After the rollercoaster of a reveal that was last week’s episode, Eren and Reiner finally engaged in what can only be described as the clash of the titans. And in the same way you probably won’t forgive me for that terrible pun, Eren has thrown forgiveness out the window rendering Reiner and Bert far beyond redemption.
There are a few things to highlight about this episode. The first of course is the animation, which probably has the highest concentration of top-quality dynamic motion in the season. I really wanted to slander the CGI Colossal Titan for how visually distracting it was teased to be in the preview but to my surprise, it wasn’t.
I won’t get into the common talking point of why the colossal titan was 2D in season 1 but mostly 3D in season 2 as I feel that anyone who knows anything about animation should know that 3D is generally much easier and much cheaper to produce over 2D work. Sure, I would rather have gotten a drawn titan instead of a polygonal one but watching the scouts initiate evasive tactics to avoid his slow attacks was truly a sight to Bertholdt, making it quite easy to forget that the CG being used wasn’t that good.
Speaking of scenes, it was during this sequence that I realised how integral the sound design of this series is to the overall experience. There’s something strangely mesmerising about hearing the metal wire pop out of the maneuver gear with the gas exhaust that quickly follows. Then there’s the latching onto the surface, into the pulling of the rope, the scout soaring through the air, ending with the retraction of the wire and the person landing at their destination. And that’s not even getting into the drawing of the blades or the sound of titans being cut. I’m not necessarily an audiophile by any means but it’s not often that SFX in a TV show can add so much character to the world.
Outside of the pretty awesome wrestling match between the big guys, the brief flashback reminded us of the tension that existed between the ladies. And although Annie’s CQC techniques are impressive, I’d have to bet my money on Mikasa. More importantly however, I don’t know whether to call this plot point odd or interesting. Not the scene itself but rather it linking to such an important part of the episode which was Eren figuring out how to use Reiners strength against him.
This concept of remembering your training and then using it on your opponent is very common in your typical shonen series but Attack on Titan is in my mind, one of the more atypical shows in the genre. With so much focus on the mystery surrounding the titans and the sprinkles of political intrigue, overcoming the opposition in such an average shonen way felt a little out of place.
Nonetheless, still a good episode. Of course, after such an explosive 3 episodes in a row, next week is looking to slow things down again, which I’m looking forward to. Now that the stakes are much higher, I’m curious to see how the narrative builds up to the next major plot point and if it can perform this with the same emotional/visual weight that these last episodes were able to deliver.