I don’t know what majestical Satan powers the animators who work on Attack on Titan have, but Episode 2 of season 3 is exactly what anime strives to be at its best. Much of the focus in this episode surrounded Levi and the mysterious Kenny and I’m so very happy it did. Levi’s portion of the episode served to show off fantastic and fluid animation that characterizes much of why not only he but the show itself, shines more in its animated iteration. I am flabbergasted to even think of how much of this was created: you can’t use the same references most animators do in order to create the acrobatics of the maneuver gear.
I would be hard pressed not to believe this is exactly how any individual would move in real life, but represented far more beautifully than possible. Episodes like this are why animation exists as a media: nothing but this fluid 2d animation could represent so fantastically the movements and emotions that played out. As an animator, all I want to do is study exactly what is happening in the movements and figure out how to recreate such amazing things.
I need to talk about something: I went through this episodes intense Levi animation and found amazing shots. No one in their right mind spends that much time animating but these crazy idiots did and I love them for it. For about 3 frames Levi passes a window and we get this shot:
Look at this. While there is inconsistency in the hair (his eye should be covered in the reflection from the hair) they went out of their way to change the shadows to be consistent with the position Levi was in. Do you know how much effort had to go into that shot? And then when adapting the very famous ITS ACKERMAN TIME shot, they made 3 different dynamic poses, a slide, and a stomp forward just to bring it to life. Look at this side by side:
I love the effort they put into this episode. You can’t ask for more of an animation company, what a fantastic execution.
In terms of actual episode content, Levi once again proves that he is the strongest character in the show. If any other character was faced with what he was, they would be dead. It was very easy to feel he was about to lose and be captured (in reality, more like killed) until he managed to pull out all the stops and escape Kenny. The ways in which he does it as well are so simultaneously horrendous and brilliant that I wish Mikasa was with him to perform a duet of breathtakingly savage attack.
Of course, because this is Attack on Titan Eren gets kidnapped again. Let us be honest, we need to give Mikasa and Levi some plumber hats because they do a little too much rescuing. But on that note, at least one of the people kidnapped is actually a Princess! With that being said, so many things happened in this episode I felt reminiscent of the film recap of season 2. For once I really feel as if Attack on Titan is staying on the pace that shows its strengths and weaknesses. We had amazing fights, fantastic animation, and the bittersweet character growth that characterizes Attack on Titan’s greatest strengths.
We learn the truth of Historia’s family as well as finally seeing a character get blood on their hands for the first time. Of course, Hanji gets to torture someone so this episode has everything?? The …nail biting conclusion is pretty sweet, I would say.
I can’t recommend the newest episode of Attack on Titan enough. This is definitely one of the highlights of not only the season, but the show itself. There are reasons the series is beloved and this episode is one of the reasons why.