So it’s come to this. That moment where you realise not only is it all over but the questions that were answered only opened up the door to more questions. Honestly, this episode didn’t evoke as much of a response as I expected but that’s okay. As far as I’m concerned, we already got our season finale last week, at least from a standpoint of raw quality.
Anyone who’s played a JRPG from start to finish should be familiar with this concept of the last boss being a pushover compared to the penultimate boss or the secret boss that you spawned in the secret room to get the secret weapon. Final Fantasy X stands out to me as the perfect example, where for the sake of story flavour, the entire party has a permanent auto-life status effect while fighting against the final encounter. These battles having an underwhelming vibe is the exact same texture I felt from this episode.
Admittedly, this is probably due to the fact that Eren’s huge reveal as being “The Controller”, was the last major moment I experienced in the manga, meaning I knew exactly what was going to happen. On the other hand, I don’t know if having read it prior is justifiable enough for it to not feel that way. I totally knew the identity of Reiner and Bertholdt beforehand, but the episode where they exposed themselves was still able to elicit one of the most visceral responses I’ve had throughout the show. So what was the problem with this episode?
Personally, the issue resides in the concept. Remember when I complained that characters having titan powers were reminiscent of the Kingdom Hearts series, where characters who have Key Blades became about as popular as having an opinion? Well, Eren punching the air and summoning titans like a Marvel vs Capcom assist is where I draw the line. I guess for some people it’s super interesting because it’s all “woah! what does this mean for the story going forward!?“, but I’m a lot less enthused for reasons I’ve already expressed in prior reviews.
There was some good here though. Hannes’ assault against the mother eater was pretty well animated for the most part. And when that weird ass pop music wasn’t playing (seriously, what was that all about?) the dire situation the scouts were in was really played up by the visuals and audio. I’m not too sure how I felt about Eren’s crying laughter in response to the death of Hannes. It was a little strange and I did ask myself if the reaction felt natural. But I managed to walk away from that with a good verdict, simply because it was fairly memorable and Eren saying he’s still as useless as ever was a touching way for him to demonstrate his emotions.
The show ends with Erwin’s own awkward grinning at the information he was given, then with Jean telling Eren to man the fuck up and not to let the sacrifice of all the scouts who died for him to end up in vain. Finally, we get one final ball tease with the beast titan at the wall with its human pilot, greasing us up in preparation for the next season which has already been revealed to be coming next year, and to no surprise. These 12 episodes covered from chapter 34 of the manga, all the way up to chapter 50. And at the time of writing, the latest chapter available is chapter 94, which means there’s plenty of content to do a third season without needing another 4 year gap. But it’ll be interesting to see how they handle a lot of the slower content that follows where the anime has left off.
So, now that is all over, what are my overall thoughts? Well.. 12 episodes is hard to compare to 26, which is what we were given in season 1. And the story taking such a different direction doesn’t make that any easier either. In my opinion, there weren’t enough great moments within these 12 outings for me to say it was anything more than a decent viewing experience overall, even though my praise for last week’s episode might lead some to be surprised at me saying that.
The fact of the matter is: Attack on Titan really was a cultural phenomenon when it first hit the screens, even compelling people who don’t normally watch anime to give it a spin. The same cannot be said about season 2 on its own and I don’t know if it has the ability to keep people as intrigued in the concept as they were when it all began. But boy, would I love to be wrong.