Welcome everyone! After our return from hiatus, we finally have our review for the ever popular anime Attack on Titan, also known as Shingeki no Kyojin, ready for you. Once again, we would like to apologize for the delay and offer a thank you to all our readers for your collective patience. As always, beware of minor SPOILERS!
Now without further ado, let us begin the review!
Summary: 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 the 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. Teenage boy 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. -Anime News Network
Attack on Titan does offer a deeply intriguing premise, and there is plenty going on in the story to keep it interesting. The universe is complicated to entice any viewer, especially since the characters seem to know as much as the viewer about titans, and the show does an excellent job of maintaining an air of dreariness, allowing one to sympathize with humanity. However, the actual story telling is where the show falls short significantly, and this hurts it quite a bit. The initial pacing of the series is well enough, but when they hit the battle of Trost, the pacing slows down dramatically. The show drags on, and can cause it to feel stagnant or boring at times. The pacing continues to be very slow from then on. There is a lot of action fanservice, and it can become quite repetitive. The other big thing is the overuse of flashbacks in the show, which is the biggest thing stealing from the momentum and pacing of the show. This makes it tedious to watch, unless one really enjoys near constant action.
The characters of Attack on Titan are varied, and are all built quite nicely. The anime gives each character proper screen time to show who they are, and the cast does not feel overcrowded (partially due to character constantly dying). One flaw is the sloppy character development, where most characters really show any development or growth after a greatly traumatic moment or flashback. This happens again and again, to the point where it becomes overly predictable. The diverse cast who are also strong characters also has the unintended effect of taking away from Eren, the main character, and makes him appear weaker than probably is intended. Speaking of Eren, he is unfortunately a rather static character for a main character, and is normally not very active, since it is often other characters making choices for him. This only adds to the perceived weakness of his characterization, and makes him annoying at times.
Animation is very solid, though a bit different from typical anime. It involves much thicker lines on the character’s profiles, but nonetheless is highly detailed. The generally duller colors of the animation also assists in the mood.
Attack on Titan has one of the most iconic openings, or at least its first opening is. It also feels very Western in its composition, and is overall very well done. One hitch is the surprising amount of vocal tracks in the soundtrack, which can sound weird at times when one is suppose to be focusing on action rather than the music.
As story set in a dystopia future, there are a lot of political themes and commentary going on in the background that are common of sci-fi stories. For Attack on Titan, these revolve around the army and government, and what sacrifice means. One major point made continuously throughout is that the sacrifice of few will help many more. As the show goes on, these sacrifices seem to be more and more useless, calling into question whether sacrifices should be minimized as a priority or not. Other themes deal with duty to the state/government being at war with duty to family and friends. and what should be prioritized. This can be seen by Mikasa’s constant stepping out of line to save Eren instead of doing as she is ordered. However, the political themes can be a little too in the viewer’s face at times.
Final Score: 8.2/10
Final Grade: B
Attack on Titan was an interesting anime. It had a good plot with the post-apocalyptic story. The titans were a good twist on the classic giant monsters that Japan is known for. While a lot of the focus was on the monsters it also has an interesting political plot. The political side focuses mostly on the army and the comfort of those with power. The story sometimes move very slowly, which ends up taking away from it some. The some characters were really well put together, but sadly they can often pull attention away from Eren, who is supposed to be the main character. Mikasa and Levi often steal the spotlight and make other characters fade to the background. There are also many character who should be important that are just easily forgotten and leave little impact. Eren is also extremely overpowered even though he is not even supposed to be the skilled. I also loved the soundtrack for this anime. It is very good and all of the music fits very well with what is going on at the time. The ending left you kind of hanging but that is not as big of a deal because season two is coming out this year. Over all Attack on Titan is a pretty good anime and I would give it a 7 out of 10. I recommend this anime to anyone who likes post-apocalyptic shows, action, or monster shows. – B-Ro
Attack on Titan. A lot of my friends love this show and have recommended it. I essentially went into it thinking that I would like it, but I wouldn’t be my cup of tea. Now that I have watched it, I can say that it is an awesome anime, and surprisingly more of my cup if tea than I thought (though not completely). The concept is quite interesting, and there are plenty of cool action-y moments. The way the titans are designed is one of my favorite aspects of the show. The faces of the titans are genuinely creepy and unsettling, and the acrobatics performed by the fighting humans were cool to watch. I was under the initial impression that the show would be a constant titan killing bloodfest. However, while there is plenty of gore, there’s also lots of downtime, and much of the action isn’t too glorious. This works very well with displaying the show’s emotional themes. This idea of facing off against these beings that are far superior to you in a seemingly futile battle is very dark and interesting. We all have “titans” in our life to an extent, and seeing these characters rise and fail and come back is very inspiring. However, it’s also depressing. Maybe a little too depressing for me at times. I usually love dark elements, but I’m not really a fan of “humanity is almost extinct” scenarios, which is just my personal preference. However, the world is presented well enough to keep me interested, and there’s more to the show than just fear of extinction. I also really loved the characters when they weren’t dying. For all of the love for this show I’ve heard, I’ve also heard a lot of people say that Eren Yeager is annoying, or a bad character. I honestly don’t understand the hate. He is almost annoyingly dedicated to his goals (we get it, you want to kill titans), but I loved his character. He had much more depth than I had anticipated, and is much more than the annoying hot headed protagonist type. I also loved Mikasa as a character, especially once I learned her backstory. The good characters made me interested in the story, and saddened even when a very minor character dies. Though the “character is paralyzed with fear in the face of danger” moments get a bit overdone, it’s pretty understandable given the circumstances. It shows that they’re just humans against these beasts, and can’t all just be these epic macho kill everyone and say a one liner heroes a la 80’s action stars. There are also political themes that I feared would bog down the show too much, but didn’t really overstay their welcome to me. Now I can’t not talk about the first opening of the show. It seems to get a lot of love, and it’s very well deserved. I was surprised by the choir and trumpet instrumentation, but wow did it work! It’s epic and driving, and combined with the imagery really sneaks up on you and gets you pumped. The other opening and closers are also extremely good, but they unfortunately get overshadowed by the first Op. The rest of the soundtrack is also incredible! It has very interesting instrumentation, can match a wide range of moods, and you can tell a lot of love went into it. However I’m a bit confused by the overabundance of songs with words. While shows like Kill La Kill did this and I loved it, Kill La Kill also only used a few songs, and used them often enough for them to act as themes in a way. To my knowledge, none of the AoT songs repeat, or at least aren’t memorable like “Don’t Lose Your Way” was. They’re still good songs, but I’d prefer more of the instrumental soundtrack. The more western animation style should also be mentioned. It’s not my favorite, but it’s really cool and fits the setting well. I’ve heard people say this anime feels more western. I can see what they’re saying, and this works to the show’s benefit, but it still feels like an anime, in a good way. All in all, this show kind of surprised me with its depth, and though it wasn’t my absolute favorite, I can greatly appreciate it, and will be among the people patiently waiting for season 2 to be delayed once again. It feels good to join the club!
Final Comments: With faulty storytelling and sloppy character development, Attack on Titan surprisingly manages to overcome its major and obvious flaws. It does this through an interesting premise, deep themes, and incredible soundtrack.
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