23rd Feb2018

‘Attack on Titan: Season 2′ Blu-ray Review

by Xenia Grounds

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When Attack on Titan debuted in 2013, it became one of the most mainstream animes this decade. Fans from all corners of the world loved this show and it wasn’t hard to understand why. Attack on Titan had plenty of intense action, horror, great characters and an engaging story with many twists and turns. However, then came a four year wait for its second season which was much shorter and had a different focus. Did it live up to previous standards?

While I won’t spoil too much of Season 1 in this review, watching it is a must before season 2 otherwise you are going to be very lost. Season 2 of Attack on Titan takes place exactly where the first season left off. Humans have found out that the walls keeping them safe is made from titans. Soon after this revelation, there is seemingly a breach in Wall Rose so our protagonists are sent on a mission to seal it.

To cut straight to the chase, Season 2 is not what Season 1 was. Season 2 still has the sudden and horrifying character deaths, lack of plot armour, great cliffhangers and intense action. However, where Season 2 differs is in what it focuses on. Season 2 spends a lot of time with its side characters and developing them further for audience investment. The action isn’t the primary focus in this season like how Season 1 was an intense and dramatic ride for its entire run. In Season 2, there is a lot of time spent in flashbacks and the main characters (Eren, Mikasa, Armin and Levi) take a serious backseat. This is a little problematic as you will inevitably miss those four characters but having said that, I’m personally fine with it.

Attack on Titan has rightfully earned a reputation for being an anime equivalent to Game of Thrones. Attack on Titan has had plenty of shocking deaths but now this is seen as a norm and for deaths to remain effective then you have to give your audience a reason to care. This is why developing the side characters is so important which is what this season does incredibly well.

Unfortunately, the structure is something that fans may have a problem with. There are only 12 episodes in this season and it’s a little aggravating considering the four year wait. As mentioned above, some characters don’t get as much screen time in this season which is sad given their importance. Another issue is this season sets up way more questions and answers very little. There isn’t a lot of substance for viewers to enjoy which may be fixed if the upcoming season three is longer and doesn’t rely so heavily on flashbacks. There are moments of deus ex machina and the most notable is in the finale which I can’t talk about without spoiling a big twist.

The animation of Attack on Titan remains unchanged from the previous season which really adds to that feeling of the series picking up right where it left off years ago. It’s still distinctive with how shades of black outline its characters to make them stand out from the background. Season 2 contains the best fight scene I have seen in the series so far which is the fight with the armored titan. The animation is amazingly fluid and feels like watching an MMA match. Plus, I will never tire of seeing the 3DM (3 Dimension Maneuver Gear) in action because it continues to be one of the most adrenaline-fueling things I have ever seen in anime.

Attack on Titan’s soundtrack remains the same as Season 1 mostly. There are many dramatic and intense pieces to enjoy that amplify the intensity this series is famous for. The opening song for Season 2 is ‘Shinzou wo Sasageyo’ which is sung by Linked Horizon who did the previous openings for Attack on Titan. Like many AOT fans, I hold the original opening ‘Guren no Yumiya’ in very high regard and view it as one of the best anime openings ever. ‘Shinzou wo Sasageyo’ is a great track but it does take a few episodes to grow on you but that’s mostly because Attack on Titan has a real high standard as far as openings go. However, by the end of season two, I was proudly singing its opening theme.

Overall, season two doesn’t quite meet the acclaim of its predecessor but that doesn’t make it bad. There is just a change in focus and depending on what you enjoy in a story; your mileage will vary on where this season stands for you. The good thing is that we won’t have the long wait for season three as it is meant to air later this year and considering what is set up, Attack on Titan still has more great moments to deliver.

Attack on Titan: Season 2 arrives on DVD, Blu-ray and Limited Edition Blu-ray on February 26th, courtesy of Sony Pictures Home Entertainment.

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