Attack on Titan S3 – Episode 1 [First Impressions]
Attack on Titan season 3 flies in with a bunch of flare. With the recap movie of season 2 and the first episode of the season premiering in theaters. We’ll discuss that more later, let’s talk instead about how solid this episode is.
Perhaps it was because I had just viewed the recap movie, or perhaps because of the setting. It feels like almost no time has passed since the last season. Mikasa is still healing from being attacked by the Titan, Historia is broken and traumatized by the loss of one of the only people she could call her true friend.
The ‘new’ Levi squad, consisting of Eren, Armin, Mikasa, Jean, Historia, Connie and Sasha are cleaning up a cabin to live in for the time being. Gathering supplies, bringing in food. As odd as it is to say, this is probably one of my favorite parts of the episode despite it being the very beginning. This scene alone really showcases every character for who they are. Mikasa’s stubborn determination to help and work out and be strong despite the fact that she’s injured. The fighting between Jean and Eren as Eren tries to remind everyone that the house should need to be spotless before Captain Levi returns. Sasha lying about stealing bread as she clearly just shoved a loaf of bread into her bag.
Then there is Levi. Coming in, everyone going silent as he walks over to the table and runs his hand along the bottom of it picking up a faint bit of dust. The sheer disappointment in them all for not getting it cleaned perfectly in the time he’d given them.
Things can not stay this calm for long though. As Eren struggles to transform into a Titan and the plans to use him to patch up the wall is delayed. Hange comes from Trost with some disturbing news. Pastor Nick was killed, killed and tortured by the military police. They ripped off his nails for information, most likely, what he passed on to the scouting unit. Levi thinks there is more too it though, a person being tortured for information is no more likely to talk past the first nail. Nick apparently did not give up his secrets easily.
At this point, a message from Erwin makes its way to Levi and they evacuate the house. Most likely, merely less than an hour or so before the house is raided. An order came through freezing all scouting regiment activity outside the wall and a order to bring Historia and Eren in.
Erwin was approached by the military police as well mere moments after sending that message off to Levi.
Levi figures it’s safest for them to head to Trost, heading to the interior is too dangerous and they can use the unrest and upset of the recent murder in the barracks as a cover. Though, in addition. They hide Eren and Historia in a wagon and have body doubles pose as them with the group. By body doubles, I mean Jean and Armin. I got a huge kick out of this in the theater, I can’t help but feel bad for Jean any time he has to stand in as Eren’s body double and Armin did nothing to deserve being dressed up as a woman and nearly molested.
Though something doesn’t seem right to Levi. The people who kidnapped Jean and Armin are amatures. There is no way they are working with the military police. So he doubles back to watch the wagon and leaves a message with Mikasa to tell Jean and Armin after they are safe.
As he is watching the wagon, he thinks of something. He asks the girl who brought the message from Erwin, a girl named Nifa if she’d ever heard of Kenny the Ripper. A supposed urban legend of a serial killer from the capital. Yet, he is no urban legend. He’s real and Levi grew up with him. Just as this story comes to an end, Nifa is blasted away by a gun. A reloadable gun, modeled and looking very much like the blades from the three dimensional gear that the scouts use and the one with the gun. Is no one else but Kenny the Ripper, and a squad of additional people carrying the same weapon. A battle is about to begin and Eren and Historia are in danger.
Overall a very solid first episode of season 3. It has a lot of really good character moments in the beginning of the episode and then steadily amps up the sense of urgency and the action in general. The one thing that was missing from the theatrical release was the opening, which we see for the first time today with the episode airing properly. The song, by X. Japan featuring Hyde is called “Red Swan”. It Is pretty low key for a Attack on Titan opening. I doubt it will reach the legendary meme status of the first opening and there are going to be a lot of people upset with it because it does not feature any of the classic energy we’ve come to expect from Attack on Titan’s openings. Yet there is a certain beauty too it and the visuals are absolutely gorgeous, displaying a real sense of past vs future. The images of Eren, Armin, and Mikasa as children playing around and running happily. Contrast with the almost lonely images of a child Levi and child Erwin, there are also some very beautiful images of a child Historia. It gives me the general feeling that this season will contain a fair amount of interpersonal relationship development and history for these characters as opposed to pure fighting Titan action. Which I am 100% okay with.
The theater that Oki and I attended had about a half full audience for the dub showing. I’ve always been one of the strange people that really liked the dub for Attack on Titan and the first episode of season 3 was no exception. Bryce has really grown into his role as Eren, but most of all, the show is stolen by Matt Mercer as Captain Levi. He really carried this episode in particular heading into the last few minutes when a phantom of Levi’s past comes in guns blazing.It’s interesting to note just how far anime has come. While we had to travel out of our way to find a theater showing it, the fact we are getting so many limited movie releases and even the premiere of first episodes is something that used to be unthinkable. Perhaps in the future, it will be even more common and releases will be more readily available to people who don’t live near big cities.
After seeing the Attack on Titan movie which featured a S2 recap as well as the first episode of Season 3-
I really really wish Attack on Titan the anime moved like the movie did. Nothing about the movie felt badly paced and everything was executed very well! I’ve always felt they stretched out everything in Attack on Titan really badly in order to conserve material, and it’s easy to see why. If they kept everything at a steady pace they would catch up to the manga right now with complete ease. That being said the current arc in the show is one I am unfamiliar with and look forward to watching because of it.
The current mystery of Attack on Titan revolves around the Church and the royalty, which the manga has a lot of surprising details on. I always found that the mystery behind the titans was probably the most interesting story. It’s actually after this mystery ends and we learn the ‘truth’ that I begin to lose interest in the manga, so this might actually end up being my last section of reviews for AOT. So far I am engaged and interested, but I think I’ll have to see how the anime adapts the manga. (The anime is honestly far superior in my opinion.)
Nothing feels quite as good as focusing in on the acting of Levi in both sub and dub – both actors do a fantastic job and make the adaptation feel alive. But hey, you know, there is so much to experience from here and Midnight summed it up really well. I’m excited to learn about ACKERMAN TIME because I have been behind on the memes for years.
Join me in hoping the pacing stays good and it doesn’t take the whole season to learn who everyone is and why they’re doing what they are!
Oki and Midnight