ATTACK ON TITAN [Anime Expo, Season 3 Premiere Review]: The World is Cruel.
The following review comes courtesy of our friends at Video Game Culture Headquarters.
The opening of season three of Attack On Titan is incredibly somber. We’re thrown into an unfamiliar time and place where Eren recites a reflective, melancholic monologue that echoes the first episode of season one. They rhyme, like stanzas in a poem. The scene carries an incredible amount of emotional weight and is a fitting way to start the new season. Once we know the full context, it will be even more poignant. This scene is important because while it sets the tone for the season, it may be setting the tone for the rest of the series…
Following Eren (Yūki Kaji)’s monologue, we quickly transition to the aftermath of the events of the Season 2 finale. Most of the episode is laying the foundation for the entire season, but that doesn’t mean it drags. In fact, it’s quite the opposite. Let me be clear: this is one of the most brutal episodes in the history of Attack on Titan. Previously, the enemy was always clearly defined: the Titans. The lines have now become blurred and humanity is fighting humanity. The Scout Regiment is on the run for their lives, and there is no way to tell friend from foe. The episode also delves more into the politics within the walls, specifically the royal family. It’s brief, but gives us a glimpse into the nature of the so-called “leadership” of humanity.
The episode transitions back and forth quite quickly, which is par for the course when it comes to the show. There is an abundance of exposition in the first half, but this isn’t a gripe; it’s necessary to set the groundwork for the second half of the episode. Hange (Romi Park), in particular, has one scene that gave me chills down my spine; she/he comes off as whimsical and playful, but in reality he’s/she’s a complete sociopath. Hange is one of the most ruthless characters in the series and her tongue-in-cheek act makes her all the more terrifying. Levi (Hiroshi Kamiya) and Hange shine the brightest in the premiere, but each character does have their own moment, giving the episode levity.
The second half of the premiere moves at a lightning-speed pace and you’ll be confused if you don’t pay close attention. It’s the most brutal episode of the series; I cannot reiterate this enough. It may not have as many deaths as previous episodes, and it may not have as much gore, but the ruthlessness shown by the enemy is unlike anything we’ve ever seen, and characters are taken out within a blink of the eye. The stakes are higher than ever, and the tactics of the enemy are shocking; they are unrefined, but they have no limits as to how far they’ll go to accomplish their goals. At least the Titans are mindless. The new enemy isn’t.
Levi deduces the situation in an instant and it’s wonderful to see his intelligence accentuated, as many just recognize him for his fighting skills. It gives Levi more depth and this season will focus on him more than the first two. The episode ends with a massive cliffhanger and the villain is revealed. It builds up to what promises to be an epic, emotional, and ruthless confrontation, unlike anything we’ve ever seen in the series.
The animation is exceptional, Sawano’s score is masterful, and the stakes are more dire than ever. Instead of humanity versus the Titans, Season 3 is drastically different. The enemies are humans, which twists the entire theme of the first two seasons of humanity banding together to survive. It’s refreshing and changes the dynamic of the show, which makes it all the more alluring.
While this episode is only a prelude, it establishes the tone for the next 23 episodes. From beginning to end it’s riveting, and you’ll be on the edge of your seat. You will laugh, you will get goosebumps; you may even tear up. It’s one of the best episodes of the series, by far. 5/5 Bibles.
July 29 cannot come soon enough for me, but for everyone else, July 22 will be mesmerizing.