Attack on Titan Review (2013):
“I’ll kill every last one of them, and break free of these walls.”
- Eren Yaeger
Now, what I didn’t like. It seems like in every kaiju anime, there’s about 5 episodes of pointless philosophical debate between should they attack or should they not attack. And I know it is dramatic tension, but it gets to be too much sometimes. Example: When Eren sees Annie Leonhart morph in front of him, (spoilers!) he questions whether or not he should attack. Of course the answer is yes; he just SAW it.
I did however, like the big plot twist, and the scenes in the Giant Forest hunting down the Female Titan. Really, I liked the action scenes which are full of hyper violence, and action, plus steampunk jetpacks. I just don’t like the long pauses in-between when they question combat orders while in combat. Planning is all right though; I think they did a fantastic job world-building in that respect, where they have to study the titans, and learn more about them…it makes them more fearsome because they are unknown monsters.
Actually, one of my favorite characters was Hange, the lead titan researcher for the Scout Regiment. I don’t think she got enough time, but her scenes are certainly eye-opening. Particularly, the titan torture scene. Eren does all right as a main character, especially after he develops his special ability, but he is still a little too whiny and hesitant for my tastes. I just don’t buy this idea that he’s a reluctant soldier when he’s a.) the most powerful in every group he’s in, and b.) got all the motivation in the world to kill titans!
Ok, the last thing I didn’t like about it…and this is really a nitpick…but there was almost no comic relief. Except for maybe Sasha Braus’s overzealous eating. (Good German name! I wonder if it’s related to “In Saus und Braus leben.” To live off the high hog. If so, her name is a good in-joke. But, maybe not.) There is only hyper violence and excitement, punctuated by periods of brooding which can take entire episodes…especially pre-Giant Forest. It was kind of a drag for me. I mean, even Neon Genesis Evangelion had comic relief.
But, here’s the thing…for an action anime, it’s not bad at all, and in fact is in my book a prime example of unique world-building. The titans are freaky looking, and there’s a lot of blood. And the animation is good, although I kind of got sick of all the red and browns like everything is being viewed through a rusty filter inside the walls. The Giant Forest greens were a nice change of scenery. Especially with The Scout Regiment uniforms also being green. Also, in terms of animation, the titans are imposing, and you get a good sense of their threat just when they’re walking around.
But anyway, the question is: can I recommend Attack on Titan? Yes, absolutely! Just be prepared for a lot of brooding and whining from Eren Yaeger, who is otherwise a very cool anime hero with very cool abilities. I suppose those are my only complaints. It’s only 26 episodes. If you have time, give it a watch on Netflix. 4/5 stars from me, but points off for the long brooding parts!