Anime Review: Attack On Titan (2013)
Attack on Titan is a Dystopian masterpiece that is a rare phenomenon of this decade. If you’re into story-telling and animation filled with pulsing adrenalin, this gripping anime is highly-recommended for all Otakus as it is regarded as THE anime series of 2013.
Attack on Titan centres around the lives of Eren Jaeger, his adoptive sister Mikasa Ackerman, and their friend Armin Arlert. The world they live in isn’t as simple as it sounds. Living in a city surrounded by high walls, the villagers live in despair and trepidation every day — just like animal livestock — dreading the day when the monstrous Titans will break through the walls and cause havoc.
But when a Colossal Titan brings about the destruction of Eren’s hometown and the death of his mother, it spurs Eren and his childhood friends to enter the army. Little is known about the Titans as these gigantic humanoid creatures lustfully devour humans without hesitance.
By joining the army, soldiers will have the ability to use the Vertical Maneuvering Equipment which allows them to navigate quickly in three-dimensional space to attack the enemy. These Titans are incontrovertibly invincible so how on earth will the villagers ever overcome the ongoing monstrosity?
Since Attack on Titan’s explosive debut in April, 2013, the entire anime community has been capriciously gaga over the series. You’ll witness fans cosplaying as military soldiers at your animecons, and parodying the epic opening song ‘Crimson Bow and Arrow’ (Linked Horizon) using cats, Bollywood movies and also Miley Cyrus’s Wrecking Ball.
Directed by Tetsuro Araki — aka the Director of the infamous Death Note series (2006) — has Araki-san pulled off another Production IG masterpiece? Without a doubt, yes, and the reception amongst Otakus have been unanimously positive.
From the mind-blowing animation to the Original Soundtrack, never before have we seen such a fantastic movie quality production from start to finish. And for just an anime series, this is something that we don’t generally see in anime, so it’s a real treat for all viewers out there.
Attack on Titan’s visual direction and animation strongly reminds the audience of Berserk (1997) and Claymore (2007). For what it was, Attack on Titan is 99% close to perfection. Attack on Titan dares to be confronting and morbidly unpleasant, and it would be no surprise if viewers suffered traumatic experiences from the anime in any way.
The manner that Attack on Titan hold its fort in every episode is remarkable as its sole purpose is probably not to let the audience forget the harsh extremity of the story. The way blood splatters across our screens, the way how Titans kill soldiers at the flick of the wrist … Araki-san’s directorial vision is visually powerful and in-depth as the extent of horror that the anime bestows on its audience is truly grande. Combined with Hajime Isayama’s Western-influenced illustration that perfectly demonstrates a Dystopian world, this is one eye-catching series that will draw in many Western viewers to its advantage.
Attack on Titan would not have been successful without the accompaniment of the original soundtrack. From the musical composer that brought us Guilty Crown, Sengoku, Kill la Kill and Blue Exorcist, Hiroyuki Sawano’s musical soundtrack has been a real gem to the series. From strong orchestra strings to operatic vocals, Sawano’s composition perfectly drives the story’s action and emotions to maximum level.
In between the fast-paced action that one can barely stay on the edge of the seat, the unfolding of Attack on Titan’s story has been one highly suspenseful and engaging journey. The series is not only known for its explosive action scenes but for its theatrical twists as well.
From the very first episode, a dangerous journey had already been carved and sealed for Eren, Mikasa and Armin. Every soldier will need to overcome their fears and encounter Titans upclose on the battlefront, and in the heat of the moment, we soon see their true identities and motives behind their pride and guarded confidence.
The character development throughout the plot not only focuses on Eren the protagonist but the sub-main characters as well, such as Mikasa, Jean and Annie. Mikasa — the silent but deadly leading female protagonist — is quite the badass character. Mikasa is the epitome of a modern Feminist character as she not only takes care of Eren but she can independently handle things on her own as well.
Armin and Jean aren’t exactly on the same page of badassness but we gradually witness their incredible transformation due to the overwhelming adversity and pressure that one must encounter as a military solider. From weak to gutsy, level-headed soldiers, the audience becomes emotionally moved by their courage and state of mind.
And as a result, Attack on Titan fuels the audience with tremendous adrenalin every week, and the fact the anime spends a majority of its time playing on the audience’s emotions and unveiling riveting twists, it leaves the audience with great anticipation for the pending episode. Eren’s transformation, for instance, has been one thrilling revelation. His survival count clearly defies logic – but the story somehow continues to impress us immensely right up to the end.
And let’s not forget about the Titans themselves. These Titans are the most unlikely villains that you will ever see in anime history. To think something basic as massive giants being the villains of a story, you’d be surprised by how threatened humanity feels about these Titans. The Titans’ presence and behaviour are quite troll-like as they stumble around, wave their arms in the air, and their creepy trolling lunatic smiles will definitely haunt you in your sleep. But as the story progresses, we discover many forms of Titans with extraordinary strength and power, making them even more invincible and intimidating.
However, in what was the best development to the climatic pinnacle of the story, Attack on Titan surprisingly — and very disappointingly — failed to execute the ‘BIG’ revelation of the Female Titan’s identity in a suspenseful way. The revelation was a significant anti-climatic facepalm. The anime has always been regarded as THE Master of suspense and thrills, and for viewers to be deeply disgruntled by how the screenwriters handled the revelation, it was a tremendous letdown. Nevertheless, the series redeemed itself with the following penultimate episodes as it soon gears up with enthralling action and tension that will have viewers in a knot.
Overall: As expected from Director Tetsuro Araki, Attack on Titan is sheer perfection. This almost high-end masterpiece will be remembered for a long time, and this is guaranteed by the hype and dedication that we see amongst fans.
Since its debut, the manga series has become a commercial success, selling over 20 million volumes as of mid-2013. And with a live action film currently in the works, this Dystopian-styled anime will definitely continue to turn heads around and attract further attention down the track.
If you’re a fan of hardcore bonkers cinema, this needs to shoot directly to the top of your must-see list.
Very good series. Especially opening intro. I can’t wait for the second season.