Attack On Titan – Making Action Anime Relevant Again
Shocking, disturbing, unique and mature. Attack on Titan isn’t only the best show to air this season, it’s also a return to that golden era when anime stood out for daring to infuse animation with gore.
Truth be told years on years of moe and repetitive shounen shows have made us soft. We forgot how shocking or daring anime can be and settled for more standard, long-term trends. Attack on Titan is definitely not a moe show, but calling it a shounen show won’t be doing it justice either. Attack on Titan is first and foremost a shockingly well-done grotesque survival series where humans are forced to defend themselves against an almost omnipotent force. And it is a fight they are currently loosing. Watching the titans as they grip horrified humans and devour them is both gruesome and impressive at the same time. This is a series that’s built on shock-value and knows exactly what to do in order to disgust you one moment and pull you in on another.
The first three episodes of Attack on Titan are slower than they should have been and include many scenes that we could have done without. For example the second and third episodes focus on a group of children in the midst of army training. They feature bonding, army training (including a scene where the children practice Krav Maga) and typical shounen troupes. By the 5th episode though a third of these children die while fighting the titans. This raises a harsh, yet valid, question: Was it really important to introduce us to these children to begin with? Couldn’t these two episodes have been used to establish something more valuable to the permanent course of the show? We can’t really get attached to characters whom we’ve barely seen, so why put them in the center of attention in the first place?
Thankfully this and other trifle issues are all forgotten when the Titans reemerge in episode four. From there on out it’s one excellent episode after the other. The action is intense, the titans’ appearance is mesmerizing and the human drama (well, mostly human carnage) is edgy enough to put a dent on the heart of even those accustomed to viewing anime violence. The real amazing thing however is that Attack on Titan hasn’t even tapped its full potential yet. Right now only about five minutes of each episode are dedicated to the fight between the humans and the titans. Think how eye-popping it could get if a whole episode of fighting is shown. Furthermore, it’s hard to care for most of the characters since we don’t know them yet. But given some time we will, and it will make it that much more heart-breaking when some of them end up being wringed to death by a foul titan. And I haven’t even spoken about the mystery that surrounds the source of the titans and what motivates them to hunt the humans.
What Attack on Titans is currently doing is making action anime relevant again. It doesn’t try to appeal to children (Magi), it isn’t censored (Hunter x Hunter) and it clearly isn’t utilizing any spoilers in order to prolong it’s life. Add to this an excellent story, subtle yet charming music, eye-popping fights and a gloomy atmosphere and what you get is entertainment gold. The quality of Attack on Titan as a whole is way above what we have become accustomed to in recent years. And as long as it continues down this road it is assured to be a huge hit.