Attack on Titan Season 3 – Hope only paves the way to further war

As much as season three of Attack on Titan felt like a culmination of events that had been building since the very first episode, its resulting revelations showed that the titans were only the tip of the iceberg when it came to the threats against the people living within the walls.

The first season of Attack on Titan was one of three gateway shows that really helped me get into anime as an adult. (The other two were One Punch Man and Full Metal Alchemist Brotherhood in case you were curious.) The incredibly bleak setting coupled with the brutal horror elements and a ridiculously hype opening song turned it into a phenomena that everyone talking about it.

After the first series ended, the hype died down and the red hot enthusiasm for the show seemed to blow away in the wind. This was most likely thanks to the four year gap between the first and second seasons. Also in part due to the second season being short, and a little uneventful when compared to the first.

Having finally mopped up the end season three through, I am shocked Attack on Titan isn’t getting the attention the first series got. What started out as grim, action horror show has slowly revealed itself into a high concept political war drama. But it remains as bleak as it’s ever been.

As much as Attack on Titan has changed it’s focus, it’s events and even its genre at times, it has felt consistently like the same show throughout. One of a grim reality in which the characters, no matter how much hardships they endure, and how many victories they have, there is always this sense of hopelessness against overwhelming odds that lingers over the character’s heads.

As much as the scene of the scout regiment finally seeing the ocean for the first time felt like a hard earned slice of victory, Erin makes sure to remind everyone that the horrors of a new kind of war are only around the corner. The “pure” titans that were all too terrifying in the first series are now mere fodder.

The new focus being on the more advanced military technology of Marley and five remaining “nine” titans still under their control. The battle may be taking place on a very different front now, but all the same, the show manages to retain the same tone throughout. Much of the early series drew us in for how gruesome it was and all the mysteries it posed.

Now, we’ve had enough characters hang around for long enough to actually grow attached to them. I feel invested in events in a way that the early series that wasn’t possible with the series in its early form, when everyone was expendable. Attack on Titan has done an amazing job building this world and keeping the stakes high throughout.

Erin’s downtrodden, enthusiasm draining personality has been a good example of how, no matter ho many victories the humans inside the walls get, they always seem to be up against insurmountable odds. In which many, many people will tragically lose their lives. Erin, for his doom and gloom, sees this and fails to allow his comrades to enjoy their small wins.

Hope and optimism don’t seem to have any place in Attack on Titan, and are usually squashed pretty quickly as soon as their rear their heads. Which makes the show all the more unique and amazing. This really could feel like a show’s finale, as the events posed in the first episode finally come full circle. Going forward is going to be very interested seeing how the walls deal with the wider, hostile world.

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