Anime Releases: Attack on Titan: S02 E36 - Reviewed

I have to admit, I was expecting this episode to ramp it up a bit quicker, but Titan is milking the sweet suspense just a bit more. They love playing the audience like a fiddle. For the most part, we fall for it because we love falling for it, but sometimes they can take it a bit too far. They tease and tease and tease this episode to the point it might become irritable to some.

They made up for it with another intense closer, yet with a shoehorned cliffhanger that reintroduces a past thread for no apparent reason. By now it's practically sacrilege to end a Titan episode without a cliffhanger, but this one was truly out of nowhere. Don't misunderstand me. I loved this episode and I even loved this cliffhanger. I relish in the weirdness of Attack on Titan, and to be a fan, honestly, you must. Otherwise, what are you even doing here?

Now, about that closer. The last half of episode 36 was another heart-thumping piece of elite Japanese animation. I can't believe that Western animation hasn't caught up to even the best anime from 30 years ago. It's almost like we're doing everything we can to not do that. Episodes like this keep reminding me of this. It's so beautifully visceral and gorgeously gory. With the fewest frames possible, the animators can express an intensity and kinetic power rivaled by little else outside of Far East culture.

While some might find this episode to tease a bit too much, wait for it. All is quickly forgiven with some great payoffs and powerful character moments. So many soldiers end up forced in uniquely challenging situations and you see both the fragility and iron spirit of human nature. Everyone has something to say this episode. Everyone has a moment. So many arcs criss-cross and get tangled in knots. It's a ballet. A sweet, bloody ballet.

- J.G. Barnes
- H