Ever since 80’s, anime dominated the world with its original, funny, sweet, or mysterious genres. If we’re to count how many times they’ve made a successful anime or manga, we’d be at loss. There exist plenty of action packed anime that can make our veins surge with adrenaline. Make our hearts clenching whenever a character died, often earning up a few tears here and there. Attack on Titan, or in its Japanese name, Shingeki No Kyojin,certainly classifies as one of those that almost nobody can hate or say it was too gory or bloody for them.
Shingeki No Kyojin started airing in 2013 in spring, making it a hit series right away with its beautiful animation, good voice actors, and ravishing plot. The two Studio, Production I.G and Wit Studio made it. Shingeki No Kyojin was like the rising action, the climax, next the anime that came before it at that time. It was a new experience to action lovers, those who adored Mirai Nikki and the likes of these anime.
Its known that the Mangaka Hajime Isayama when he started the manga, and his original plan on killing everyone in the Military. And that includes the main protagonists. While it was a realistic plot to come up with, since humanity against titans would never be sufficient enough as a reason to win without an ace up humanity’s sleeve. He changed his mind right after he got plenty of fans reading his manga and enjoying it.
The story of Shingeki No Kyojin begins telling the viewer of the appearance of the titans, explaining it so one could wrap the idea of what the anime is going to about in their finger, yet careful enough not to give away any unnecessary plot information that would be the key to unraveling the secrets that it beholds. Titans came around 100 years earlier, eating the human population in the most grotesque ways possible, not letting on to why they have such a need and a desire in them. In order to protect themselves, the remaining population built three walls as an armor against titans, tall enough to erase any shard of an idea of any abhorrent titan entering their peaceful world anymore.
Later on, we met by the three main characters that will hold the show together—Eren Yaeger, his adoptive sister Mikasa, and Armin Arlert, who just want to live a happy life together, except the stubborn Eren. The trio lived in the southernmost area of the city near the wall called Wall Maria.
Advancing, Eren always believed that this peaceful life created an illusion only and believed throughout the years. In addition to his horrifying view comes true when a 60-meter titan approaches the large door in Wall Maria. The last hope of humanity to ignore those creatures, and smashes it to pieces with just his foot. In a blink of an eye, titans from all types came swarming around the city, killing and eating people to their heart’s content. Eren finally witnesses the horror that would snap something inside him, the horror of seeing his mother eaten by a titan in slow motion. Full of despair, Eren, Armin, and Mikasa escape to join the Military, grasping the last hope of acquiring skills that would eradicate all titans from history.
The series takes up a masterpiece medal due to it accomplishing one of the hardest aspects when it comes to anything written or watched—suspense! Attack on Titan can certainly make one wonder what was going to happen week after week, successfully putting your mind into it and actually wondering who was who and what would happen. Its slow build up of the story provided a major help, as it worked with arcs, dividing them and expanding them as they should be.
Not like most anime that have high expectation, but end up disappointing to the lack of episodes, proper fighting or fight scenes; sometimes it feels rushed as if there existed a bound by the episodes’ number. Attack on Titan never had that. SnK slowly pushed forward with character development and story development, making it more intriguing to witness it. It builds a bubble of immersion quite often throughout the long arcs, even if characters were to die in the most horrifying, ugly ways; Attack on Titan provides the viewer with some realism.
Because if no deaths existed there, it’d create parallelism between the plot and enjoyment, and it become more of a cliché than a masterpiece that achieved suspense. Attack on Titan has “Morale Builder” as it has a satisfying amount of moments of the series, though full of death and gore, it helps build up the story’s strength more and more.
Sides of Enjoyment
No matter how grim the series can be, it still pulls off the ace card easily when it comes to enjoyment on the emotional side. Shingeki no Kyojin never came off as a dramatic cliché when it came to horrifying deaths. It’s one of the series, much like Akame ga Kill!, attachment to a character, and then it dies in the most terrible ways possible. Leaving your mouth hanging agape, eyes wide-open in shock. So, basically, the Plot Armor that exists in every anime or show, protecting the main character or protagonist from death, is almost non-existent. It’s easy to remember how the series left scars, much like any successful, realistic series. However, if one was to think about it, it’d all make sense and encourages the story, the characters to go on.
Though Attack on Titan has many characters that one should acknowledge and respect, hate and detest, it shows plenty of development concerning each character, not leaving any behind to rot in hell, unless they’ve died.
First of all, the main protagonist and the center of the story Eren Yaeger. Portrayed in his younger self at first, giving the viewer a bit of details on his reasons to becoming in the military. Eren Yaeger is the stereotypical character, a hot-head who only thinks about vengeance, though it may get a bit repetitive during the show, it’s the perfect character development to someone who suffers from great trauma. Eren is the type who cares about his friend most, but at first, he is portrayed as the calm, collected soldier who survived the horror of titans, which is a good card played by the mangaka.
However, even if Eren babbles a lot about killing titans, he’s not totally unafraid of them, as it is proven that he is still traumatized by what happened to his mother, and what’s happened to his friends in the squad after the second encounter of titans.
Second, Mikasa, who is portrayed as the calm, collected, flawless character that has plenty of badass scenes. Mikasa, too, witnessed both of her parents die before her eyes, which made her character change 360 degrees. She was cheerful and outgoing before it all happened, but she changed after that.
Mikasa often keeping to herself, caring only about her two friends, mostly Eren. Yet, that, too, proved to be a flaw itself, as it became a stereotypical character best described as a Dandere—she shows emotions mostly to Eren.
Though she is loved by many, her flawlessness tends to be annoying, as she is one of those overpowered characters quite often.
Last but not least, Armin, who is portrayed as the smart, strategist character in the anime. Armin is the most character misjudged; or rather misled by the mangaka, because quite often he shows his scared expressions of being around a titan, much less see it right next to his face. He’s the type of character that developed slowly during the series, giving us access to most of his inner struggles as a cadet in the military, really well-done and logical. However, though skill didn’t catch his side, Armine is a genius when it comes to strategies. He’s known to be the brains of the squad.
At last, supporting characters! In Shingeki no Kyojin, the environment of interaction is quite wide compared to any other anime, as they focus mainly on the protagonists, their stories and struggles. Yet, no one can ignore the supporting characters like Levi, Jean, Marco, Annie…etc. plenty of these supporting characters show how essential they are to the plot, they make it better in so many ways. As much as one would like access to the inner mind or memories of villains to understand them more, it’s the same when it comes to Snk’s supporting characters.
When it comes to animation, it was Wit Studio which made it, a new studio that works as a replacement of Production I.G. Wit Studio did a pretty good job in the animation, as it made a certain black thickness in the characters to make character pop out more in the background. The environment was also considered a very important essence in the anime, for it was one of the main aspects in fight scenes; it was rich.
Speaking of fight scenes, Wit Studio had no trouble making those come true as they should be. It definitely grasped the richness of the 3D Maneuver Gear. Whether it existed in the contrast and the shades of colors or the movement in the environment, they succeeded. So, if it made the manga readers dream come true. Though the Mangaka’s drawing is good, it is not great. But the studio certainly bettered the expressions, the environment and the fight scenes.
Besides animation, any fan would care a lot about the opening and the ending. They’re the heart of the anime. Plus, hearing them can either make them content or just flat out disappointed with it. Every great anime deserves a great opening or ending. Shingeki no Kyojin’s opening is rather famous for its catchiness; it’s one of those openings that one’d never, ever skip. One would just sing along with it no matter how un-synced it sounded. Guren no Yumiya was the first opening, hit opening in Attack on Titan. It succeeded in hyping up anyone to watch the anime before unleashing the heartbreak on them.
Hiroyuki Sawano made the best OST in history. Hiroyuki Sawano, a very talented musician, who made many, many songs for anime, Tv-shows, and movies. OST classified as one of the many flawless things Shingeki no Kyojin had. It’s a mixture of electronic and opera, mostly portrayed in fight scenes, which made quite a combo. It’s widely known that fight scenes are just a whole lot better with an OST on their side.
On the other hand, the seiyuus did one hell of a good job. Voice acting, synchronization, voice fitting is one of the many things some anime get so wrong. Either the voice is too high, too deep, or just flat out acute. Yet Shingeki no Kyojin has the perfect cast in Seiyuus. Most of them are famous, as they are recognized in plenty of other anime like Drrr!! In Snk, each character’s personality is a perfect fit with the voice actor. Since they bestowed emotions, brought them out in situations that required them.That makes you take your hat off in respect.
Shingeki no Kyojin didn’t take a place of one of the best anime out there just like that. No, it absolutely deserved all the credit it got. Originality and entertainment lurk in the bag due to its long hit list of why it’s thoroughly considered before produced. However, no matter how good it is and how flawless we thought of it, mistakes existed nevertheless.
Some characters can get repetitive for someone who’s been in the anime industry for so long. One thing anime fans hate when they grow older is the stereotypes and plot armor around them. If you’re going to make things interesting, it’d better have some slaughter and psychological trauma in it. And we know SNK excels at that, but characters’ drama is often way over the top. The animation, not too often but it happens, can get a bit sloppy; degraded as if it was a camera out of focus.
As a fan of anything, nobody would watch something without a little moral inside. Whether hidden away in the depths of words, actions or just expressions. If there is nothing to learn from something, it’s just useless for anyone. Even if the anime entertains the view to the fullest, disappointment still lurks inside like a dead fish’s scent.
Attack on Titan certainly provided many morals in actions, words and expressions. It may not be noticeable, but it certainly keeps yelling out ‘Notice me, Senpai!’ Shingeki no Kyojin teaches the viewer or reader about how cruel the world—life – can be to some individuals. In addition, it makes you appreciate what you have immediately, especially parents. It shows through those gory, horrifying images of humanity dying. That it’s never going to be a normal experience to someone you adore, love die before your eyes. And all what’s left with is regret from your stupid actions. Words you’ve left hanging before that person died. It clearly showed that with Eren as his mother died, and guilt ate him up, besides trauma.
Also, the mangaka showed a very tremendous clue in Eren’s character. As his puzzlement attacked him by life’s own titan, he still got up and had hope in saving humanity. No matter how vengeful his motives were, it still stood as something to make his life worth living. However, that vengeful side to him that turned to ego at some point. It flipped the tables around and almost killed him.
Concerning Armin, he was sure smart, but a coward was also a word that fits him. Despite all that coward façade, he knew that if he never took risks in this cruel world. Yet, Eren still stumbled upon corpses or body parts of those he loved in his life. Which would haunt him in his dreams for eternity if he made it that far. You have to risk it to get the biscuit is what Armin holds within.
Mikasa, as emotionless as she seemed, she, alone, can’t handle such hardships. No matter how many words she uttered to convince herself otherwise. Mikasa may have convinced people around her that. But she knew that deep within, she still held too much emotion behind that mask of emotionless she had. Mikasa was anything but a robot she claimed herself to be. If anyone thought being emotionless is cool is rather wrong.
One last thing that Shingeki no Kyojin covered pretty well was human nature and its role. As we can see in most of anime that heroes show not selfishness, self-centered-ness. Or even anything negative but the hardships they can conquer during the episodes. In Shingeki no Kyojin, human nature showed rather well during every episode. Fearlessness and heroic-ness? Not anyone’s suit, especially when met with a huge obstacle attacking them constantly. And whenever they made a sharp turn or just thought about making one. All of this adds up to the realism, as mentioned before. It’s what makes anything more enjoyable.
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