I must say that I have grown very skeptical of anime and am no longer quick to invest myself in a series. This is mostly because, after years of experience, I have found that most of them are simply second-rate (reality check: not everything that comes from Japan is awesome). It is unfortunate, however, when people dismiss quality stories due to the fact that they are presented in an animated format.
Attack on Titan is the perfect example of such a series, and offers intriguing characters, beautiful animation, and an engaging, fast-paced plot with truly unexpected turns. But be warned: violent themes and gore abound, and it is not for the faint of heart. This is one cartoon that you’re almost definitely not going to want to let your kid watch.
Attack on Titan, or 進撃の巨人 (Shingeki no Kyojin, literally “Advancing Giants”), is a manga by Hajime Isayama that has recently been adapted into an anime series, of which fourteen episodes have aired. I have not yet read the manga (so please don’t spoil it for me), but if the animated series alone has captured my attention to this degree, I will in all likelihood be delving into the comics soon enough. The recent following that the series has gained on the internet speaks for its success as well, especially considering that it is still airing in Japan and will not be dubbed in English for some time.
Set in an alternate universe, Attack on Titan tells the story of humans who have been pushed to the brink of extinction, preyed upon (and literally eaten) by mindless, fleshy giants. What is left of human civilization resides in a territory sectioned off by three circular walls that are supposedly near-invincible (this, of course, turns out not to be the case). Contrary to what one might deduce from the title, “Titan” is not the name of this city, but is actually the name given to these humanoid creatures who are attacking it (oh, the Japanese and their wonky English translations).
The weakness of humanity is a prominent theme in the series thus far, and the extent to which humans are utterly helpless in the wake of the Titans is unsettling. Even a single misstep can cause a high-ranking soldier to meet a gruesome demise between the jaws of one of these lumbering but powerful foes. After losing loved ones to the Titans, protagonist Eren Jaeger swears to become a soldier and eliminate every Titan himself. He shares a close relationship with his adopted sister, Mikasa Ackerman, who shows promising talent on the battlefield. A mysterious, prodigious girl and a stubborn, overzealous boy…been there, done that, right? Not so fast. I’m not going to spoil anything, but I will say that I have on more than one occasion yelled profanities at my computer screen at an unanticipated event or plot twist.
Whether or not you’re a frequent anime viewer, I highly suggest giving this show a watch; chances are you’ll be hooked after the first episode. Attack on Titan is an emotional roller coaster, but so far it has been an exciting ride that is well worth the jarring twists and turns. Episodes air every Saturday and can be watched with English subtitles on Crunchyroll or on Funimation’s website, with a subscription.