When I heard that this show had reached its coupler point, I line-jumped eight other reviews I had in front of it to get the news to you:
“Attack on Titan” is the MUST-SEE anime of 2013.
Now, I do not allow myself to be overtaken with hyperbole and CAPITAL LETTERS to get your attention on what is out there. Many shows come out every year that are worthy of your attention, but “Titan” is head and shoulders above the rest (no pun intended). The last time I was this jazzed about an anime was “Death Note”, and they both share similarities, the biggest being that it cannot be pigeon-holed into what it is and must be experienced to see what the buzz is all about.
OK, enough of my drooling, mouth-panting excitement, let’s get down to brass tacks.
It is the year 845. For the past hundred years, giant humanoid creatures called Titans have forced humanity to retreat into a system of concentric walls known as Wall Maria (outermost), Wall Rosé, (middle), and Wall Sina (innermost). Inside these walls, humanity has lived in peace. These are massive walls, at least 50 meters tall and potentially 10 meters thick, maybe more. Mankind survives, but at what real cost? One day, they are attacked by a 60-meter Titan (as he can look over the wall to see what’s happening) and some armored-skinned Titan who breaches the wall and allows the other Titans to enter and attack.
The series follows the story of Eren Yeager (the really angry one up there), his adopted sister, Mikasa Ackerman (the cool one at the bottom), and their friend Armin Arlert (blondie) as they do battle with these monsters. The fourth is Captain Levi. He comes into the show later, but is another major player.
Although the Titans can be killed, it is a near-suicidal effort, using swords to hack away at a certain part of their body. Titans can regenerate quickly, so a cannon blast to the face merely slows them down, but does not kill them. In this first attack, Eren sees his mother devoured whole and alive by one of these monsters, which steels his resolve to go out and kill them all.
This is more than just a simple ‘let’s-kill-them-all’ show. The action sequences are stunning and the character development is something I haven’t seen in a good long time. We are just as uncertain and confused as to what is happening and why, as all information regarding Titans have come at great human cost. It’s bad enough to be forced into a cage to protect yourself, but what happens when the thing you are protecting yourself against comes into the cage with you?
The feel is very Middle Ages, despite understanding pressurized air tanks and an involved harness system that allows the defenders to go to the Titans (its official name is 3D Maneuver Gear). But the problem is that the defenders are swatted away like flies (and die just as well) as humanity is pushed to the brink of extinction.
Make no mistake about it, this is a gritty, brutal, violent, unforgiving show, as it is truly life and death. But Eren holds the key to it all (figuratively and actually). I do not want to give away the show, as you have to watch all the turns and twists unfold before you. You are learning as they are learning. And with the first season down, you can sit on the couch and chain together a string of episodes, so both the continuity and flow really deliver a powerful impact.
If there are drawbacks to the show, it is the retreat from the laws of physics and some of the folks seem rather bulletproof, while others around them are slaughtered relentlessly. Another is the jiggly eyes. People are under a huge amount of emotional stress and their eyes get a bit too wobbly for my tastes. It is the only real anime trope they use, so I’ll let it slide.
Now, we are nowhere near done with what is going on and answers are pretty scant to the mountain of questions out there. Understand that this show has captured the imagination and attention of people out there, so you should at least see what is going on. Now, if you catch this on the internet, you will need to pause at the half-way mark of each episode, as there is information dispensed, but it goes by so fast, you miss it, and it is a kind of “A” and ”B” information, so you have to catch both ends.
The other disappointment is that the episodes sail by so fast, you are shocked that this segment has come to an end. I anxiously await the next season, as the cliff-hanger is one you did not expect to see.
On a scale of 1 to 10:
Artwork 8 (Solid style, despite the eye issue)
Plot 10 (Haven’t seen a story this good in a while)
Pacing 10 (The fight scenes are amazing)
Effectiveness 9 (Some characters are really easy to hate)
Conclusion 5 (It reaches a ‘coupler point’, but it ain’t over)
Fan Service 0 (A similar show would be “Honey and Clover”)
Overall 10 (Watch it now!)
And remember, it’s first run until you’ve seen it. I will kill them all.