Before Reading – This first impression is based on the 5 episodes that have been translated thus far. Author - Anthony Fallucco Twitter - @Killroycantkill
In a world, where humanity is struggling to survive, one man… hold up, that is way to cliché, but this is what I initially thought when I first heard of Attack on Titan. The new anime by Wit Studio seemed very cookie cutter when I first heard of it, humanity, on its last legs, a stronger race threating them, and a hero who is determined to save them all because they ruined his life somehow. But I guess that’s my fault for judging a book by its cover. Attack on Titan brings a unique telling of humanities struggle and actually makes you as the audience feel for how hopeless a situation against these giants can feel.
The main character Erin is an angry, angry little boy when we first meet him. During this time we learn about how all of the human race, or as far as they know has been relegated to a castle town consisting of three cities. Humanity has built these three cities in a giant circle, with a 50 meter high wall to keep the giants out, and for the past 100 years, that plan has been working pretty well. Then a colossal giant who is taller than the wall comes, kicks out the front gate and lets the smaller giants in to feast on the humans. This scene really nails it to the watcher than Attack on Titan isn’t about a hero rising up against all odds; it’s about humanity struggling to survive against an enemy that is much stronger than they. You start to feel the same despair and frustration that the people in the series do.
A particular thing about this show that I absolutely love is the sense of scale. The giants actually feel huge; they tower over buildings, make humans look like ants, and with their pseudo-human appearances they’re scary. This is especially true in episode 5, where Erin actually takes on one of the bigger versions. It was very reminiscent of Shadow of the Colossus for me, which, in its own medium, was able to also portray scale perfectly. Also the story does a great job of letting you in on the lore of the humans in this universe. How they have been struggling, how they have learned to try and combat the titans with their Three-Dimensional Maneuver Gear, and my favourite, in the commercial break segments they have info graphics teaching you the more detailed information of the different weapons they use, and the different politics of each ring.
Action in the anime looks great as well, while the soldiers are using the Three-Dimensional Maneuver Gear you get a real sense of the speed and danger they are in, even while just going from point A to point B. Since the only way the humans know how to kill the titans is by slicing the back of their necks, this allows for some great sections of acrobatics as they dodge attacks and try to position themselves for the killing blow. I should warn viewers that blood and dismemberment are not something that the show shies away from. While it is not as detailed as something like Gantz, the show does still have depictions of people being eaten and losing limbs; but these scenes feel right in the general tone of the show.
Overall Attack on Titan was very enjoyable. I’m interested to see where the anime goes from here since it leaves every episode on some pretty crazy cliff-hangers (I’m looking at you episode 5). Just remember that this anime is more about tragedy than it is about a hero overcoming the odds. So if you’re not into that, or cannot handle gore or overall despair, this may not be for you.