After I watched the first episode of Attack on Titan I wrote down my thoughts, noting that I’d come back after I finished what I now realize was season one. Bottom line? It was awesome – I’d put it right up there with Claymore as one of the best serialized anime shows that I’ve seen.
Sadly (also like Claymore), it turned out to be part of a much longer manga story and it didn’t end with any closure. I kind of suspected this would happen, but I kept on hoping until the last few episodes, when I had to stop kidding myself and suck it up. That said, it more than made up for it with good pacing, a lot of action, and some really nice character moments. After the first episode I thought the themes would center around the strong defending the weak and living caged but safe versus free and at risk: there was some of that (especially around Armin), but the primary stories focused on moments when the characters realized that they needed to fight, or had to make choices between trusting themselves, or trusting their comrades.
The world of Attack on Titan is a cruel one: characters die – sometimes horribly – which though sad, gave it a certain level of gravitas. It reminded me a little of The Hunger Games, in the sense that the battles that were going on were real, with real risk, and emotional consequences. Sometimes I grew tired of the characters’ endless self-doubt: I wanted them to commit, at least to the extent that they wouldn’t have the same doubts, again and again.
Overall, the series is definitely worth taking in. I watched it subtitled, but for those who care, it is getting a dubbed version. The great news is that it was a surprise hit (like I said, I refused to do any additional research on it until I’d seen it, so I didn’t know) and it looks like there’s going to be a second season. Eventually.
Okay, now I’m off to read the Little Red Reviewers take on Volume One of the manga. Feel free to enjoy this video of the Attack on Titan opening credits, redone with cats (because cats are, well… cats!).