Okay, so for clarity: the creators are pulling some of the later build-up chapters right to the beginning. I like that though, because even though I know the storyline, I really got startled there by the sudden appearance of that really big giant again.
Having the build-up chapters scattered through the story, or just having one big build-up arc at the beginning: there is no right way. Both have their merits. The former is more varied and has material to vary with during the heavy scenes, while the latter has a solid character base to start off with. We can only wait and see which is the best for this kind of story. Either way though, this episode did what it was supposed to do: take the characters and add to them. They had to do this with more than 10 characters, and they actually succeeded very well there. I especially like how it highlighted the paradox that the better you become, the less likely it is that you’ll fight the titans.
Also, thank god! Tetsurou Araki got some freedom again, compared to Guilty Crown in which I just couldn’t detect his influence at all. During the heavy scenes you could really see hints of Death Note and Kurozuka. I really encourage anime creators to put something of themselves into their adaptations. It makes them more unique. Especially if it adds something good.
Shingeki no Kyojin has this unique way of shading is characters during the heavy scenes (lots of shadows around the eyes). Strangely this was also played for laughs (Sasha…). It’ll be interesting whether they will keep that up or not.
Rating: 5.5/8 (Excellent)