I personally deeply enjoy attack on titan.
There is little else required to preface a review for such an immensely popular show’s second season then to say that if you’re not familiar with the show, don’t start here. Jump in at the first season, or - if you haven’t seen the show in quite some time - rewatch the first season before viewing this one. It will put much of the plot and the mystery of the show into context and leave you feeling more satisfied.
Attack on titan season 2 provides answers to many of the first seasons’ lingering mysteries: Why is there a titan in the wall? Who controls the collosal and armored titans? Where do the titans come from? While all of these questions are answered it arises even more mysteries to be answered in future seasons, such as the identity of the ominous beast titan. It honestly makes viewing the first season of the show better, as now the viewer doesn’t have to wait four years for some of their questions to be answered. The mysteries of the show still draw the viewer in, making them question how the world works, and they are slowly being answered.
The story begins with titans appearing in wall rose, and a group of scouts - notably not including the main characters or main commanders - Levi, Hange, and Erwin - having to warn and evacuate as many as they can. Many of them do not even have time to fully gear up to fight titans, and their fate, as well as the fate of humanity, is uncertain.
The story trims much of the fat of the previous season, and while some bemoaned the shorter length, it is perfect for capturing this arc of the story.
The story’s emotional stakes are higher. It is clear that at this point in the original manga, Isayama’s writing began improving massively. The show takes the time to flesh out many of the interesting secondary characters such as Ymir, Historia, Hange, and Sasha, while putting the main three on the back burner for much of the season. This works to the season’s benefit, as it expands upon the world, and - as I will touch upon in the character session - these characters can be even more interesting than the main cast. Further, attack on titan’s famously prevalent and frequent deaths return in this season, but they hold far more weight and emotional meaning. The improved character writing, particularly in giving even minor doomed characters more distinct personalities in the few lines they have, helps in this regard. Further, each death feels meaningful and gains emotional focus beyond just someone being eaten and dying as a casualty of horror. The best example of this to me is one character, who while being horribly killed, cries out to their abusive father asking him to stop. It is emotionally jarring and painful to view, but it holds so much more power then the first season’s deaths. This in turn increases the viewer’s empathy with the characters who are lost, and with those witnessing their demise.
The story additionally provides permanent consequences to characters other than simply death, which makes things more real, and only heightens my worry for characters I enjoy.
There is also plenty of foreshadowing for the big twist this season if you pay close attention.
Attack on titan is obviously known for it’s action animation, and for many of the titan fights and 3D maneuvering gear scenes, it remains at it’s high level of performance. The CG integration outside of it’s impressive long shots of battles has been improved from the first season, but is still jarringly apparent in some moments. CG horses are still weird. It does improve even further in the following season.
Character designs for non-titans are a bit more distinct this season than last, and the titan designs - like the newly introduced beast titan - are still varied and fantastic.
The style seems solidified this season. The lines around characters are present still, but softer, allowing them to blend more seamlessly into the lovely backgrounds much of this show has. Deaths are visceral, and some are quite stylized in their violence, being less starkly shocking and more emotionally relevant.
This segment holds most of my issues with this season, many of which are unique to the English dubbed version of the show.
The opening is obviously fantastic. The ending is fittingly weird and creepy for the imagery provided. Throughout the show, background music is fantastic. It maintains emotional sung pieces, powerful battle themes, and discordant, creepy titan music with “Apetitan”.
The major issue I have with this show’s sound is the dubbing. The subbed voices are great, distinctive, and suitably dramatic. The dubbed voices sometimes feel a bit out of place for me, though that problem is exacerbated in season 3 personally. The main issue is that the English dub, while the voice actors are clearly talented, does not time their lines properly with the lip flaps in many scenes, which is horribly distracting.
It should come as little surprise this show’s characters are still quite strong. The focus on the supporting cast this season allows them to thrive and gain needed devolpment. It allows itself to focus entire episodes on characters like Christa and Sasha, expanding their roles in the story. Characters other than the main trio feel vital to the world and to the survey corps, making their potential deaths more meaningful. The supporting cast personally is more interesting than the main trio, so I loved seeing them get development this season.
The improved emotional writing makes the show feel less like a revolving door of characters, and makes their loss meaningful. When viewing I could get attached to characters like nanaba in ways I didn’t feel in season 1.
Overall, attack on titan season 2 improves upon the visual style and character writing of season 1, trims out much of the filler, and answers many lingering questions while raising others.
Obviously, if you enjoy attack on titan season 1, I would recommend you view the second season. If you haven’t seen season 1, then watch it first before viewing season 2. You will be confused otherwise. This is unsurprising, and I obviously won’t hold it to season 2’s detriment. It’s a second season, that’s just common sense.
If attack on titan was never your cup of tea - even with its improvements - attack on titan season 2 probably won’t change your opinion.
I would recommend it highly to fans of the first season or the manga. If you view this season and still want more answers, don’t worry. As I said, you won’t have to wait four years for them. Check out part one of season 3, or - if it’s already April 2019 when you read this - the entirety of season 3. If you want even more answers, definitely check out the manga, as it has gone far beyond the conflict of these seasons now.
If you were already a fan of the first season then you've probably already watched this season all the way through and have come to a personal verdict. If so, then what I have to say will matter very little. In any case, I still feel compelled to offer a counterpoint to all of the EXTREMELY positive reviews this is garnering, because I don't personally feel that Attack on Titan Season 2 is anywhere near the level of quality that is being espoused.
Many of the issues from Season 1 are still apparent here. Though the 12 episode length does away with some of the pacing issues that the bloated first season suffered through, there are still (remarkably) a great many scenes and even whole episodes that drag on. Unlike the 1st season (as far as I can remember), season 2 is littered with flashbacks, many of which seem designed to flesh out characters who have suddenly become very important after having only supporting roles last time. Unfortunately, they mostly serve as a case of "too little too late" and most of them (Sasha's, for example) aren't even particularly interesting. Worse, a lot of them break up promising action sequences (one of the main positives of the series is that when it DOES get going the action can be pretty wild). I found it difficult to care about most of the characters, and the show doesn't help matters by offering maudlin conversations about betrayal and loyalty, which in other hands might be effective but which are just baffling here. One particular character (I won't say who) seems to be intended to arouse sympathy but incurs only shakes of the head and mutterings on the part of yours truly.
The tone is still relentlessly dour, without much respite. Like season one, AoT has yet to grasp the idea of counterbalancing tragedy with levity, high tension with calm, crushing defeat with relative victory, to the extent that the occasional messages of hope seem unconvincing, and what might have otherwise been a mature but engaging watch instead devolves into a frustrating blood-drenched misery fest. Dark and gory, I can deal with; overbearing, I cannot. I had to chuckle about halfway through the season when I predicted that one of the series' ludicrously-frequent "this is it, this is where I shall die" moments was going to happen any second, and it did, almost word-for-word identical to what I had in my head. At the risk of exaggerating, it does sometimes feel like 50% of the series is people staring at other people getting eaten, and another 25% is wondering how there's any scout corps left when half of it dies every time there's a mission.
Otherwise, the animation quality is still fairly top notch and the sound quality is pretty good too. Again, if you liked season one then the length is probably the only thing you have to be concerned about. If, however, you have some of the same criticisms of season one that I had, hopefully you can empathise with what i've said here.
***NEW UPDATE IN THE SECOND HALF. SKIP FIST HALF IF YOU ALREADY FINISHED THE SEASON. or you could just continue.... idk
We have been anxiously waiting, praying, and... doing whatever fanboys (or fangirls) do... for FOUR YEARS for this moment. Yes, the second season of Attack on Titan. In this "review", I'm not going scrutinize over plot points or characterization or blah blah blah (This review is already 50 words too long). This is just a overall opinion SO FAR of this season, just in case anyone is considering starting it. So don't worry, there won't be any spoilers ahead.
Very very brief comments on the first season
The first season was fine and just pretty average in general. It wasn't terrifyingly horrible yet it wasn't the greatest anime I've ever seen. The plot sometimes didn't make the most sense and was very predictable. The characters weren't super deep or complicated as well. But, I can't deny that the entertainment factor is huge. One thing I would complain about starting the second season is that I had forgotten many secondary characters from the first season, which will be essential later on. So I would recommend reading a quick summary of the first series to make sure you know what's going on.
Comments on the second season (so far)
Even after watching only the first four episodes of AoT, I feel it has improved by a lot. Every second, you're filled with tension and fear. There's a huge sense of mystery and suspense. At the end of every episode, there's a cliffhanger that leaves you wanting more. The animation is mediocre but I think it has improved from before (although that may be my imagination?). The soundtrack is absolutely great and is one of my favorite parts of AoT. The music fits every scene perfectly, leaving the watcher with an array of emotions. The only reason I wouldn't give sound a 10 would be because of that ending song... that was completely unexpected... (it's slowly growing on me for some reason though...)
So... overall, I would give the second season SO FAR a 8 if I left out story and characters (I'll update this review as I get more info on plot and such). If you're just looking for some fun and some action, you'll probably enjoy watching this. If you weren't a fan of the first season, still go give a shot. There was some improvement (although there's always room for more) so... just try it. You might end up loving it or hating it even more, who knows? Of course, as the series continues, my thoughts will probably change, so stay tuned as I will keep updating! And... thanks for bearing with me and reading this all the way through without sleeping (*applause) and last of all... enjoy watching.
IF YOU HAVEN'T WATCHED THE SECOND SEASON OF AoT YET, DO NOT CONTINUE.
Alright, so I have just finished (more like finished several days ago... sorry for procrastinating on this review...) season two of Attack of Titan!!! (*slow clapping ensues) And compared to my first review, I have a lot more mixed feelings about the last 8 episodes. Let's start with the story.
So when the season first started, I was pretty excited. It was a good introduction. But see carefully, it was only a good INTRODUCTION. But as the episodes dragged on, the pacing problems from the first season became really apparent. Pointless flashbacks and backstories from minor characters that were only semi-interesting took up whole episodes. When Reiner and Bertholdt were revealed as the Armored and the Colossal titan, it was just... really anticlimactic. It could have and should have been executed better. Instead of leaving the audience shocked, it just left a feeling of "oh". Basically, you're either wondering when you're getting to the good part and when you finally do, it's unsatisfying or you're bombarded with too much information.
In regard to the characters, I feel like AoT was trying too hard to make the minor characters seem more... characterized...? Like I mentioned before, there were a lot of random and pointless flashbacks that didn't really relate to the main plot. There were so many backstories that I didn't even know who the main protagonist was in the season anymore. And even with the flashbacks, the characters were still disappointing. I respect Historia, but she's just... too wimpy. I'm still really confused about Ymir since she's such a bipolar character. I was expecting her in the last few episodes to be like "Psych!! I'm actually on Team Eren" and then she saves the day. Mikasa's character had improved somewhat (which is ironic since she appeared in only a few scenes and had little backstory in this season). Her vocabulary increased, which is good. And.... yeah
I stand pretty much the same for animation and music. Soundtrack is spot on (except those damn ending credits). Animation is mediocre. Too many stills and repitition. Titans stiff and awkward like always.
Overall, a pretty average and slightly overrated anime. Still, I can't deny that some parts, especially the action scenes were entertaining. I'm pretty sure everyone who has watched AoT has wanted to try out the 3D maneuver gear. Like come on. It's pretty dope. Well, thanks for reading this review (if you survived this far that is) and leave any comments below if you want to argue or add on to any points. And even though AoT isn't the best anime out there, there's no denying that it has the best memes. (credit to original owners)
I thought it moved quickly. But it kept you on the edge of your seat. You never really knew what was going to happen. I also liked that it stayed close to the Manga. (Which is always nice) For the overall on the story I would definitely give it a 10/10.
The animation has improvedfrom Season 1. Everything about the animation is awesome. It's smooth and clear. Sure there were some moments where it was kinda sloppy, but it stayed good. So I'd give it a 9.7/10
I loved the soundtrack, it fit every moment perfectly. Of course there were certain points where the music felt a little uneccessary. The OP and ending are also amazing. Very catchy, and they match the anime perfectly. So I give Sound an overall 10/10
All of the characters (Well, the main ones at least) developed wonderfully. The two seasons gave us enough time to decently know each character. So i enjoyed the character development. The characters themselves were phenomenal. My favorite is Eren personally. He is just awesooome!
So my overall rating for characters is 10/10
Overall I give the Anime a 10/10 because it had all of the key points.
An amazing storyline. Awesome characters to go with it. Not to mention the awesome OP and Ending. The animation was also amazing.
Favorite Line: "Shinzou Sasageyo!" Commander Erwin
So I definitely recommend Shingeki no Kyojin the Second Season to everyone.
There where some major plot holes in the story, which I can't shrug off. The CGI was terrible, and really broke the feel of everything else in the environment. The music was ok, but not groundbreaking. Also most of the characters just felt like there decisions weren't justified and I was often questioning there motives, and not in a good way. Overall, this could have been way better. Liked the first season, so this is a dissapointment.