Attack on Titan (Season One, 2013) – TV Review

attack_on_titan_tv_series-890399004-largeAttack on Titan

Starring Yuki Kaji, Marina Inoue and Yui Ishikawa (all voice)

Directed by Tetsuro Araki and Kiroyuki Tanaka, based on the manga comics by Hajime Isayama

IMDB Rating: 8.9

WHAT!? Is the first thought to pop into your head I can imagine (unless you know this stuff, then you are now my friend. Deal with it). If that was your first thought, then prepare to be blown away by one of the most gripping stories I’ve ever seen in TV or film, and I’ve seen plenty of stuff by this point.

Attack on Titan (S1) is a 25x20mins Japanese anime series (don’t zone out at that, just hear me out…) set in a dystopian world where humans are not the superior species. The world is swarming with creatures known as Titans, human-like giants that feast on people without thought or reason. Humans have encased themselves in a series of walls to protect them from the Titans outside. The story follows Eren Jaeger, a hot-headed kid whose hometown is the first to fall when a colossal Titan manages to break through the walls that have lasted centuries. After watching his mum get eaten alive, he swears revenge upon all Titans, eventually joining the Scout Regiment, an elite band of soldiers waging war against the Titans. He’s followed on the journey by his adopted sister Mikasa, a natural born fighter, and shy friend Armin, a boy-genius.

Now, I’m very far from being an expert in either anime, Asian culture, or TV series in general. However, out of the very few things I’ve watched of this style, Attack on Titan is by far the best in every department. The story (based on one of the most successful manga comics of this decade in Asia, selling over 50 million copies!) is really well told. The way it holds information from the audience (even things that the characters themselves know) keeps altering your perception on what is happening. The massive array of engaging characters, along with the deep world, make this tale so well done it’s the closest thing to reading a really good book I’ve ever seen on the screen.

Also along the point of withholding information, I was amazed at the speed of this story, especially at the start. The series barely gives you time to take it all in, which I guess puts you in the main character’s shoes right from the start. But this is not just fast, it’s also so incredibly full of plot twists. From what I’ve read, this seems to be the main reason for the manga comic’s unprecedented success, and the speed at which the story changes is just remarkable.

One minor hitch is the ending, or lack thereof. This is only season 1, and clearly leads onto the next season. This would have been fine if the second season wasn’t to be released in the second half of 2016 in Japan! I’m glad I watched it so late, I might have to only wait 12 months or so for the next season (the same time as a movie’s sequel, almost). I can’t imagine how bad it must have been to have seen this in 2013, and then have to wait 3 YEARS for the next season!

Not only is this a really good (and I mean REALLY good) story to invest in, but this is also the best drawn animation I’ve ever seen. I have seen many animations of one sort or another in my time, but nothing struck me as good as this. Everything, from the quality of the background to the emotion in ones eye is enthralling. What struck me most visually though was how they showed the action sequences – so much detail, and much more freely moving scenes than I’ve ever seen in anime. Heaven only knows how much effort went into that, but kudos to them!

Yes, this is totally different from what I would usually review (although I have reviewed Ghost in the Shell, if you want to check that out) however I just had to share it with you people! I’m guessing the majority of people following this blog are movie fans, but I bet a lot of you just LOVE a good story like I do. And I promise you, there isn’t many better than this. I would happily stake my reputation on that, if I had one to stake!

I should warn you, like everything else that’s great in life, this has been made into a live-action movie. From what I gather, the movie is a massive disappointment.

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