After another great summer of anime, Hajime Isayama’s Shingeki no Kyojin, or Attack on Titan, has completed the first half of its third installment, which covers the Uprising Arc from the original manga. As opposed to focusing on the battle against the titular Titans, the conflict becomes more internal, which creates a lot of surprises in store for those that haven’t read the manga. Speaking of which, due to how Isayama wasn’t pleased with how certain elements of the manga turned out, he actually encouraged some changes for the anime. Beyond that, what did we find surprising about this season so far? Read our top 5 to find out!
5. Red Swan
In contrast to the militaristic delivery of season 1 and the majestic atmosphere of season 2, Red Swan—the opening theme to this season—portrays something entirely emotional. Many fans unfamiliar with the manga were reasonably expecting the intensity of the first two themes, but instead, are treated to a ballad. Composed by the legendary Yoshiki of X-Japan and performed by Hyde of L’arc~en~ciel, you not only have a recipe for an amazing opening theme but to an excellent song. Getting these two geniuses together is the Japanese equivalent to getting Mariah Carey and Boyz II Men to make One Fine Day.
The animation and the emotional content have been praised by fans of the manga for effectively capturing the essence of the Uprising Arc. As opposed to the action oriented theme songs, you get something uplifting and optimistic as the theme song emphasizes on the bond that the main trio shares, and that they’re driven by their childhood dreams to see the world, most notably the ocean. If anything, this song perfectly gets the job done to portray how internal this season turns.
4. Levi’s origins/Kenny
Yes, there is an OVA that explores Levi’s origins, but it is by no means a prerequisite to watching the third season. Season 3 reintroduces his backstory without requiring you to watch it. First, the fans are introduced to the main villain of this season, Kenny, who was Levi’s caretaker during his childhood. However, Kenny is an infamous serial killer who is so skilled, he can face and easily defeat highly trained soldiers in hand-to-hand combat. While the Scouts tend to use equipment that are intended to take down titans, Kenny and his goons use gear and tactics that are meant to fight Scouts. The fact that such equipment and strategies come into play was something we never saw coming.
However, the surprise here is not only did he raise Levi, Kenny also shares the exact same last name as Mikasa—Ackerman—something that Levi doesn’t know until the story progresses. Shortly before Kenny dies, he confesses to Levi that he was siblings with Levi’s mother, thus revealing that not only is Kenny a possible relative to Mikasa, but so is Levi.
3. The Story of the Reiss Family
As it turns out, select members of Reiss family carry a certain power. So what’s that power? The ability to erase the memories of those that live within the walls, and is carried down to the next of kin. So what are those memories that are erased? The world beyond the wall. As to why, it is within the first king’s will to keep the world the way it is. As for the reasons to these motivations, no one knows for sure.
2. The Rise of Historia
When Historia is introduced as Christa Lenz in the first series, she’s mostly kept in the background. Due to her small stature and kind demeanor, the audience and the cast of this series are likely to think nothing of her, and she’ll probably not last a day on the job. Even so, what Historia lacks in her size, she makes up with in heart and it is that heart that forever changes the tide of Attack on Titan! As it turns out, she happens to be a descendant of the true royal family and that the present king is a fraud! After learning the truth, the Scouts feel that in order to truly free the people, Historia needs to become queen!
Despite Erwin successfully overthrowing the false king, the surprising part is how much of a role Historia plays in the climax to this season. She personally takes out her own father by discovering his body upon exploding his titan form, and delivering the final blow in dramatic fashion for the people to see that she is truly a worthy queen. Even after assuming the throne, she dedicates herself to helping the orphans as a reflection of her humble upbringing.
1. The Unknown Origins of Eren’s father
As the season reaches its climax, we finally come back to the story of Eren’s father, Grisha, who was a respectable town doctor. It turns out that not only he was a titan, it was him that injected Eren with the titan serum and forced his own son to eat him. The good news, we know that it was for the sake to save the world. The bad news, maybe Grisha had other ulterior motives to rule the world. Due to the circumstances of how Keith first meets Grisha in their youth outside the walls showing signs of amnesia, it does cast suspicion. When you put two and two together, Keith shares his speculations that Grisha may have come from somewhere outside the walls. If so, is there another human civilization out in the world? If so, then that revelation in anime form can be its greatest surprise yet!
We can agree that some answers to the questions posed listings may already be provided in the manga. For those that watch this series without reading it, the element of surprise still retains a novelty. Thanks to its great use of colors, solid animation, lighting, voice work and music, some can make the argument that the anime to Attack on Titan has a superior presentation to the manga, and these elements can provide a more effective delivery to its surprises. So, what do you readers say?