And on that day humanity received a grim reminder – of how awesome Attack on Titan is! Welcome back to the Multiversity Summer TV Binge. We will be diving, swooping, and swinging our way through Attack on Titan season two. Join me for the season 2 finale: “Scream.”
1. Hannes comes full circle
R.I.P Hannes you wonderful fool. The series opened up with a grinning titan eating Eren’s mom. It’s his crime alley. It’s his criminal killing Uncle Ben. It’s his origin story. And part of that story is that drunken cowardly Hannes carried Eren away from the carnage, ignoring his duty as a soldier. He’s tried to make up for it by being a good parent to the three kids who were orphaned in his moment of cowardice, and he’s done a pretty good job. But it’s clear that he’s also been haunted by his failure to save Mama Yaeger.
That’s why Hannes, who doesn’t have much experience in titan fightin’, goes into overdrive and launches an overwhelming assault on the smiling titan. It’s the opening of an absolutely insane battle. Jean tries to ride to assist Hannes. Reiner starts hurling obstacles at the Scouts. Christa/Historia shows up and kicks all sorts of ass. Ymir has a last minute change of heart and starts saving lives. Eren tries and fails to save Hannes. He watched his mom die, he’s not ready to let another parent figure be eaten. But he fails. Hannes gets eaten.
2. Mikasa and Eren share a love
Eren’s titan changing ability is based on his focus. If he has a pure motivation, he can shift easily. But he’s so emotional that he doesn’t even know what he’s trying to do. There are so many people in danger, so many betrayals to contend with, that drawing blood isn’t enough. He gnaws his hand down to the bone, but he can’t transform. When he sees Hannes die, he despairs.
Then Mikasa steps up, not to be a badass titan killing machine, but to be a young girl in love. A lot of Eren and Mikasa’s relationship has been left up to subtext, and while they don’t consummate it or anything, a lot is finally said. The stoic Mikasa smiles and she cries and she tells Eren that he’s always been there for her. In a field of bloody flowers they hold each other and Mikasa thanks Eren for everything he’s ever done for her over and over again. The sun comes out, Eren wraps his scarf around Mikasa- it’s beautiful. Almost enough to make you forget that these two have been raised as siblings. You sort of get it. They’re certain they are about to die. It’s time for the raw truth.
3. The chosen Titan
Saving Mikasa gives Eren the focus he needed, and he… doesn’t transform into a titan. It’s different this time, and the animation shows it as such. He gets his titan strength even before he undergoes the transformation, and he wallops the smiling titan with his tiny fist. Rainbow nerves and sinews shoot out of finger tips. The music gets hella dramatic. He rocks the super saiyan pose. And then he does something we’ve never seen before. He commands the titans.
There’s an amazing montage of all the carnage of the battle. Armin is desperately trying to defend an unconscious Jean, Christa/Historia and Ymir are wrecking titans, Connie and Sasha are fight for their lives… but one by one, the titans leave them alone. Eren can command them with his screams, and he directs them to rip the smiling titan apart into little pieces of meat. There’s something up with Eren, and he’s clearly more than your average titan shape shifter.
4. Ultimate Erwin Smith
Let’s talk about Erwin Smith. The leader of the Scouts, he’s the most impressive man in the entire show. He’s stoic, he’s cool, he’s competent, he’s ruthless. He’s all the virtues Attack on Titan endorses. And he gets his arm torn off by a random titan.
It’s brutal. But with a bleeding stump, he rears back on his horse and looks like a wounded George Washington. It’s unbelievable that a demigod like Erwin can be wounded like that, but he’s not going to let a little thing like a permanent maiming and blood loss even slow him down.Continued below
In the chaos, the Scouts retreat. Eren turns the titans against Bertholt and Reiner, and the two of them are forced to retreat as well. Ymir decides to abandon Christa/Historia and runs off with Bertholt and Reiner. And Erwin Smith leads his people back to safety.
5. Titans are people
The war against the titans is a Sisyphean effort. There are basically infinite enemies, and they can regenerate from nearly every wound. No matter how many you kill, there always seem to be more. They even have spies living among humanity. This season started with the simple mission to get Eren to the hole in the wall, and close it using his titan powers. That’s not an assault against the enemy, it’s a simple act of defense, to reverse the damage done last season… and the fail! So was this entire season for nothing?
Erwin doesn’t think so. They found the traitors hiding in their midst, they learned that Eren has a unique power to control the titans, and most importantly they learned that the titans are human beings. Hange Zoe reports, and they have new information on the origin of the titans. They may not have made a lot of forward progress towards their immediate goals, but with this information they may learn where the titans come from, and how to send them back. And watching them from the walls is the mysterious Beast Titan…
That’s it for this season comrades. It’s been a blast. Sometimes literally. I hope you’ll join me next time, and I hope that humanity will one day triumph at the monsters that would keep them in a cage.