Attack on Titan (Season 1)

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So one of the biggest changes to happen to my lifestyle in recent memory was my acquisition of a couch, finally affording me a proper living room. That coupled with my old faithful PS3 has gotten me into the habit of Netflix binges lately, and I’ve actually been watching anime again. Most recently, I just finished the extremely popular Attack on Titan.

Attack on Titan (新劇の巨人, shingeki no kyojin) follows Eren Yaeger and his adopted sister Mikasa, two such people walled off from the outside world inhabited by Titans, giants that like to eat people for no apparent reason. Eren takes a vow of revenge against the Titans after watching helplessly while his mother got eaten by one such menace.

Where Attack on Titan really succeeded was building its fictional, distinctly Germanic world (though I do think it’s interesting that race is addressed at all with Mikasa being apparently the only person of Asian descent in the show’s cast). The humans’ military is solely dedicated to defending mankind against the Titan menace through the use of 3D Maneuvering Devices (a bit of a mouthful, I know), peripherals that allow soldiers to swing around cities a la Spider-Man in order to take out the vulnerable napes of the Titans’ necks. Before Eren joins up, we see the general populace feeling like the military is naught but a waste of resources when everyone is just going to wind up getting eaten anyway. Overall, Eren lives in a very bleak world.

The first season only depicted the first half of the manga. With that in mind, the season really took its time, Eren’s first battle taking up an entire arc. There were times where I felt the pacing to be a little problematic, with characters describing battle plans against Titans in excruciating detail. When the show is in one of its action scenes, the action is fast and furious, but such scenes are actually few and far in between. We didn’t really get to see the characters really go through major changes by the time the series wrapped up.

At 25 episodes, this season is twice as long as a typical anime series of recent memory has been; Black Lagoon’s seasons and Aria: the Animation were 13 episodes long each. For the most part, the animation looked good, with lush character designs, particularly in the case of Mikasa. The animation was at its best during the action scenes, with the CG seamlessly integrated into the cel animation. The Titans themselves were particularly well-animated, with their fast, but clumsy way of walking.

Despite these moments of greatness though, there were some clear cost-cutting measures. There was at least one instance of something being animated with a still cel every episode.

Overall, Attack on Titan succeeded because it is a show that I binged four episodes at a time. The animation says a lot about the show in that there were a few rough spots that kept Attack on Titan a good anime series instead of a great one. All in all, I’m excited for season 2 when it comes out.

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