Shingeki no Kyoujin AKA Attack on Titan is an absolutely fantastic anime. Its the tale of a small faction of humanity fighting a hopeless battle against an overwhelming force that can and will kill each and every last one of them. And yet despite being on the bottom of the food chain faced with a natural predator that will drive them to extinction they fight back. They rebel against nature itself despite the fact that the battle seems hopeless. Seid ihr das Essen? Nein wir sind der Jaeger Are you the food? No we are the hunters I thought the show was grim it was painful it was depressing and I loved every second of it. And then we got into the ninth episode. Attack on Titan is eight of the best episodes of anime I have ever watched followed by the deepest betrayal I have ever experienced. Because after those first eight episodes the show decides that it wants to completely ignore all the themes its built up and go a completely different direction with it. Suddenly its not the story of a desperate struggle of humanity to survive. Now its part action part mystery and part political intrigue. This wouldnt necessarily be bad but the mystery and political intrigue are unfortunately painfully mediocre and bring the show to a screeching halt. Lets talk about the good first. The technical aspects of the show are all incredible. The direction is fantastic the music is fantastic and while the art style isnt one that personally jives with me the thick outlines throw me off a bit its distinct and I can see how many people would love it. Sure its a bit on the brown side but it fits the tone and brown is in with the shows target demographic anyway. The setup world and overall aesthetic are all strong and between all of these things the show becomes instantly captivating. Its grimdark and edgy but its grimdark and edgy in a way that doesnt feel like its insulting the viewers intelligence. The violence and desperation are all a result of the world and the premise and both of those are strong enough to work. Its dark to the point of being hard to watch at times but in a way that kept me coming back at least at the start. It got me invested in what happened to the characters and whether or not they could overcome these insurmountable odds. I actually cared about and became invested in themagain at least at the start. Okay now that Ive gotten the praise out of the way let me launch into why this show is a massive disappointment. One of the largest issues with the show is the pacing. The first eight episodes move at a very quick pace as the world and premise are set up the characters are introduced and mysteries begin getting introduced. After that a huge bombshell gets dropped on the audience opening the door to many more mysteries. However instead of addressing the how or why the show instead spends five episodes establishing that yes this did indeed happen freaking out over the lack of information regarding it and moving a boulder. This would be frustrating even if it werent delaying the answer to questions we desperately want because it takes up roughly 1/5 of the story and it builds up to a halfwaypoint climax that ultimately isnt particularly enthralling. This issue with preserving mystery at the cost of killing momentum is something that happens continually throughout the series. Plot points are raised and consequently abandoned in favor of pursuing plot points we dont care about. Weve just seen something that turns everything that has been established upside down Do we really need to have a court session? When Eren joins the survey corps why do we need scenes of them cleaning up their base? When its established that theres probably something of very great importance in Erens basement shouldnt there be at least some form of payoff for that instead of launching into the Female Titan arc? These issues only grow more pronounced in the manga where several arcs are started then cut short because following through on them would result in mysteries being answered and apparently the author believes that as soon as someone gets answers theyre going to stop reading. In addition Attack on Titan quickly introduces more characters than it knows how to handle. In the first episodes we begin to get a handle on who Erin Mikasa and Armin are but only Mikasa gets any sort of backstory and after those initial episodes shes mostly just relegated to a background character as well. Erin is full of passion but in a way that makes him twodimensional and I expected Armins story arc to actually go somewhere. I honestly thought that the story would be about them beginning to step out of his shadow but again that damn ninth episode happened and ruined any hope of that happening. The rest of the recruits are similarly bland. Jean gets something resembling a character arc and a few other characters suddenly become really important most of them only in the manga but others serve little to no purpose. Viewers know who Sasha is because she ate a potato in a funny scene. But thats literally all there is to remember about her character. She likes food. Thats all she does. Her only purpose in the story is to like food. And Connie? Who even knows what purpose Connie serves. After the first eight episodes the show starts to become a drag with the plot beginning to go in multiple directions. The pacing slows down but the slower pace isnt the main issue. Its that instead of slowerpaced forward motion it becomes slowerpaced sideways motion. What was once exciting suddenly becomes tedious to get through. Things begin to pick up again towards the end with the climax of the Female Titan arc when the titans identity is revealed and theres a big battle that answers a few questions but raises more. Unfortunately those questions arent going to be answered anytime soon. Ive read the manga and at this point I know that these mysteries are just going to be left unanswered until theres no way the answers we eventually get will be anything less than an anticlimax. Id rate the manga a bit lower for that reason but I guess in this first season theres still the hope that a second season will bring something resembling resolution to the series so Ill account for that in the score. If all youre looking for is action or good production values youll probably enjoy it and if you NEED to know about the biggest most hyped shows around its a mustwatch. But if youre looking for something satisfying and conclusive with good characters skip it. Three stars.
55 /100
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