I watched season 1 of ATTACK ON TITAN on Netflix and loved it. Based on a popular manga, the anime series tells about a future in which titans–giant mindless creatures that feed on humans–have overrun the world. The last humans live in a city girded by a series of walls. When the outer wall is breached, resulting in slaughter, the inner city becomes overcrowded, terror sweeps the populace, and a new military force is created to fight the titan threat. The show hits a nerve the way BATTLESTAR GALACTICA and THE WALKING DEAD did–humanity pushed to extinction, a heroic few who against all odds fight back to survive and achieve victory of the monsters they fear.
New recruits include Eren, who is filled with rage as the injustice of the titans, who killed his mother and robbed him of his world; Mikasa, a born warrior who loves Eren, who rescued her from bandits when they were children; and Armin, their brainy friend. Together, they join the Scouts, an elite fighting arm of the military that ventures outside wall. The best of the best, they nonetheless die like flies. By the end of season 1, we discover that Eren is himself a titan, able to transform when injured, and that other humans are also titans. While Eren wants to put his power to use for humanity, the other titan-people have other ideas. They want to destroy what’s left of the human race.
The titans are fantastic–creepy, powerful, scary. The characters are genuinely terrified of them. The combat scenes are incredible and left me in a breathless sweat; the tension is incredible. Otherwise, you get what you get from anime–long-winded speeches about human nature, honor, duty; massive flashbacks; some characters self-controlled and cool to the point of appearing bored by death; and others like Eren whose emotions explode at every opportunity. Everything and everybody is exaggerated in some way, but that’s what makes anime so great.
In Season 2, which I had to get on Google Play, things change. The focus shifts from Eren, Mikasa, and Armin to other characters. We’re given baffling new mysteries, while other questions get close to being solved. The action again is terrific. In these episodes, we learn the identities of the giant and the armored titan from the first episode of season 1, that they have a plan, and that they want Eren to join their side or die. The Scouts, of course, will do anything to get him back, resulting in a breathtaking battle. Other people-titans shift allegiances, torn between duty to their people-titan tribe and the friends they made inside the wall. There is a hint that the titans may all have been created from human beings, which ended the world.
Other things remained unexplained, such as the key Eren’s father gave him and who the bigfoot titan is, and the people-titans’ plan remains unrevealed at the end. Frustratingly, season 2 is only 12 episodes, as the show is tracking to the manga, and they’re waiting for new episodes to come out so they can continue the show.
So major bummer season 2 is only half as long as season 1, but wow, what a ride while it lasted. Such a crazy, fun series.