Spoilers for Attack on Titan, through part one of season three
Attack on Titan is wrapping up soon (though we recently got a part two announcement) and I thought this would be a good time to give some love to an underrated opening in the series. Attack on Titan is mostly known for its bombastic, action-packed openings. I would even argue the first opening, “Guren no Yumiya” by Linked Horizon is part of what made Attack on Titan popular in the first place. I wasn’t even into anime at the time and I knew that opening song. Being popular does not mean “best” though, and hopefully, after this, you will have a newfound respect for “Red Swan” by Yoshiki featuring Hyde.
I think as we get older we do a lot of looking back, nostalgia is sought after for a reason after all. I feel the themes of this OP are nostalgia, loss of innocence, but also of hope and looking forward. You wouldn’t think an animated show about giant, human-like monsters eating people would be one of the best depictions of war and how it affects us but that is one thing AoT does really well.
A big part of the opening song is well… the song. I wanted to spend a little time talking about that. The song for this particular opening is a lot more somber and melancholic than what we’re used to from AoT. I think it fits the theme of the first part of season three and even the series as a whole perfectly. You might have forgotten that our heroes are around fifteen/sixteen years old during this show. So, when the lyrics come up saying “Can hide your fear, can lie my dear” I think that encapsulates how they’re feeling.
I don’t know about you but when I was fifteen I could barely talk to a girl let alone even think about fighting a fifty-foot tall monster. So I feel we need to cut Eren a little slack for being a “cry baby” cause I don’t think we could do much better. Hiding their fear and lying about it as the lyrics seem to state might be all they can do to keep from going insane. How many different characters did we see break from the stress and fear? The soldier reloading the gun just to shoot himself in season one comes to mind. Not only the music but the lyrics were carefully chosen to fit.
This is where we get into the meat of the analysis, and I can get some pictures of the points I will be discussing. The video opens with Eren using his ODM gear to meet up with Armin and Mikasa. They get a majority of the screentime, being the main characters it makes sense, but others get time to shine as well. Next is when the first bout of nostalgia hits us.
Here we are reminded of when our heroes were just innocent kids. I won’t say anything bad hadn’t happened, but for the most part, they were living happy carefree lives. We don’t know how soon before the Colossal Titan makes his appearance this is but it’s a haunting reminder of what life was like before that day. Next, we get some of the other characters involved. We get shots of a young Levi and a younger Kenny. If this is your first time watching season three you might not know who Kenny is but trust me you will. The most interesting scene to me involves Commander Erwin.
I love this shot of Erwin looking back on his past self having a conversation with his father. This was one of the moments that I believe shaped Erwin into the person he became. As someone who lost a parent at a young age, this scene really resonated with me and I think sets the stage for some of the awesome moments Erwin has in season three. We then get a scene of Historia blowing dandelions with her half-sister Frieda Reiss.
What I love about this image is that dandelions are often associated with wishes. We learn about Historia and Frieda’s past and I feel this symbolizes their wish for a better future. One that we know Freida never got the chance to see thanks to Eren’s father. You’ll notice this picture almost has an otherworldly feel to it. Same with the picture of Eren and co, like this happiness doesn’t exist anymore.
This leads me to my second favorite moment of the OP. I love this scene of baby Eren and his parents. Speaking of happiness that doesn’t exist anymore, this is a moment that is completely lost to time. Eren doesn’t remember this and the two people who do are no longer with us. It’s these bittersweet moments that make the characters of AoT feel so real and allow us to get invested in them. This moment really hit me hard but not quite as hard as the next moment.
What would you say to your younger self? What would your younger self say to you? I know life didn’t exactly go how I thought it would and I’m fairly sure Eren didn’t see “become a Titan” on his life plan. This scene is so impactful to me because it’s almost like the younger version doesn’t even recognize his shellshocked older self. He then goes on to have fun running with Mikasa and Armin while our older Eren stares down the future with resolution. We are then treated to a couple of shots of other characters going about their loves when we get the ending shot. One last look at the kids when they were still truly happy.
Seeing how happy they were really made just how far we have come hit home. I don’t know if this trio has ever been this happy since the events of the first episode and sadly I don’t see that much happiness in their future. Not without a huge fight on their hands anyways. I had a lot of fun dissecting one of my favorite openings, I feel it is one of the more underrated openings out there. I hope you enjoyed reading it as much as I enjoyed making it and thank you for taking the time to read it. I