Sunday, March 1, 2015

TV Show Review: Attack on Titan

Finished up watching this series last night.  Its certainly not for everyone.  Its Japanese, its a cartoon, its subtitled, its got naked giants without genitalia eating people.  Its anime which if you don't already know what it is, you probably won't like it.

That said, its about as good as anime gets.  Its weird in all the best ways.  Humanity has been stuck inside three concentric walls since it was almost exterminated some 100 years earlier by these giant "Titans" of which there are different kinds but all of which love to wordlessly eat people--lots of them.  Besides the enormous walls the only thing standing between humanity and extinction are teams of military like individuals who use waist mounted devices to swing from building to building or tree to tree with their reloadable swords to slice the Titans apart.

So you have the classic Japanese anime with lots of people flying through the air showering each other in oceans of blood.  Behind it all are the questions of what exactly are the Titans?  Where do they come from? Why does the royal family get to stay inside the safest circle and get all the resources?  How do we kill more of the Titans?  Why can Eren turn himself INTO a Titan?  Has a Titan who can transform into a human infiltrated the group?

It started off as a manga (comic) in Japan and has quickly spread across the globe with novels, films, video games, etc. with millions of editions in print.  The english subtitled anime series does not carry it all the way through where the manga has gone and leaves much unresolved and unanswered and thus a bit dissapointing that more answers aren't given and so I'm waiting for the collection of episodes (this first "season" was some 25 episodes long).  The translation is fairly good though a bit too literal vs. conversational as is typically the case with anime but there is definitely a bit of info lost in translation and there are gaps in information that leave you asking if you missed an episode or part of an episode that I attribute to the move from Japanese to English.

The series has been a bit controversial in Asia with those in Hong Kong and Taiwan seeing the Titans as stand-ins for invading China and South Korea calling it a reflection of Japan's recent militaristic turn.  I doubt its either but the fact that it has gotten a lot of people all riled up over it shows its now widespread influence.  If you've given things like Akira and Ghost in the Shell a chance in the past and enjoyed them (as I have, though I am only a VERY small anime aficionado, knowing only the largest of titles and series), I would recommend some binge watching to include Attack on Titan for a current look at the top level of work coming out of Japan.

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