You know, they could’ve called the second half season four and no one would’ve cared.
The third season of Attack on Titan is where things get really interesting. You’re just sitting there, enjoying the titan-slaying action. Then the show grabs you by the shoulder and says “It’s Attack on Human now, sit down and shut up.” It takes such a wild turn that it’s honestly kind of disorienting at first! But once you get used to it, you realize how dope it is!
Taking place immediately after season two, season three starts off with a bang. The government turns against the Survey Corps, intending to have Eren and Erwin executed. Also, turns out, Krista is actually called Historia and the government wants her too. Now, the Survey Corps must go rogue in order to rescue their comrades and reform the government! But when Levi’s old mentor, Kenny the Reaper, attacks, things get much harder for our heroes.
Okay, let’s be honest: humans fighting humans is way more exciting in this show than humans fighting titans. Watching them zip around with their ODM gear, using the environment to move around/distract their opponent is equal parts tense, exciting, and fun!
Not to mention beautifully animated! Levi’s battle against Kenny and his squad is one of the most well-animated action sequences I have ever seen! That one scene looks better than a good number of anime movies that I’ve watched!
To accompany it all is a phenomenal OST, as per usual. This is where we get some of the best tracks in the series. My personal favorites are Zero Eclipse (Historia’s theme) and Kenny’s theme. I didn’t know I needed a rap song in my AoT OST, but now that I have it, I don’t think I could go back.
Alright, with that over with, let’s talk about the actual narrative.
Personally, and this might be an unpopular opinion: I’m not a fan of the first episode. It throws so much at you so quickly that it’s hard to keep your head on straight. Granted, I went cold into this one without re-watching anything beforehand when it first came out, so that may have tinted how I look at it even now. Still, I feel like they could have slowed down a little bit.
Thankfully, after that, the pacing does slow back down to a calmer but still exciting rate. However, that doesn’t mean it’s completely thrilling from start to end. The Hange plotline, with her inspiring the civilians to rebel against the corrupt government, and the Levi squad plotline, with all our heroes searching for Eren and Historia, is pretty dope. But the actual Eren and Historia plotline is very up and down, populated by a ton of exposition dumping.
However, in defense of those scenes: it does build up Historia’s character. This building culminates in one of the most satisfying moments in the entire series. Watching her reject her lineage and yell at Eren to get his shit together is one of the most “Fuck yeah!” moments in any anime I’ve ever seen. It is rare that an anime girl can go from ‘meh girl’ to ‘best girl’ so quickly. Even rarer for it to be so damn satisfying!
You know what isn’t satisfying? Rod Reiss, our main bad guy for the season, turning into a titan. It only takes away from his character. Not to mention that it a) looks stupid and b) makes no damn sense! Why would the titan serum turn him into a knock-off Colossal Titan instead of a perfectly normal titan like everyone else in the series?
Kenny, on the other hand, is a phenomenal character. His relationship with Levi is interesting and he gives some compelling insight into the mystery of the Ackerman family. Plus, he’s so damn charismatic that it’s hard not to love him! For fuck sake, he yelled “Yahoo!” when he was fighting Levi!
Overall, despite my gripes, the first part of Attack on Titan’s third season is among my favorite parts of the entire series. It’s an incredibly fun change of pace from the usual titan-slaying spectacle. I hesitate to say it’s better than season two; I may be biased. Still, it is definitely a fantastic watch.
Especially since it means that you get to watch part two afterwards. And hoo boy, is that one a doozy!