Attack on Titan – Episode 2

Attack on Titan! So.

I’m probably gonna be cutting down my posts on this one, because frankly I suck at describing why action works or doesn’t work, since I’m more a story/character guy. Plus, this show is basically all about pure, visceral entertainment, and where’s the fun in picking that apart? But I’ll keep it together for this episode, just to see how it goes.

I thought the first episode was entertaining, but this director’s tendency towards melodrama basically turned any moments that should have been tragic or harrowing (the mother learning her son is dead, the other mother becoming titanfood) accidentally hilarious. I don’t think he’s going to get better at that, but I do think the show might just start being more about action and less about drama, and so I hope the nature of this story downplays this director’s weaknesses as a storyteller. Let’s see!

Episode 2

0:32 – They’re making it extremely overt in this prologue, but I feel like, in general, the contrast between the vivid backgrounds and the very sharply defined, stylized characters results in the characters looking almost noticeably two-dimensional within their own world. I actually really like this effect – I don’t know if it does anything for the story or mood, but it certainly looks pretty cool

2:13 – Man, this OP is so much fun. Someone in one of the other threads mentioned it reminded them of old 90s action OPs, and I agree completely. More JoJo-esque OPs plz

2:54 – The Titans have that exact same creeping dread that zombies provoke. They’re slow, and they’re not smart… but they never stop coming. Wherever you run, wherever you hide… they will get you.

3:49 – Maybe I underestimated this director. This whole sequence of flight was much more effectively handled than the SUPER BRUTAL scenes from last episode – maybe he really can add some tact and pathos to these totally metal proceedings

8:37 – Not wanting to let them breach a second gate and devour at least a third of all remaining humans? Yeah, personally, I’d argue that’s a perfectly reasonable excuse for letting people die right before your eyes

13:38 – Man, the drama is being handled so much better in this episode. Fewer epic screams with frantic action lines, fewer hysterical musical accompaniments, a lot more enraged brooding. This episode is proving better than the first one in the way I least expected but can most appreciate

14:45 – Wow, that flashback was intense. Not only was that really well-done as a single scene, but I think it also shows an improvement in the storytelling over the manga. Foreshadowing this stuff only improves the overall structure, and makes some plot twists later on less “where the fuck did that come from?” than “oh, that’s what they were doing!”

18:20 – Thank you, Mikasa, for setting this fool of a Took straight

And Done

Damn! At least for me personally, that was a huge improvement over the first episode. I thought the pacing was solid throughout, the visuals and action stuff still compelling as ever, and, critically, this episode added both a great deal more practical world and scenario-building (mainly through framing the Titan attack from the perspective of refugees), as well as some well-directed drama. There was much less of the “Oh my god this is so intense RAAAH!” melodramatic sound/visual/voice-acting problems that undercut last episode’s drama for me – this was much more understated and much more personal, and the one major universal dramatic setpiece (that first series of shots as the Titans attacked and that preacher rambled) was given a feeling of inevitable, pointless tragedy, not RAAAH THIS IS SO TRAGIC RAAAH.

I really liked this episode, and it definitely improved my hopes for the show in general. If it keeps up like this, this show is going to be pretty damn good.