Have you ever found an anime series that is so well done that you just binge-watch the whole show in just a few nights? Well, that happened to me when I watched one the most popular anime out there: Attack on Titan! I watched this series half a year ago and it only took me a few days to finish, which is definitely rare for me because it takes me a while to finish a series with twenty-five episodes.
Long story short: Attack on Titan is about a boy named Eren Jaeger who joins the military group named the Survey Corps to avenge his mother’s death after he saw her getting eaten by a man-eating titan.
Although the plot seems like a cliche Shonen series, it really isn’t if you actually pay attention to the anime. When watching this show, you will be rooting for all of the protagonists that are fighting against the titans, and you will get emotionally attached to a few of the characters in the show – just as a warning. Another warning for those who are thinking about watching the series: there is a lot—and I mean A LOT—of violence and gore. You will often see human soldiers consumed alive by the titans, and see dead bodies on abandoned streets, so be aware of that, too.
As I listed in the last paragraph, this series is not a cliche Shonen series! There is a deeper meaning behind the story along with themes about friendships, revenge, loss, fighting for one’s homeland, economic problems, struggles being in the military, and much more. With the themes in mind, all of the main and side protagonists’ characters evolve around the memorable and rare subjects. Most of the characters’ developments grow as the series progresses, which makes the series even more enjoyable. Also, a few of the plot twists in this show are not what you expect them to be. One minute, you will know what is going to happen to a certain character, for example, and then find out at the end of an episode, that theory you had of a certain character was wrong. Wow, definitely a way of showing great storytelling!
After watching half of the series in Japanese and half of it in English, I was amazed by both versions of the series. Usually, I would not watch anime with Japanese audio, but I had to because I wasn’t able to find half of the English translated episodes. To be honest, I was fine with watching the Japanese version since the voices were decent enough to fit the characters’ physical appearances and personality, and the acting was superb. In the English version, the voice actors played out their parts just as well as the Japanese voice actors. Although the English version is great, the only problem I had with it was the way the characters abbreviated their words. I understand when characters say “…the MP…” as in the Military Police, but when the characters start shortening the curse words, it makes the voice actors and voice directors seem almost lazy.
In Attack on Titan, the art style seems the same as any other anime, but looking up close and actually watching the show, it’s very unique. The reason I say this is because the outlining of the characters have dark and bold black lines, like you would see in a cartoon on Nickelodeon or Cartoon Network. The outlining actually reveal some dimension for the characters’ designs. Also, the scenery was BREATHTAKING!!! The walls, houses in the background, and the sky almost seem realistic to what the real outside looks like.
Now, for the music in this series, it was excellent, but to be honest, there was a problem with it. A few pieces of the music, composed by Hiroyuki Sawano, do not fit into the environment or the time period. One will find rock and roll when it really should have been more Japanese traditional music, or opera in there like in the first theme song, Feuerroter Pfeil und Bogen, which was a masterpiece and one of my favorite openings in all of the anime I have seen! The chorus in the background was my favorite part and the lyrics fit into the show’s plot, themes, and the internal struggles that the characters face. As for the second opening, Die Flügel der Freiheit, is well composed as well, but I missed the epicness from the first opening.
Overall, this show as a whole was a masterpiece and I gave it a five out of five stars for that reason – the series was four and a half stars before until the announcement of the second season, which will air April of 2017. The creator Hajime Isayama and director Tetsurō Araki did a wonderful job putting this show together and they all changed the way a lot of people, including myself, see Japanese animation. So, if you are reading this review and have never seen anime before, enjoy horror, love great storytelling, and great characters, then I would totally recommend this show as a first anime to watch. If you are thinking of watch the series and have seen anime before, get ready to be on the edge of your seat with tissues and ice cream right next to you, because you are about to go on an intense roller coaster ride in the amazing world of Attack on Titan.