I am not a huge fan of anime. Do not get me wrong, I do enjoy the genre and will watch a show or movie on occasion. But I am by no means reaching the Otaku levels has my fellow Nerd Realm contributor “The Ultra Otaku” Brandon Lias. If you were to ask me my favorite animes, they would for the most part be very main streamed and popular series with the occasional very obscure reference thrown in after a friend of mine showed me a couple of episodes. With a list that includes Full Metal Alchemist, Fairy Tail, Black Butler, and I prefer to watch them with the English dub, not english sub. My area of expertise falls into the realm of western cinema which also includes western animation, not Japanese culture sadly. Just to let the readers understand where I am coming from before we jump into this review that this is coming from the mind of a sort of outsider looking in.
With that being said, over the past year or so it has been hard for even a non Otaku with copious amount of Otaku friends to hear them talking about the break out anime Attack on Titan or Shingeki no Kyojin by its Japanese title. After quite some time and numerous glances in the living room as my roommates would watch it, I decided to give in and watch the anime that all my friends have been talking about and I have to say that I was not in the least bit disappointed by what I saw. Attack on Titan may not be as brutal as many claim it to be, but it certainly is one hell of a series.
Attack on Titan is the story of the world post World War I. For unknown reasons, a new race of creatures known as Titans appears on the Earth and begins to rain havoc on the people. Their motives are unknown or their desires. All they do is blindly eat humans until they regurgitate and begin to eat again. They can only be killed by removing the nape of the neck, removing any other parts of the body, the titan will just rejuvenate. What appears to be all that is left of humanity have built a large number of walls in what used to be Germany in order to keep the Titans at bay. This works well for one hundred years of peace until a set of Titans called the Colossal Titan and the Armored Titan arrived and tear open Wall Maria thus allowing the Titans in.
After this, the story follows the character Eren Yeager (Yuki Kaji/Bryce Pappenbrook), a young man who is also known as a Titan Shifter or a human who can shift from mortal form to Titan form and control his actions while in his titan alter ego. The story follows him, his adopted sister Mikasa (Yui Ishikawa/Trina Nishimura), and their friend Armin (Marina Inoue/Josh Grelle) as they fight the Titan’s while in the military, Eren coping with being a titan, and slowly unraveling the secret of the Titan’s existence.
The fact that this occurs one hundred years after either the first or both world wars, makes this an interesting setting. It is obvious that the last remnants of humanity have seemed to taken roots somewhere in Germany, but you also see other nationalities like Japanese and Italians… Wait a minute… Oh well. It is interesting to watch and see how humanity evolved over the 100 years trying to stave off these mysterious Titan invaders. I love the fact that certain areas of engineering have evolved differently over time. Guns have become somewhat useless while swords and 3D Maneuvering Devices have been created to help fend off the Titans not to mention most technological advancements have been halted as the pressing matter of the Titans takes precedent to keep the human race alive. It is very fascinating.
The Mystery of the Titan’s is the Best Part
The one thing I absolutely love about Attack on Titan is the whole mystery surrounding them and the fact that they give just a little more information on the Titans with each episode. Where did they come from? Why are they here? What is their purpose? Why do they only eat humans? Why do they even eat humans when they don’t have a digestive system. There is so many questions to ask and the show does a great job of giving you just enough information to satisfy your needs but keep you coming back for more.
After watching all the episodes blind, I learned a lot about the titans and how they function, but still no nothing about their origins or their motivations. It gives you the feeling that you are learning along with the protagonists, that you keep inching closer and closer to the answers that we are all dying to know.
It Isn’t as Graphic and Gory as People Would Like to Believe
One of the biggest sell points that a lot of my friend gave me on this anime is that it was one of the most graphic and goriest anime that they ever watched. I’m not sure what that says about me if my friends think that is a big sell point, but moving on. After watching this I have to say, it isn’t even close and I haven’t even seen a lot of anime. Anything by Go Nagai trumps this (one of the older anime figures I actually know) and most 90’s anime that I have had the chance to see. I am not saying that this is a bad thing, far from it. The level of ‘gore’ is near the bottom of my list when it comes to viewing any form of media, down there with mass bunny murder. But when one of the biggest sell points that I have heard, not just from my friends but from nearly every fan I have heard from on the internet heralds it as a very graphic series and all you get is a little blood. Well the hype fails to deliver.
Attack on Titan is an anime that you have to invest time into. It is not one that you can just watch as background music and keep up with the plot. There are subtle nods and things that if you miss you will find yourself lost in the mayhem. You would not think so, but with the mystery surrounding the Titans, each episode is filled with some new information. It says something to a series when the biggest con that you can come up with is the fact that you have to pay close attention to the series so that you do not miss something.
Attack on Titan is a great series. It is action packed intense television show that will keep you invested tell the very end. It is a very slow-paced series, that keeps you invested by feeding you a little bit more of the mythos with each passing episode. It is not as graphic as some would claim it to be, but it is definitely worth a watch. Whether you are an Anime fan or not, you will enjoy this series.
Final Score 4.5/5
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