Anime review: Attack on Titan

About a year ago, a TV adaptation of Hajime Isayama’s Shingeki no Kyogin (Attack on Titan, internationally) aired in Japan to critical acclaim. Ever since, this hit series has been invading television screens on both sides of the Pacific, garnering a huge following in a relatively short period of time.

The series depicts a world forced to retreat into a system of concentric walls as man-eating titans threaten its very existence. It follows the story of Eren, Mikasa, and Armin, from the day their city was attacked by the Colossus Titan to the day they graduate from military academy and join one of its four Corps.

Attack on Titan has the typical Shōnen approach: the protagonist seeks power, and—through strenuous training—wages war against formidable opponents. However, the series’ outstanding storytelling transforms the typical into the exceptional.

What adds to the mystery and thrill of the anime is that no details are disclosed about the titan, the antagonist, at the beginning. This has played a huge role in inciting people to join the show’s ever-growing fanbase as the excitement to discover the nature of the villain grows.

The story’s most prominent feature is the unconventional character development. Viewers are only given a taste of the characters’ past in conversations or short flashbacks. Thus, most of the characters have a mystery of their own, and shock is imminent as the episodes reveal (or audiences deduce) the relationship between their origins and the main storyline.

This a double-edged sword, however. If the individual storylines are not handled carefully by the time the series ends, the characters will end up feeling one-dimensional, which will present a major flaw in this very promising anime. Such build-up requires a decent ending, and the way Attack on Titan concludes will either mean eternal success or complete failure.

Attack on Titan follows a dark path. Characters regularly die in the most violent and graphic ways. In that context, getting attached to a character other than the main three leads to dreadfulness and disappointment, which is exactly the intent of the creator. The angrier viewers get over the death of a character, the more they are inclined to root for the characters remaining, emphasizing the fragility of mortality.

A glaring flaw in the anime is its slow pace. A chase, for example, lasted three episodes in the second arc of this season. Viewers grew increasingly unsatisfied at the end of each of those episodes, due to the fact that long scenes killed the thrill in that part of the story.

Nevertheless, it should be noted that slow pacing is normal in animes. It is far more convenient a solution to extend the series rather than bridge the gaps of plot with filler episodes that just kill the anime.
On top of great and promising content, the series is perfect at a technical level. With excellent visuals and exceptional sound, Attack on Titan is aesthetically breathtaking.

Accordingly, the intricate details observed in the fight scenes, what with blood spatter, colossal hits, and burning flesh in every other episode make it − technically speaking − the best anime of its time.
Attack on Titan is the Game of Thrones of anime. It is a must-watch series that leaves a strong impression. And—considering it’s only aired for one season so far—that’s saying something.

Firas Haidar
Contributing Writer

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