How Attack On Titan Found Its Footing For The Final Season Part 2

The final season (Part 1) of "Attack on Titan" had the weight of the world on its shoulders. It had the monumental task of following one of the biggest twists in an anime show in years, present a completely different and vastly bigger world than we had left off in the previous season, with a new cast of characters, all while aging up the characters we already knew and preparing us for Eren's heel turn

To make matters more difficult, the show suffered a change in animation studios in between seasons 3 and 4, with studio MAPPA taking over production duties from WIT, which had worked on the previous three seasons. A studio change halfway through production is one of the biggest fears of an anime fan, with many a great show never recovering from the change (I'm looking at you, "One Punch Man").

"Attack on Titan The Final Season Part 1" did not come out the other side fully unscathed. Changing to rely more heavily on CGI wasn't off to a very smooth start, and the character designs and color palette were big departures from the earlier seasons. Luckily, things improved greatly in Part 2, as the show found its footing.

Growing pains

In an interview between director Yuichiro Hayashi and CGI producer and screen designer Yusuke Tannawa to promote Part 2 of the final season, the animators talk about being able to improve upon certain aspects of production on the new episodes. For Tannawa, one of the biggest challenges in Part 1 was not having any point of reference except for Studio WIT's version of the show, which they didn't want to just replicate exactly. 

"When we finished Part 1, we got an idea of what we could do with 'Attack on Titan,'" Tannawa said. "So when it came time to make Part 2, we thought about what kind of preparations we should make, considering what we did well, what we were criticized for, and how we can develop our strengths."

One of the most obvious zones for improvement was the 3D animation, which was a big departure from the first three seasons of the show, as MAPPA relied more heavily on CGI and 3D animation for its fight scenes. 

According to Tannawa, the 3D models have a few updates, but not big changes. "We just changed the way we present them," and calls the small fine-turning  "not a change, it's a variation on what we did."

Watching Part 2, it is clear from the beginning that the fight scenes are much better, with clearer choreography and staging, and CG animation with more weight to it. Hayashi credits the fact that they had Part 1 to work off of from the improvements in Part 2.

"I think that having concrete visuals in Part 1 made it easier for us to understand what we needed to fix and what our goals were. Now that everyone is getting more comfortable with handling 3D, it's getting better and better."

Indeed, Tannawa agrees with this assessment, especially when it comes to the 3D animation, explaining that working on the same character for a long time lets you grow accustomed to it, making it easier to manipulate the character. 

"I think the longer you work, the better you'll become. When the character changes, they have to start all over again, but I feel that they can only get better with the same character."

Let's hope this means that "Attack On Titan Final Season Part 3" will have even better animation.

"Attack On Titan Final Season Part 2" is now streaming on Crunchyroll and Funimation.