Every now and then there’s a show airing in the new season that anime fans go absolutely wild over. Sometimes, like with Madoka Magica, they actually end up becoming instant classics. Sometimes, like with Sword Art Online, they end up…well, going downhill really, really hard. This season, the must-watch anime is Attack on Titan. That’s what I’ve been watching lately, and after finishing the 8th episode last night, I’m all caught up.
Attack on Titan is about a world (a version of our world, which might be spoilers but I don’t think so) where humanity has been nearly wiped to extinction by giants called Titans that seem to have no purpose other than annihilating humans. They’ve retreated to a giant civilization within three layers of wall. When the anime opens, after a long stretch of peace, the Titans attack and completely retake the land behind the first wall.
The story follows Eren, his adopted older sister Mikasa, and their friend Armin as they join the military force in an effort to drive back the Titans. And so far, the show is really pretty good.
First of all, Attack on Titan pulls no punches. It hits hard, and it does a good job of actually making you care when it hits hard. Whether this is a good thing or a bad thing is up to interpretation. Yes, Attack on Titan hits hard, but it also likes to drive it in and stomp on it. Once it picks up, there are a few episodes that seem almost dedicated to making you hate the world, with their themes of “only the strong survive” and “the world is cruel.” It seems to be the overarching theme of the show.
It also feels, in some ways, to be a show I’ve seen before. Our protagonist, Eren, looks really familiar, and the design and colors give me a sort of Sword Art Online feel. And we all know how Sword Art Online turned out, so I’m instantly a bit on guard. The theme that everyone loves so much gives me some Future Diary and High School of the Dead vibes at points. I mean, it’s still good, of course, and the theme song is amazing. It just feels like it’s using good visual elements that other shows have already used.
In episode 5, there’s a pretty shocking twist. And then stuff happens and in episode 8 it explains what’s going on, and I know this is sounding confusing because I’m trying to talk about a few shocking moment without explaining what they are. Long story short, the status quo got upset, and then it may have gotten…reset a bit? Basically, I was shocked about the first move, but once it grew on me, I got hesitant about the next. I’m worried about the future of the show and where it’s going from here as a result, and I’m really going to have to see where it goes.
Overall, I’m enjoying Attack on Titan, even if I am a bit hesitant. The world they’ve built up is great, with a sort of gritty medieval feel with a few steampunk-ish elements (though it’s definitely not flat-out steampunk). I’m looking forward to watching where it goes, even if I may not enjoy that. If you’re the sort of person who would watch this sort of show, get in on the hype.