Anime that’s Awesome: Attack on Titan

attackontitanHey all!  Things are busy in my neck of the woods, which is good!  Busy means work and work is great.  The free promo for Opus Prelude is still going on for today and tomorrow!  So if you’ve been wanting to get my book but are strapped for cash, this is the perfect opportunity for you!  Young adult-ish science fiction with some hints of urban fantasy.  Sounds fun, right?  Check it out – what’s the worst that could happen?  It’s free!

I’ll have some more big news to announce on the 17th – so keep your eyes peeled for that post.

The writing is still going well.  I’m hitting some difficult scenes in Never, so I’m slowing down a bit.  BUT I have over 30,000 words written for that novel.  And I’m getting REALLY excited for NaNoWriMo.  It’ll be a blast.  I can’t wait to start tearing into this new novel.  For those who are interested, here’s a link to my NaNoWriMo page.  As you can see, my novel is oh-so-cleverly named for the moment.

Attack on Titan

Or Shingeki no Kyojin.  The first time I heard of this series was at Anime Central this past year.  One of our friends was cosplaying a character from the series.  As much as I like anime, I’m kind of the type to wait until things have finished airing.  I’m not the one who watches the current season.  Usually.

I made some exceptions this season (Attack on Titan and Free! Iwatobi Swim Club).

It wasn’t until August that I even started watching.  It was because another friend was raving about it…and I wanted to see what the big deal was.  You might say that the series hooked me.  Once I caught up on the episodes that had aired…I read all of the manga chapters that were out.  I won’t talk about the manga in this post – that will be its own post when the manga finishes!  That said, I can’t wait until the next season of Attack on Titan airs.

***WARNING: THERE MAY BE SPOILERS BEYOND THIS POINT. TREAD WITH CAUTION***

A bit of summary…

The setting for Attack on Titan is a version of Earth where man-eating titans have devoured most of the human race.  The remaining bits of humanity live within three walls, Maria, Rose, and Sina.  The walls are 50 meters high and keep out the titans (who, at their biggest, are only colossal_troll15 meters tall).  Our story opens with Eren Jaeger and Mikasa Ackerman gathering wood for their family.  We find out that they are in the city of Zhiganshina, a protruding city on the wall that helps make it easier to man the walls.  It’s clear that life is hard…but at least there is life.  As Hannes – one of the Garrison members put it – so long as they’re being made fun of for being drunk on duty, they’re at peace.  Armin Arlert and Eren both express desire to see the world beyond the walls.

Of course, this all changes when a GIANT titan appears…one so large that it can peer over the wall…and kicks down the gate, letting Zhiganshina be flooded with titans.  Eren and Mikasa run off to check on their mother because debris from the gate landed near their home.  Armin goes off to tell Hannes where Eren and Mikasa went.  The kids find their mother partially crushed under debris from the wall and their house.  They try to free her…but a titan comes their way.

They only escape because Hannes comes and saves them.  Unfortunately, he lacks the courage to fight the titan and can only save the kids.  Unfortunately…Eren and Mikasa see their mother eaten.

And that’s just the first episode!

Subsequently, in his grief, Eren expresses his desire to kill all the titans HIMSELF.  Between the attack on Zhiganshina and his declaration, we have the inciting action for the entire series.  He, Mikasa, and Armin all enlist in the military when they are old enough (twelve) and begin their training.

The Characters

So one of the things I really enjoy about Attack on Titan is the variety of characters that it shows.  Let’s start with the main trio, Eren, Mikasa, and Armin.  They do follow the general shounen trio tropes.  The ace, the determinator, and the smart guy.  I like that the ace character happens to be a girl.  In the 104th trainee squad, we have the quirky girl, the awkward quiet guy, the strong guy, the idiot, the really nice guy, the aloof girl…etc etc.  There are MANY different character types.  And what’s nice is that not all of them are naturally brave.  Some of them are absolutely terrified of the titans.  And then STILL choose to fight.

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And what’s better…is that most of the characters develop throughout the 25 episodes of the anime.  You see Armin go from a scared crybaby who finds himself worthless…into a budding strategist.  You see Jean go from being a lazy jerk who just wants to be in the military police, to a young man who is becoming a good leader.

I also want to mention that this series manages to avert the everyone looking the same thing.  There are SO many different face types and heights and body types that it’s easy as pie to tell people apart.

The Foreshadowing

female_titanAnother bit I like about this anime is the foreshadowing.  The anime gave little hints about what Eren actually was – as early as when he was in training!  Titans give off vapor when they’re regenerating from injuries…and lo and behold, Eren’s head is actually STEAMING after he bashes his head on the ground.

Or the identity of the female titan.  There’s plenty of foreshadowing there for that.  Between a certain someone’s fighting style to certain hesitations to checking under Armin’s hood.

There’s also some that I can’t mention because it deals with manga spoilers.  Certain identities.  The anime just keeps dropping hints in various different ways.  For those who have read the manga, it makes you grin and bounce around a little.  Because you know what’s going to happen.  And then you remember its the Attack on Titan fandom and everything hurts forever.

Conclusion…

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Of the two anime series I watched this season, Attack on Titan is the one I loved.  Don’t get me wrong, Free! was great – but it wasn’t on the same level as AoT.  I am so excited for the next season of the anime…and I look forward to reading next month’s manga chapter.  I would recommend it to people who enjoy series like Neon Genesis Evangelion, Fullmetal Alchemist, Deadman Wonderland, Elfen Lied…things like that.  I wouldn’t recommend it for kids.  At least 16+.  There’s a lot of blood and gore in this one, as well as psychological trauma.

That’s all from me!

Have you watched Attack on Titan?  What did you think?

~LL Lemke

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