Attack on Wish-Lists

With Attack on Titan’s second season premiering in under 4 months, I figured now was the best time to share some hopes and concerns. After all, it’s been almost 3 years since it debuted in the West, 4 if you live in Japan, and enough time has passed to process what it was that made it so popular. It’s also not every day that an anime series makes its way into the mainstream, to an extent, so if the show is to keep that up it has to appeal to old and new fans-alike. That’s a big burden, and I hope it does. Anyway, let's get started.

First and foremost, I hope Season 2 builds on what worked in Season 1. Attack on Titan is the anime-equivalent of The Walking Dead meets Game of Thrones as far as Western comparisons go, and it managed to gain the weekly hype of both series during its run. If Season 2 is to continue that, it must keep the stakes relatively high. Characters must be at risk of death regularly, the battles must be intense and the Titans have to be menacing. But, most-importantly, there has to be a reason to keep fighting.

It’d be great if all of the above were accomplished without the need for excessive padding. That was one of my biggest complaints with Season 1: it dragged. A lot of the padding served a purpose, but keeping the “will it, or won’t it?” moments to a minimum will please critics who felt the show was needlessly slow and boring. It’d also keep the show exciting, as opposed to feeling longer than need be. I doubt it’ll actually happen, Tetsuro Araki’s notorious for slogging out his works, but it’d be welcomed.

It’d be great if the Titans were constantly threatening. That was also something that Season 1 was guilty of. Sure, they were always creepy, but it often seemed like they jumped back-and-forth between menacing and goofy. If Season 2 is to work, that’d be welcome. Or, at least, it’d be welcomed by me.

Lessen the melodrama. I know it’s a staple of Attack on Titan. I get that it’s a hectic premise with high stakes, so everyone is bound to be scared. But the exaggerated screaming became tiring after a while. There were a few moments where the characters would be shouting exposition, and BAM! Instant close-ups with speed-lines for dramatic effect. It wasn’t unnerving, but rather silly. So you can keep the shouting and anger, but cut back on that.

I’d like it if the animation fluidity were more consistent. I know that’s asking a lot of a Shonen series, especially one on a tight budget, but Season 1 had many moments of still-frames that it used to compensate for a lack of funding. And it was silly and awkward. I get that cuts have to be made somewhere, but why not ease up on the CGI wide-shots during combat? You don’t need them, so sacrificing those for more consistent animation would be a nice addition.

I’d also like for Season 2 to keep its music. Some of the insert tunes were silly J-rock songs, but so what? It worked! None were inappropriate for their scenes, and they were all memorable. Mesh them with the high-octane choir arrangements like before, and you’ve got a strong continuation of what Season 1 did so well.

Keep the shock moments and twists on-par with Season 1. That was one of the show’s biggest strengths, as it kept you guessing what’d happen next. I understand that Season 2 is supposed to have 25 episodes (although don’t quote me on that), so keeping both aspects close to your chest would be a great way to maintain investment. (At least, it’d keep me invested. Basically, don’t be afraid to pull the rug out from under us.

Don’t be afraid to kill off important characters. Season 1 struggled with that, instead opting for “Red-shirts” first. It did eventually settle for major characters, albeit late, but those poor side-characters we barely got to know. Also, why couldn’t they have killed Captain Levi? That obnoxious-I’m getting ahead of myself.

Speaking of characters, there were several that could’ve been better fleshed-out. One of these was Krista, who was played up as an angel. Whether it was her obnoxious over-devotion to her colleagues, or the fact that the lighting in-show made her look like a deity, it became grating. Why do this to a side-character who has a clear fan-base? It’s creepy.

On that note, flesh out her relationship with Ymir more. That was hinted at in Season 1, but never explored. Ymir and Krista are the show’s lesbian couple, and they clearly have a dedicated fan-base. So why make their relationship feel token? They deserve better.

Actually, if the show wants to correct character mistakes from Season 1, make Levi legitimately interesting. Because he’s not right now. I understand that he’s supposed to be hardened from war, but hardened war vets don’t act that way. There’s so much potential for a compelling character here that wasn’t explored, namely his devotion to Petra, so diving into it would be a nice change of pace. Besides, it might make me regret wanting him to die.

Another welcome addition would be the reveal of other sentient Titans. We had one in the form of Annie from the second-half of Season 1, but her motives were vague. And we know she wasn’t an anomaly, so why not touch on that l? It’s not like Season 1 ended on a cliffhanger accidentally, right? Right?!

Speaking of which, flesh-out Eren’s Titan history more. It was hinted at that Eren’s father did something to him before his disappearance, so…why not touch on that? And, while you’re at it, maybe touch on the relationship between him and Mikasa more? Him and Armin more? Heck, him and himself more? I’m spitballing, but there’s a lot to build on with Eren that was only skimmed prior.

Another area that needs expanding is the mystery of Eren’s father’s cellar. This was frequently hinted at as being important, so why was it not followed-through on? Why was it dropped in favour of The Female Titan? It was such a good mystery, and I hope it gets answered.

Finally, since this is knowledge Manga fans have known for years, I hope I can get through this season without anything major being spoiled. I didn’t have that luxury with Season 1 for several reasons, and that pissed me off. I want to be surprised! We in Canada don’t get Toonami for…reasons, so it’d be rude to ruin every little twist before I get to experience it. Don’t you agree?

Above all, I want a good and worthy follow-up. But I’m sure that Season 2 will be enjoyable, as Araki’s had 4 years. Besides, it’s Attack on Titan! If it’s awful, don’t you think fans would be the first to complain?


Popular Posts