Otaku USA Magazine
Attack on Titan Season 2 [Review]

Tearing the walls down

The second season of Attack on Titan had an uphill battle ahead of it in more ways than one. I’m not just talking about the ever-raging fight against the Titans themselves; the expectations alone were an enemy that could have demolished a slightly less sturdy series! Thankfully, the 12-episode season came and went with just as much fanfare as you’d expect, and for good reason. The results are every bit as gripping as the first, and the world opening in this leg of the narrative is more intriguing than ever.

The return kicks off with a couple fresh mysteries right out the gate. First we have the revelation that Titans are actually encased within the very walls that protect humanity. This is presumably thanks to the fact that only Titans are resilient and indestructible enough to actually resist an onslaught from other Titans, but those in the know are still relatively hush-hush about this potential game-changer. This holds especially true for members of the church, who would rather die than divulge what they’ve known all this time.

Then there’s the curious case of the Beast Titan, a towering, hair-covered, ape-looking monstrosity that further deepens the lore implications of Titan’s world. Beyond his unique appearance, the Beast Titan stands out because, well, he can talk. In our language, no less! The season doesn’t exclusively focus on Beast, but his introduction gets the ball rolling in a spectacularly violent fashion, and sends the plot careening toward what is without a doubt the most shocking revelation since Eren first turned into a Titan.

I won’t go into any further details out of respect for those who are still trying to catch up with the series, but the story gets pretty buckwild in Season 2. The key reveal I previously mentioned is divisively executed. When I first saw it go down, I wasn’t sure what to think. It’s not just delivered in a passing mention, it’s done so far away from the principal shot in what would otherwise be accepted as mere background chatter. My initial reaction was along the lines of “SERIOUSLY? That’s how THAT MOMENT was conveyed?” In immediate retrospect, though, I think it’s pretty brilliant. I haven’t read more than a couple volumes of Hajime Isayama’s manga, but apparently the adaptation is pretty accurate in that regard.

The shocking moments might be all over the place, but Season 2 is relatively consistent in terms of quality. There are a few characters that get a fresh spin in the spotlight this time around, especially in the case of Ymir and Krista. Their story has its own special tragedies to explore, and it’s going to be interesting to see where the threads they began to weave go in the third season.

Speaking of which, Season 3 is actually almost upon us! By the time you read this we won’t have long to wait at all, so now is a great time to barrel through Season 2 in preparation. It’s easy to do so in a couple sittings, and Funimation’s Blu-ray/DVD release is fantastic for those who want to own the whole thing. From the gorgeous transfers of each episode to the on-disc and physical extras—including a small art book and a booklet with interviews and background info—Attack on Titan Season 2 is worth popping on your shelf for the occasional return trip to humanity’s hopeless end.

Studio/company: Funimation
Available: Now
Rating: Not Rated

This story appears in the Spring 2018 issue of Anime USA Magazine. Click here to get a print copy.