Attack on Titan – Shingeki no Kyojin – Season 1
After multiple recommendations my partner and I finally decided to give ‘Attack on Titan’ a try. We’re both massive Ghibli fans and he had watched a couple of episodes of ‘Fairy Tail’ with me on my insistence but this was the first time he had shown a real interest in watching an anime series and I was so excited that we started immediately. Now we’re both desperately craving more and I can’t believe we waited so long!
The Series is 25 episodes long and each episode is around about 25 minutes in length including credits. Available with Japanese audios and subtitles or as an English dub this series is widely accessible and I would highly recommend it to anyone who likes drama, action and monsters.
Our story starts in Shiganshina a town which is hidden, like the rest of humanity, behind mammoth walls designed to keep out the hordes of giant titans roaming in the fields and wastelands beyond. For a century humanity has kept itself safe beyond these colossal stone constructions, sending out scouts to investigate the outside world but keeping the majority of it’s citizens out of harm’s way.
While most people live comfortably and safely within the walls, safe in their ignorance, there are people who believe that the walls won’t be able to protect them forever; two such people are Eren and Armin. Still only young, they harbour such a passionate curiosity about the outside world that Eren even expresses an interest in becoming a Scout, despite the high mortality rate and much to his Mother’s distress.
On point artwork, flawless animation and a soundtrack that could make walking to the shops seem like an epic battle, ‘Attack on Titan’ ticks all of my boxes and left a gaping hole in my life that can only be filled by a second season of this masterpiece!
From the very beginning the series takes no prisoners. Episode 1 and you are barely given the chance to get to know Mikasa, Eren and Armin before you are confronted with the horror that is a titan attack. The fast pace of the season is perfectly complimented by short moments of calm which highlight the pain and hurt of the characters as well as allowing you time to mourn the death and destruction that punctuates every episode. I don’t want to give away any of the story so I will simply write about a few of the characters that I am particularly fond of and introduce you to the titans.
Eren is easily one of my favourite protagonists from an anime so far. He is hard-working, determined and fiercely protective of his friends and family, resilient and kind, he will do anything he can to help the people around him and his main objective is to save the human race from the Titans before it is too late. Eren feels accountable for the fate of his friends and as such angrily throws himself into every task, sometimes a little reckless and very hot-headed, Eren often runs into a situation before he has thought about it properly, however he has the power to move others to action and inspires loyalty in the people closest to him.
Mikasa is badass, there is no better way of putting it. The adoptive sister of Eren Jaeger and one of the last remaining humans of Asian descent, Mikasa has seen dreadful horrors in her childhood which have given her a stoic and cool demeanour which offsets very well against Eren’s fire. She is probably one of the few people that Eren will listen to and she, having promised his mother than she would, feels that it is her responsibility to make sure that Eren doesn’t do anything stupid or come to harm. Mikasa cares deeply for her childhood friends, especially Eren and is only shown to shed her cool exterior when it comes to their safety. Proficient in fighting, clever and capable, Mikasa is a force to be reckoned with and when it comes down to it no Titan is a match for her.
Armin is actually my favourite character of the series, I’ve always had a soft spot for the underdog! Armin is physically weaker than the others, small for his age and can be a little timid but he has a clarity of mind and a strategic genius which make him the perfect asset in a battle against the Titans. Naturally curious and inquisitive, as a child Armin fuelled the fire under Eren’s ambition to go beyond the wall, in fact he regularly suffered at the hands of bullies because of his beliefs but it is Armin’s unconventional thinking and strength of heart that allow Eren and his allies to make huge strides towards victory.
To begin with Armin considers himself a burden to his friends and refuses to accept help but he is soon able to see his own weaknesses as assets and begins to use his determination and thirst to prove himself to forge a path forwards. Eloquent and hard-working, Armin is always one of the first to grasp the reality of a situation and he is always ready with a plan.
If you were to ask me which character I felt had undergone the biggest change in personality I would have to say Jean. To begin with I did not like him. His arrogance and determination to save his own hide resulted in him locking horns with Eren almost from the start and the tension between the two certainly brought out the worst in Jean. Despite his stubbornness, following his first experience in the field and the loss of a close friend, Jean becomes a lot more malleable and open. He starts to see the world around him in a different light and his conscience won’t allow him to sit back and watch from the safety of the capital.
Jean quickly proves himself a capable leader and a reliable member of the military, his compassion for the people around him becomes paramount to the cause and his concern for preserving human life is admirable despite all that he has seen. I came to really respect Jean as the season progressed and really can’t wait to see where they take the character going forward.
Captain Levi Ackerman
It would be impossible not to write about Levi because I am practically in love with him! If Mikasa is the Queen of Titan killing then Levi is the Knight, Prince, King and God! Mostly expressionless and remarkably calm, Levi gets some of the best lines of the show and easily the most epic action scenes. He is an acclaimed titan killer and the Captain of an elite squad from the Survey Corps known as the the Special operations squad. A brilliant leader with a strong sense of justice who is brusque and straight forward, Levi is well respected by the people around him and has a strong relationship with the members of his team. He is also intelligent, confident and a good strategist. All around awesome, Levi is the man you want on your team when the Titans attack.
Describing the Titans without giving anything away is tough, but I will try my best. I suppose the best way to explain a Titan is as giant humanoids ranging from a few metres to 15 metres tall who treat humans as prey not because they need to eat them, but because they are driven by a bloodlust which cannot easily be sated. These zombie like creatures are disproportionate in size and shape which gives them a really creepy appearance and their wide starring eyes and slack jaws make them look kind of crazed. Their movements are exaggerated and often times inhuman and they’re quick too! Pretty nightmarish even if you don’t scare as easily as I do.
Alongside the general horde of smiling monsters there are also a few titans known as abnormals who do not follow the usual patterns, some of these even seem to show signs of intelligence which is creepier still! Amongst the abnormals are the Colossal Titan, a Titan so large that he can look over the wall, and the Armoured Titan, a Titan with a thick armoured skin which can break through the walls with minimal effort and withstand cannon fire. Terrifying!