When Attack on Titan came out in 2013, my social media pages were filled with memes and people raving about it. I watched it, and it rocked my world. It was one of the first shows I had seen fully, and it sort of got me into anime.
I waited for years for the second season, waiting to hear what happened next, but it never came. It was around 2015 when I lost hope and forgot about it. Season two came out two years later in 2017, but I had moved on. I wasn’t as “diehard” as I was before, and even when I heard about the 3rd season, I wasn’t completely ecstatic as I maybe would’ve been back then.
It wasn’t until late 2019, after the third season had finished, when I saw memes and reviews of it. People said that the plot twists and new plot lines were mind-blowing, and the animation was as beautiful as ever. After all this chatter, I watched, and needless to say, I was shocked.
The character development, the capture of human life, the animation, the plot; I could go on and on. The show was “insane,” as I said, and it immediately became one of my favorite shows. I even convinced two friends to watch it, and they became hooked.
With the Season 4 and series finale coming in about two months, I felt now was a better time than ever to review the show.
For a quick summary, Attack on Titan is a show about humanity inside walls that are 50 meters high. They were built a hundred years in their past to protect humanity from being destroyed by titans. These titans are giant-like creatures who eat humans, and before the walls were erected, they were at war with the humans. Because of the titans’ rampage and the speed at which the humans had to build the walls, most of the history of humanity is unknown to the people. Most inside the walls don’t know how the walls were built or where the titans came from. One day, a titan taller than the wall, broke through, breaking the 100 years of peace they once had. This means that humanity begins to learn of the true nature of life, and their fear takes over. The rest of the show follows the characters Eren, Mikasa, and Armin, who become soldiers, and their journey for survival, answers, and revenge.
One of the biggest things I love about this show is how it captures human emotion. I don’t love the emotion they feel itself because it’s actually very depressing, but it was always the realism of the situation and their reaction to those emotions that fascinated me. I was always in awe at the raw emotion shown and how some of the characters seemed insane, but the more I watched the more it made sense.
Some people would just spout nonsense, and many would think they are insane, but I slowly realized, it’s because of the trauma they lived through. In Attack on Titan, many of those who joined the military experience this. Most people who join either want an easier life, or to help humanity fight back titans. It’s these soldiers who are sent out, and there are multiple instances in the show when they face the eyes of a Titan. Everything that led them to that point is filled with regret. These people fight the titans, and they witness firsthand how terrifying they can be.
It’s the realization that they are weak compared to these titans. When these people turn away from their original way of thinking, the thinking that made them pursue the life of a soldier, they lose sense of self and sense of purpose. This can make people turn to drastic measures. Those in the military also see the brutality of death. They see it in their friends and the civilians, and they give up as they think there’s no hope for humanity, which can also lead to dark consequences. The soldiers go through terrible experiences, and it shows how war impacts the human mentality. It deteriorates quickly and it shows that only those with a strong will can truly “survive” war, as if there are any true survivors.
I was also surprised at the realistic thinking the characters do. They don’t just come up with one idea and it goes perfectly all the time. While it does happen occasionally, there are also plans that go completely wrong, and it resets the once optimistic mood to reality for the characters and the watchers. The mistakes of the military shape the characters’ and humanity’s view of the world and starts to take a bigger view, outside of just how the main characters may feel. It shows what the nobility think, and what the impoverished think. The big picture view it gives helps immerse the audience into the show.
Another thing I truly loved was the plot of the show itself. In the beginning, it had its course of twists and turns that were shocking but never felt unrealistic or forced. Rewatching it for the third time, I have found something new every time, and by knowing everything that happens from the later seasons, the subtle amount of hints and answers are fun to spot, but to first-time watchers, they sometimes go unnoticed. The plot itself moves at a proper pace. It never feels rushed nor does it ever feel slow. The speed of it moves in conjunction with the severity of the situation. It’s a very captivating and one-of-a-kind story. It’s hard to describe without spoiling the show; however, those who have watched it know what I am getting at.
In all, Attack on Titan is one of my personal favorites. The realism in human emotion and thinking, alongside the plot are all individually good. I wouldn’t consider it a masterpiece, (though I may later, depending on the ending), but once the series is over, it’ll be considered one of its kind and will definitely be near the top of many people’s lists.