Warning: Contains spoilers for some episodes.
Let’s talk about a show called Attack on Titan.
Attack on Titan is an anime based off the manga of the same name by Hajime Isayama.
It takes place in an alternate universe where naked giants known as Titans have appeared and driven humanity to the brink of extinction.
The remaining humans managed to survive by taking refuge behind three huge walls Maria, Rose and Sina.
However, 100 years after the walls construction, two Titans called the Colossal and Armoured Titans appeared and broke through Wall Maria, forcing humanity to take refuge behind the next wall.
During this time our protagonist, Eren Yeager, witnesses the death of his mother.
Years later, Eren and his friends Mikasa, Armin and others join the military to take the fight to the Titans.
Attack on Titan is a great show with a well-thought-out story and characters.
This is complemented by how many gripping episodes this show has.
Over the course of two seasons and 37 episodes there have been a lot of great episodes, with great moments so I decided to do a list on my top 10 favourite episodes from the show.
However, this proved difficult because of how many amazing episodes there were so I decided instead to do a top 20 but only to go into detail with the top 10.
So, here are numbers 20-11 of my favourite Attack on Titan episodes.
20. The Night of the Closing Ceremony: Humanity’s Comeback Part 2 – season one, episode four.
19. The World The Girl Saw: The Struggle for Trost Part 2 – season one, episode six.
18. Beast Titan – season one, episode one.
17. I Can Hear His Heartbeat: The Struggle for Trost Part 4 – season one, episode eight.
16. I’m Home – season two, episode two.
15. Primal Desire: The Struggle for Trost Part 9 – season one, episode 13.
14. Bite: The 57th Exterior Scouting Mission Part 3 – season one, episode 19
13. Wall: Assault on Stohess Part 3 – season one, episode 25
12. Close Combat – season two, episode seven.
11. Soldier – season two, episode four.
Those were numbers 20-11 of my favourite Attack on Titan episodes. Now here are my top 10, only with more detail into why I think these episodes are the best of the best.
10. Scream – season two, episode 12.
The season two finale Scream was a great way to end the season, with more than a few shocking moments.
This episode probably has the most important revelation of the series so far, with Eren’s Titan controlling abilities being revealed.
This comes after a very powerful scene where Eren suffers an emotional breakdown, due to Hannes’ death at the hands of the same Titan who killed Eren’s mother.
Watching Eren laugh, cry and scream in hysteria was gut wrenching to watch and I teared up, the second time I did so when watching Attack on Titan.
In this episode we also got conformation on what a lot of us had suspected at this point, that humans were being turned into Titans.
The reactions of Conny, Levi and Erwin to this revelation were all great and fit their character, especially Erwin.
Finally there was the cliffhanger, which showed the man controlling the Beast Titan declaring, “not yet,” whatever that means.
I guess we will have to find out next season.
Scream was an episode full of both emotional moments and pay offs to things set up in previous episodes and is definitely the better of the two season finales.
9. The Defeated: The 57th Exterior Scouting Mission, Part 6 – season one, episode 22.
After the emotionally gripping episode 21, The Defeated picks up with the Scouting Regiment recovering from their devastating defeat at the hands of the Female Titan and with Levi and Mikasa, as they try to stop Eren being taken by her.
This episode really showed me why people love Levi so much.
He not only does really cool things in his battle with the Female Titan but he is also shown caring for others in his own way.
Levi consoling a fellow soldier by giving him a patch from one of his dead comrades and telling the man it belonged to his dead friend when really it belonged to Levi’s, really showed what kind of a character he is.
Levi does care about the soldiers he leads, he just buries it deep.
Then there was the really disturbing scene where the Scout Regiment had to dump the bodies of the dead for the Titans to eat just so they could escape.
Seeing that Petra was among these bodies was another harsh blow.
It really shows the deeps of depravity that these characters will have to go through in order to survive.
Finally, we get another punch in the gut when we see the families of the dead Levi Squad preparing for their arrival, not knowing that their loved ones are dead.
Petra’s father talking to Levi was especially sad to watch because it seems to hint that Petra was in love with him.
The Defeated is one of Attack on Titan’s darkest episodes as it deals with death in a really sobering manner, which really hits the viewer where it hurts.
8. To You, in 2000 Years: The Fall of Shiganshina Part 1 – season one, episode one.
The first episode of the entire series, To You, in 2000 Years makes for a gripping first episode that really draws the viewer into the world of Attack on Titan.
We get introduced to our main characters Eren, Mikasa and Armin and get a sense of who all three of them are.
It serves as a good introduction.
The opening scene alone still gives me goosebumps when I watch it, due to the lack of sound and chilling music.
The first episode also brings the first major character death, that of Eren’s mother Carla.
Carla’s death was not that much of a surprise, since something had to motivate Eren to fight the Titans, but the manner in which she died was certainly surpising.
Her death really showed the viewers what they were in for with this series.
We also got a good look at what the show’s action would be liked when we see the Survey Corp take down a Titan in the opening scene.
This is also the first episode where we hear the amazing opening intro of the first season Guren No Yumiya, by Linked Horizon.
To You, in 2000 Years was the big introduction to Attack on Titan and really gave the viewers an idea of what to expect going forward.
7. Children – season two, episode ten.
On its own, Children is just a good episode.
There are a lot of good moments in this episode like when Ymir reveals she is over 60 years old, despite looking to be in her late teens, and when she temporarily eats Historia.
However, this does not make the episode good enough to be on this list, let alone at number seven.
So why is it here?
Because of the flashback that reveals Ymir’s backstory.
This is, in my opinion, the greatest use of flashback I have ever seen.
Every time I watch Attack on Titan, I find myself coming back to this scene and watching it over and over just to figure out what it all means.
The flashback makes this episode.
Not only does it finally bring clarity to Ymir’s motives, which were pretty ambiguous before now, but it also has so many hints as to what is going on.
I do not know what will happen in the future of Attack on Titan but I know, just by watching Ymir’s flashback, that her backstory is integral to finding out how the Titans came to be.
On top of all this, the flashback is incredibly emotional.
Ymir’s reaction upon first realizing she can turn back into a human had me tearing up, the first time I had done so when watching Attack on Titan.
It was this flashback that made Ymir my favourite character of season two.
Children might for most of the episode be just good but the flashback elevates it to another level and puts it at number seven on my list.
6. First Battle: The Struggle for Trost, Part 1 – season one, episode five.
This was the episode that got me hooked on Attack on Titan.
First Battle was an incredibly shocking episode when I first saw it and, even though it is not as shocking now due to what happens in future episodes, it is still a great episode.
After the intense cliffhanger from episode four, Eren takes on the Colossal Titan leading to one of the best fights of season one.
After that we get various scenes of characters like Armin and Jean reacting to their upcoming battle with the Titans that are invading Trost in what, for all they know, could be their final moments.
Finally we get to the most shocking moment of the episode when Eren’s entire squad, except Armin, are killed by the Titans in a matter of seconds.
These are characters Eren and Armin had got to know over their years of military training and they are gone in the blink of an eye.
It really illustrates to the viewer the danger that the Titans pose.
And then it happens… Eren is eaten and supposedly killed by a Titan.
Even though I did not like Eren at this point, it was still shocking to see the main character die in the first five episodes.
Yes, it is later revealed that he survived because of his ability to turn into a Titan but at the time this blew my mind.
First Battle was the episode that got me hooked on Attack on Titan because of its great action sequences and shocking moments.
5. Historia – season two, episode five.
After the big surprise of Ymir being a Titan Shifter in the previous episode, Historia starts unexpectedly by cutting to a flashback when Ymir and Krista were in cadet training.
Ordinarily, this would kill the mood of what had been set up last episode but it does not because what is revealed in this flashback is so engaging.
In this flashback, everything we thought we knew about Krista is flipped entirely on its head.
She is a completely different person to who we thought she was in season one and the way Ymir deduces this and uses psychology on her is great to watch.
On top of that, the animation during this sequence is just fantastic.
I think it is the best animation the series has had.
The level of detail in Krista’s eyes just leaps off the screen and it is obvious a lot of work went into it.
After this flashback, we get the payoff from episode four, as Ymir fights in her Titan form.
An intense action sequence follows during which, there are some very subtle hints to the upcoming events of episode six.
Finally the episode ends with a very emotional moment as Krista reveals her name is actually Historia to Ymir before she falls unconscious.
When I saw this I was really sad because I thought Ymir was dead and I was really starting to like her character.
Thankfully she survived and went on to become my favourite character of the second season.
Historia is full of brilliant animation, foreshadowing and character development.
Combine that with the great ending action sequence and it puts it at number five on my list.
4. Charge – season two, episode 11.
This episode is absolutely insane.
So much happens in this episode that I do not know where to begin.
I like to think of this episode as the Mad Max: Fury Road of Attack on Titan because so much of it is just pure adrenaline fuel.
From Mikasa’s death glare at Bertholdt, to Erwin getting his arm ripped off only to keep fighting, to the shocking return of the Titan that killed Eren’s mother at the end of the episode, Charge is full of exciting and shocking scenes.
However, it also has its down to earth moments as well.
Watching the members of the 104th Cadet Corps confront Bertholdt about his deceit and his very sympathetic reaction to this confrontation was emotional and helped to further develop Bertholdt.
We also got more of a sense of Historia and Ymir as people and the lengths they will go to just to protect one another.
It is Erwin who completely steals the show however as, even when his arm is being ripped off, he urges his men to keep fighting.
Then, when Armin is distracting Bertholdt, Erwin manages to save Eren, despite only having one arm and probably suffering from severe blood loss.
I have no idea how Erwin survived and I do not care because he is so awesome.
Charge was just insane moment after insane moment and my jaw was left constantly on the floor.
It really got you pumped for the season finale Scream.
3. Crushing Blow: The 57th Exterior Scouting Mission Part 5 – season one, episode 21.
Before episode 21, there had been a few major deaths in Attack on Titan like that of Eren’s mother and Marco.
However, none of the deaths had really shocked me or left me feeling emotionally drained.
That was until the deaths of the remaining Levi Squad Eld, Petra and Oruo in the episode Crushing Blow.
Watching these three characters, who we had come to know and care about over the course of seven episodes, get slaughtered one after the other was gut wrenching.
Even though I was attached to Petra and Oruo more than I was to Eld or Gunther (who died in episode 20), their deaths still hit me hard.
What followed was the first fight between Eren’s Titan and the Female Titan, which was noting short of thrilling to watch.
The scene where Eren is eaten by the Female Titan is just creepy to watch because we see her mouth split open.
Another thing I really liked about this episode was we got more of a sense of who Levi is through his reaction to his squad’s death.
Their deaths do hit him hard but he has to bury his pain and continue on with the mission.
Crushing Blow was certainly a crushing episode, full of sadness that prepared you for what would be the darkest episode with The Defeated.
2. Mercy – Assault on Stohess Part 2 – season one, episode 24.
I think that Mercy is a very overlooked episode when people talk about Attack on Titan, which I do not think is fair since it is one of my favourites.
This episode is build up to the fight between Eren and the Female Titan, who was revealed to be Annie in the previous episode.
Yet, despite the episode being build up, it is still a fantastic episode that has some of the best moments in all of Attack on Titan.
First of all, this episode has what I believe to be the best quote of the show, when Mikasa says, “we live in a cruel world.”
The context of the situation and the way she says it makes it the perfect quote.
Then there is the ending scene when Eren transforms into a Titan to fight Annie, which I think is the most epic scene in the entire series so far.
Everything just combines to make this a fantastic scene.
The animation, the music, the phenomenal voice acting from the Japanese cast, it all just comes together to make a great build up to the season finale.
Charge may have got you pumped for the season two finale but Mercy had you waiting on the edge of your seat for it.
1. Warrior – season two, episode six.
This list was very difficult to make.
I changed it and switched episodes with other ones more times than I could count but one thing always stayed the same.
This was Warrior as my number one choice for the best episode of Attack on Titan.
This episode completely floored me the first time I saw it.
It is in this episode that we learn the identities of the Colossal and Armoured Titans.
They are revealed to be Reiner and Bertholdt in a twist that is delivered so casually and nonchalant that is actually brilliant.
We had been given hints over the last few episodes, like in Historia, that Reiner and Bertholdt were not who they seemed and what a way to reveal it.
I actually had to go back and make sure I had not misheard what Reiner said.
The way the characters react to this revelation was done excellently, as well.
In season one I was hardly ever invested in Eren but in this episode I felt his pain when he realised two people he trusted with his life had been lying to him all this time and were actually the ones responsible for his mother’s death.
It was the first time the show had ever really made me care for Eren.
The final five minutes of this episode left me speechless for a while after watching it.
Once again, everything just combines to make one of the most brilliant scenes in Attack on Titan.
The music especially gives me chills each time because it is a spin on the music that was played when Eren’s mother was eaten in the very first episode.
The perfect music to use for the perfect revelation.
Warrior took all my expectations for an Attack on Titan episode and completely blew me away.
I immediately knew this was my favourite episode of the series and how hard it would be to top it.
Hopefully, when season three arrives this year, an episode can be better because then that would truly be something to see.
Attack on Titan is a great anime series.
Its episodes bring all kinds of emotions out of me from, shock, to horror, to amazement.
After these phenomenal episodes, I cannot wait for season three to see what amazing episodes they could bring to the table.
When season three is over, I will probably re-do my list with the episodes from season three I think are deserving to be on there.
Until then though, I will gladly find myself re-watching these episodes time and time again.