Attack On Titan: Breaking the wall of First Impressions

From Thriller to Commentary: How a series evolved into a display of the Human condition

By Max Vigue

Multimedia-Content Editor  

Hajime Isayama’s manga series later turned animated show in 2013 (directed by Tetsurō Araki, Masashi Koizuka, Jun Shishido, and Yūichirō Hayashi) Attack On Titan has accumulated a wide spectrum of popularity. 

 It made waves with a debut in the East and nearly became a classic comparable to Game of Thrones in the West, it streams on streaming services such as CrunchyRoll and Netflix.

Attack On Titan is a show that can capture the attention of mainstream American.  Season 4 will be adapting the later sections of the manga, developing beyond the initial premise. 

Although Wit Studio (April 7, 2013-July 1, 2019) has built up the reputation of releasing these breathtaking adaptations, Mappa (December 7-Present, February 2020), which is known for its mosaic animation, now has taken the reins for finishing this saga.
 
Despite the mixed feedback, audiences are becoming more accustomed to Mappa’s unique style of blending 2D animation with CGI. 

For a quick recap of the initial premise, Attack On Titan is set in a world where humanoid giants referred to as Titans roam the countryside of Paradis Island. 

In response the people of the island built walls to protect themselves from the Titans; Thus enduring over nearly over centuries of peace until one day, a large Titan, referred to as the Colossal Titan, broke down the first wall. 

With one of the walls, Wall Mira, broken down, the people of Paradis [sic] lost 70% of their territory. After retreating into Wall Rose, Eren Yeager (MC) swore revenge on the Titans to one day wipe them all out. Beyond the initial storyline, the show has evolved to become a much more complex narrative.
This series has always held a reputation for its stellar animation. Even after being taken under the wing of Mappa, it still maintains its aesthetic. For instance, The choreography of the action scenes throughout the course of the show have always been executed well. Each movement is animated smoothly, each shot is detailed and meticulously placed. When incorporated into the full sequence, an adrenaline-fueled experience is blasted on screen. 

Mappa has also added another layer of depth to the series by uzliting rotoscoping technology. Rotoscoping really plays into the series’ gritty aesthetic of realism, allowing dialogue-heavy episodes come off as intensely introspective.   

Attack On Titan, on its debut, was perceived as an action-packed roller coaster, showcasing a simple tale of man-eating beasts overtaking human civilization. But over time it has presented itself as a case study analyzing the human condition as a whole. 

The story makes the audience realize that the world does not function under a hero’s journey plot. Every single character has their own reasoning for why they set course on a certain path. 

All the conflicts are sparked due to difference in agendas, colliding with each other like atoms. No one will be willing to budge. Yet Isayama constructed the architecture of the story to make us feel empathy for all sides. 

Even characters that were considered antagonists have their backgrounds explored in depth, conveying a message that even antagonists are still just humans in this world.  
Protagonist Eren Yeager, throughout the course of the story comes to these realizations. At first he is hell-bent on wiping out everyone of one of the Titans ,seeing anyone who stands in his way as an enemy who is completely faceless. But the world forces him to evolve. 

The more he learns about the truth of the Titans, about what the world out the walls is really like, and that some of his allies were actually his enemies the whole time, his perspective evolves.  He is able to sympathize with his enemies and even conclude that they are the same people. He, however, comes to another realization: In this world you can’t stop out of pity or you’ll never be able to achieve your goals. 

So despite his broadened perspective, he knows that he can’t abandon his overall objective. At the end of the day, even though his enemies might be the same in terms of situation, pain, and upbringing he still pushes forward. He will have to take them out by any means in order to achieve his goals. 
Isayama’s once obscure dystopian action manga has evolved to become a commentary for the human condition in animated form. 

Despite still starting off as a series an individual could enjoy for its action,it has transformed into a very thought-provoking work that will make Attack On Titan stand out, regardless of the studio behind it or its specific adaptations.  

I would recommend this series to anyone who not just enjoys well-paced fight scenes, enjoys drama heavy plot, or introspective character arcs.

 All those factors are just a surplus in the larger scheme of this story. It’s the world building, compelling themes, thought-provoking story telling, tear-jerking moments and overall spirit of the show as a whole which makes Attack On Titan unique. 

This show is a must watch for anyone, regardless of demographic. It doesn’t matter if you enjoy anime as a medium or not, the quality makes Attack On Titan a must-watch. 
Artwork created and Distributed by MAPPA Studio

Manga written and illustrated by Hajime Isayama

Copyright Disclaimer under section 107 of the Copyright Act 1976, allowance is made for “fair use” for purposes such as criticism, comment, news reporting, teaching, scholarship, education and research.

Fair use is a use permitted by copyright statute that might otherwise be infringing. Non-profit, educational or personal use tips the balance in favor of fair use.

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