Warning: spoilers for AoT season 3 may be present in this article
Greetings to my beloved readers! Today we have a review for season 3 (part 1) of Attack on Titan/ Shingeki no Kyojin. I thought I had finished covering all the seasons so far, but I somehow skipped over part 1 of season 3. Like with most of my reviews, this one will examine the visuals, story, audio, characters, and my personal enjoyment of this series. Note that I focus much more on story and characters because those are the areas I understand best compared to something like visuals. Without further ado, let’s begin.
Just as with season one, the art and animation for AoT’s third season is stunning. I think it’s an improvement over season 2, which felt a little less detailed and didn’t handle the CG titans well. The detail in season 3 is staggering of you think about it. The light and shading are on-point, the face expressions are perfect, and the eyes on the characters are beautiful. I’ve always enjoyed the AoT color palette, which features lots of greens, blues, and yellows, as well as more realistic colors, blended well so it’s bright but not overwhelming or “kidsy”.
AoT has a unique art style, which was kept for season 3. It’s widely popular and I also enjoy it. Characters have large eyes, relatively realistic body proportions, detailed hair and eyes, and a lot of shading on the face, sometimes drawn with cross-hatching. The character designs are memorable. In season 3, we don’t meet many new characters, but the point remains. Importantly, these designs aren’t always what you would call visually pleasing, but they suit the art style and story just fine. For example, Flegel and Rod Reiss are not very nice to look at, but are instead more realistic.
The CGI for Rod Reiss’ Titan was handled very well and didn’t look awkward. Some of the most impressive scenes of animation include Levi’s fight with Kenny and the military police in episode 2, the battle between scouts and MP in the caverns in episode 8, and the defeat of Rod Reiss’ Titan in episode 9. There is so much movement and action, and it looks pretty smooth too. It’s so thrilling to see the characters moving around using their ODM gear, with great shots and angles used. Even on scenes without action, the screenplay is great.
Originally, I was going to spend quite a while discussing the themes in this anime. But since there’s a lot to cover on that front, I’ll write a separate thematic analysis post. I’ll just make a brief note on themes for now. One of the biggest motifs in this season is loss of innocence or disillusionment coupled with nostalgia for simpler times. A good example is the change from just fighting Titans to also fighting fellow humans. Other themes include dreams, personal meaning, cooperation, and individual value. As expected, AoT presented another thematically strong season.
As for the story itself, things pick up right right where season 2 left off. It’s only been two or three days since Eren used his scream power. This season focuses on the internal conflict between the military police and the scout regiment, as many startling truths come to light about the government, titans, Historia’s past, and Eren’s powers. Everything comes together well to lead up to a complete overhaul of the world within the walls as we know it.
Plot pacing and structure was excellent. This is a truly fast-paced, action-packed season. It does a great job with being exciting, as well as adding in a few much-needed moments of good comedy. The climax was fairly early, in episode 9. Episode 11 was a major drop in action, but still a crucial installment for providing information and strengthening themes. I don’t count it as a story weakness. The drop in action was actually a pretty good lead-up to the last episode, which is more fun and calm.
Although many hugely important questions remain, this is still one of the most informative seasons, second only to season 3 part 2. Season 2 felt like it opened up many more questions than it answered, and the hints given were very vague. In comparison, season 3 part 1 was packed with information, such as how Titan power is passed on, Grisha’s massacre of the Reiss family, the special abilities of the royal family, and the way the Ackerman family has a secret power that activates at a key time.
The plot has so much more meaning after seeing season 3 part 2 and the early episodes of the final season. All these men trying to execute Erwin and “protect the peace within the walls,” and Rod Reiss, they really know the truths of the world. And in their own way, they’re trying to protect the world and themselves. But it’s also perfectly understandable that the people cannot be happy with a secret-keeping government that doesn’t care for the lives of the people. They proved they don’t care thanks to Eriwn and Pyxis’ plan in episode 5. I would overthrow them, too. Anyway, the story category earns a rare 10/10 from me.
This season’s OST consists mainly of 4 symphonic suites of epic music composed by Hiroyuki Sawano, in addition to a few insert songs and their instrumental versions. There are also a few other scores that I’m not as familiar with. My two favorite inserts songs were “Zero Eclipse,” which played during Historia’s big scene in episode 7, and “Barricades.” Also, “Call Your Name” is remarkable. For those who like something a little more hip-hoppy mixed with classic AoT vocals, “K21” is awesome.
The intro and outro songs are also important parts of the soundtrack. Opening song “Red Swan” by Yoshiki (featuring Hyde) was quite a change from the usually fast-paced AoT songs. It’s a slow-going, peaceful, and yet vocally powerful ballad with poetic lyrics. The ending song was “Akatsuki no Chinkonka” by Linked Horizon. It was good to have Linked Horizon back for another enjoyable, unique song.
Voice-acting in AoT season 3 part 1 is fantastic, just as with the other seasons. The cast we know and love are all back without any replacements. This season, I felt that Daisuke Ono (voice of Erwin) was one of the best at performing in a way that matched perfectly with the character. Once again, Romi Park did great as Hange; she really makes that character. My favorite performance, however, was when Shiori Mikami delivered Historia’s rebellious speech in episode 7. With excellent voice-acting, good songs, and an epic OST, the audio category deserves 9/10.
There are many characters in AoT, and considering that, it’s amazing how well each one is developed. I feel like every character had a great moment in this season. Historia and Erwin got a lot of attention, but before getting into that, I’ll mention a few others. Armin (my personal favorite of the boys) was the first of the new scouts to take a human life. He shot a member of the military police in order to save Jean, and it changed him. As he deals with this at several points in the season, it was sad, believable, and understandable.
Three more examples are Jean, Mikasa, and Kenny. Jean took further steps toward being a leader and putting his own plans into action confidently. That was best evidenced with the way he tested Marlo and Hitch. Mikasa has gotten more mature, submitting to reason in several cases rather than charging off to save Eren on her own. The heart of Kenny’s story can be seen episode 10. He changes from a chaotic serial killer to a loyal man who wants to understand himself and life in general.
Next, we have Erwin. I can’t do justice to his awesomeness in this season in a single paragraph. His main role was the conspiracy for the coup d’etat. Many of his thoughts are revealed over the course of the season, including the fact that his personal dream is even more important to him than the long-term survival of humanity. This character is extremely well-written and fascinating with his boldness, thoughtfulness, high-risk plans, courage, and leadership skills.
Historia’s development was amazing. She started off gloomy and vulnerable after losing Ymir. Once reunited with her father, she wishes to make him happy. But her best moment is when she defies her father’s wishes and the roles and ideas he is trying to force upon her. As she deals the final blow to Rod Reiss’ Titan and contemplates being Queen, Historia wonders if she’s truly acting of her own accord. Perhaps she is just going with the flow again. But she seems to be happy running the orphan programs in episode 11. I couldn’t imagine anything being better than it was in the character category for Aot Season 3.
Personal Enjoyment: 9/10
Season 3 didn’t fail to bring me loads of enjoyment. We’ll look at some examples. First and foremost, I loved Historia’s arc and her huge personal victory in episode 7. She made her own decision and said “fuck you” to duty, niceness, and faith in the old order of the royal family. She rejects her father and his ideas of “god.” As she mentions in episode 8, she also wanted her father to love her, making the choice even harder. I still remember the way I felt when I read that scene in the manga. It empowered and inspired me in a way I’ll never forget.
Another thing I enjoyed was Eren’s development this season. His decision to try and transform during the collapse of the caverns was admirable. Audiences often get frustrated with Eren, but I find him likeable and understandable. He struggles so much with feelings of being useless, as we see in episode 9. This is a turning point for Eren. He needs to find a balance between self-hatred and selfishness. Other elements that entertained and delighted me were the nonstop action, all the music and voice-acting, and the strong themes woven into the story.
Overall score: 9.4/10.0 Magnificent
The overall score is calculated by taking the average of the five scores for the categories discussed above. The scale goes from 1 (so bad it shouldn’t exist) to 10 (perfect masterpiece). While anything in the 8s range is excellent, series that end up in the 9s range are the best of the best. As you can see, AoT season 3 part 1 made into this range. It’s just ad great as the previous installments of the masterpiece anime Attack on Titan. Thank you so much for reading, and please enjoy your day.
More Reviews for Attack on Titan