Rating: 8 out of 10
Episode Count: 25
Genre: Post-Apocalyptic, Dark Fantasy, Action, Horror
Format: English Dubbed
"Known in Japan as Shingeki no Kyojin, many years ago, the last remnants of humanity were forced to retreat behind the towering walls of a fortified city to escape the massive, man-eating Titans that roamed the land outside their fortress. Only the heroic members of the Scouting Legion dared to stray beyond the safety of the walls – but even those brave warriors seldom returned alive. Those within the city clung to the illusion of a peaceful existence until the day that dream was shattered, and their slim chance at survival was reduced to one horrifying choice: kill – or be devoured!"
Out of the millions of people who have watched Attack on Titan, I probably am numbered in the less than 5% who didn’t like it to begin with, but grew to appreciate it over time. Without a doubt, Attack on Titan was an acquired taste. Despite its impeccable reputation, my first impression was less than glowing. I found its story choppy and underdeveloped, its characters one dimensional and cliché, its animation uncouth and often grotesque, its premise scary but sorely lacking in suspense, and its story border lining on repugnant. Now as bad as that sounds, I beg you to stick with me, because I’m about to start complimenting it real soon.
Ordinarily, I would drop a series that I feel that negative about within one to two episodes, but Attack on Titan’s raw and untamed potential wasn’t wasted on me. So despite the fact I had issues with multiple components at first, I chose to stick it out and see it through, whether it turned into something great or failed me on every level. I knew if it could just tweak a handful of things, it could make a fan out of me as it had everyone else. It kept me waiting for almost half a season, but around episode twelve, I could feel the shift take place.
Suddenly, the characters that had felt so contrived and held back up till then now felt liberated and layered. The story that had felt constricted and forced was now starting to fly off the screen and come to life. Its dull animation began to take shape and become an extension of its dismal world—rather than just a medium to convey it. The threads of its potential began to weave together, finally forming a tapestry of slowly nurtured talent. Attack on Titan is the best example of an inorganic life form evolving that I’ve ever seen.
As it outgrew its awkward phase, I began to see past the things that had previously bothered me, and notice all the little things that make Attack on Titan singularly special. Easily the most humanistic series I’ve ever encountered, animated or otherwise, although it’s often one of the elements that can make it difficult to watch, this series uncensored portrayal of the human race is one of the many elements that separate it from the pack.
Despite the fact we always expect a classic hero to be confident, self-sacrificing, and unyielding, you will never encounter a real human being that can uphold those qualities at all times and in all situations. And if you did, I can assure you they aren’t human. Just like real people, the characters of Attack on Titan display authentic human emotions that would naturally occur in a heinous living environment such as theirs. They get scared and angry, discouraged and disoriented, they run when they should fight, and they freeze up when they should take action. Watching a bunch of characters standing around screaming when they could be launching into action isn’t always enjoyable, but it’s surely more realistic.
I’ve never done this before, but I honestly suggest that psychology students watch this series a few times. It’ll give you a creative insight on how environmental cues, social economics, and childhood trauma can influence the development of personalities and shape the society they live in.
My hyper critical nature of this series was brought on by the untapped ability I saw laying dormant in it at the beginning, but despite its first impression and my natural hatred for the horror genre, Attack on Titan still managed to find a way to win me over. I’ll never stop mourning where this series went wrong, or seeing where it could improve in the future, but I believe even that’s a sign of how much I love it. I accept it for what it is, but see it for what it can become.
I would never in a million years classify Attack on Titan as a fun series to watch. There’s too much death and destruction to call it a cheery thing like “fun,” but if you’re looking for an aggressive, gritty, and cringe worthy series to curl up with a security blanket, and box of tissues in hand, congratulations, you’ve found it!