Anime Review: Attack on Titan

Every few seasons, an Anime comes around, that every one seems to be talking about before it even started airing and once it actually starts and seems to be decent, the fanbase around it grows bigger and bigger with every episode until it seems to have consumed every other fanbase around it. It gets so popular that even people that usually don’t watch Anime get aware of it and start trying it out. This year’s spring season Anime “Attack on Titan” is nothing but a summary of exactly this phenomenon, as it started off strong and kept growing, until it was almost as big as the big 3 themselves. Ladies and Gentlemen, today’s topic shall be the immensely popular Anime from the spring season of 2013: Attack on Titan, or as others might say Shingeki no Kyojin!

Story:
Shingeki no Kyojin Review WallsThe story of Shingeki no Kyojin is set in a medieval alternative universe, in which the titans, giant naked humanoids that seem to not have any intelligence at all have suddenly started appearing and devouring humans. As it stands, they don’t eat humans out of hunger or any other reason that might kill them, but just for the pure pleasure. As it gets clear that humankind at this point is not able to go up against the titans, the surviving people build three gigantic walls, even higher than any titan that has been sighted so far and hide behind them. Flashing forward 100 years, we get to know our three main characters Eren, Mikasa and Armin. Eren’s and Armin’s plan is to one day leave the city of humans and wander through the huge world outside that they so far have only read and heard about. One day though, suddenly a gigantic titan, even taller than the walls built around the human city appears and destroys the wall built around the district our three main characters live in. A second abnormal titan called the “Armored Titan” then runs right into the second wall and destroys it as well. With all the Titans now coming into the human territory, panic goes around, since not even the military knows what to do at this point. Going back to our main characters, they get separated since Eren runs back to his house only to witness his mother to get eaten by a titan and then gets brought away by a military helper. In contrary to a lot of other people Eren, Mikasa and Armin get a space on the boat with fleeing people. Here it is that we get to hear Eren talking about the plan that will dominate the entire show for the first time! “I’m gonna kill all of the Titans!”

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When it is to the deaths, Attack on Titan really is damn cruel…

Let me say one thing, before we get into the evaluation of the story: This show is cruel! Attack on Titan has no fear of killing of characters that either are really important or that you really get attached to and not a single character is safe only because he looks important, which is a major plus for the show, as it is really unpredictable and the plot twists and deaths come really surprising again and again, which is something that compliment the show itself amazingly well, since the story is a main selling point of the show as a whole. This already shows in the beginning as the show has one of the strongest starts that I have seen so far! What Attack on Titan does really well in it’s first episode is show the chaos that is brought to the city by the colossal Titan kicking the gate, as we see people getting devoured and panic overcoming others. Another fact that makes this show’s start amazing is it’s pacing. After episode 3, the show suddenly starts to speed up a whole lot, with an uncountable amount of Plot Twists in only a few episodes. It is so fast, that you feel like you almost can’t keep up with what the show has to offer you, leaving you sitting on the edge of the seat for the entire time! Unfortunately though, the show’s strongest point at the same time is one of it’s weakest. Later on, when it gets to the second part of the show, the pacing slows down, first to normal Shounen speed and after that even slower, which kind of bugged me personally because in comparison it just felt as if the show suddenly froze, even when it was moving at normal Shounen pacing. It eventually did speed up again, but not before leaving me a little disappointed several weeks in a row. That probably was a problem with me watching it weekly though, as the archs in Attack on Titan were with the exception of the first and last one always at least eight episodes long and it might have turned out to be a lot better if I would have marathoned it.

9.2/10

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Eren is really obsessed with his one goal of killing all the titans!

Characters:
The characters in Shingeki no Kyojin are nothing that we haven’t seen before to be honest. We have our normal cliched Shounen protagonist, that swears vengeance for his mother, who was killed by the titans. As such Eren is nothing really outstanding and pretty much remains what he was from episode 2 on. He only starts to change in the last few episodes, which in total is way too late, as it is quite easy to get annoyed of him at times. His stepsister Mikasa though, is even worse. While being a really interesting character at first, since she finally is a female character that really is strong, the only thing that stands out about her later, are her awesome fighting skills against the titans and her incredibly exaggerated affection for Eren since she doesn’t seem to care about anything but him, which in the end makes for a character that gets annoying as hell at times. The last main character is Armin, who is by far the most interesting of the trio. At first being stamped as the “Pussy” by many, Armin is the only one to really develop in the course of the show, realizing that he is not as insignificant as he thinks he is and in the end becomes a tactical badass, always being the one that has the right plan to go with. The supporting cast on the other hand for the most part is really well done. Almost none of the characters really feel one dimensional and they do get a lot more development as some of the main characters. Of course some aren’t as good as others, but many are a lot more two-dimensional than for example Mikasa or Eren.
In total the characters for Shingeki no Kyojin are by far the weakest part of it, since they feel way too static for the most part and only some of the Supporting Cast are able to save that a little, but that is not enough to balance it out in total. That does not mean, that the characters aren’t fun to watch at all, but later on, it became more and more obvious that character development was almost non-existent
7.6/10

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Some of the Titans really do look weird…MOE TITAN FTW!

Art:
If I was to describe the Animation of Attack on Titan in one word, it probably would be “inconsistent“! Attack on Titan has been produced by Wit Studios, a daughter studio of the highly acclaimed Production I.G. This is the first work that Wit Studios has ever done, which one can easily see at some points of this Anime. A problem that the Anime has a lot to fight with, is the distribution of the show’s budget. Whenever the show gets around to animate fast movement, most notably the usage of the 3D-Maneouver-Gear, a gear that is used to fight the titans by simply adding more mobility to the human body, the show looks bloody amazing, using 3D-camera movements to make every scene that it is used in a pure eyegasm. Huge credits for this go to Arawak Tetanus the director of this show, known for shows such as Death Note and High school of the dead, to invent this kind of style! Whenever the show slowed down a little though and fast movements wasn’t needed, Wit Studios never animated any more than they needed. There were many scenes that were either simple still screens or  just looked as if they were only halfway animated, which is a real shame, since they just could have taken a little budget out of the fast scenes and animated the slower scenes a lot better. Another thing that I realized about the art were the thick outlines that were surrounding every character. It was a little distracting while watching it for the first time, but the more often I saw it, the more used to it I got.
8.3/10

Look at the amazingness that is the Maneuver Gear!

Sound:
The Soundtrack for Shingeki no Kyojin was scored by Sawano Hiroyuki. A man that did already have quite some attention before going into this one as he was composer for Guilty Crown, which is known to have an amazing OST, but now after writing the music for Attack on Titan, he is the composer that everyone keeps talking about. The Soundtrack for this show is easily one of, if not THE best that I have ever heard. It ranges from really slow paced solo vocal songs, to epic choirs singing together with a well arranged orchestra, to techno influenced parts of the show. It is a Soundtrack that obviously knows the show it is attached to and the way it fits into the show is just amazing and is really good at getting your heart race during the scenes it wants you to get excited as well as get really depressed when the show wants you to be. The only complaint that I personally have with the music itself is really minor and didn’t even bother me personally. The Soundtrack as a total is used really often, especially the track “Attack on Titan”, which might lead to some people not liking them, cause they heard them to often. I personally though, couldn’t get enough from the Soundtrack and loved what they did with it! I don’t think I even have to talk about the Openings and Endings for the show do I? The first Opening “Guren no Yumiya” by Linked Horizon must by now be one of the most popular Openings out there and while the second Opening “Jiyuu no Tsubasa” sounds pretty cool as well, while being really good looking, it just didn’t get me as pumped for the show as much as the first one. The Endings on the other hand were the complete opposite, as the first ending was really nice to hear but the second one just blew everything out of the water.
9.8/10

Attack on Titan is without a doubt an amazing show and does a really good job at a lot of things, but at the same time there are many parts of it that just don’t seem to be completely right. While watching Shingeki no Kyojin I for the most of the time was really hooked and I was really enjoying a huge part of it, but there were episodes when it felt as if it was just dragged to have one more episode and maybe get even more money out of it. Episodes where almost nothing important happened but inner monologues, that didn’t change anything about the show itself at all. Fortunately these parts were rather rare.
So…Do I think that Attack on Titan deserves the hype that it gets, or is it just another overhyped show? To be honest, I think it deserves the hype for the most part, but as there are some points that just bored me, I can’t say that everything the show did was as amazing as the fanbase praises it to be. It is an amazing show and for the most part it does deserve it!
Now as I calculated all the scores that I gave Shingeki no Kyojin (Story, Characters, Art, Sound and my personal enjoyment), I give Attack on Titan a score of 8.84/10. It is an amazing show that has a few obvious flaws, but is really entertaining in total! As it stands now, Shingeki no Kyojin has been licensed by Funimation, but has no official release yet. It is available for legal streaming on both Crunchyroll and Funimation’s website.
With that I hope I could help you and I see you next time!

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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