Reviews: Shingeki No Kyojin
Simply not for me.
For all the chances I've given it, I'm afraid this show's appeal fails to reach out to me. The premise and the setting have never struck me as more than blase, the characters either generic or unlikable—Mikasa in particular comes off more as Eren's co-dependent lap dog with no sense of self-growth or expansive perspective than she does an empowering female or respectable Mama Bear archetype to the protagonist—the humor (and characters relating to it) falls flat on its ass whenever it makes the idiotic move of attempting it, and the main weapon against the Titans, the Titan Shifters, is simply akin to mechs made of flesh and bone. Kinda pretentious in that regard. The action feels more repetitive and drawn out than fast-paced or entertaining to watch, and while the scene of Eren in his Titan form going on a rampage against all the other Titans was admittedly awesome (as is the Armored Titan), I've yet to see anything else that intrigued me nearly that much in any of the action. Anywhere else comes off as a matter of just flaunting its animation quality with long-winded tracking shots and off-beat Spiderman. And no, I didn't enjoy the fight between Eren and Annie—it felt like a slow-paced clip show with unnecessary cuts every three minutes. The pace is record-setting slow, and not on an episode-to-episode basis, I'm talking line-for-goddamn-line here. Dialogue that's obviously meant for dramatic effect comes off as a recap of things WE'VE already seen thus already know, making the discovery on the characters' parts a lot less intriguing to watch considering again, how un-engaging I find the characters. My biggest problem however, is the namesake; THE TITANS SUCK. Some of the least intimidating, most buffoonish and contrived excuses for a collective antagonistic force I've seen in an anime. They have NO personality to their presence even with all those stupid memes and screen caps I see of them, and really, while their weakness makes some sense when taking into account their supposed origin as the Manga states, the problem then becomes how predictable it was. Altogether, the series feels like a set-up with relatively little put into defining itself besides its crippling simplicity. When I first read the plot summary, I was wondering if editors forgot to put "black comedy" in the genre tags—part of me still is.
I can't believe this crap.
Let me start off by saying that, at first, I adamantly decided against watching or reading this series due to the amount of hype for it. Come on, topping popularity charts in only a few episodes? That's a little ridiculous. Therefore, I came to the conclusion that it would no way live up to the expectation the fans had set for it. This conclusion was so wrong. Even though the first episode started out as surprisingly slow-moving and mundane, it was powerful. As the series progressed, it only became more so, and when the action and mystery were added, it made for a fantastic combination. The plot runs ridiculously deeper than it would be expected to. Every twist, no matter how expected it may be, somehow gets turned into a surprise. The characters are well-developed and unnervingly human, and none of them are quite what would be expecting. (Also the manga, while known for a questionable art style, is really pretty fantastic, and the further you read, the more stressful the story gets in the best of ways.) I cannot believe how much I like this series. This is absurd.
An eerily intricate gem.
Shingeki No Kyojin (SNK for short) is a rather unique series in its genre, and for good reasons. While the fundamental Shounen plot points are ever present (main character is center of something horrible, vows to fulfill a quest that will most likely take him the entire series to accomplish), the series quickly grabs these concepts and uses them in witty, interesting ways to craft a richly-woven story. The story is set in a world where Titans, large and abnormal humanoids, have almost driven mankind to extinction. The remaining humans live within a single, walled territory where they are protected from the Titans that dwarf them both literally and figuratively. After a colossal Titan opens up a hole in the wall, Titans raid the district offering residence to main character Eren Jaeger, whose mom is eaten by a Titan. Vowing to exterminate every single Titan in existence and becoming the hope of mankind, Eren and his adoptive sister Mikasa, alongside childhood friend Armin, aim to join the military. The story is host to a broad cast of characters, many of which are realistically portrayed, making them relatable and go through equally relatable character development as they attempt to survive in this beautiful, yet cruel world. Main character Eren starts out as somewhat one-dimensional, but soon goes through his own developments, gaining credibility as the story progresses. The story makes excellent use of its plot elements, the universe it has crafted, the characters and so on. As the mysteries of the Titans and the world are unravelled, shocking revelations and plot-twists quickly follow each other, yet all of them make sense, are cleverly foreshadowed and drive the plot forward and rarely, if ever, feel forced. Being a shounen, there is ample action and my single critique is that the manga's artwork is not the most clean and fight sequences can sometimes get a bit overcomplicated in the way they are drawn, though the manga improves vastly over time. The anime is nothing short of beautiful in its fluid animation and colourful art. This series is rather graphic and somewhat dark, which one must take into account before picking it up. If that is a plus for you or at the very least not a problem, I strongly recommend this as a must read. You won't be disappointed and will soon find yourself yearning for the next chapter/episode.
Brilliant and Addictive
Shingeki no Kyojin is an amazingly written story with a very dark premise and a lot of action. This is definitely not a series for the faint of heart, especially those with fears of man-eating giants that don't even have the decency to kill you before they eat you (sometimes). The story keeps you guessing as it progresses, there's a new reveal that completely destroys what you thought you knew and makes you wonder just how far the rabbit hole goes. The characters are very relatable and you really do want to see them succeed. What makes this series unique however is the protagonists very rarely ever win a battle. Every mission the cast engage in usually ends in a blood bath, but it's not without purpose. The gruesome deaths we witness just cements how high the stakes are in this story, and the determination of the protagonists to push forward is very inspiring. Another unique thing about the cast is they are rather three-dimensional in comparison to a lot of anime and manga I've seen. Where I expect some characters to be completely flat jerkasses or emotionless bastards, there's always something that really makes you like them. The series also makes a point of establishing that no matter what you see on the outside, the characters certainly feel and act human deep down. This makes it really heart breaking when you see characters you like die in the line of duty, and only makes you want to see the good guys succeed all the more, which serves to make their victories so much sweeter. tl;dr, This series is a must-read/watch. If you have a weak stomach or a phobia for cannibalistic slasher smiles, give it a miss. Otherwise, give it your full attention.
This series shows us the possibility of not just shounen, manga or anime, but animation. A smart, well thought out and well written series like this does not come that often. Each of the characters feel real and have their successes and their failures. It takes a concept and runs with it, creating a series of action, drama and horror. The plot is so well done and unique, that you have no idea what is going to happen. Although admittedly that manga's artwork is not the best, the story makes up for it. The fear and sympathy you feel for the characters draws you in. Especially for the anime, with its high quality and smooth animation. All in all, do not miss this series if you can handle dark stories. But I expect with the ridiculous popularity from the anime, after the anime ends a new anime series will start once they have enough chapters. I feel it might have the popularity to rival One Piece and Naruto, the only thing stopping it from having long running animes like those two is that it is a monthly series.