The anime version of Attack on Titan is an adaption of the Hajime Isayama manga series of the same name, created by Wit Studio. I first became aware of it when it started streaming on Netflix (and people started saying things like “OMG! Attack on Titan is streaming!). I like anime, but have had some mixed experiences with it (I’ve had better luck with movies than television). That said, I enjoyed Claymore, so I thought I’d give Attack on Titan a spin. I watched the first episode yesterday, and figured that I’d check in here, and then again after I’ve finished it up, to see how my expectations matched up with the reality. Since I won’t read up on it until I’m finished, what I think is going on might not be accurate – this is just my take, 24 minutes in.
Attack on Titan takes place in what seems to be an alternate future, one of those medieval/technology hybrids that I’m so used to these days that I don’t bat an eye when the characters seem to make their own bread, but also have some pretty high-tech weapons (or maybe it’s just the flying around that makes it seem high tech?). At any rate, everyone lives in a big, walled city, to protect them from creepy, cannibalistic giants that are stalking around outside, grinning maniacally.
The walls have held up pretty well so far, but our hero Eren isn’t satisfied being cooped up like cattle – he wants to go out into the world. It looks like he’s going to get his chance, because in the first episode those walls crumble, and a whole lotta munchin’ goes down. Without going into too many details, the first episode introduces what I think are going to be the main characters: Eren, his sister Mikasa, and their pal Armin. There’s not a lot of explanation, which is fine with me – I like to learn things on the fly, but Attack on Titan, despite its kid main characters, sets a fairly adult tone, not just in terms of gore, but in terms of the dynamics that are set up: curiosity, revenge, childish exuberance versus adult responsibility, a missing parent, secrets – it’s all there.
What I’d like to see is an exploration of the core idea of living safe but contained, versus free but at risk. Coming of age is fine, but if the series avoided kid romance, that’d be fine, with me, as I’m more interested in story than preteen romantic angst. I’d like to learn the mystery behind the titans (are they clones of some kind? Alien pawns? What?), and I wouldn’t mind some nice action along the way.
At this point, it all seems pretty good. I might get frustrated with Eren’s impulsiveness, if after a certain point it starts to seem contrived, but we’ll see. For now, I’m looking forward to learning more about the world of Attack on Titan, and maybe seeing some of the big cannibals get taken down a peg.