Attack On Titan season 2 has been much-anticipated and it finally happened this year. In 12 episodes we were left excited, speechless, bored, confused and more. For those of you who read the manga and are up to speed with it, I am sure the anime tells a completely different story. As this season opened a number of new questions for me, I am about to read the manga as well. So here’s what happened this season!
Where to start …
If you haven’t caught up to the anime yet, you might want to skip on this blog post for now, as it includes spoilers. Remember how season one ended? Well, season two doesn’t jump right in, but rather they chose to go with a new story arc first. The anime opens with a huge titan head in the middle of the wall. For some reason it’s there and no one can explain how it got there. Furthermore, it must be protected from the sun. Unfortunately, we never really got any answers about that. There was a sense of strong foreshadowing and suspense from the first two episodes. From there the pace of the show completely changed. It went slow, felt detailed with a lot of backup stories. Some of those really were crucial for understanding another character, but most of them felt like extensive character building.
Ending of first episode shows a huge, hairy monkey-like titan. He was later named Beast titan and actually only shows two more times until the end of the season. We don’t get to know much about him, but everything points in direction of him being more present and important in the next season. If my theory is right, then he is either Eren’s father or some other relative. He has shown new abilities, that many didn’t know titans could have. Abilities like talking, thinking and commanding other mindless titans. I am also convinced that he can turn people into titans, like it happened with the Ragako village. This was also confirmed by Ymir in episode 9, or was she just guessing? About this, at least, I am sure we will get more information in the next season.
Ymir needs to start living for herself
A lot of the season went to developing Ymir and Christa, their relationship and both of them as characters. Ymir has a couple of surprises for us. We get to see how she started to care for Christa and how attached she is to her. She’s a titan shifter as well. Later in the season explanation is offered on how she became one. The most we get to know about her origin as well as the origin of titans, comes from the glimpse of her past. As a child she was an orphan, taken in by a cult. The cult placed her as a marionette on the leadership chair, however she seems pretty passive about it. They were betrayed and banished, punished by making them turn into titan forms. That was over 6o years ago, making you wonder what her true age is.
Christa’s true identity
Christa is a character that is more easily understood than Ymir, though her origin is still not completely known. We get to know that the Wall Cult has had their eye on her and that she is somehow a descendant of someone important. Christa becomes her true self and accepts her birth name, Historia Reiss. By the end of the season we see her fight titans, no longer hiding in the back. She seems to also understand Ymir better than anyone else, or at least better than I do. Ymir should be dubbed Enigma, as I was never able to predict her actions or quite understand them. In the end, Ymir decides to help out Reiner and Bertholt. I really thought she would go with Historia though, but I guess it was a perfect opportunity to see what will happen in their »hometown« next season.
Bertholt & Reiner
These two are a lot of things, but for some reason I’ve never expected them to be shifter titans as well. And not just any titans. They are the Colossal titan and Armored titan. They came along with Annie and Marco, who ended up being Ymir’s lunch, granting her shifting power. The betrayal of these two runs deep and shines a different light on some scenes from season 1. They are shown as two people doing what they had to and at the same time two completely broken personalities, that holds especially true for Reiner. The additional information we got from these two is that every shifter titan can have a sort of specific, special power. Reiner is quick and has hardened skin, so attacking his neck won’t help. Bertholt is strong, albeit very slow and cumbersome. He can protect himself with a cloud of steam, making Survey Corp gear useless.
Eren becomes the focus of the season after episode 7. The one epic fight he has in his titan form happens in the latter, when he almost breaks Reiner. He ends up defeated and kidnapped by the two shifter titans. Recovering from the loss of his limbs and except for spiteful words and acting like an angry kitten, he is basically harmless. Who would want Eren alive? He must be wanted by someone important (maybe Beast titan?). It’s not until the season finale that they finally show us why Eren is so special. He discovers a new power, similar to the one the Beast titan has – he can control other titans. The extent of that control is unknown for now. The new power may be the reason behind Reiner calling him Coordinator? Eren has become a dangerous tool and a fight over who has him will no doubt continue.
Mikasa goes soft…
Even as kids, it seems Mikasa was constantly thinking instead of Eren and always protecting him. The deep relationship they have developed over the years is admirable. After he gets kidnapped, Mikasa is determined to find him and save him, no matter what. The level of dedication displayed is immense, providing a new look into Mikasa. She is in position where she gives Eren a pep talk of sorts, in a way also confessing her emotions for him. Eren kinda dodged her confession and her attempt to maybe kiss or hug, I am still confused what that was supposed to be. The translation into English here might not be detailed enough, but his response seems to promise a possibility of him reciprocating the same emotions in the future. She is finally seen being taken care by him. I’m inclined to ship them, so I hope this gets sequence.
Based on Ymir’s flashback story, there was a “hometown” that Reiner and Bertholt mention and it existed already for a long time. A cult was formed and they have been banished along with her. Being hurt and pushed over the wall made them turn into titans. But these were the mindless kind of titans, that could not turn back into humans and were forced to stay like that. Ymir gives up on herself, stops, lays down and wakes up about 60 year later. So for one – titans don’t decompose, they also don’t show signs of ageing and only some of them can turn back into humans. I think it’s ok to presume they were men made, making this a war of men against men.
What else do we know about titans?
Different shifter titans manifest distinct powers, they can be also weaponized. Henge confirms that walls are indeed made from titans hardened skin, which makes it look like titans are protecting other humans from titans. We have no answers about the role of the Wall Cult yet or why they think Historia Reiss is important. Also, the cult mentions that as long as Ymir is with them they will be blessed with immortality. My guess is that they somehow gain that by becoming titans. Remember how I described Ymir after she was rotting underground for 60 years? If the origin of titans is actually humans, that means Survey Corp is killing their own people. Does this make them heroes for saving other humans or mass murderers? Furthermore, does eating humans in titan form count as cannibalism?
The season included crazy amount of flashbacks. Some of them were relevant or funny, but the timing of those in separate episodes seemed off. Looking back on the whole season though, it gives a lot more information and a basic feel of where this is all going to go in the future. For example, flashback to Mikasa and Annie having a fight was in the middle of Eren and Reiner’s fight. It seemed to slow and ruin the momentum of the fight scene, but it clicked together later. The flashback served to show us Bertholt was actually making eyes at her back then. It’s a minor detail, but you get the gist. In general, I liked this season, but I can’t really say whether is was good or bad.
Is this transit over now?
I have too many questions now, therefore reading the manga is in order. I have one year to catch up, as season 3 is already announced for next year! Again, these are just my ramblings about the season. I hope this blog post gave you some more orientation or clarified certain information. There were a couple of amazing fight scenes, like in episode 4 and later in episode 7. A lot of funny moments as well, like Armin and Mikasa munching on soldier rations for dear life! A bit of everything really, but what killed my enthusiastic mood was the extremely slow pace and the feeling we are not moving anywhere with this story. Looking back on the whole season, we do have a lot of new information! Overall, the season feels like a transit one. One long preparation and a lot of character building for something epic, I hope!
Have you seen season 2? Feel free to leave a comment!
Thanks for reading!
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**Photos used are screenshots of the anime.