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Anime Review: Attack on Titan Season 2By Sasari At 10.02.2018 15:35

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Attack on Titan Season 2 (UK Rating: 15)

Attack on Titan exploded in worldwide popularity, with the manga and anime setting record sales, tons of merchandise flying off the shelves, and anime conventions positively bursting with AoT cosplay. Despite this, fans in the UK have been left waiting a long time for the second season of the anime. It was originally scheduled for release in Japan in 2016 but thanks to numerous delays it didn't actually land until April 2017 and only now is it reaching these shores. Coming from Funimation via Sony Pictures, it will be available from 26th February.

Those who have kept up to date with Attack on Titan in its manga form will know just how sporadic the quality of the series can be. The content the first season of anime covered is mostly immune to the horrendously dumb moments that plague what comes after and, thanks to the superb quality of the production from Studio WIT, the anime received rave reviews. Now that same studio is back and covering some of the best moments of the story to date. Diving straight into the action with the first episode, the fan favourite characters of Eren, Mikasa, Armin, Levi et al are dealing with the revelations of the Titans within the wall and the capture of Annie, so the story shifts to focus on the other recruits from the 104th.


 
Sasha and Connie, Christa and Ymir, Reiner and Bertholdt, all take centre stage for the start of this arc. They are heading towards the south of Wall Rose where Titans had been reported in the area; it's much worse than expected. Somehow, Titans are inside the wall and the scouts are left completely unprepared as they fall under attack from a huge group of Titans, along with a brand new antagonist in the great ape-looking Titan, and joining the Colossal, Armoured, and Female Titan is the Beast Titan. Each Titan, thus far, has shown they have a unique strength or power and this one is counterintuitive to its animalistic design, since the Beast Titan has intelligence beyond anything previously seen, going as far as being able to talk and control the mindless Titans. As the truth of the danger to the south comes to light, the main cast heads off to assist the supporting cast, but the Beast Titan has some backup from some old faces.

The story this time finally answers some questions, while also expanding the world-building. It's a shame that it goes so far downhill after this point but, for the time being, it's nothing but quality. Every single episode in this collection is great, delving into the horror moments that gained it much of its popularity by delivering some episodes where the scouts have to creep in the dark, avoiding using lights lest they attract the attention of the dormant Titans. The Beast Titan is a truly terrifying new antagonist for the Corps and the existing threats finally get some motivation.

The first season ran for a full 26 episodes and a huge amount happened in that time. This second season is sadly only made up of 12 episodes, but there's a positive to the reduced running time as the story feels very tight. To make up for the limited amount of episodes, Funimation has packed in a ton of extra bonus content. There are, of course, both the English and the Japanese dub, consisting of Dolby TrueHD: English 5.1 and Dolby TrueHD: Japanese 2.0. When it comes to the cast, there are a few issues with the English, the worst of which is Jessica Calvello's performance as Hange, which is utterly lacking in any heart, passion, or even emotion.

Considering the ugliness of the art in the source material, the anime from Wit Studio looked absolutely unbelievable, and that same high quality is once again in attendance. The combat scenes look amazing with the Corps tearing through the skies with its 3DMG. Then there is the visceral carnage of the Titans, tearing to pieces any human foolish enough to get too close.


 
The bonus features are absolutely stuffed to bursting on the second disc. There are a bunch of vignettes where the English voice cast messes around, taking part in various Attack on Titan activities. Taking a quiz to establish what division it would be part of, taking perspective photos, and various other silly moments. There are also interviews done on-site at Anime Expo with various members of the cast and crew, both Japanese and English, although best of all is an interview with the original creator of the series, Hajime Isayama. That's not even mentioning promo videos, clean opening/closing videos, and an English translation of the eye-catch cards, which flash up between episodes, filled with facts and lore information.

This second series of Attack on Titan is unbelievably even better than the first. The combat scenes are ridiculous, filled with dynamic and explosive moments against truly horrific looking monstrosities. The story gives the supporting cast some real time to shine, along with finally beginning to answer some major questions that have been around since the very first panel of the very first chapter, and manages to set up some big events at the season end that viewers will be desperate to see the pay-off for, and now they won't have too much of a wait, with season three finally having a release date. Currently scheduled to be shown in Japan in July 2018, Funimation will hopefully shorten the delay between Japan and the UK.

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