Full Series Review: Attack on Titan
Attack on Titan is a very popular show, which has recently spawned a large following. Many people, myself included, hope fervently for it to get another season. But does it live up to all this hype? Is it as good as everyone says? Here's what I like and dislike about Attack on Titan.
Attack on Titan takes place in an alternate reality where, at one point in human history, mysterious giant humanoid creatures called Titans appeared as a predator of and great threat to mankind. Humanity fled the Titans from all previous areas of the world to live in a walled city, where the Titans would be kept out so that humans could survive. But the walls are constantly being threatened by Titan attack. When one Titan taller than the outer wall shows up and wreaks major destruction, it's a dark day for humanity. But out of that day are born some new heroes who might become the key to saving humanity's future.
Attack on Titan is more or less a "zombie apocalypse" style story, except that the "zombies" are Titans. Most horror relies on the idea that "There's always a bigger fish" applies to humans, that humans aren't the apex predator anymore when a new creature that preys on us shows up, whether it be zombie, vampire, demon, werewolf, etc. Thus, the Titan represents a primal fear of mankind. Attack on Titan is also about war, how not only is war hell, but it's especially bad when you know so little about your enemy. The Titans are scary because they're mysterious, and whenever humans think they have them all figured out, something new happens that throws humanity a curve ball. And people die. I think that this is also a universal human fear, fear of the unknown and unknowable. Since we have rational minds that want to have all the answers, the unknown is an element in almost all horror stories. This is about a war for the survival of humanity, but Eren, the main character, also worries about becoming like the thing he's fighting. This is a common theme in many types of movies and shows, fear that your hatred of the monster will turn you into one.
This show has a lot of good things going for it. First of all, it has a very strong set of opening theme sequences, with vibrant music, which is important, because a lackluster opening sequence can make an otherwise good show seem boring. I think it appeals to the American youth's obsession with zombie apocalypse, survival, and war stories. I think its also so appealing because it's about retaining hope in a truly harsh world where anyone can die at any time. It also doesn't waste the audience's time, each action happens for a reason, each conversation is important, and each flashback is crucial to understanding the characters as they presently are. The action sequences are also beautifully animated, and I think the maneuver gear they use is an interesting and neat-looking invention on the part of the creators. Overall, this is a show I would recommend to most people.
The only problem I have with it is that the manga contains so much more, and that the show's "ending" is really just the end of a fight, but not anything that can truly be called a conclusion. Very little is also shown of how politics works in those inner walls, and if there are secret plots within the walls, which I'm sure there are. The show gets you to like the characters and care about what happens to them, and it gets you to ask questions about the world they're in, but these questions are left unanswered. Although, I hear that it's getting a second season soon, so I can't wait to see if it contains what I hope it will.
Attack on Titan is a must-see show, especially for fans of the shounen, horror, action, fantasy, and adventure genres. It's a dark show, taking place in a bleak world, but the main character's struggle within that world to save humanity is quite inspiring. The show's ending, however, leaves a lot to be desired. I may come back and rate it higher when I see the second season.