Attack on Titan
Season 1 + Manga Vol, 1,2,3,4,5,6,7,8,9,10,11,12,13,14,15,16,17
Series directed by Tetsurō Araki
Manga written and illustrated by Hajime Isayama
The story follows humanity after it had to encase itself on various walls to protect themselves from Titans, or gigantic humanoid creatures that like to eat people and destroy cities. It mostly focuses on Eren Yeager, whose mother was killed by a Titan when they attacked the outer wall he lived in, making him and his adoptive sister, Mikasa Ackerman, and friend Armin Arlert, some of the survivors. Due to this, Eren vows to enlist in the military in order to kill all of the Titans. The story then progresses to five years later, where all three of them are cadets, alongside a couple others, when the Titans attack again. People die, some return, and the structure within the walls starts to slowly disintegrate.
One of the strongest parts of the show is that people are mortal, they die and we cannot stop it. Every character, old and new get the same treatment and development, leaving us unsure of who will survive and who will perish. And since this is Attack on Titan, we know they will not be going down easy, they will most likely have extremely brutal and gory deaths that will leave us weeping for weeks.
There is also the well developed world building. For an anime adaptation of a manga yet to be finished, it maintains a constant state of advancement when it comes to the setting of the story. Episode by episode, we get to know more of what is going on, with glimpses to the past or a small explanation of infrastructure, and various views on why the Titans are doing whatever the hell it is that they are doing without any of the main characters, including Titans, having any actual explanation, yet. It is also very important to note the technological advancement added to this medieval shaped society. In a place where people only take showers once in a while, dress with long pre-1800 clothing, and old carts for transportation,the soldiers are able to fight the giants with these gas filled tanks attacked to a belt with ropes and swords that allows them to be able to fly through the air. I think this is a neat addition, society is not ready yet to move to the time we live in now, but the necessity for survival has led them to expand their science/robotics to stay alive. It also divides the season into two major arcs, the first one shows what life is within the walls of two of the cities and the training camps, and the second one takes us into a journey outside those walls, to a world overrun by these creatures, and how they live and act. Although the pace is off in a few episodes, it did quite well maintaining the development on a steady rise, and it is wonderful to see something like that, when a lot of the same series in the genre do info-dumps to deliver any expansion.
My favourite part lies on the characters, mostly Eren, Mikasa, Jean , Levi, and Annie. Eren is there to represent the abrasive, he is impulsive, and does not care much for himself, as he is only bent on revenge, at least at the beginning of the series. He does have progressive changes to more levelheaded position, and in some form leaving his superiority complex of thinking only those that served in the military were not “complacent livestock.” Mikasa is the strongest character in the entire series, she is calm and quiet, if a bit cynical, and extremely loyal to Eren, to the point of following him into the Corps to protect him. Due to her affection to Eren, springing from their childhood as adopted siblings, she will do anything to protect him, including killing other people, and she dislikes anyone who has ever attacked him, including her superiors. Jean is my little baby, alongise Mikasa he is my favourite. He is an outspoken character, who bluntly tells it like it is, including his desire to live comfortably within the walls of the city. Like Eren, he has a very hot-headed personality, and was often resorting to violence, a lot of his attitude came from his obvious crush on Mikasa, and his jealousy over her affection of Eren. But he is also very careful of the lives of his comrades, not wanting harm to come to them, and blaming himself if any of them perish while he is commanding, but perhaps the best is his slow progress towards a more idealistic view on life. Levi is often considered everyone’s favourite. He is a clean freak, who also happens to be the best fighter the entire human race has, and has a very abrasive personality, choosing to keep to himself, while only respecting those in his immediate circle, offering disdain to anyone he thinks of as weak. Much like Jean he shows deep care for his subordinates, becoming stoic when a mission has been useless or a close companion has died. And Annie, a person I cared not much for in the beginning, but who began to become more interesting as the story progressed. She is an isolated person, and shows little, if any, emotion whenever she is present. I am not sure how to describe her, except she is a female version of Eren when it comes to her willingness to do anything to achieve her goal. These are only some of the characters, there are so many more, main and secondary ones, that express so much about the human spirit.
What has made this anime/manga so accessible to people across the world is its political undertones of class division, governmental/religious/non-governmental oppression, and humanity’s basis of survival of the fittest. The show has been popular in countries known for a strong instances of oppression against its people, as well as places with strong divisions of wealth. The Titans stand to present the one always against us, and the humans the hopelessness we feel when confronted with so many challenges. Of course, this varies depending on the person, but it has been universally understood that it holds a deeper moral value rather than a simple horror/terror story of giant fighting kids.
As of the many anime shows I have seen throughout my life, Attack on Titan earns a spot at the very top, and I will do my best to recommend this to as many people as I possibly can. It is simply too good for anyone to pass over.
Look at my OTP in this anime/manga: Jean and Mikasa.