I noticed two things about this week’s episode. The first being that not all supporting cast characters are created equal. Sorry Sasha, nice work with the melee arrow attack but I wasn’t all that interested in your backstory. However, the return to her village brought me to my second light bulb moment, which was that season 2 is going to town on the gore and the eerie atmosphere.
Don’t get me wrong, I’ll never forget the ending of episode 1 where Eren’s mother was literally snacked on like a living snicker bar but this is a little different. Watching that Titan meticulously chew on a helpless woman while her daughter sat in the corner of the room was surprisingly chilling. She wasn’t even watching. All she could do was listen to the music of peeled flesh, making it even scarier.
Speaking of scary, can we talk about that Titan who was stuck in the house at the end? That was nuts. Of course, these are all positive things. Not only were the drawings freaky but the bizarre compositions and the squeamish sound design topped it off even further. I can’t say I’ve had many anime series have that effect on me as I find that they usually fall into the spectrum of try-hard awkwardness when they do. (see the entirety of Elfen Lied) There were times when it did tip toe into that element but most of it worked for me.
Pacing wise, this episode was a little bit lacking. To be fair, I do remember this section of the manga being very slow so I’m reluctant to put all of my weight on that point. However, part of the magic of adaption is the ability to adapt. This week’s episode shares its name with chapter 36 of the manga and rightfully so, as it follows it page for page. Normally I wouldn’t take issue with this but knowing that this season will only be 12 episodes long makes me a tiny bit nervous in regards to how far we are going to advance the plot after waiting so long for this series to return.
Speaking of plot we did get a bit of set up. Hange seems to have discovered something about Annie’s crystalised casing and Armin continues to be the brainiac of the group after having pretty much figured out that the walls are made from Titans. So there’s definitely some meat left to be eaten – Let’s just hope next weeks serving will be cooked slightly quicker.