Fans of the epic anime series Attack On Titan have been kept waiting for the second season (the first debuted back in 2013), but this shorter run (down to 12 episodes from 25) definitely delivers. You might expect the curtailed running time to mean less character development, but the show’s creators broaden the scope, pushing its tortured half-Titan protagonist Eren Jaeger slightly to one side.
The show picks up with a shocking revelation: Titans have been used to build the walls surrounding the city (the image of one of those faces gazing out from the brickwork is certainly striking). Somehow, the Titans have also breached Wall Rose, but how did they get inside? Are there more double agents within the Scouts’ ranks?
Watching the Scouts soar through the combat sequences is as thrilling as ever and the Titans themselves are consistently uncanny and chilling (the jerking, unpredictable movement of the “abnormals” never gets old). But the people have always been as important in Attack On Titan, and a good chunk of the second season focuses on a group of cadets trapped in a castle tower and the revelations that come from having their backs to the wall. Conny is confronted with a baffling mystery about his hometown, the perpetually famished Sasha heads home to put others before herself, eccentric scientist Hange Zoe is still a joy, and the mysterious, abrasive Ymir becomes the focal point in a storyline that emerges as the strongest of this second run.
It’s good to see that the creators can continue to mine the pasts of their characters for dramatically fulfilling material, and that they understand that this story is about much more than Eren, Mikasa and Armin (although we continue to learn about all three).
Really, the main criticism about this second season is that it isn’t long enough. Annie, revealed as the first season’s big bad, is referred to but remains absent, and the new Beast Titan is kept at an endless “until next time” distance. However, by forcing its heroes and villains to examine their actions and their attitudes towards themselves, their allies and their enemies, Attack On Titan continues to be as impressive as ever.