I like Attack on Titan a lot, and I look forward to seeing another season. But does it really deserve all this hype? I think so.
|Eren and Mikasa in episode 11.|
This lovely art, combined with many murder scenes, produced an interesting effect. I admired the way the artists depicted horror and gore, even as my gut clenched and my hand covered my gaping mouth. Beauty and shock are powerful enchanters on their own. When they team up, few viewers can escape their grip.
But Attack on Titan had more on its side than emotional highs. The entire premise was fascinating: giant, mysterious, human-like Titans eat so many humans, they threaten our race's very existence. Humans barricade themselves behind three walls, and for a hundred years, that is enough. Then the outer wall, Wall Maria, is breached. The nightmare resumes.
Eren, the primary protagonist, is the typical tragic hothead. At a young age, he watched a Titan eat his mom alive, and by the time we reach the meat of the series, it's been years since he last saw his dad. He is dead-set on vengeance, and only his strategizing weakling friend, Armin, and his loyal friend/foster sister/girl Mikasa keep him from going completely off the deep end.
Like I said, typical… right?
|A special Titan in episode 11. I'd explain, but I want to avoid|
big spoilers. Note the person climbing up his face.
Yes, Eren is a vengeful hothead. But it's realistic. It's hard for anyone, let along a youth, to process such overwhelming horror, grieve, heal, and grow into a balanced person.
And Armin? Is he just a smart scardey-cat? Nah. Some people were annoyed at his "wimpiness," at how he'd freeze up in the face of a Titan attack. But how many of us could do better? And he grows throughout the series. He unlocks his potential as a valuable strategist, and he's determined to help his friends in their fight against the Titans. He's probably my favorite character.
Mikasa… well, I don't want to spend too much more time on this, so I'll keep this short. I like her well enough, and I enjoy watching her fight. I think it's interesting and sad that, as far as we know, her mother was the last full-blooded Japanese.
Jean, like Armin, grows a lot in the series, and I enjoyed watching his development. He turned from one of the least likable guys in bootcamp to an admirable leader among the recruits.
So, character development was good. Plot was interesting. On a slightly less thoughtful note, the OPs were amazing.
On a more thoughtful note, Attack on Titan brought up an important question, one that must be pondered in all human conflict: Is it okay to abandon one's humanity in order to save humanity? I'm not just talking about physical transformation into a non-human.
I'd like to examine that question more as it relates to this anime, but I think it's worth its own post (one I may never write). For now, it's enough to point out that Attack on Titan gets a tad philosophical. It's not just a beautifully animated thrill ride, and it definitely deserves the hype.