Don't you just hate spoilers? I do, too. That's why I always try to include warnings. However, I sometimes ramble a bit too much here or there and maybe a few (or many) key plot points slip without me giving proper notice. So I'd like to include a blanket spoiler warning for the weary internet travelers of the world: Here There Be Spoilers. You've been warned.

Sunday, August 18, 2013

Attack On Titan (Shingeki no Kyojin)

There are three walls that protect the remaining survivors of humankind. These walls are Maria, Rose, and Sina. Inside these walls people have been living in relative peace for one hundred years, safe from the tyranny of the titans. Then one day a titan taller than any other breaks a hole in Wall Maria and one hundred years of peace comes to a screeching and bloody halt because the only thing titans like doing is eating people. They don't kill because they must, but because they seem to enjoy doing it and fighting them is not something that many people know how to do or have enough courage to do. 

However, Eren Yeager is a kid who vows to kill every titan after watching the terrible events caused by the titans that day. Eren wants to become one of the Survey Corps so he can go beyond the walls that cage humanity and kill the titans that roam freely on the outside world. Resolution and execution are two very different things, though. 

This is a series I had heard a lot about from anime nerds, but I postponed watching it because I'm just that type of person. Sure, I jumped on The Flowers of Evil bandwagon from the start because it was so different and it irked some people, but Attack on Titan seemed to be just another action anime at first. I had heard Attack on Titan called "the Japanese version of The Walking Dead with giants instead of zombies" on one website or another, but I wasn't sure about that. That's some high praise to someone who is a fan of both anime and shows about people getting eaten.

Well, this show really is excellent and it is one of the very few times where any television show I've seen made its presence known within the first three minutes of the first episode. Without warning you are there staring over the wall at the face of a huge creature known as the Colossal Titan and the shit is about to hit the fan. There's no buildup to the chaos because the chaos is there from the start and it just keeps building and building and building even where we are introduced to bits of backstory. The pacing is unrelenting and I think that it is a perfect show for the kind of people who like the bleak as hell end of the world vibe of Stephen King's The Stand, Brian Keene's The Rising (or Dead Sea), and the aforementioned The Walking Dead. If you want daisies and butterflies then go watch something else. 

This anime is similar in terms of animation style to another action-packed anime called Claymore, but Attack on Titan is much more intense and a lot bloodier. But if you don't care for the animation of Claymore than you might not care for the look of Attack on Titan

Excluding credits and previews and episode recaps each episode is about twenty minutes in running time and I am glad each episode is so short because those running times help keep the pedal to the metal. The show just doesn't wander around and there's almost no filler. There's an episode 13.5 that acts as a recap of the first 13 episodes. With so much happening at once the episode 13.5 acts as a bit of a breather as well as a memory refresher so you can brace yourself for what is about to come your way. Although if you've read the manga or are binge watching the series the extra episode will be more of an annoyance. 

This show doesn't pull any punches when it comes to unceremoniously killing characters and there's no real way to know what is coming your way next (unless you've read the manga, I guess). 

I just got through watching episode 19 today and it really is going to be an agonizing wait until the next episode. A week is just too long between episodes. 

There are only 25 episodes of this show according to the wikipedia page, but I am hoping that this show can keep going. It all depends on what happens next and where the manga goes, but this show has major crossover potential and I can't imagine it just ending in a few more episodes. I don't want it to keep going on forever like Naruto or Bleach and become consumed by enough filler to where the filler itself could become its own TV series, but I do want Attack on Titan to be around for a bit longer. 

The second half of the series introduces Captain Levi and he is a great entry into the ever growing catalog of short but badass anime characters. Levi is a captain on the Survey Corps and I don't know what to think of some of his actions just yet, but he has a charisma that hooks you from the get-go and he doesn't screw around. Assuming he lives until the end of episode 25 then I think he should be given a bit more time in the next season (and there better be one!). 

You can stream this show on FUNimation or Crunchyroll and I sincerely encourage you to do so. I like all of the Japanese voices on this show and I think the graphics and music are fantastic. It looks epic and in your face and it sounds epic and in your face. 

Watch it. 

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