Attack on Titan Season 2 review
In the course of the (very) long-awaited second season of Attack on Titan, there are a couple of moments that sum up the show’s appeal well. One involves Hange, the scary Frankenstein lady who kept Titans chained up in her basement. In one of the new episodes, Hange actually steps onto a Titan’s shoulder, like Fay Wray wooing her King Kong, and gives the monster instructions before it returns to earthshaking battle. The Titan turns its horrid head towards her, with a grin only Hange could love, and nods understanding… and Hange blushes and lets out a little squee.
The second magic moment involves two major characters, confessing their feelings while they’re on the battlefield. Behind them, backlit by the setting sun, a hideous Titan bloodily masticates the body of another central character while symphonic strings play softly. Even Lars von Trier might find the moment a little too bonkers, but that’s Titan for you.
This is the 12-part Titan continuation that streamed last year (the third season will start in July). And while Titan’s imperfections are still blindingly obvious, it has a fantastic number of punch-the-air moments to have you gasping, clapping or squee-ing according to personal preference. Season two offers more than satisfied expectations or the pleasure of spectacle. It’s the excitement that catches you in the moment, usually with a character coming close to a giant’s gaping maw and the sense that this could be it. Will those jaws snap on air or flesh?
The action carries straight over from the previous episodes. While the first season left a couple of dramatic issues – the captured female Titan, the finding of Titans in the city walls – they’re sidelined by the appearance of new Titans roaming human territory, leading our heroes to race around on horses to save citizens and find the breach. Eventually, there’s a siege at a moonlit fortress – mysteriously, Titans can now move at night, which they never did before. Then several fast escalating developments prove Titan can still drop plot bombshells like few other shows on TV.
The storytelling’s still erratic. There’s what we can call an ‘insanity clause’ issue, related to the motivation of certain characters, which some viewers will deem a horribly unfair cop-out to dissolve a mystery. The action also cuts rather awkwardly between the familiar main characters and newly-foregrounded ones; although the new characters include a terrific female couple whose same-sex arc is the best thing in the season. The two women’s complex story is largely revealed through flashbacks, demonstrating that Titan’s use of that device can work, though viewers will still growl, “Get on with it!” whenever an exciting scene is broken by a five-minute chunk of character backstory.
The show’s presentation is also a heck of a lot better; beautiful battle animation and pastoral backgrounds in violent-lyrical duet. True, the last episodes look seriously uneven, with some very limited drawings suggesting there was a frantic deadline rush at the studio, but even so there’s still time for exquisite moments of tenderness and horror. Reviewed by Tom Arden
RELEASE: Out Now
FROM: Sony Pictures
FORMAT: DVD & Blu-ray
PRICE (RRP): £29.99 (DVD), £36.99 (Blu-ray
AGE RATING: 15