In honor of HTMLGiant’s 25pt review (R.I.P. HTMLGiant), I’ve decided to bring back a version of it but to take the GZA’s advice and make it ‘half short and twice strong’. I give you the – 12.5pt review (Long Live HTMLGiant!)
For those of you who don’t give anime much credit….well I understand why. But hey there is some good and even great anime out there. So if you’ve cracked the door to the Ghibli studio stuff and feel like you might wanna venture further allow me to suggest beginning with Attack on Titan.
I don’t wanna say too much directly about the plot here ‘cause I think it’s best to find that out for oneself. So here is a brief overview:
1. There are three concentric walls that surround the city, protecting it from attack: Wall Maria, Wall Rose and Wall Sina and three main characters: Eren Yeager (determined and passionate giant killer), Mikasa Ackerman (his adopted sister, a badass in combat and fearlessly protective of Eren), & Armin Arlert (Eren’s childhood friend, painfully insecure – more about out-witting than out-dueling).
2. The titans themselves are huge, baby-bodied people with oversized heads and protrusive teeth. They are quick, but clumsy, as though their motor skills are not yet fully developed.
3. Although they eat people, they don’t actually digest them, which results in some ‘mucus balls’ with human remains being thrown up in the city (don’t let that turn you off the series though – it’s not a major plot line or anything).
4. Most of the action takes place on the rooftops of a central European town and so red roof tiles and their breakage are a major feature of the action.
5. Characters move about by virtue of a dual-waist rocket jump jet system and have cables that shoot out of them allowing them to maneuver mid-air. They back this up with electro-powered swords.
6.All of the fighting/action scenes are really well-directed and sketched out making use of stop motion and freeze frames to avoid confusing the viewer with a lot of jumpcuts.
7. Around episode 14 the theme song becomes decidedly more rock…with the ending credits get a boost with some dope ass Japanese indie rock courtesy of ‘Cinema Staff’.
8. There are schematics between scenes are elaborate, top-secret, ‘blueprint-style’ graphic designs with cut outs. They fill the viewer in on the background of the series, the geography of the area, as well as things related to the technology and weaponry used in the show. There is something esoteric and sloppy about them that makes them seem both corny and cool at the same time.
9. One thing the series does exceptionally well is to depict the actual horror of war and the mental toll a long and fatal siege has on a populace; many of the soldiers go mad and try to desert. Some have nervous breakdowns and try to go AWOL. This is coupled with the inscrutability of the titans who are depicted not so much as an invading army but as more of a force of nature: irrational, unpredictable, unstoppable.
10. Torture and experimentation on prisoners is also touched upon when Major Hanji, an overzealous ‘researcher’, makes an appearance – needless to say this ain’t for the kids.
11. For all you anime veterans I regret to tell you that there is little ‘fan service’ of the carnal variety.
12. After you finish watching the series and if you are in or near Japan you might consider visiting the theme park *gulp*
12.5 I don’t wanna die this way.
Judson Hamilton lives in Wrocław, Poland. Twitter: @judson_hamilton