After a year-long hiatus, Shingeki no Kyojin is back with its third season, or rather the second half of its second season (depending on how you want to look at it). I was eagerly awaiting this go up on Crunchyroll and was counting down the days (at one point I was getting a little worried because some other shows were already into week 3).
Needless to say, I was not disappointed. Attack on Titan is back, although not in the way I had thought it would be.
The first thing I noted was a new style of OP. Rather than the grand, epic sound of Guren no Yumiya, Flügel der Freiheit and Opfert eure Herzen!, all sung by REVO of Linked Horizon, we had a far more bittersweet, gentle sound in the form of Red Swan, by YOSHIKI feat. HYDE. Check it out here:
The story picks up not long after it leaves off, perhaps with a small timeskip of a few days. Interestingly, it doesn't develop much upon how the previous episode directly ended, and neither does it make any reference to what transpired in the most recent battle. I'm certain that all of this will be explored in later episodes, as this episode seems to focus its attention elsewhere and developing new plotlines.
Best of all, there's loads of Captain Levi, to make up for his noticeable absence in the last season.
Change in focus
I'm not a manga reader, but I do know that it is very far ahead of the anime, so many of the important plot points that are still a mystery in the anime have already been explored in great detail in the manga, so its all still new to me. From what I can gather after this episode, it looks like the story is going to focus more on the human and internal side of things, rather than the outward threat of the Titans themselves.
This could lead to some really interesting developments, especially in the way of characters, who, for better or worse, may be pitted against one another. Of particular interest is the story surrounding the walls themselves, which seem to be central to a larger conspiracy within the ranks of the state and governmental power. This season opened with the introduction to what may be a key antagonist for this season, and he is a figure of considerable political power, so we're keeping our eye on him.
In particular, there seems to be a growing thread focusing on Captain Levi's past, and we have yet to see how this will tie into the larger overarching story, but it certainly seems like something different, as evidenced by the tonally different OP sequence.
Personally, I'm excited and can't wait to see what happens. I avoided spoilers in the manga as best as I can, and I haven't been pushed over the tipping point to go and read it, so I'll receive the full audio-visual impact of the story, like I did with the Armored Titan and Colossal Titan reveal of last season (my favorite anime scene of the year).