Wednesday, October 23, 2013

Attack on Titan Review


Remember how I said when I look for a series to review at the end of a season that I wouldn’t go for the one show EVERYONE has to review? Well, I got a request a few months ago as to my thoughts on this one. I have a problem with saying no to people.

Attack on Titan is a 25 episode Action/Fantasy series based on the ongoing manga by Hajime Isayama beginning in 2009. An ongoing light novel series by Suzukaze Ryo was released in December of 2011. As for the series, it is directed by Tetsuro Araki and animated by Wit Studio and Production I.G. and aired during the Spring-Summer 2013 season. As of this review, Attack on Titan is licensed by Madman Entertainment (AUS), Manga UK (UK), and FUNimation Entertainment (US) with FUNi already planning a DVD release for next year. Four video game adaptations are scheduled for release in Japan later this year.

WHAT IS THAT THING?!?!
Several hundred years ago, humans were nearly exterminated by Titans. Titans are typically several stories tall, seem to have no intelligence, devour human beings and, worst of all, seem to do it for pleasure rather than as a food source. A small percentage of humanity survived by enclosing themselves in a city protected by extremely high walls, even taller than the biggest of titans. Flash forward to the present and the city has not seen a titan in over 100 years. Eren and his foster sister Mikasa witness something horrific as the city walls are destroyed by a Colossal Titan that appears out of thin air. As the smaller titans flood the city, the two kids watch in horror as their mother is eaten alive. Eren vows that he will murder every single Titan and take revenge for all of mankind.

One badass lady, coming up!
If you’ve seen my reviews before, you know I have rarely ever found a badly animated show. The same can be said here with Attack on Titan. The art style is beautiful with the animation running so smoothly. I also liked the use of lighting and shadows in this series, being one of the more stronger series using this to its advantage. The best times you can see this are whenever Titans try to get through the walls and devour humans. This makes them look more menacing even with the lack of genitals. Another benefit to the use of lighting and shadows is the facial expressions of characters. They help exaggerate the emotions and help give the series a more tense, edge of your seat kind of feel. However, the one thing that you cannot help but love about this series the most is the soundtrack. Flooded with choruses and orchestral sounds, this fits the tone wonderfully! Also, since this is a fantasy series, this kind of soundtrack is better suited then an attempt at pop or rock tunes. Also, I have the first three seconds of the first opening as my text tone. Don’t judge me.

*sigh* Ok. Attack on Titan’s story. What am I to say about it’s story? When I did my initial Impressions for this show in the Spring, I liked it. It wasn’t my favorite at the time, that went to Devil is a Part Timer, but I enjoyed what I saw and wanted to see more of it. And then there was a point where we lose our main character before half way point of the series. And then my mind went into the one place where I didn’t want it to go (mind you, I haven’t read the manga), and I made a prediction about where the show was going to go. I had hoped to god that it wasn’t going to go there, but it did. From then on, I wanted to kill things because it was so damn predictable it wasn’t funny. I’m going to predict the problem the series had here. I mentioned that this series was directed by Tetsuro Araki. If that name doesn’t sound familiar, then let’s look at a couple other works. DeathNote. High School of the Dead. See the problem? Granted I do love DeathNote and HOTD was a lot of fun, but the direction isn’t really all that wonderful in either of them. DeathNote died in its second half, and HOTD is, well, HOTD. This doesn’t leave a whole lot of room for hope with Attack on Titan. What the major problem Attack on Titan has is the story long arcs, Trost and the 57th Expedition in particular. They just seem to drag on with almost no hope of ending. However, I do have to give some credit to the series because whenever I felt like it was at that point where I didn’t want to watch it anymore, a very jaw dropping episode happens and I am instantly hooked again. When we reach the end of the series, it does bring a nice conclusion to that current arc of the show but it still does leave a decent amount of questions. I guess we have to wait it out until the inevitable second season.

Ya know, when Jean isn't being a dirt bag...
Ya know, when Armin doesn't lack self confidence...
From the start we have three major characters: Eren, Mikasa, and Armin. Later on we get a few others to join in such as Sasha, Annie, and Jean. Then we gain even more characters in the second half of the series like Levi and Erwin. There’s just way too many characters in this series that it’s difficult to follow all of them. However, the series does put its focus on the characters that it needs to at that moment in time. Aside from our three leads, we also get those kinds of moments from Jean and I consider him a major character rather than a minor one. We see more of the ordeals new soldiers have with Jean the most out of anyone in the entire series. From the strategic plans to the psychological effects, Jean is the most realistic character in this world and I would imagine that many soldiers today may see themselves in Jean to a certain extent. Another side character that ends up with fairly good development is Annie. Rather cold but very skilled, she can give Mikasa a run for her money. However, some of the questions at the end of the series involve Annie so there’s much more to this character that we just don’t know about yet. But back to our main three. Eren, as our main male character, is very full of heart and passion. His desire to eradicate the Titans from episode one is commendable, however, he loses site of this goal several times throughout the series. It’s a nice source of inner conflict for his character, but it could have been executed a lot better. Mikasa is one of the more strong female characters that I have seen lately in anime. She is top of her class, very powerful against Titans, but also has some psychological trauma and emotional attachment to Eren which makes their relationship more interesting. Last is Armin who, like Jean, we also see his struggles as a soldier unfold though not to the same extent. Armin goes through the typical “I’m weak so others have to protect me, but I want to protect them” sort of deal fairly early on. However, he does grow into his own and becomes stronger by series end.

Hanji and Levi. They sum up the Survey Corps rather well.
As of this review, there is no dub. So we’re going with the Japanese on this one. All voice actors give great performance throughout the series, with each being able to stand out and make themselves memorable. From our three leads: Yuuki Kaji (Eren), Yui Ishikawa (Mikasa), and Marina Inoue (Armin), they are capable of working off of each other and making the characters balance out. Other actors I enjoyed immensely include Kisho Taniyama (Jean), Yu Shimamura (Annie), and Hiroshi Kamiya (Levi). Then there’s the best character ever, Romi Park as Hanji. If you have seen the series, then you will understand why I’m saying that. But, yeah, overall it’s a wonderful variety of actors giving voices to a variety of characters.

Attack on Titan has been causing a lot of debate, similar to last summer’s big show, Sword Art Online. Either you are in the camp where it is the best thing ever or the camp where it is complete and utter garbage. I’ve mentioned a number of flaws this series has, and they are a huge problem from making this the best thing ever. However, I can also see the other side of this debate, and rather clearly. Yes, for all the gripes I have with Attack on Titan, this is a rather enjoyable show! It keeps you on your toes and at the edge of your seat several times over the course of twenty five episodes and it was wonderful! I will admit that I got pissed at the show for all those faults I mentioned before, but when a series manages to keep you entertained then some people may not notice the glaring flaws all that much. Also, I can see this as a good series for some new people can start with. When one of my roommates moved in, a friend of hers saw my Attack on Titan manga poster and started getting excited about it cause he’d been following the show. And I’m making a wild guess that he’s not much of an anime person to begin with. So as bad as some of the writing may be, I can at least forgive it a little for being so damn entertaining... But only a little...

By the end of the Titan invasion, Attack on Titan is an extremely predictable but rather epic series which is pretty much in line with Araki’s other popular works. It looks wonderful with empathize on where it needs to be, though the writing is something to be desired, Once again, I’ll say that this is a good show for new anime fans to get into because of how entertaining it is. For those who have been around the block a little longer, it’s fun but not really rewatch worthy. But, hey, take it as you will.

Next time, we take a journey to the North with the Gentleman of the Night. Until then, otaku on my friends!

Final Rating- 7/10 An action show that takes too long but is great popcorn material.

Special Thanks to LAR reader Callie Jane for the request!

1 comment:

  1. Best anime in 2012 can be Sword Art Online and so what about the best anime in 2013? Definitely is Attack on Titan, if you ever watch this amazing anime, you will absolutely love it and for cosplay, personally love to cosplay as Mikasa Ackerman or Sasha Braus; for cosplay costumes, I prefer in www.cosplayfield.com! Fast shipping and nice costumes, and of course it own all kinds of anime cosplay costumes, and always keep working for the nice service and costumes!

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