Attack on Titan Season 2 Episode 1 Review: Beast Titan

Attack on Titan is back and so are the horror, screams, and tears.

My live reactions during the episode, condensed and paraphrased: “It’s so nice to be back! …I just realized I don’t remember what went down last season, it’s been over a year since I watched the anime and read the manga. I should’ve probably watched the recaps… Okay, I remember that… I remember that part… Uh huh. Okay… Oh my god. OH MY GOD WHAT IS THIS HOLY SHIT NO! …NO! NOOOOOOOOOO!”

The Titan in the Wall

“Beast Titan” picks up where season 1 left off, with a Titan in the wall. 

With the Survey Corp lost for answers, Hange turns to interrogate the only person in the general vicinity who seems to know what the hell is going on, Minister Nick, and literally dangles him off the edge of the wall until he’d answer the burning question the anime’s fans have been harboring for over three friggin’ years: Why is there a Titan in the wall?

Nick, who’s either suicidally devoted to his faith or knows that Hange can’t actually kill him, calls Hange on her bluff and shouts (in an unnecessarily dramatic fashion) that he would rather die. Hange promptly lets him go, goes through a very short, angry existential crisis where she compares her emotional state to that of her first time outside the walls, planting the seed of conspiracy in our minds with a question of her own: “Are all the walls made of Titans?”

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This scene opens up a whole can of worm that the anime has so far only dropped hints at through the human titans and occasional evidence of corruption in the political system—that there are institutions, powerful instituitions, deeply involved in putting something the Survey Corp is supposed to exterminate into the very foundation of the structures that are supposed to protect their people. And if said institutions are lying about that, what else are they hiding?

For manga readers, you know what’s up. Or at least partially what’s up. Unfortunately, that’s not something an anime review can get ahead on, as tempting as it is. 

The Flashback – South of Wall Sina & the Beast Titan

Turning back the clock 12 hours, Connie, Sasha, and the rest of the Corps stationed at Wall Sina hear about the breach of Wall Rose and the oncoming attack of at least nine Titans from the south. The Corp evacuates their post under Mike and Nanaba’s leadership, and splits off into four factions, each heading in a different direction to warn the surrounding towns. Mike then breaks off on his own to distract the nine Titans from the rest of his fleeing team.

This soon proves to be the last and biggest mistake of his life, though by no fault on his part. After all, he’s actually winning until the Beast Titan shows up. And how could he have predicted that? Or that the Beast Titan possesses human-level intelligence and can talk? Or that said Titan can somehow command the mindless Titans?

I have no words for Mike’s death, but I did sit through the moment when he’s ripped apart limb from limb by three Titans screaming “WHY??!!” at my television because he was a kind, brave soul who did not deserve it. But such is the world when you’re surrounded by flesh-eating giants.

What Else? 

– Eren and Mikasa made a brief appearance, which is nice. While it’s not like either of them will die or anything, being main characters, it’s still good to see them recovered and well.

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– Same goes to Erwin and Levi.

– I will never get used to the Titan Sprint.

– I really want next week’s episode to explain at least some of the questions I have, like why did the Beast Titan take Mike’s maneuvering equipment? It’s not like he’d have any use for it… Or does he?