The Spring 2019 Anime Preview Guide
Attack on Titan season 3 part 2
How would you rate episode 50 of
Attack on Titan (TV 4/2019) ?
What is this?
How was the first episode?
Though I have sometimes taken issue with Attack on Titan's storytelling, it can be incredibly potent when it delivers on its dramatic potential, and this premiere is the perfect example. With one minor exception, it offers basically everything you could hope for from a dramatic return to Titan, particularly given where the story left off.
Though the episode opens with some overall recap, it's by no means sufficient for this to be an entry point to the series; this is for well-versed fans only. The action picks up right where last episode leaves off, with the Survey Corps pushing into the suspiciously empty Shiganshina in their effort to secure the area and so get to the bottom of Eren's father's basement. The script does an excellent job conveying the tension of knowing that the enemy has to be around somewhere, and this time it's not just Eren feeling the pressure; with Erwin having to delegate authority to Armin for strategic purposes, they now feel the weight of that responsibility too. The talk they have on the trek toward the city is great table-setting, with Mikasa providing a meaningfully severe expression in the background. Though Erwin labeling Armin “one of our most important weapons” might seem like hyperbole at first, there's no denying that Armin's brain has been a swing factor on multiple occasions, and his strength is proven again this week. Levi also gets in on the action, even if his efforts aren't fully successful, and now the ape-titan is involved as well. Only one episode in, and an epic fight is already ready to begin.
It isn't just the course of events that makes this episode great, however. The tension is effective and not too over-the-top (something that the series has definitely been guilty of in the past), allowing for the drama of key scenes to achieve their full impact. The story is pushing hard to convey how pivotal this mission is in the overall fight against the Titans, that this is humanity's best chance to take a stand against a threat that many have long seen as hopeless, which makes a strong impact by the episode's final moments. Technical merits are at the sharp level seen in season 3's first half, and the musical score is at its best once again too. My one minor quibble is the significant flaw I can see to disguising Eren under a hood: anyone who knows Eren also knows that Mikasa is going to be his personal bodyguard, so seeing her uncloaked will be a dead giveaway to Eren's position.
Then there's the slightly disappointing new opener. It sounds like it's pieced together from the first two openers, which doesn't work so well. A solid new closer, which features scenes from throughout the earlier seasons, helps make up for that, but as flaws go it's a minor one. This is still a great start to a climactic arc.
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