For a while now since Season two’s confirmation a few months back I’ve been thinking on something that has likely confounded you too. Why the hell did Shingeki no Kyojin/Attack on Titan Season Two take so damn long to get made.
Please note direct details of plot points from the manga are not present in this article. That is not guaranteed to be the case in the comments.
This is confusing on a few levels, first the show was AMAZINGLY popular to call it a worldwide phenomenon would not be hyperbolic. The level of market penetration it got in the west rivals Naruto, Bleach, Dragon Ball Z and likely surpasses One Piece, Fairy Tail, and other lesser Shonen series. Within Japan it was bigger, where it was a full on national phenomenon that year only being topped by Disneys Frozen. Indeed it was so popular it’s manga fell just short of outselling One Piece by only a hundred thousand, something nothing else has come close to doing in nearly a decade.
One must be thinking then why did the studio, author, and everyone involved take so long to give people a product they so clearly wanted. Isn’t good business exploiting popularity for every dollar they can ring out of something? Well yes and this is likely the reason, the production company of Shingeki no Kyojin decided to hold back on production. As they’re self aware of what Season Two could be.
To understand my comment there will need to be minor impressions regarding the upcoming material for the series. While season one is loved by many for its fresh concept, beautiful animation, and darker story elements. It certainly isn’t regarded as a perfect anime by any stretch of the imagination - no I’m not referring to the backlash against its popularity - no Titan had serious issues, most notably pacing. The Battle for Trost arc is often seen as a perfect example.
This is likely due for a few reasons, the first is the adaptation adapts the manga slightly slower then is ideal for a monthly manga. At a rough adaption rate of 1.4 chapters per Episode it can drag at some points even when the manga does not. Then there is the manga itself which at points can massively slow down and become a bit of a slog.
One issue that the production company is likely fearful of is that around Volumes 9 to 15 of the original manga the series is widely considered to slow down substantially . Focusing on events by and large the reader doesn’t really care about, interspersed with the scenes of action we love. When adapted this will provide around about 60% of the animes run time barring major changes. For a 25 episode anime having its first cour be considered potentially “Boring” by the viewer is not good for the production company, its investors, the viewers themselves anyone.
Now there could be changes as we’ve seen in later episodes of Season One. However this could be problematic, especially as many of these more quiet events pay dividends later in the story. Effectively what I am getting at is it’s very possible from what we know now, that Season Two could be less popular then Season One.
If that is the case it becomes clear why they held off production for so long. To make the gap between Season Two and Season Three the potential conclusion to the series as short as possible.
If Season Two had come out this year or Winter 2015, where what I written had come to pass, would Titan be as strong as it is now? Even with the delay, likely not. As it is much easier to keep people waiting then keeping hype up after a bad product - just as Square Enix following Final Fantasy XIII.
As we know Hajime Isayama has said that the manga will likely be no longer then 25 Volumes. As such with 21 volumes published and 22 about only two months away that means the climax and conclusion to Attack on Titan could come as early as December 2017. What else is also happening December 2017... oh yes the end of Season Two.
With the manga concluded there would be no need to wait another three or four years for a new season. Instead like Shonen Jumps Bakuman the gap between seasons could be as short as six months. In my estimation a title card at the end of the season with a release date for Attack on Titan Season 3 could do a lot to mitigate any potential damage a slow moving Season 2 may do to the series.
Of course this is all idle speculation. Perhaps Studio Wit will sprinkle some of their magic over Season 2 the way they did with the first and make a far better product then the manga. Of course I don’t know nor does anyone else really, however I think they don’t know if they can do so either which is why they’re airing on the side of caution.
The timing of this all makes sense the manga approaching its conclusion if Isayama is to be believed. A three part series of Eight, Eight, and Nine Volume seasons. Plus the high likelyhood of a less then stellar reaction to season two, based on the middle values.
Anyways let me know what do you think about this possibility? Do you think Studio Wit was playing it safe and holding the series back fearing what people may have thought. Are they just worried about an extended wait, get the precious anime away from those god awful live action movies... or something else entirely.
Just a reminded this is a theory. It may be based on available information but a lot of this is speculation based on unquantifiable observation.