Easily one of the most anticipated series this season for shonen/seinen fans, and for good reason. Attack on Titan is an epic tale, and while it contains a tried-and-true story of a young hero seeking revenge for the loss of his mother, it’s given new life through its characters, setting, and ideas. The most important aspect of Titan: people will die! A lot of people will die, so it can be hard to get attached to some of the main cast. The mangaka (Hajime Isayama) is almost following a George R. R. Martin style: if you like a character, they’re probably going to die! That’s not to say it’s all gloom and doom in Attack on Titan, just be forewarned…
Set in a fictional medieval setting, humans are barricading themselves in walls from gigantic Titans that wander the land and feast only on humans. But oddly enough, it’s not a matter of sustenance, simply just for fun. Little is known about these gargantuan beasts, but the humans have created a military capable of providing a glimmer of hope in their military forces. Main protagonists Eren Jaeger (voice actor: Yuji Kaji) and his adopted sister Mikasa Akerman (VA: Yui Ishikawa) join the military after their mother is killed in an attack by a Titan and they’re left with nothing. No home, no other family, as their father is a traveling doctor who’s rarely seen, but has a shrouded past.
They’re accompanied by life-long childhood friend Armin Arlet (VA: Marina Inoue) who’s more book-smart than Eren, but lacks the confidence needed to face the Titan. Among the rest of the militaristic corps you’ll stumble across typical fare: the clown, the snobbish, the endearingly ignorant, and those that are simply like Eren and Mikasa who want revenge. It’s an interesting group, and they all play off one another so well that even if they’re around for a short while, it can still be hard to know that they may not last long in this series.
The first 7 episodes have given us so much to take in from this series, and there’s still so much to come for the human versus Titan war. After a quick introductory episode, a batch of episodes is then dedicated to military training and learning how they plan to fight the Titans, followed by an actual human and Titan battle which is undoubtedly spoiler heavy. I won’t go into too many plot details, but I’m almost certain that after episodes 5 and 6 if you’re not hooked on Attack on Titan by then, you never will be. Set for a two-cour run, Attack on Titan in only 7 episodes in and is already captured an audience ravenous for more week after week. By episode 5, so much time has passed and character development has happened that you’re always left wondering what could lie ahead for next week.
As for the production side, the characters have that Osamu Tezuka/Naoki Urasawa “nose art”, with rich and distinct designs for each character, no matter their importance. It’s always pleasant to see even background or secondary characters get such a nice touch of personality. The action in motion is fluid, and when in battle, whipping cameras and shots make it fast paced and show off scale surprisingly well. Usually something that’s often overlooked in series that fail to capture the true size of giant enemies, so again, kudos! Unfortunately, the music isn’t much to write home about. It’s not that it’s bad; it’s simply not as memorable. The opening and endings are suitable, and pull you in and out, but they’re not my usual fare.
With eighteen of twenty-five (planned) episodes still to come, Attack on Titan is bloody, well thought out action, and one of the most brutal things to come out in a while. I’ll be sticking with this series at least through its first season, and will hopefully pick it back up as the second season premieres, most likely in the fall (though it may very well continue through the summer, I’ll update in the closing half review).