Friday, July 11, 2014

Attack on Titan—Where have I been?

So if you've been present in popular culture for the last year or so, you've probably started to see Attack on Titan (進撃の巨人) merchandise cropping up in your periphery. If you're an anime fan, it's likely been unavoidable.

I was one of the naysayers that took one look at the childish designs of the titular titans and scoffed, knowing that I would never give an anime with such crap art a chance.

Only, I kept hearing about it. Then finally, just to see what the hubbub was about, I checked in for an episode.

And I couldn't check out.

I immediately streamed a half dozen episodes and only the impending threat of not fulfilling the requirements of my job were enough to tear me away from the television.

When I returned, exhausted, from my battle with teaching mathematics for a living to my welcoming couch after a twelve hour workday, after a 4 hour the previous night sleepday, after a too long fast of pre-first episode of Attack on Titan to post-6th episode to post 12 hour workday and chose to stream the seventh episode.

Well, I watched the remaining 19 episodes of the series back-to-back-to-back to the not-so-wee hours of the morning and was so wired with adrenaline and excitement that I could not sleep afterwards.

Attack on Titan is an experience like no visual media has ever been able to give to me before.

Immediately, I found myself questioning long-held beliefs about the reality of storytelling.  I wondered why a Hollywood hundred million dollar blockbuster trilogy had not already been greenlit by jaded studio executives that rediscovered their love of storytelling in this series.

Once it became a time of day that normal humans were up and about, I recommended it both to people I knew to be anime fans and people I knew detested anime.  If there exists a gateway anime that should be enjoyable for any and all watching, it should be this one.

I read or watched others describe this as an anime of the decade, but what anime is as good in the last twenty years?

It's hard to compare Attack on Titan to ANY anime series I've EVER seen in the history of my anime-watching career and not choose Attack on Titan as the victor.  More. It's hard to compare Attack on Titan to any series or movie or book or story that I've ever encountered and not choose Attack on Titan as the victor. 

The one criticism you could give it is that there is not much of a romantic element at all, and there are times that you do feel this lack, but it's an absurd criticism in light of the true incredible nature of this program.

But well, it's not over is it?  This was only the first season.

It's unfinished status notwithstanding, if the future episodes and story arcs are all crap, Attack on Titan is an unparalleled masterpiece.

You can watch the entire series on Netflix.  Depending on the time of the year, either the entire series, the first half, or the second half are available on crunchyroll.  These are all subtitled versions.  The dub is currently airing on Cartoon Network, although I question how censored this may be. It's a pretty extreme show.

Whatever you choose, watch it from the beginning.  From the very first episode it is riveting.

The trailers on youtube are a bit too spoilery, so I'd avoid them if you can. Just watch this show.