Anime Review: Shingeki no Kyojin (Episode 1-13)

The spring of 2013 can pretty much be summarized in one word: hype! Mostly centered around one single show, a show called Attack on Titan. Another shounen introduced to the likes of the Naruto and One Piece fans. But is this Anime worth the hype? Or is it again just another shounen that gets far too much credit for what it actually is?

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the three walls surrounding the town

Story: The setting of Shingeki no Kyojin is set in the far future, where mankind has faced an enemy that has been unknown to them for a long time and get’s driven back into a single gigantic town, surrounded by three walls, higher than every titan seen so far, that shall defend them from any incoming threads. This obviously also means that almost no human being has enough courage to leave the walls. This being, the human race slowly starts to lose their technology and seemingly go back to medieval time.
Eren Jaeger, the son of a known doctor though, doesn’t simply want to stay within the walls that keep the titans from coming into the huge area, but wants to leave the town and explore the outside world together with his friend Armin Arlert. One day, the walls of the gate of the little district he  lives breaks, due to an incredibly tall titan and the titans enter it. From here on the catastrophe starts and everything goes down hill.
The Story of Shingeki no Kyojin is an extremely interesting take on something that has been done a lot. The zombie apocalypse really is not a lot different to this, considering that we have mindless human like things walking around, that only want to eat humans. The thing that SnK does a lot better than most Anime is presenting it’s world and showing the crisis.
The main selling point of the plot though is the pacing, being one of the fastest paced shows that I have seen so far and literally feeding us with plot twists within the first seven to eight episodes. The pacing though, while being the best point, at the same time can also be the weakest. Since the first episodes were paced that fast, when the show slows down to normal speed, it feels as if things would have completely stopped to happen. The pacing in the second half of this first part seems really off and in comparison to the first half let’s down a lot, even though it can’t even be considered really slow. It just feels this way. All in all SnK has a really intriguing plot, carried by an incredibly fast pacing that can be both blessing and curse due to it slowing down to normal pace.
8.4/10

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from left to right: Armin Arlert, Eren Jaeger and Mikasa Ackerman

Characters: The cast of Shingeki no Kyojin’s first half is quite big, featuring many of the trainees that want to become soldiers for different matters, which leads to only few of them really getting depth added and most of them not being given too much attention to, due to that they didn’t have enough time for this. But I can’t really judge that much for the supporting cast, since we are only half way through the series and there is still a lot of time for development. That being said, the ones that actually do get depth are really swell written.
The main cast consists of three characters and is pretty well balanced, the most important one being Eren Jaeger. He is the son of a known doctor living in Shiganshina, the small district which the titans invaded first. Before they came, he already planned on joining the Recon Corps, that are the only ones that are able to leave the wall, searching for Titans to investigate and get to know more about them. After a titan eats his mother he swears to revenge her and kill every single Titan on this earth, making him seem at first sight like a generic character, but later adding enough depth to it to really make him an amazing character and develop him as the tragedy goes on.
The next character in the main cast is Mikasa Ackermann. She is Eren’s stepsister, for reasons that would go into spoilers and that I am not going to explain. She pretty much serves as the voice of reason for Eren and stops him from doing stupid things more than once. Later on though, as Eren becomes more and more independent, she is seems to be more of a love interest than what she was before, which still doesn’t take away the awesome ass kicking scenes in which she really gets to shine and all in all she really makes a great character.
The last of the three main characters is Armin Arlet, at first being postmarked as the pussy of the show, he later on really gets to shine and show his true abilities of making plans and being the mastermind for operations that seem to only be able to fail and make them possible. Armin is a childhood friend of Eren, that first got the idea of leaving the town due to his parents doing the same. They never reappear though, leaving him and his grandfather alone.
The main cast is, just as the supporting characters that the show focuses on, really well done and the they add a lot of depth to them, leaving a really good impression of them and making them incredibly likeable.
8.6/10

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The Animation looks amazingly fluent in fight scenes…

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…but relies on many stillscreens while not featuring fast movements

Animation: The Animation of Shingeki no Kyojin has been handled by WIT Studio, a side studio of the famous studio Production IG. The studio itself though didn’t have any work before this, making this the only thing that they have created so far, aka their debut and that really is something that people are able to realize, due to production delays and unfinished animation in some episodes.
Those issues aside though, the Animation quality itself while battle scenes is amazing! The fighting scenes and actually generally the scenes when they use the 3-D Movement gear (a gear that makes them seem like “Medieval Spiderman” (random gigguk quote)) is incredibly fluent and just something really good to see. At this point a lot of credit to Araki Tetsurou, who was directing this and made the gear as awesome as it is!
On the other hand though, while not fighting or doing anything that requires fast movements, the quality drops a lot, to a point where still screens become more normal than actual animation. This of course is due to the budget being almost completely used on the action scenes, leaving nothing but a little amount for everything else. While I do approve of the amazing battles against the titans, I do think personally that they should have kept a little more budget for the slow paced parts and even though the action scenes wouldn’t be as good, the scenes that don’t need as much movement, wouldn’t throw me off as much.
7.5/10

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Cover of the Shingeki no Kyojin Soundtrack

Sound: The OST of Shingeki no Kyojin has been composed by  Sawano Hiroyuki, who also did the soundtrack to Animes such as Guilty Crown and Gundam: Unicorn and this Soundtrack really doesn’t let down! This is probably what gets you heart racing the most in the entire show and makes this show a lot more enjoyable, even with those flaws that it has quite a few of. The OST is really good at getting you excited for the battle to come or make you emotional for what just happened. A thing that really helps the show. The songs are mostly just as fast paced as the show itself and even get you singing whatever you understand without even watching the show. The slower songs are pretty emotional as well and give a good feeling of how dark this Anime can actually be.
The Soundtrack almost always fits perfectly and as I said multiple this really gets your heart racing during every fight scene and just scream out the words that they are singing (as far as you understand them that is…)
I don’t think I really need to talk about the first Opening “Guren no Yumiya”, but for those who actually seem to live behind the moon, this Opening must be one of the best to come out in the last few years. Not only does it get stuck in your head really easy, it also just doesn’t get boring and while watching the show always makes you want to see SnK now. The ending “Utsukushiki Zankoku na Sekai” on the other side of the show, does not let either and features quite good animation together with a beautiful song sung by Hikasa Yoko.
As far as I can tell the Voice Acting cast has been really good. While again, my Japanese is not good enough to understand everything, I really like how they do get over the emotions and huge congratulations to Ishikawa Yui, who had one of her first appearances in an Anime ever here in this show as Mikasa and really is an incredibly good newcomer. I hope we will see her again!
9.2

In total: Is Shingeki no Kyojin overrated? Yes! Does that mean it is bad? No! Not at all! While this show has quite some flaws, the overall impression of this Anime still is really good. I do enjoy this a lot, even though it has it’s faults and even though it got a lot slower in the end there was still a lot more going for it than against it and the enjoyment factor is really high. I just don’t think it is that good, that it deserves a spot in the top 10 of Anime after only 7 episodes.
After calculating all the scores that I have given this Anime (Story, Characters, Animation, Sound and my Personal Enjoyment), I came to an amazing score of 8.3/10

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