Sunday, August 24, 2014

My thoughts on Attack On Titan so far

Well, episode 16 of the dub aired on Toonami so it is about time that I do my usual mid-season review. Honestly, this anime is one of those where I'm struggling to understand why it got popular. The same can be said of Sword Art Online. Anyway, without further adieu, lets take a look at how Attack On Titan has been for me so far.
I'm just gonna come right out and say it, I don't like Eren Yeager. His dislike of humanity has yet to be explained and from what I've gathered so far, he has been this way since he was a child. He seems to blame humanity for his inability to leave the walls instead of the blaming the titans. He also seems to blame humanity for not throwing themselves at the titans. Early on, he showed very little care for the lives of people around him save for his mother, Mikasa, and Armin. He didn't even acknowledge that his squad was getting eaten during the Trost arc. I was actually surprised that someone actually had to tell him that people were dying and that he should at least acknowledge them for their sacrifice. The secondary and background characters seem to just be there to up the body count. A lot of them seem to be very weak-willed with the ones being afraid of the titans usually being motivated by Eren giving an uninspiring speech that amounts to him saying "Lets go kill some titans!". Mikasa is a character that I can just barely get behind since she at least admitted during the Trost arc that she screwed up and cost people their lives. A lot of the characters exist just to increase the body count.

The Titans: Honestly, I don't like the Titan' designs and I don't understand why the characters are even remotely afraid of them. Yeah they're big and can move fast but they don't even look scary. They evoke laughter given their designs, not fear. Most of them aren't even that smart so a simple strategy is enough to take the regular ones out of the equation. It sort of feels like the only reason humanity has struggled with them for so long is because they aren't thinking and just reacting to this big lumbering oaf coming toward them. There has only been one titan in the show that I've liked. It was a one-off titan who I have since dubbed "Santa Titan" and hilariously, he ate Eren. Unfortunately, that didn't last long. Confusingly, they are essentially made of hot air and are light as a feather yet can still somehow punch through a wall. That shouldn't be possible even if I suspend my disbelief. They are also photosynthetic which leaves me scratching my head even more, not so much in disbelief but because it renders their hunger for human flesh pointless from a biological perspective. They're just eating to eat and it doesn't make them look anymore terrifying.

The Body Count:
The body count in this show is absurdly high. It feels like there is almost no weight to anyone's death because it throws death after death at you so fast. It really gives off the impression that no one in this show matters at all. It makes it very difficult to feel for these background characters since most of them are being introduced at the exact moment of their death. No matter how large the cast of characters, even the most minor characters' deaths should be treated like a big event, especially when you're killing them off in big numbers like this because that is the only chance we'll have to feel for them. The "anyone can die at any moment" mentality doesn't really work in the show's favor since its usually the cannon fodder getting eaten. One death I did find funny was in episode 13, some nameless soldier was watching horrified as his friend was getting eaten and then a titan just swats him like a fly. The show also features an absurd amount of gore between the titans eating people and Eren's fights in titan form. The gore gets old very quickly to the point where it isn't even a unique aspect of the show anymore.

Pacing and Raccoon Faces: These 16 episodes felt like 32 and definitely not in a good way. This show has a ton of exposition in it. Unfortunately, it is usually used to pad out the episodes. This is one of the few anime I've seen that has so much exposition but doesn't actually say anything useful or important at all. The padding is also extremely obvious. Take the battle of Trost for example, the Titans are ravaging the city and while Jean is in the supply depo, he spends about 3 minutes doing an inner monologue and the entire time two titans are just staring at him through a broken window. While that was probably in the manga it doesn't work in the anime for one simple reason: It is supposed to be an urgent situation and everything is supposed to be happening in real time. There is no indication of a slow down time-wise that would usually go along with something like that. It just makes the show feel like its dragging its heels. The show features a bizarre phenomenon given the art style where everyone turns into raccoon people during the close-ups. Their eyes always sink-in during dramatic moments so it makes it look like they're wearing a raccoon mask. It takes away from the seriousness of a scene when all I can think during said scene is "Jeez man! What happened to your face?!".
Raccoon!! Seriously though that is gonna become a meme one day.
Overall Thoughts: There really isn't much more that I can say. I am somewhat astounded that this thing got popular. The show is insanely boring and for a show that has been applauded for its action sequences there are far too few of them with it being padded out instead by exposition. The show lacks a sense of urgency overall. Even in the middle of the Battle for Trost while titans were swarming the city the characters still found time to hand out exposition in real-time. One of the other issues I have is that the show fails to set up viable rules for the titans and even when it does, those rules vary from titan to titan. For example, titans draw their nourishment and energy from sunlight which is why they don't attack at night. Doesn't sound so bad right? Well here is where the problem comes in: Some titans take longer than others to become inactive once the sun goes down. Yeah I understand that it is done so humanity isn't just walking beyond the walls at night with no consequences but because of that, it is only a matter of time before the writer introduces titans that are powered by moonlight. Every fantasy story does one of two things: 1. They follow real world laws to some degree or 2. They don't follow those laws but explain their own rules so you understand why they work the way they do. The writer is so busy trying to make the titans mysterious that he has created situation in which he can do anything that he deems necessary and it will still fit the narrative. Because of the vagueness or outright lack of rules regarding how the world works, the show almost requires you to think of it using real world logic. Once that happens, the story and its so-called logic fall apart at the seams. Anyway, those are my thoughts on Attack On Raccoon City...I mean Titan.

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