Among the popular animated series to be released in the past few years, none have made quite so large a cultural impact as Attack on Titan. It was something of a surprise hit—many considered it to be “just another anime.” But a blend of potent characters, gorgeous animation, and a compelling, overarching narrative full of action and mystery managed to win over many. Quite a large portion of its fans are those who never thought to enjoy an anime, before, and found themselves surprised to do so. Ever since that first season of Attack on Titan hit western shores, eager fans have been hungry for details on what’s to come. Season 2? Season 3? Release dates, trailers, or news? Fortunately, we do have a bit of that!
In the following article, we’ll take a look at the moving parts that make the Attack on Titan series tick and perhaps explain some of its incredible popularity. We’ll also do a fair bit of speculating as to when we’re going to see more—particularly in the form of Season 2, which was finally announced to the world!
For a large portion of viewers, anime has barriers that keep people from being interested or committed to continuous viewings of a series. Many don’t like subtitles, and some aren’t even forgiving when a series gets a full, English-language dub track. Many don’t care for the themes in anime—which tend to be quite disparate from what you’d find in western shows. There’s melodrama, unique animation styles, and a different regard to narrative pacing that can sometimes be a bit shocking to run up against.
However, anime has been a global phenomenon for decades. There’s no reason we shouldn’t expect that to continue, but we should also celebrate when a single series manages to overcome so many of those longstanding barriers. Attack on Titan has done that.
To be clear, it’s not a show that’s meant for young viewers. It has quite a lot of gratuitous violence, swearing, and omnipresent adult themes that require some level of maturity to untangle. For those willing to commit some energy and time to the show, however, it can be rewarding. A rich, complex experience that deserves its popularity, based on artistic merit.
Attack on Titan
It’s difficult to say why Attack on Titan managed to sneak beneath most peoples’ radars, the way that it did. Maybe we’ve become accustomed to anime, and don’t expect much in the way of new or refreshing stories, any longer. Maybe it’s the way that the show tackles tropes and themes that have been popular for the past decade, but presents them in new ways. Maybe it’s the terrifyingly bleak work that the show’s characters inhabit, or the action, or the violence, or a combination of all of these things.
Regardless, it was a hit. And people want more.
Premise of the Show
The show takes place in a fictional time period, in a fictional location. Humanity is on the brink of extinction, and only lives within walled-off cities. The walls have been constructed to keep people safe from titans—the impossibly large, humanoid monsters of the show’s namesake. Though they look grotesquely similar to humans, the massive titans seem to exist only for a single purpose: to eat people.
Because of the setting and violent themes, the show itself can seem rather bleak at the best of times. There’s very little that humanity can do against the seemingly endless waves of titans that exist beyond their protective, high walls. However, the mystery of the titan—who they are, where they came from—are the backdrop of the anime’s narrative.
It’s a compelling, interesting backdrop, but what truly gives the show its heart are the plethora of characters. You will truly come to fear for Eren Yeager, Mikasa Ackerman, and the rest of the people that you meet over the course of the anime’s first season. They have clear motivations that resonate well with viewers. They’re the types of characters that grant hope to an otherwise despairing world, and you’ll likely find yourself beginning every episode by hoping that nothing happens to them.
Exceptional Art & Design
Of course, one of the common criticism leveled against anime at large is that it looks the same. Shows follow the same tropes, animation techniques, and art designs. For those who aren’t dedicated to watching anime, it can be extremely off-putting.
This, perhaps, is another reason that the Attack on Titan show was a breath of fresh air. Though it’s based on a traditionally drawn and colored manga series—which is also immensely popular—the vibrant ways that this fictional world are painted give it an unusual amount of beauty. The death-defying action only enhances that quality, drawing viewers into the trap of caring more about the characters due to the life that they’ve been given by animators.
It’s truly great stuff, and we should only expect to see more of it when Season 2 is eventually aired.
News of Season 2
And speaking of Season 2, we can say, without any doubt, that it’s on the way! The producers have wisely waited to create more episodes of the show until an adequate amount of the manga has been released. Given that the show follows the manga quite closely, fans should be pleased with this choice.
However, the long wait was almost painful, so it’s understandable that fans’ patience is beginning to wear thin. Now that we have an official announcement for Season 2, however, the hype train is back on the tracks once again. You can watch a trailer for the upcoming season here. However, if you haven’t seen any of the first episodes in the series, you owe it to yourself to watch those, beforehand.
We should expect the series to expand upon those elements that have helped it to become so popular in the first place. The mystery of the titans will see some revealed truths, as well as some added complications. Being that fans have been trying to unravel these mysteries on their own, with only the first season’s episodes to give them evidence, this alone is something to hugely look forward to.
The continuation of certain characters’ stories will be entertaining, too. Eren Yeager’s father is a living mystery, and apart from flashbacks, he was entirely absent from the first episodes of the show. Where has he been? What was his purpose, in what was given to Eren? (Not going to spoil that for first-time viewers!) We also have quite a lot more to learn about the world these characters inhabit. Because the action is so fast-paced and the narrative is so focused on character growth, we haven’t had a ton of time to learn about this fictional place that’s being haunted by cannibal monsters.
In short, Season 2 is going to have a lot riding on its shoulders. Expectations are high, but only because Season 1 managed to establish such a surprisingly high standard of excellence. Even if Season 2 doesn’t quite reach those heights, it’s still likely to be extremely good. Time will tell, and as we get closer, we’re sure to see more previews, news, and trailers for the new episodes.
Attack on Titan: The Movie
As is often the case when a particular story or franchise gains momentum, Attack on Titan received a live-action film version. It wasn’t necessarily bad, but as you can likely tell from what we’ve said about the story above, it’s a difficult concept to put on film.
The special effects requirements are outlandish, and many of the things that happen in the show require significant suspensions of disbelief. We’re not just talking about ten-foot tall cannibals, either! Humans using steam-propelled grappling lines to swing themselves through a city? It looks great when it’s animated, but when CGI is used to put real people into such roles and actions, it’s a little difficult to look past the absurdity of it all.
Still, the movie did receive some critical praise. It stuck to the anime’s themes well enough and managed to attract droves of people to the theaters, where it was released. If you can’t wait for Season 2 of Attack on Titan—which is still a ways out from being released—try to find a way to see the live-action film. It might not replace the hype that many viewers have for the anime, but it may help to sustain you while we wait for more episodes of the show to arrive.
We hope that this brief run-down of the Attack on Titan anime has been informative and useful! Clearly, we have some waiting to do before we’re going to get to see Season 2, but we know that it’s on the way after it was officially announced. If it’s successful, we’re almost certainly going to see Season 3, and more beyond that, as well. However, just as we had to wait for Season 2, future episodes will likely be dependent on how much of the original Attack on Titan manga has been published. When we get any further news, trailers, or other updates, we’ll be sure to include them here!