Attack on Titan 2×01 & 2×02 Review: “Beast Titan” and “I’m Home”
Attack on Titan has returned with season 2. (“Finally,” says the girl who literally started watching this show last week.) There’s no time to waste, diving further into the mystery of the Titans with “Beast Titan”.
With the 104th under suspicion of harboring more Titans in disguise, they are left out of the action in Stohess and so are blissfully unaware that one of their own is a Titan (you know, aside from Eren), and also that apparently, Titans reside in the very walls. However, that means they’re perfectly placed right in the middle of a group of Titans who have somehow broken through Wall Rose. Deciding that there are no secret Titans in the group, Miche dispatches them to warn the neighboring villages, guided by Connie and Sasha, who are from nearby towns. When the Titans suddenly start sprinting, Miche breaks off to buy the group some time.
“Beast Titan” is an aptly-titled episode featuring the introduction of a mysterious Titan who both speaks the human language and is capable of commanding the other Titans. He deliberately targets Miche by hurling his horse at him (the most upsetting thing for me about this show is how many horses die), and then relieves him of his equipment before leaving him to be eaten by the remaining Titans. I will say that, while this show has always been gruesome, I found Miche’s death to be particularly unpleasant — perhaps it was the drawn out nature of it, or that it seemed more an execution than Titan deaths have been previously.
The appearance of the Beast Titan — and the discovery of Titans in the walls — of course raises a whole new slew of questions about Titans in general, and sadly since Miche was the only witness, the rest of the Survey Corps is unaware of this troubling development. While Annie and to a lesser extent Eren seem to retain their intelligence while in Titan form, neither of them seem to be capable of speech. Which leads us to wonder, what (or who) is the Beast Titan, and what does it want?
“Beast Titan” also reintroduces the concept of Sasha’s superb instincts, something which is further explored in the second episode, “I’m Home”. While season 1 seemed to focus primarily on Eren, Mikasa, and Armin, season 2 so far seems to be delving into some of the side characters, and for this I am grateful. Considering the rate at which characters die, it’s difficult to really react to the deaths when there is no emotional connection to the characters. Marco’s death in season 1 was odd and abrupt because it’s supposed to be, but it was also kind of empty because I didn’t feel like I really knew him. (Perhaps this can be solved by simply reading the manga. I’ll add it to the list.)
Sasha is the first to sense the Titans in “Beast Titan”, and later in “I’m Home” she is able to spot their footprints and realize that they have already reached far into the forest. A flashback to Sasha’s life before she enlisted shows that she was a pretty selfish child, wondering why they needed to abandon their life to help those who had been displaced by the Titan attack. Fast forward to present day, and Sasha risks her life fighting a Titan with nothing but an ax and a couple of arrows to save a young girl who was left behind with her mother when the rest of the village fled. (Also, that woman’s death was ten times more disturbing than Miche’s. I cannot watch this show at night.) There’s nothing quite like character development, even if it’s super quick and takes place all in the span of one episode. Later, Sasha is reunited with her father, who tells her that he is proud of her.
Connie’s homecoming, on the other hand, is not so joyous. His village has been destroyed by Titans and a Titan has collapsed on his house, crushing it. Connie crying in the middle of the ruins was heartbreaking, and the shot of him staring at the Titan on his house was so creepy and well done. I honestly think the animation has improved this season. The fate of his family is unknown, but the bigger question is, how did the Titan even get to the village when it can’t stand on its scrawny legs? Did a larger Titan leave it there, or is it a human who transformed?
Besides the info dump of new, Titan-related information that the first two episodes have given us, I also loved Hange’s “rapport” with Pastor Nick, Armin continuing to be a smart cookie, and Levi being Levi.
Attack on Titan season 2 is only slated to be twelve episodes, and I’m gnawing at my fingernails with these new developments. Also, I couldn’t help but notice that the new opening sequence implies that we’ll soon see the return of the Armored and Colossal Titans, both of which were responsible for the fall of Wall Maria in the first season.
Author: Jamie Sugah
Jamie has a BA in English with a focus in creative writing from The Ohio State University. She self-published her first novel, The Perils of Long Hair on a Windy Day, which is available through Amazon. She is currently an archivist and lives in New York City with her demon ninja vampire cat. She covers television, books, movies, anime, and conventions in the NYC area.
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