Attack on Titan


By Justin Jasso (@jjasso007)

What does the future hold for the fate of mankind? Hard to say. The depletion of our natural resources seems to be a given considering our exponential population growth. Contact with extraterrestrial life? It’s a possibility. The new series, directed by Tetsurō Araki, Attack on Titan, looks at a world where giants, better known as Titans, have invaded the world, forcing humanity to create a civilization behind walls provided for their safety. The threat of death is very real outside of the walls and humanity has had to adapt to a new way of life. But what happens when that world is shattered?

Several hundred years ago, humans were nearly exterminated by Titans. Those that were able to survive did so by walling themselves up in a city whose walls were taller than the titans were. TO further protect against possible disaster, the city built cities within, also protected by high, reinforced walls, designed to provide extra security in case an outer wall was breached. And, at the center, was the main government and those of higher class status. The center was the “brain” of humanity, the last place of sanctuary should the worse come to pass.

Fast forward 100 years, and humanity hasn’t seen a Titan since the walls went up. There are a group of soldiers, the Survey Corps, who venture out past the gates to check Titan activity and scout for further growth of humanity. It isn’t until one fateful day, that a Colossus Titan is able to break down the outer wall, allowing more Titans in, who feed on humans. Soon the Titans are in and humanity must save itself. The story follows Eren Yeager and his adopted sister, Mikasa Ackerman. Eren vows revenge on the Titans, enlisting in the military, joined by Mikasa and their friend, Armin. But not everything is at it seems, as Eren finds out things about himself during his first battle with Titans. The fate of humanity may eventually rely on the strength of one boy to turn the tide of war for the sake of humanity.

While Attack on Titan may sound like an action centered story, it is much more than that. While battles with Titans is a big portion of the series, the real story comes in the fragility and humanity demonstrated by individual characters. It is hard for us, as audience members, to put ourselves in the proverbial shoes of the characters in the show. To have everything stripped away from you, to have your whole way of existence and safety deteriorate right before your eyes. The psychological effect that would have on a person is inconceivable, but Attack on Titan tackles that fear and raw emotion with the precision of a psychologist. Each individual deals with the situation differently, some holding in their fear, some expressing outwardly, allowing it to drive their motives. You have those who stand up to the challenge and those who run away. The reality displayed in this series pulls us, as audience members, right into the action and day to day living of each and every character, making a 24 minute episode come and go in the blink of an eye.

In terms of action sequences, humanity has developed instruments to fight the Titans. However, in something close to reality, the series shows just how miniscule and frail we are as humans, when facing such surmountable odds. The equipment used by the military is new in its ingenuity, and something different for anime. It almost gives a Spiderman feel to the action. But the action also shows, again, the psychological side of war. Watching friends being killed right before your eyes, often in horrific ways, and what that does to the others fighting around them. Attack on Titan is brilliant in its execution in all facets of storytelling.

Attack on Titan is something new in the area of storytelling and the realm of anime. One may be hard pressed to think of another recent anime that combines such quality animation, with an edge of your seat story packed with real human emotion and psyche. As of now, Attack on Titan is easily a top five anime for 2013. With the first part of the series ending after a 25 episode run, this gives audiences ample time to catch up on the series before the second part of the story is released. Do yourselves a favor and set some time aside for Attack on Titan. You won’t be disappointed.

Rating: 5 out of 5 stars


  1. LarzoOctober 18th, 2013 at 8:33 am

    Id like to point out that ”Watching friends being killed right before your eyes, often in horrific ways..” happens on screen, there’s no ‘look away’ in the animation.

  2. James WhiteOctober 26th, 2013 at 8:16 pm

    Attack on Titan has was my “must watch” this summer. Even though the show is so horribly gruesome, or maybe because it is, I had a hard time not watching. My wife watched with me for the first episode or two before declaring it too gross. Surprisingly, I had never heard of it before stumbling across it on Hulu+ or Crunchyroll.

    I couldn’t believe that the season ended – I watched the last episode without realizing, and then the next Saturday went and there was no new show. I was pretty disappointed. It looks like the show is pretty popular, so hopefully the second season will actually be made, instead of ending as an orphan that only tells a part of the actual story from the manga, like happens with so many anime.

    I have been trying to get copies of the manga, but these things are so much more difficult since Sasuga Books closed down a couple of years ago.

  3. David TennantApril 14th, 2014 at 4:29 am

    I am over 50 yrs old and have never watched anime before. I am intrigued by the possible representation of the Titans, the walls, etc. Do they stand for something else (as well as providing a good story)? Can you win by becomming what you hate? Is that whole process flawed? Good story. I am almost done with the 1st 25.

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