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Review by Aiden Strawhun

Attack on Titan: Roar of Awakening Season 2 Recap Movie Review

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Bringing fans up to speed for Season 3.

Funimation Films will present Attack on Titan Season 2 Movie: Roar of Awakening and the Attack on Titan Season 3 world premiere as a two-night only event, July 10 - 11, 2018, in select U.S. and Canadian theaters.

The recap film is exactly as it sounds: it’s a recap. It begins right where Season 2 kicks off, and ends where it leaves off. It’s an intense two-hour gloss over of the entire second season. It doesn’t add any new context to what has already aired. There’s potentially some polishing within major action sequences to add just a tiny bit more drama and intensity, but otherwise, you’ve already seen the entire film in the form of 12 episodes. But it does offer the season in its most condensed and intense form, and it’s an action-packed ODM joyride.

The recap film succeeds in that it covers everything you really need to know to be on track with Season 3. It has been a year since Season 2 aired so this film is a fantastic and energetic primer to get back in the swing of the Shingeki no Kyojin/Attack on Titan universe. Because it’s the same thing, every ounce of brualism and mercilessness is included. And yes, the deaths are just as heartbreaking as they were the first time around.

Season 2 takes place five years after the events that began the series. At this point our beloved band of Scouts in Squad 104 have been in the ranks for three years. The season picks up with titans being spotted within the second wall, Wall Rose, and the Scouts must scramble to find out where those titans are actually coming from--are they coming from a breach, or is there a traitor among humanity?

From an animation standpoint, major scenes seem much more polished and slick. The art looks and feels so much better now than it did when the season initially aired, and it’s beautiful to watch from that perspective alone. There were several instances where I really felt the “wow” where I didn’t feel a genuine sense of awe watching the series last summer. That feeling was in the minute details of the character’s expressions and the highlights and shading of muscles in titan battles.

I also felt this as the Scouts used their ODM gear, their movements appear to be more fluid and seamless than ever before. That fluidity really harbors the sense of wonder and hope that the Scouts stand for in this world, and gives the sense of “things really might be ok.” Of course we know they won’t be, but hey, we’re allowed to dream here.

Exit Theatre Mode

Part of the issue within Season 2 is that it failed to answer questions we were left with from Season 1. Instead, it focuses more on side characters and identifying several key components of the larger story at hand. That’s all fine and dandy, but it made it feel much more like a season meant to set things up rather than progressing the story. While it definitely wasn’t a “filler” season by any means, it felt like it was missing the special little spark the first season had that made fans ravenous. Season 2 seems very much like the slow-roasting embers of the fire the first season created. It was the context the series needed, but also didn’t answer enough questions and created even more as a result.

As for pacing, because it has to fit about six hours worth of content into one two-hour film, it does move very quickly. But this isn’t completely detrimental to its overall storytelling--in fact, it might just be for its benefit. It doesn’t dawdle on any one issue in particular, but rather pushes forward to the next problem. There isn’t a lot of time to breathe because of how unrelenting it is with its action and gore. For some, that might be jarring, but the way the film is cut, it jumps to the best parts of the action with none of the fluff. It will keep you on your toes, and excited for the next epic, gravity-defying battle.

Where the pacing becomes detrimental is where it skips over some important context regarding several characters and their backstories. The side-stories were among the gems of Season 2, as they actually did answer some questions about not only the characters themselves, but gave hints as to the world that they live in and why it is that way. Of course, we still don’t have the full context of why things are the way they are in the anime, why the titans exist, where the basement is, or anything like that, but because of those side-stories, we do get to see some supporting characters get the development they deserve. The film doesn’t show any of that and does suffer slightly for not adding in some of the smaller pieces of the larger picture at hand.

The Verdict

If you’re short on time, Attack on Titan: Roar of Awakening is a fantastic way to get on track for Season 3, regardless if you’ve seen the second season or not. But if you’ve already seen Season 2, you’re safe to skip over this as it doesn’t have any extra details or hints as for what’s to come. It’s purely the action and major plot points of what aired last summer, which is an awesome ride, but it’s nothing we haven’t seen before. If you have the time, want more context and character development, you’re better off watching the entire season instead.

Great
Roar of Awakening is everything you need to know heading into Season 3, but may disappoint AOT fans who want more.
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Attack on Titan: Roar of Awakening