Things are about to change in the world of Attack on Titan. Big things, in fact, if the first episode of the third season is anything to go by. We managed to catch the premiere of the show’s first episode of its third season, and while Attack on Titan has always been known for its shocking moments, it seems like this season is really setting up an “anything can happen” atmosphere, especially when it comes to the show’s riveting new villain. We’ll keep things light on spoilers, except for facts that were already known before the premiere, of course.
Surprisingly the third season doesn’t just pick up where the second ended. Instead, it starts with a flash-forward scene that shows us an older Eren. Manga fans will probably realize what’s going on, but we see Eren standing on a beach in front of the ocean, saying that he’d one day like to cross it. This quick scene suggests that a big focus of season 3 will be on expanding the scope of both the world and conflict, which we’ve had hints of so far.
There’s interesting enough content in the whole episode, but the last six minutes or so are what really blow things out of the water. After intercepting kidnappers, Levi and company have pulled off a body double plan, only to have an ambush sprung on them. This is where we get to meet Kenny the Ripper, a maniacal villain who looks to really turn the tables on our heroes. Levi gives us a brief description of the character, his wave of murders, and the fact that Levi himself is connected to Kenny. Our final few moments in the episode show Kenny and his troupe attacking Levi and the others with some kind of deadly steam-gun weapon, and an advanced form of vertical maneuver gear.
The episode’s presentation of Kenny, in particular, is really something to write home about. The animation style does a phenomenal job of conveying the menacing air of the villain, his sheer strength and ability as he effortlessly slaughters an enemy and flies through the air. Attack on Titan has had some decent villains in the past, but this is the first singular character that has felt truly threatening, and based on the manga, there’s a lot still in store for Kenny, and it’s possible the anime could expand on the character even more.
In traditional Attack on Titan style we’re left with a cliffhanger, and there’s already a body count, although I won’t say who. Amazingly Levi, a cold unflinching character, completely loses his composure when he sees Kenny. This new villain represents a significant threat for our main characters, as up until this point the main enemies have been hulking, but stupid, Titans. This time they’re fighting other humans who are just as fast and cunning as they are. Now, in just a few seconds the heroes have lost allies and met a terrifying new menace, and in less than one minute Kenny is introduced as someone that the most powerful character in the show, Levi, is shocked by.
Despite the action-packed ending the rest of the episode maintains a rather quiet tone while sliding in some hints along the way. For the very first time in the anime, we get a look at King Fritz, the main pulling the strings behind the human’s actions, as well as his host of advisors, including Christa’s father Lord Reiss. So much about this first episode oozes more happening behind the scenes.
The first episode of season 3 struck a fantastic balance between comedy, action, and jaw-dropping moments, with some gorgeous animation to boot. It may not be on the same scale that the very first episode of Attack on Titan was, but if the quality so far is anything to go by, fans are in for a real treat with this season.