I had already watched this series a while ago so the show was not fresh in my mind (which is why I avoided a post about it). Recently, however, my brother started watching it and I have been there for most of his viewing time. With the show more fresh in my mind I figured I would be better equipped.
The show primarily follows three characters. Eren, Mikasa and Armin. In the beginning of the first episode it is explained that humans had been under attack a long time ago by a race of giants, which they refer to as Titans, and that the human race was finally able to have peace by retreating being 3 massive walls. 100 years later, everyone seems to be enjoying a peaceful, giant-free, existence within the outer wall. Until one day when a colossal titan ( that stands over 50 meters tall) peaks over the wall, kicks a big whole in it and destroys the human world forever.
Eren, the main character, had to sit by helplessly as his mother is killed and eaten in front of his very eyes. This has a lasting impact on him and the story as he vows to kill all titans.
First and foremost, the animation in this show is amazing. It was drawn on such a way that the character have a somewhat rougher strokes but all the colors and stuff are super clean and high quality.
My favorite thing about the anime is he utter despair that you see the characters go through and the helplessness you feel as a viewer because of it. The humans are being actively hunted and devoured by creatures much bigger a s much more powerful than they are. The humans, at every juncture of the series, are pretty powerless against the titan force as a whole. The only real weakness being a spot at the base of their necks.
Another reason you feel so helpless in the show, as the characters do, is because you don’t quite understand why the titans eat humans in the first place. You find out early on that it is not for food, as titans have no digestive system. My theory comes from the way many of the titans look. Many are puggy and have creepy baby-like faces and smiles. They also stomp around curiously.
This leads me to believe the titans are more like big babies. They think the humans are cute little toys to play with, gnaw on and rip apart because, well, that is what babies do.
Even in the high points of the show, where Eren or Mikasa do something amazing, you are still left with people being destroyed and eaten in the backgrounds. This belittles the victories and makes them feel small and insignificant.
Another visually pleasing part of the show is how the humans fight. They use these gas-propelled hip grappling guns that allow them to move around in a 3 dimensional space very quickly.
It is like being in a world completely comprised of spidermen.
This biggest issue with this anime, as a friend pointed out in another blog, is that it takes the show FOREVER to progress. Similar to Hajime no Ippo there is tons of inner dialog. Too much even! By the end of season one the humans have made very little progress and there are still so many plot points left on the table.
Overall, I think Attack on Titan Is a great show. The animation style and battles are very visually pleasing. The most effective thing about the anime is how helpless the show makes you feel. I think that that’s a very under-discussed portion about the show that should be explored more. However, the inner dialog and slow moving of events in the show as a whole could be fixed to be honest.