This post contains spoilers.
A few weeks ago, if you had asked me what Attack on Titan was, I’d be like – HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA, WHATEVER. MOVING ON.
Ahem, that would’ve been an extremely annoying response. But who cares now!? Few weeks in, I’m following the anime religiously and even re-watching it like a cow regurgitating grass. Horrible imaginary, true; but very much like the grotesque portrayal of the Titans themselves no(ok, I suppose that imagery was more gross than grotesque.)? I’m not sure about depiction of titans is in the manga, (arawr does though, so ask her what she thinks) but I nearly fainted when I saw it animated. The whole nature of the anime is quite unforgiving.
A little bit like this:
And showing how a titan chomps down the protagonist’s mother.
So hey, what was my initial response? Well, dear reader, you shouldn’t need to ask since I’m about to tell you anyway!
The first word that comes to mind when I watched episode 1 was primal. Then I asked myself, a primal what?
A primal scream.
Well, a primal scream refers to many things you’d be more familiar with. But my association came from my theatrical background. My theatre group had to practice screaming at each other, and I found it immensely uncomfortable. To describe a human being entering a primal state is kind of scary to me. It means abandoning our worldly desires and just essentially worrying about survival – and that means fighting to stay alive. If you’re fighting to stay alive, that means you are in a state of fear of immense desperation.
And that was what episode 1 was packed with. A scream is primal because its instinctive and its natural. Communication may be natural, but, the art of language is not. But what is the point of explaining all this jazz? There are many types of fear, we fear ghosts and other things, but the fear of your own species extinction, that is fear that no one thinks about anymore, and that makes this anime twice as frightening. If one cries the primal scream, it is almost equivalent to forgetting one’s humanity. And this effect it has on the audience, in my opinion, is this show’s strongest attribute.
The most impressionable part of the anime so far for me was the sequence when the first titan entered the scene/opening sequence. It was absolutely fantastic. It just illustrated this primal fear so brilliantly and just pulled me right into the show. It was the calm before the storm.
It was like forcing the audience to swim before they learn to float; taking advantage of that insecurity of not knowing what’s going on. The soft chilly and creepy music played and the stillness juxtaposed with the horror plastered onto the faces of the city. It really made my heart quench before the Titans even entered the scene. All I asked myself was, what was it? And what did it want from us? (Take note of how I used ‘us,’ there.)
Few other things that also made an impression on me was the fact that the guard guy attempted to save Eren and company from an approaching titan but chickened out. It emphasised how horrific those creatures were and it made the anime more realistic; because I don’t think many people in real life has that mental stability to fight after encountering(out of nowhere) such a disgusting creature that eats your species for fun.
The fact that Eren’s mother cried out ‘don’t leave me behind,’ right after they fled was also a very human touch. It comes right back down to the idea of being in a primal state. Everyone wants to survive, and the act of survival is a selfish one. No one wants to be alone no matter how much they care. The fact that they portrayed it made me give them brownie points. These two scenario also add up to the story-side of how I found the anime unforgiving. It was the idea of not allowing humans to breathe at all, because in reality, if this were to happen, there neither room nor time for it.
Onto a discussion of the titan’s appearances. I kept having jolts taking screenies of these titans. It was as if their heads were going to burst out of the screen and bite my head off. The best way for me to describe it is uncanny. Extremely uncanny. These give zombies a real fun for their money(if they had money). Except to call them zombies would be an insult. The existence of titans at first glance is not created by some a$$hole who developed a virus, nor is it the reincarnation of the dead(not 100% sure about that yet). They are portrayed as an actual species of being.
The real fear does not come from the idea that they are a creature eating the human species but the fact that they maintain 80% of the appearance of humans. Can you imagine something that looks like you is running around eating your kind? It’s like a snake eating another snake. You’re both snakes but yet your kind is at the bottom of the food chain. And just like humans, they come in different shapes, sizes, appearances. Some look dopey, some look manic, and the less superior kind are rather clumsy. I’m not scared of the intelligent titan that kicked a hole in the wall, I’m scared of those small naked ones who don’t seem to know any better. They’re almost child-like, and they just do what they want without thinking about it. That just screams primal instinct, and the humans react with primal instinct too, screaming and running away from something that is a threat to your life.
Speaking of the primal state, did anyone think of the 3D maneuver gear as humans being an advanced Tarzan/George of the Jungle. I was like HAH, so this is the shounen manga, super-weapon of Attack on Titan. Some eat weird fruits, some have bankai, some have Gundams and some are just born fantastic – Attack on Titan has Tarzan gear.
The thing that bothered me: Where did the skin-less titans go? How can they just evaporate? Shouldn’t they be leading the pack in annihilating the human race? Something tells me that there is human involvement and that disappoints me a bit. I hope there is no Gundam thing going on.
Random note: The one thing that bothered me about the protagonist was how terrifying his eyes was. It was like, how to scare someone with your eyes 101.
I usually skip the openings, but I didn’t(unrealisingly). The opening song was raging like something important and life-changing was about to happen. It was loud, it was demanding my attention, it felt like a song that is telling everyone – hey, something epic is about to affect society. Instead of – hey, this is going to be a story revolving a couple of people in their bubble and no one else is involved. I also thought the animation was really good, although I shall not delve there, for I am lazy.
Thus this concludes this post.
Oh, by the way, remember those posts about a couple of shoujo animes I promised? Yeah…about that.