Attack on Titan Series

Anime Hajime Review: Attack on Titan Season 3 – Part 1

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Original Run: July 23, 2018 - October 15, 2018
Number of Episodes: 12
Genre: Action, Fantasy
Based on the Series Created By: Hajime Isayama

***Warning, the following may contain spoilers for Attack on Titan Season 3 Part 1. Reader discretion is advised.***

Series Synopsis

Eren Jaeger (voiced by Yuki Kaji), his childhood friends Mikasa Ackerman and Armin Arlelt (voiced by Yui Ishikawa and Marina Inoue), and his other comrades of the Survey Corps’ Special Operations Squad are still trying to unlock the secrets of the murderous beings known as the titans. However, in their search for answers, they have only found more questions.

Nevertheless, they feel they are close to a breakthrough. The problem is, the people in power feel the same way. Any threat to the authority must, therefore, be wiped out.

Although life behind the mighty Walls might keep the titans out, such an existence also means more dangerous monsters are lurking within. The war for humanity’s survival is about to open a newer, far more deadly front.

Be that as it may, Eren and his friends will not falter in their mission. Like their enemies, they will see their job through — by any means necessary.

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Series Positives

Note: The following covers Attack on Titan Season 3 PART 1. As of the writing of this review, Part 2 is expected to begin airing in April 2019. From this point onward, I will be referring to Attack on Titan Season 3 Part 1 as Attack on Titan Season 3-1.

Attack on Titan is a series perfect for the marathon viewer. As it was at the start of season two, season 3-1 jumped right back into this story as though there wasn’t a year-long gap between installments. If you are a fan of this series and know what has transpired (and know it well), you need not worry about long, drawn-out recaps of information you are already familiar with.

Conversely, this is a franchise that doesn’t hold your hand. You better be ready to hit the ground running.

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The Attack on Titan story is thick. I must admit, it took a few moments for me to recall the events of season two; a season which was marked with high action, plot twists, revelations, and betrayal.

Although season 3-1 had some of that stuff, these two installments — narratively — were quite different from one another.

The tone, action, and purpose of seasons two and 3-1 were so far apart it wouldn’t mean anything to designate which was the stronger. I’ll leave that determination up to your personal preference.

That said, season two was a bit of an info-dump, and season 3-1 kicked all kinds of ass. This was a ton of fun.

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I love watching this series, but I absolutely despise writing about it. The longer this story goes on and the more intricate it becomes, the more difficult it is to talk about anything without giving away something massive. Therefore, I want to apologize for my vagueness.

Overall, this season mostly provided clean-up. Many mysteries were put to rest, and previous thorns were plucked out to make way for growing new ones. Along the way, we got many long-awaited backstories.

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There is now better insight into characters like Krista Lenz, a.k.a. Historia Reiss (voiced by Shiori Mikami). There was some clarification behind Eren Jaeger’s titan powers — by this point in the franchise, it’s safe to openly say Eren can transform into a titan, right?

Also, if you are a fan of Levi (voiced by Hiroshi Kamiya), boy are you in luck. A significant portion of this season was dedicated to him, and out of his storyline, we got the outstanding character of Kenny Ackerman (voiced by Kazuhiro Yamaji).

After saying that, I’m sure all you Attack on Titan fans realized: Kenny ACKERMAN? Does he have some connection with Mikasa ACKERMAN?

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Perhaps those of you unfamiliar with this series are beginning to see how tied my hands really are. There just aren’t many details I can be vague with.

But as stated, this is only a problem for writing a review. You’d be hard-pressed to ask for a more engaging viewing session.

A reason I am drawn to Attack on Titan is its mystery. Speaking for myself, I stay invested because the thrill of finding out what is going on is addicting, and this installment was no different. Season 3-1 may have cleared up some things, but trust me, it not only added its fair share of new questions, it made some existing ones even more complicated.

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In fact, this series is so full of haze, it’s not hard — nor uncommon — to forget something that was once crucial. One of the best lines to come out of this season was from Sasha Braus (voiced by Yu Kobayashi), and, to me, it sounded like a self-deprecating ding against how many loose ends there still are in this story.

Complexity notwithstanding, season 3-1 was as enjoyable as it was because at no point did it feel as if this series went backward.

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Even though many roads went this way and that, the Attack on Titan story never neglected the importance of — or, at least, continued to maintain the illusion of — forward momentum. I suppose we’ll see what the reality is in season 3-2.

Taking everything I’ve brought up thus far into account (which hasn’t been much), Attack on Titan 3-1 had an aspect to itself that cannot be understated. In a word, this season was satisfying.

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Recalling season two for a moment, I distinctly remember it taking a huge risk when it started WITHOUT Attack on Titan’s three lead protagonists, Eren, Mikasa, and Armin Arlelt. Instead, that season focused more on individuals who were — at best — secondary.

I won’t deny how concerning that was, but I also won’t pretend such a move didn’t pay off.

What season two did was establish this show’s awesomeness wasn’t reserved only for a handful of key characters. Anyone and everyone could have a moment to call their own.

Season 3-1 capitalized on that.

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I will note that many of this season’s most epic moments were Levi’s doing (which has been pretty much par for the course for him). Episode thirty-nine (a.k.a., episode two) was a testament to that. It’s difficult to think of another series that better instills a sense of breakneck speed.

Nevertheless, there were a ton of characters that did something which stood out.

Although the existence of a Mikasa-Levi pairing is more than enough to carry the Survey Corps squad, knowing the entire team can pull their own weight is reassuring. The former members of the 104th Training Corps are recruits no more.

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Lastly, to really stress how great this season was, I will have to say one thing that may be considered a spoiler. It has nothing major to do with the story, and it remains neutral on any potential character fates.

Nonetheless, this is a heads up.

Attack on Titan 3-1 mostly lacked titans. There was a single, very notable exception, but this was primarily a human-centric installment. Regardless, this had to be one of the most exciting segments of the entire series.

Season 3-2 has a lot to live up to.

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Series Negatives

This was easily the most solid installment of Attack on Titan yet. The pacing was smooth, the characters grew in significant and meaningful ways, and this story’s secrets — though still safely guarded — are no longer behind an impenetrable barrier.

I have no clue as to what’s coming, but experience is telling me Attack on Titan is precisely where it needs to be.

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Therefore, was there anything wrong with this season?

I’m going to say “yes,” but before I do, please keep these two things in mind.

  1. I am not grasping at straws looking for a negative to write.
  2. When compared to how enjoyable season 3-1 was, this next point is somewhat irrelevant.

This season fell into a problem any adaptation can fall into. Assuming more in-depth details actually exist in the Attack on Titan manga, there wasn’t enough time for the anime to explore everything.

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There was one group of characters — I won’t say who — that felt incomplete and underutilized. When we met them, the story established their personalities to be a certain way. Throughout most of this season, they stayed that course. It wasn’t until much later did we get anything more.

The problem was, “later” was too late.

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Had we gotten their reasons and justifications periodically in this season, a particular encounter would have a had a lot more impact. Instead of being the starkly black and white affair that it was, a shade of gray might have left a stronger outcome.

Is it possible more information will come during season 3-2? Although things are always possible, I highly doubt it. If there is something that can change the depiction of this group, I don’t know what it is.

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In conclusion, we need to remember Attack on Titan 3 is not over. This is a story that is only half finished.

As a stand-alone, 3-1 was amazing. However, as it is, this installment’s most prominent crime may not have come to fruition yet. The worst thing I can imagine this season doing is raising my expectations for a lackluster continuation.

But if that happens, it happens. Given what I saw in 3-1, though, I’m more than willing to keep my hopes high.

Attack on Titan

Final Thoughts

As this series goes on, the pressure to maintain its intrigue, excitement, and quality increases. If this season is any indication, this story has not hit a wall yet.

Outstanding character growth, thrilling action, and fresh mysteries made this a proper continuation to the series. Knowing the next installment is only a few months removed is both encouraging and frustrating.

I want more now.

However, this season did more than enough to satisfy. I absolutely recommend Attack on Titan Season 3 Part 1.

But these are just my thoughts. What are yours? Have you seen this show? What would be your advice concerning Attack on Titan Season 3 Part 1? Leave a comment down below because I would love to hear what you have to say.

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For Anime Hajime, I’m Odyssey, and I’ll see you next time.

Post Editor: Onions

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Anime Hajime Review: Attack on Titan Season 3 – Part 2
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Anime Hajime Review: Attack on Titan Final Season Part 2
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