Since I’m currently boycotting some of the latest games because of their horrific porting practices, I’ve been spending a good deal of time watching anime with my fiance, and there are ALOT of great animes out there, special mentions to some of them, Aria of the scarlet ammo, Aesthetics of a rogue hero, and Infinite Stratos which all gain my glad recommendation. This however is about a relatively new Anime called Attack on Titan, a pretty recent anime ( original run from april 6, 2013 to sept 28, 2013) That grabbed me tightly and through great story telling and innovative concept enthralled me to the extent that i scrambled for the controller to cue the next episode as soon as the end credits started.
I’ve deliberately put off watching this anime until it was completed, because i am the kind of person that doesn’t do well waiting to see what happens next, so when i saw that it was completed and on Hulu i knew that the time had come.
The premise of the anime Is that giant creatures dubbed “titans” which eat humans simply for fun became the dominant force of earth, causing all of humanity (or at least all of humanity that this established group of humans knows of) to take refuge within a city consisting of three concentric 50 meter tall walls: Maria, Rose, and Sina. Within the Walls humanity survives for a hundred years unmolested by the titans, except for the military group known as the scouts, whom lead expeditions outside the walls with little to no success, and frequently facing fearfully high mortality rates. Humans go as far as worshiping the walls as their Protective Gods as even the monstrous 15 meter class titans can’t reach them, That is at least until a 60 meter tall “colossal titan” appears in a bolt of lightning to destroy the gate and overrun the Human civilization, orphaning our main character Eren Yeager (Jeager) who vows to join the military to destroy the titans and find out what lies outside the walls behind which humanity has hidden for the last century. Humanity is forced to abandon the wall maria and take refuge behind wall Rose. With their sense of untouchability shattered, the remaining humans are at constant political odds, debating whether to fortify the walls and completely seal the gates to the outside world so that even the Colossal titan couldn’t breech them, or to continue as they are and fortify their forces to try and reclaim the wall maria.
The anime follows the path of Eren and the friends he gained in his military training as they try to survive, and against all odds, hopefully prevail against the Titans.
Diverting now from facts to opinion, attack on Titan has some incredible writing, and tremendously original concepts. This anime has a tight rope to walk as fantasy aspect of the titans balances with the militaristic principles of humanity in its losing battle. Quite impressively, it does this spectacularly, the titans are monstrosities with immeasurable strength, which demonstrate their role exceptionally as a seemingly insurmountable threat to the existence of humanity, and amplifying the feeling of risk that the soldiers are fighting to protect, which is the remaining portion of humanity’s existence. The level of detail and explanation demonstrated is really superb, extending even to insert slides with interesting information and facts about titans, the walls, and the devices humanity uses to fight back. The pace of story telling along with these details facilitate the feelings of human vulnerability, and reinforce the classing of humanity as the underdogs in any confrontation with the titans.
Now, excellent writing and original concepts are relatively plentiful in the ever growing library of animes that for most of us are only a few clicks away, so I couldn’t blame you for asking at this point what really sets this apart from other great options. To that question I can present a few itemized reasons that I submit Attack on Titan for consideration alongside the hallowed anime A-List.
- First of all, All the humans feel like just humans, there is difference in human ability, but nothing ridiculous, you know what to expect from the humans, and their basic capabilities. This level of expectation allows for the demise of humanity to remain a valid danger, and backs up the feeling of the Humans being underdogs.
- The Humans have a special weapon against titans, the 3-d maneuvering device, which gives them a fighting chance to reach the titan’s weak spot at the back if their necks. With this device, a few swords, cannons, and only flare guns to communicate, The humans attempt to hold their own against the advancing titans. I cannot overstate how happy i am with the realism and level of detail Attack on Titan employs on everything from the 3d maneuvering device, to complex military maneuvers and concepts ( i was speechless watching the scout regiment’s long-range reconnaissance formation in action.) It’s all sensible and incredibly creative, there could have been big cop-outs here, but there were not, and I appreciate that.
- The titans themselves are largely not understood, they can vary wildly even the characters fighting them clearly do not fully understand them. This isn’t a revolutionary story telling tool, but it is still great when used well, and this is a great example of perfected use of that tool.
- The overall sense of reality, characters act “Human”. Corruption and fear-mongering present themselves realistically and do well to add to the sense of uncertainty in both the characters and the viewer. It does well to capture the sensation of soldiers blindly following orders they do not understand, and later justifying them clearly as Commanding Officers reveal information, and explain WHY that information was to remain hidden in the first place.
- It’s Focused, there is one story, and one objective. I really Like the feeling of importance this assigns to the titan threat. There is one solid feeling through the anime, that rises and falls naturally through the flow of the story, but never to “off the wall levels”.
- Doesn’t feel like typical anime-
Now this usually isn’t something I would consider a major standout point, but combined with the clear focus and demonstrative story telling, I am extremely glad that this took on such a serious tone. There are none of the common anime quirks , except maybe from Sasha on occasion, but even they are rather reserved. What this means is that people who are usually turned off by the concept of anime because of the strange behavior of it’s characters will still like it. There is no chibi/Kawaii/harem feel to this anime at all, almost to the point of feeling western, but still demonstrating that epic storytelling that the east is known for.
The final point i listed is my biggest, and somewhat favorite point of Attack on Titan. In that it doesn’t FEEL like an anime, it just feels like an incredible story told with great animation, and in a way that would just be simply impossible in a live action setting. This is a feature somewhat shared by Sword Art Online where the eastern influence is similarly muffled, but clearly present. For this reason, I have simply recommended Sword Art Online and Attack on Titan to more people, because lets face it, all of us have friends that aren’t super into anime, and there are a few animes that no matter how much we enjoy them run the risk of getting you looked at weirdly if you recommend them to someone not into that sort of thing. A good example of this would be one of my current favorite animes, Highschool DxD. Personally i thought DxD was more entertaining to me than Attack on Titan, however excluding this blog, I have recommended DxD to exactly 6 people, where as I’m somewhere between 30-40 people I’ve recommended Attack on Titan to.
People have different tastes and that’s something we need to accept in this lifetime. So if you’re someone who likes good story telling and really interesting story concepts, but are really not into really eastern things like fanservice, chibi, ecchi, “kawaii”, etc, i really suggest you check this one out, even if you’re not usually into anime at all, just think of it as an animated version of the film “Independence Day”. If that’s you, and you do by some chance check it out and like it, let me know, because my favorite thing to hear is.” You know, I usually don’t enjoy that anime stuff, but I liked this.” Almost feels like you’ve opened up someones mind a bit, ya know?
also if you’ve read this whole thing, thanks