3-D Maneuver Gear. But one thing is for sure, whoever’s unleashing these titans on humanity is also out scouting and studying the enemy. It seems like another battle looms ahead.
All in all, it was a good start, considering that the show has been on hiatus for four years. There seems to be no disconnect with the plotlines of the previous season and it creates just the right amount of mystery to keep us hanging for more. It was a long wait – but it was definitely worth it.
Note: I have not read the manga as I don’t have the luxury of time to catch up with its 22 volumes and counting. Thank you for not posting any spoilers.