Attack on Titan Season 3: A Review (?)

The Hayime Isayama written series ‘Attack on Titan’, even from an outsider’s perspective, has been an incredibly fascinating and alluring view since it started airing in 2013. Even though I wasn’t a massive fan of the series’ first two seasons, the cumulative power and magnitude of the series, whether the series maintained the fanbase created when the series first aired or not, was captivating at worst. Especially so when the third season aired. There was a magnificent aura around the season, people were even calling it a modern classic. And even as someone who wasn’t very interested in the series, it did spark my interest and made me rewatch the first two seasons to gain a new perspective. And while I was surprised, both positively and negatively, it wasn’t exactly what I came for. So going into the third season, my expectations laid somewhere around Tarkovsky’s ‘Stalker’, whether intentionally or not. And now that I’ve finished the series, and have had a few weeks to think over my experience, I still find the series to be hard to wrap my head around, one that I’m not sure how I feel about. I’ve had difficulties writing about the series because of how lost I felt. It’s a statement that is usually given to media that really boggles the mind and hits on a level deeper than the surface, but now I’m not so sure.

This review will be discussing plot events in the third season of ‘Attack on Titan’ (part 1 and 2) that might be considered spoiler territory, also probably bad

Season 3 continues where season 2 leaves off, and Eren and his squad are assigned with Levi to protect Eren and Historia, seeing as they hold knowledge and power that might be important for the scout Survey Corps to keep in control of, as we see the system of the walls tumble in on itself and the different regiments are revealed to be opposing forces who are nothing but in agreement with each other. This concept is one I find very interesting, especially since having read ‘Animal Farm’ and finding political narratives more intriguing than ever. The scene where the military takes over the government was refreshing after having felt disappointed with the series for a while, and I think it gave me the energy to finally feel excited about this world again. But a theme is going to be established here, as I’m still not sure how to feel about this section of the series. None of it was bad, yet I wasn’t as excited as I maybe wanted to be. Maybe the energy was lost somewhere between season 1 and 2. And this was my experience with most of part 1 of the series, not really finding a conclusion to argue for. There was a lot of interesting elements and pieces, like the fight with Rod Reiss’ titan and learning more of the history between the characters, yet something about the series still didn’t feel as well put together as the first season. The aura was still there, but something else was lost.

And continuing onto part 2 of the season, I’d like to think it got better. You know, the episodes inside of wall maria are admittedly pretty fucking fire. Levi, he killed a lot of titans, pretty crazy stuff. And being serious, the 16th episode of season 3, ‘Perfect Game’ is in all honesty probably the best episode in the series thus far. If there is anyone who would be able to radicalize me into the far-right then it would be Erwin telling me to die for my country and the memory of the fallen. The beast titan threw pellets and hit like a bell tower that made a cool noise and I liked that. It is not only cool but also good. And any descriptive words used before and after this segment that may come off as negative are not directed at episode 16 to 18 in it of themselves. 

But still, there is a sense of numbness after having thought through the series. By the end of episode 19, 199 soldiers have died and 90% of our main cast is intact. If I’m supposed to think of these episodes in the context of the narrative they are in, then having a massacre only affect a major side character isn’t very convincing. And I get that Armin sacrificed himself, but he was revived the second he was able to. It’s probably the reason why ‘Perfect Game’ is such a good episode because it is the episode where a sacrifice is felt and is still being so. And even after this point, I’m still not sure how to feel about this series. I get that you want to make an allegory to minorities and the oppression they go through often, which is generally a good thing, but having it be treated dangerously similar to Bright is alarming. And while I’m not sure if this allegory is the point of the series, it’s certainly something to think about.

I’m not sure if this is a review or an admission of defeat. I need to move on honestly, fuck. Let’s leave it like this, I’m excited for season 4 partly because I think the poster looks cool. This one is like a seven probably, maybe too high for my general tone throughout this text, but whatever it was good.

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