And on that day humanity received a grim reminder – of how awesome Attack on Titan is! It’s that time of year again- the Multiversity Summer TV Binge! For years now I have been watching my favorite anime series Attack on Titan and sharing my thoughts with you, my loyal and loving squad. This summer will be no different- we’re going to be getting into some truly nasty stuff, the third season of this epic series. Join me as we dive, swoop, and swing our way through Attack on Titan season three. Let’s get things started with the first episode: “Smoke Signals.”
1. Cabin in the woods
There’s something to be said about sequels. Wait, crap, that was vague and banal. What I mean is that there’s something special about returning to familiar characters after a long absence. It makes the heart grow fonder and such, but in a show like Attack on Titan it’s also a stark reminder of the high mortality rate. Levi’s squad is mostly familiar characters, but they are also the squad through process of elimination. The original Levi squad was decimated by Annie, and a lot of the other familiar characters turned traitor or were killed. That leaves Levi with Eren, Sasha, Jean, Armin, Connie, Christa/Historia, and Mikasa.
And Levi isn’t deluded. These aren’t his friends, but these kids survived because their tough, and that makes them good enough for him. And so, it’s great to see them all cleaning and cooking and cohabiting in a cozy, sexy cabin. It’s sexy because Levi’s cleaning brings a weird energy to any room he’s in. I don’t make the rules.
And it’s so great to be with these old friends! One highlight includes Eren and Christa (sorry, Historia’s) weird burgeoning relationship. They were never close, but after the traumatic events of last season they are starting to see themselves in each other. And it’s increasingly clear they are tangled up in some sort of crazy destiny. Also, injured Mikasa still trying to get swole. Also also Sasha loves to steal food. This cast is great, and I’m so excited we’re going to spend all season just chilling in the woods, no titans or conflict of any kind. What? We’re not? Well sh-
2. Ultimate power ballad of power
New theme song! And it’s… not as much a banger as previous ones? It’s weird. The first season one theme just rocked and was a perfect song to get you pumped for the show. The second one was more anthetmic, and while it got at the underlying fascistic themes, it lacked a certain meedly meedly maw guitar shred energy. The third theme (from season 2) was a great fusion of the two. More exciting then the one that proceeded it, more thematic than the original one.
This new one is none of that. It sounds if anything, like an 80s power ballad. As such, it’s a little hard to compare directly. But… I kind of love it? There’s a strong theme running through it of the innocence of childhood, as best exemplified by Eren literally interacting across time. His angry, impetuous younger self tugs on the sleeve of his older, traumatized self. We also see young versions of Mikasa, Armin, Levi, and Erwin. The fact that the new song alludes to leitmotifs found elsewhere in the soundtrack is just *chef kiss*. I don’t think this opening will ever be my favorite, but I like how different it is, and I love how well it sets up what this new season is going to be all about.
3. Mad science love
Ah Hange Zoe, you are so true to yourself. With some downtime, the gang decides to get testing Eren again. This is part of the master plan, which isn’t bad. The Scouts are going to take Eren to the breach in the wall, and he’s going to use the titan hardening power to repair the breach. It’s possible he’ll survive the process, but he may not. And that’s a sacrifice everyone (except Mikasa) is ready to make. It’s also why this show is so damn good. The situation is desperate, and the lore is weird. None of the characters are making stupid choices, and as they learn more their plans are at least as smart as anything I could ever come up with. Based on what we’ve learned about titan powers, this move could change the world and be a real victory for humanity.
And we get some great Hange Zoe salivating over creepy science and I love that.
4. A real Jack Bauer move
This is a show about a zombie fascist post-apocalypse. The desperate human survivors live under a militarized totalitarian regime, and horrible creatures seek to devour then. So it’s actually pretty surprising we’ve gotten so little inter-human conflict. It’s clear that there’s still greed, and crime, and corruption, but that’s not been the focus of the story. Until now. Hange Zoe has to deal with the death of Pastor Nick (RIP you creepazoid) who was tortured before he died. But in the end, Levi points out, he was sort of a loyal friend. He got his fingernails pulled out. They ain’t gonna pull your fingernails out unless you refuse to talk, Levi reasons.
And here’s where everything goes real Game of Thrones. Besides the torture I mean. See, Christa isn’t named Christa at all, she’s really named Historia Reiss and she’s the illegitimate daughter of Rod Reiss. The Reiss family were the original monarchs of this whole world-within-the-walls, and they still rule from behind the scenes. And now they are looking for Historia, a potential contender for the throne.
Secret illegitimate children? Succession conflicts? A royal line with magical destiny? Gross torture? This is gonna be the Game of Thrones season for sure.
Jeez a lot happens in this episode. The Scouts use Jean and Armin as bait (disguised as Eren and Historia) and that is freaking hilarious. Jean complains again, that he doesn’t even look like Eren, which is true, but this plan keeps working. Nobody complains about Armin because he’s actually a dead ringer for Historia and everyone accepts that. Awesome. But when one of the kidnappers tries to molest Historia and finds out that she’s a he (because it’s Armin), the plan starts to escalate.
Levi is supervising nearby with his comrade Nifa. He turns to her and asks what seems to be a non-sequitur: “Have you ever heard of Kenny the Ripper?” And I’m like, what!? No? No Levi, I have never heard of Kenny the Ripper. Who the eff is that?
BUT THEN WE FIND OUT. A totally rad gang with bootleg ODM-Gear swings out. This is a highly trained gang, and they are going to take Eren and Historia. Levi swings into action and yells the name of the gang leader. He sounds like a crazy man. This season is going to rule.