Every once in a while an anime will grip me. Attack on Titan left me wanting more after each episode. I heard a fair bit about it, but I was reluctant to give it a watch. I tend to avoid anime that have a lot of hype. Generally hype doesn’t skew my expectations; I watch each show on its own merits. Hype annoys me. In any case, I watched Attack on Titan on a whim one night. Four episodes later I still wanted more.
Set in a world dominated by giant human like creatures known as titans, the anime follows a band of cadets who join humanity’s military after their town was attacked. You see, humans have lived behind massive walls for the last century. These walls are the only hope and defense against the titans, whose only purpose is to eat humans. The cast is large and shifting. Every titan encounter ends with ridiculous casualties. Eren Yeager and Mikasa Ackerman are the main protagonists. Eren is typically shonen. He is impulsive, aggressive, and unskilled. Although, there is far more to Eren than his stereotypical persona lets on. Mikasa is the opposite of Eren: she is skilled and deadly. Mikasa is a strong female lead, often protecting Eren. She and her foster brother, Eren, share a more than brotherly and sisterly affection. Their friend and local punching bag, Armin Arlert, is a tactical genius with little physical skills. Between the three, the titans should shudder with fear.
The titans have a zombie quality to them. They seem mindless and only bent on eating. They are large enough to eat people whole; the hapless person slowly dissolves in the stomach acid. There are many different classes and sizes of titans. They are all male and seem to be powered by sunlight. Titans are not exactly what they seem. No one knows where they came from or why they only target humans. They are creepy, that is for sure. They skuttle, prance, slouch, dance, and are human enough to live in the unsettling uncanny valley.
Attack on Titan is violent and intense. The anime spans several years of training before slowing down to focus on battles. Blood. There is a lot of blood in this anime. Titans bite people in half, smash them like bugs, and squeeze them like tubes of red toothpaste. Production IG as at its best with the action sequences. The use of Vertical Maneuvering Equipment, a series of pneumatic pistons and cables that allows soldiers to zip around like they are flying) makes for vertigo inducing action. The speed and sudden deaths is jarring and wonderful. Thankfully, Production IG uses panning stills to give the viewer breaks from the action (and save on the animation budget). Production IG spent a lot of time on details. This focus reminds me of Ghost in the Shell’s quality.
Attack on Titan is gripping. It is full of twists and turns that caught me by surprise. It likes to play with stereotypical plots before slapping you upside the head for thinking you knew what was coming next. I was glad to see this anime didn’t focus on high school-like academies. It glossed over the military academy setting quickly.
If you don’t mind violence, blood, and unsettling creatures Attack on Titan is one to check out. While it may not live up to the hype (I didn’t pay attention to the hype), it is a fast paced ride. The action scenes are certainly up to Production IG’s caliber. Wit Studio also did a solid job with the animation.