If you don’t remember what the heck Attack on Titan is about, I don’t blame you. (You may read our Anime Tuesdays piece for a quick refresher here). It has been a long time coming, but Attack on Titan Season 2 is finally gracing our screens. And, yes. There’s a set date: April 1, 2017. So mark yo’ calendars because the Titans are coming back to eat us and stuff.
So what do we know about Attack on Titan Season 2?
Aside from the official date, we’ve got some stills:
© Newtype | WIT Studio
And an official poster:
Other weird things happened
Crunchyroll shared this image, used to announce a collaboration between Attack on Titan and Tokyo Girls Collection, a Japanese biyearly fashion festival featuring held in Tokyo. This year, some of the models will be sporting the classic Survey Corp jackets. In exchange, Eren and the gang picked up their clothes instead. Yes, that is Levi with leggings. No, this is not a drill.
And lastly, we can also offer you an English transcript of the Newtype interview:
A Power Up After Four Years!
(Interview with Araki Tetsuro, Season 2 Chief Director, & Koizuka Masashi, Season 2 Director)
Translation: @suniuz & @fuku-shuu
Q: Please tell us, with this sequel coming after four years from the last episode’s broadcast, has anything changed in terms of the production?
Araki: It’s basically still the same team as first season (Laughs). We’ve inherited a majority of the main staff, and even the opening credits’ name listings are pretty identical. In other words, we’ve finally gathered everyone together, and it’s time for production to commence.
Koizuka: However, there are quite a few younger staff members who joined WIT STUDIO after they watched season one. It makes us feel like time has flown by.
Araki: The difference now is that the newer members from back then have become more dependable, and the tools/techniques at our hands have evolved – which in turn elevates our levels of expression.
Koizuka: In season 1, our staff still heavily depended upon pencil and paper. In the past three years, more and more have moved towards animating on their laptops. Becoming accustomed to these newer technologies allows us to explore more advanced possibilities, and our animators can visualize everything with a 3D concept in mind.
Q: Koizuka-san’s position progressed from assistant director to director. How have your production responsibilities changed?
Araki: During season 1, we had something like a “Director Team.” It consisted of myself, Koizuka-san, and another assistant director Hiroyuki Tanaka. The three of us discussed our thoughts on each episode together and worked as co-directors. What changed this time is that my burden has been halved. However, Koizuka-san being the on-site “pillar” for the team has not changed since the previous season. I was supposed the pillar, but I think I brought more trouble to everyone else (Laughs).
Koizuka: Not at all! I started out as an animator, and what utterly transformed me into a director is Shingeki no Kyojin itself. Although I was initially recruited as animator, I went straight to Araki-san and said, “Even though I don’t have experience as a director, can you consider me as an assistant director?” Araki-san approved of the idea quite easily.
Araki: I would’ve never denied him. As an animator he was already quite formidable. So I determined that this guy’s success rate must be very high, and I also thought him trustworthy! In truth, an assistant director who understands how to animate is a huge asset to the director. For example, we’ve had situations where we must illustrate things at the recording session, and I had to step up and draw scenarios myself. Under these circumstances a director who is skilled at drawing can help a lot. I had been looking for someone like this, so back then I felt, “Finally, he has appeared!” During season 1 production, prior to any art direction was even finalized, Koizuka-san already illustrated countless things to help us. This time I will continue to trouble him with the same tasks.
Koizuka: During season 1, I operated under the thought, “I’ll draw something whenever someone asks me to.” But now I think I can probably draw whenever I myself feel like it’s necessary.
Araki: That’s perfect. Thank you for being born (Both laugh together).
Q: Chief Director and Director – what are the specific differences in your tasks?
Araki: When we communicate with Isayama-sensei, I’m mainly in charge of the creative decisions, while Koizuka-san is responsible for communicating to and coordinating between the studio staff. From a macro perspective that’s how it should work, but we’re basically two seamless halves of one entity.
Koizuka: Even our seats are right next to each other (Laughs).
Araki: When we conduct storyboard checks, I feel like I can only do it with Koizuka-san there.
Koizuka: Compared to typical anime directors, Araki-san seems like he takes on an exponential amount of workload. I always thought, “He even noticed this detail??”
Araki: I just like to butt in (Laughs). But if I wholeheartedly did that – require everything to pass through my eyes for approval – it would only slow down everyone’s progress and confuse the process.
Koizuka: Now that I’m overseeing the staff and planning, I can sense Araki-san’s burden becoming lighter.
Q: Though we cannot discuss the actual story, if we just look at the original manga, it seems like the upcoming plot is less intense.
Araki: Not at all. We’re actually tackling with the idea of “Can an anime even contain this many action sequences?” Our hearts are quite stirred.
Koizuka: The stage has changed a bit. During season 1 there were more battles on the city streets. But once the setting morphs, the strategy and presentation will evolve as well.
Araki: Because there are plenty more running horses this time, we drew a lot of those (Laughs).
Q: Usually people say that any anime involving horses is difficult to produce.
Araki: To this point, I think we can almost confirm that within Japanese animation studios, WIT is about to become the team that has the most members who can draw horses. I don’t know how to create one myself, so I can only admire them from within. This may sound strange, but only when you see the horses galloping can you finally interpret the action sequence’s superb quality. Though what I mentioned before about our “hearts being stirred” was actually not referring to this.
Q: How involved was Isayama-sensei this time?
Araki: Of course in a very comprehensive way – and even more involved than before! Though it was already like this last season, this time there is a legitimate feeling of, “We’re creating this together.” There are portions he wasn’t able to include in the manga that he permitted us to incorporate into the anime adaptation. On top of that, there are also other new elements Isayama-sensei really wished to see that we could now fulfill!
Q: A final request – please tell us what you can reveal about the new season’s “must-see” elements!
Koizuka: We will be exploring characters who didn’t have key roles in the first season. Of course, we’re doing our best to not create those scenes with solely exposition – we want to incorporate dialogue seamlessly into the overall theme of the story. Our staff implemented many techniques and used plenty of film to accomplish this.
Araki: Whenever we see just how many rolls of film we used, even though the quantity is beyond frightening – the sight still makes everyone laugh. This is something one cannot experience outside of producing SnK. Once you calm down and observe everything again, it feels you’re a third party witness to a phenomenon, and you can feel deeply grateful as well as think, “What an interesting situation…” When I consider the quality of what has been created, I feel like saying, “You must see it!” (Laughs) It’s truly an incredible piece of work!
Agh, okay! So we’ve got a month to get our groove on for Attack on Titan Season 2. No pressure…