Anime Review: Attack on Titan

Attack on Titan

(Source: Wit Studio / Production IG)

Attack on Titan is based on the manga from creator Hajime Isayama. The anime adaptation was written by Yasuko Kobayashi and directed by Tetsuro Araki.

Humanity lives inside walled cities set up inside three concentric walls: Wall Maria, Wall Rosa and Wall Sina. The Titans, giant humanoid lifeforms, drove humanity into the walls a hundred years ago and nobody has seen them since… until now.

Erin and his friends Mikasa and Armin live inside one of the cities facing the outermost wall, Wall Maria. Erin dreams of joining the Survey Corps, an elite group of explorers that brave going outside the walls. They use their Three-Dimensional Maneuver Gear to fight the Titans. Their city gets attacked by one of a large Colossus Titan and Erin loses his mother while his father is away beyond the wall.

As the safety of the walls becomes forever compromised, Erin and his friends will join the Survey Corps and learn to master the physically demanding equipment that allows them to attack the Titans. As they make and lose new friends, Erin will discover one terrible truth about himself that can turn the tide in the war against the Titans – or lose his own humanity forever.

The show’s incredible premise of large naked giants that eat humans apparently for no reason (they do not require to eat, they just seem to want to do it) may sound incredibly fantastic but it clashes with the otherwise minimalistic aspects of life inside the walls. Other than the system of cables changeable blades that form the 3D Maneuver Gear, there appears to be no technology and no magic in every day life. There’s no TV or radio. Communications take place using smoke signals. Rifles have to be loaded with powder. Humans travel by horse and carriage or on boats. Even the advanced 3D Maneuver Gear is powered by compressed gas.

It’s a very intensive emotional show that is not afraid to show gore or violence. Other than the three main characters, everyone else seems to be up for grabs so expect any likeable secondary characters to end up as cannon fodder at any time.

There’s an emphasis on patriotism and loyalty clashing with sentimentalism and the will to survive. As we meet leaders and strategist the plot doesn’t shy away of showing us the harsh reality of military commanders sending troops to their deaths and dealing with the consequences. It’s almost a bit overwhelming but at the same time realistic – to a point.

The first season has just ended. I’d rather not comment on what the twists and turns are. With every twist, I keep having to get used to the new direction that the series was headed but found myself curious of new developments and characters. Seems to lack clear direction of where it wants to go at times, but hopefully it becomes satisfying the next episode. The volume of deaths can make it a bit depressive at times.

Heavily recommended but for mature audiences only (and I’m not talking about fanservice here). You also might want to watch it just to see what the hell is everyone talking about. I found myself having to watch a happier/sillier series at the same time to temper it the seriousness in this one, but that’s just me. I still couldn’t stop watching every episode.

You can watch the series in the US and Canada via crunchyroll.com.

(Sources: shingeki.tvcrunchyroll.com)

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