My expectations going into Attack on Titan Season 2 Episode 6 were sky high and somehow they were surpassed. This episode was insanely good at capturing intensity and epicness of the source material. The music that accompanied the build up to the transformation sent chills down my spine, and I can tell I will be repeatedly coming back to the scene were Reiner heals himself and prepares to go mental, for years to come. But the reason why this reveal is so great and so different was because it was done so casually and was almost treated as a background conversation or detail in the scene, which is how it was handled in the manga. This reveal in itself changes literally every plot point in this show and now if you haven’t read the manga you can go back and re-watch the series with a new perspective and understand all the foreshadowing you missed, because it was abundant.
I’m not going to mention every piece of foreshadowing in the series previously, because that would ruin the fun for when you’re going to re-watch but while re-watching you would notice that the three shifters are always standing together in situations like in the battle of Trost when everyone is gathered on the roof, guess which characters are grouped together. The ‘Top 10 Trainees’ are populated with entirely titan shifters, if you look at the top 5. (Except Mikasa) They all show up earlier than the other side characters when they appear in episode 2, when they are really young kids by the way. Also in the 2nd opening theme in Season 1 both Reiner and Bertolt are shown right before Annie as they flash briefly on the screen. There are also scenes that make more contextual sense now, such as when in Episode 1 of this season, Reiner and Bertolt are freaking out about the titans getting inside Wall Rose, because obviously they hadn’t done anything. The final scene I’ll mention is obviously the scene with Ymir and Reiner and how there interacted with the wired, unknown language on the can of food, I can’t go deeper into that without spoiling future manga events.
When I first read this chapter in the manga, about 3 years ago in 2014, I was in the car on the way home from school and I had borrowed the volume of the manga from the school library earlier that day and we were stopped at a street light and I turned the page a skimmed it and there it was, “I’m the Armoured Titan and he is the Colossal Titan!” It was more shocking back than as it is for you now, but for me it somehow clicked for me like I had always suspected them or something. But the Mikasa attack that blew me away and the handling of that aspect of the scene is the only real criticism I had of this entire episode. They sort of skipped over her attack and didn’t really portray just how violent and brutal it was, and how close she was from killing both Reiner and Bertolt. So I pulled the images from some online site for you guys to see that she nearly decapitated Bertolt!
Last week in the review I primarily praised the animation studio for how beautiful that episode looked, but this week we are back praising Isayama himself, on his writing. The way that he handles desperation in his characters when they are pushed to limit, is brilliant. This conversation or this topic cannot fully be discussed without spoiling aspects of the manga way further down the line but I’m going to try. How he handles desperation is shown back when Annie realised that she was caught and is heavily evident in this episode especially with Reiner, and that’s because Reiner connected with all of his fellow cadets much more than Annie and Bertolt ever did. They were justifiably hesitant to become attached to people because they were eventually either going to be directly or indirectly be responsible for killing all of them. But it shows in the characters and in the writing of that they are going through identity crises and may even be developing split personality disorders. They seem to be confusing their duties as (human) ‘Soldiers’ and (titan) ‘Warriors.’ It’s because of these complexities that Annie is my favourite character in the series, and to me the most interesting. Maybe I’ll revisit this topic with my manga reading brethren…
The only two other criticisms I can comprehend, was the overly obvious symbolism with the red flags. I thought they overdid it with that to the extreme. But, more importantly it looks like the studio maybe using more awful CGI with the upcoming Hange vs. Bertolt fight, which would be very disappointing because that fight is surprisingly awesome. However the main event of next week is definitely shaping up to be Eren vs. Reiner in titan form! It because of all the aspects mentioned in this review that this episode of Attack on Titan Season 2 gets the very rare score of a 9.