I discovered that I never wrote an “Anime Spotlight” article for the first half of Attack on Titan Season 3, so this article will be covering both parts.
Attack on Titan Season 3 aired in Japan from July 23-October 15, 2018. Attack on Titan Season 3 Part Two aired on Japanese television from April 29-July 1, 2019. As of this writing, FUNimation Entertainment holds the North American rights for the Attack on Titan franchise.
When the first episode of the third season began, there was no attempt at providing a recap of what had happened to lead to the point where the story begins. And since there was roughly a year-long gap from the end of the second season to the beginning of the third season, the audience had to piece together where they’re at in the story from the visual and dialogue cues that appear in the episode.
The first half of season three features character development and revelations for Levi, Armin, Historia, and Commandant Keith Sadies. It also features Erwin and Pyxis teaming up to launch a coup in order to remove him from power and put Historia in as queen, since her family is the true royal family. This half of the season focuses a lot on the political intrigue that is taking place with the government and the military.
Near the end of the first half, we see Reiner and Bertoldt return to the story, after they had disappeared at the end of the second season. The first half of the season ends with the Scouts leaving for the mission to retake Wall Maria. But during the ending credits of the last episode, there was a scene shown that we later learn was a foreshadowing for something that happens in the second half of the third season. While it was frustrating to end the first half of the season on that kind of a cliffhanger, especially after learning there would be a roughly six month break before we would see more, at least the audience knew there was something to look forward to when the second half of the season began airing.
A lot of the second half of the third season focuses on the battle to retake Wall Maria. The Beast Titan gets a lot of screen time here, after being seen only every now and then in the second season. Reiner and Betoldt, in both their human and Titan forms, also get a lot of emphasis.
The second half of the third season is a major game changer for the series, especially after most of the Scouts are wiped out and Levi is forced to decide who to use the Titan injection on in order to bring them back. When Levi, Hange, Eren, and Mikasa make it to Eren’s basement, what they discover there changes the world as the character know it forever. Eren also learns a lot of things by being able to tap into his father’s memories.
I appreciated how this season ended with Eren and his friends finally making it to the sea, after reading about it in a book when they were younger and making it a goal to go there someday. Seeing the Scouts smiling and enjoying themselves in the water was fun to watch, but Eren kind of spoils the moment. But his words ultimately lay a foundation for the direction that the fourth (and apparently, final) season of Attack on Titan will be going in.
When you combine both halves of the third season together, a lot happens to progress the story forward. This ended up being much better than the second season, which seemed to spend more time having characters talking than in action (anyone else remember the episode where Eren, Ymir, Reiner, and Bertoldt basically spent the entire time talking to each other at the top of a tree?). Yes, the second season has some important information revealed and important plot points take place in it, but it was overall not as interesting as either the first or third seasons.
While I know some of what will be happening in the eventual fourth season from reading the manga, I’m not going to comment too terribly much on it. However, I will say that both halves of the third season did a great job of laying the foundation for the direction that the story will be going in.
Additional posts about Attack on Titan: