Shingeki no Kyojin (進撃の巨人) / Attack on Titan
Several hundred years ago, humans were nearly exterminated by titans. Titans are typically several stories tall, seem to have no intelligence, and devour human beings. A small percentage of humanity survived by locking themselves in a city surrounded by 50m walls. Flash forward to the present; the city has not seen a titan in over 100 years. However, this all changes when a colossal titan appears and breaches the wall that had protected them for a century.
Genre: Action, Drama, Fantasy, Horror, Mystery, Shounen, Tragedy
Status: Currently airing, planned for 25 episodes
Original work by Isayama Hajime, directed by Araki Tetsurou and produced by like a massive bunch of companies including Production I.G., FUNimation Entertainment, Mainichi Broascasting, etc. etc.
Rated R17; and like guys, pay attention to that rating because I (and I think a lot of other people) really got the shock of their lives from watching this anime. Speaking of which, I’m wondering why none of the genres mention ‘psychological’ considering the fact that watching this probably leaves you with some mental scars.
I think it’s pretty solid to say that the anime of the season right now is Shingeki no Kyojin; I know it’s not much of a reference but whenever I read comments off 9gag, there’s always someone putting in some titan joke or yo’ momma is a titan or whatever. Even chungky who doesn’t usually watch anime (much less one that is quite graphic, to say the least) has got a bit of an unhealthy obsession with it,as mentioned previously, “following the anime religiously and even re-watching it like a cow regurgitating grass,”.
Anyway if you haven’t watched Shingeki no Kyojin by now, you have no idea what you’re missing out. I cannot remember the last time I’ve been this floored by an anime; there’s something very brutally blunt about the way the story is executed. This post does contain spoilers, but nothing beyond like the 4th episode. The basic premise is that humanity has been hiding behind 50m walls for the past 100 years to hide away from the titans, who are these humanoid creatures that come in assorted sizes (usually larger than yo’ momma) and have pretty much been snacking their way through the human race. This post shall henceforth primarily focus on the aforementioned snackers.
Chungky’s said some more artsy-fartsy stuff about the fear the titans bring which was really interesting; when I asked about it the first time, the response I received was somewhere along the lines of ‘that friggin’ anime made me shit myself’ – but that’s also what seems to pull the audience in. It’s the constant fear of being eaten by a titan. It doesn’t instil the kind of fear that jumps out at you suddenly causing you to scream like a little girl – it’s a fear that freezes you to the spot, you don’t exactly know how to react, and it’s only the motors of your mind that are constantly going dudewtfisthisstopstopstopstopohshitohshitohshitshitshitttttttttt……. You’ll get all this adrenaline from the fear that’s going nowhere and it kind of just makes you feel more helpless and mentally exhausted.
And so, while chungky was all on about how the fear effects us, from the beginning I was always more interested in a slightly more different aspect of it – the titans themselves.
Okay so around the time when the spring anime started rollin’ and hatin’, life was pretty much hectic until the third week. So when I finally sat down to watch Shingeki no Kyojin, it was 3 episodes in a row. So that was pretty much a full hour being on high alert from all the chewing the titans were doing. And throughout that whole time, I couldn’t stop thinking about the titans themselves – as in their biological make-up, or their purpose or whatnot. Some of the answers to the questions were answered when I went ahead and read the manga, but others have yet to reveal themselves. So some stuff that I was thinking about was;
- Why humans? Do they only eat humans, and not any other sort of animals, or livestock? They’ve been locked out of their staple diet of humans for a 100 years, they have to be feeding on something or they’d die of starvation.
- I also couldn’t stop thinking about their teeth. For a carnivorous species, they sure have pretty blunt, omnivorous human teeth (completely flawless by the way; unless there’s a titan dentist hiding out there somewhere). I didn’t see them eat any broccoli or spinach.
- Following on from the human teeth question, why a humanoid shape? Usually in fictional stories, you’d have the big bad wolf or some ridiculous monster feed on the human race. Is there a purpose to them being in the shape of a human, or was that just so it’ll freak the audience even more?
- And then, following up from the humanoid shape, what is the reason for the body proportion? Their torso pretty takes up about 60% of their body size and they have relatively thinner arms. The only reason I could think of was larger torso = more space to cram in humans, and thinner arms maybe = faster limbs to catch humans, I don’t know this anime is screwing with my head.
- And like seriously, do they lack facial muscles or something? Besides the muscles in their jaws they have for chewing or whatever, they don’t have a lot of muscles dedicated to facial expressions.
- What are their senses like anyway? They walked past some people in their houses, dug out a coupla others; so do some of them have a super sharp nose/sight or do all of them have the same sort of sensitivity to stimuli but like normal people there are lazy titans and more hardworking titans?
Aaand the list kind of goes on and on, e.g. where the hell are their genitals but I didn’t want to see them anyway so what the hey. Like I mentioned, some of it has been resolved or sort-of resolved in the manga, and some of it is pretty much still in the dark. Expanding a little on number 3, the purpose of the titans’ human shape – I didn’t think as much about it until I read chungky’s post.
Think about it – when was the last time humans had to afraid of being part of the food chain? Yes, if you venture out into the woods you may be attacked by a tiger or bear or whatever, but humans aren’t exactly part of their staple diet. We’re more like something edible that decided to take a stroll. We aren’t targeted and hunted down the way lions go after antelopes, or cats go after mice. We don’t have the constant fear of being hunted down by an overly attached predator.
In any case, we can protect ourselves with the tools that we’ve created using by using our more superior intellect. This circle of life pretty much changes with humans being hunted; they’re no longer on top of the food chain. To add insult to injury, while previously they’ve fended for themselves from stronger creatures using the fruits of their intellect, these single-minded titans pretty much trample over all of that by just walking in and chewing everything (with the exception of the armoured titan, and the colossal one). Although they have a humanoid appearance, they don’t appear to have the intellectual advantage of Man, but have this ridiculous unreasonable strength that make them more beast-like.
Does the fact that they look human make them more scary than if it were, say, a dragon? They look like humans, they chew like humans, they walk on both legs like humans – but they are anything but humans. The fact that we can relate to them, but at the same time can’t relate to them at all creates this in discrepancy, that perhaps emphasizes this fear of the unknown and non-logic; and non-logic in an anime is what appeals most to the audience, so that could be another reason why it looks like there’s going to be a cult-ish fandom soon.
I think another one of the reasons why this anime has successfully struck fear into the hearts of audience could be due to the fact that there the titans are not merely a threat – indiscriminately, these titans target humans, the way whales hunt for seals and so on. Unlike some of the usual shounen anime where we have the perspective of the main character or whoever who can destroy half a city or whatever to protect it from who or whatever it is that wants to decimate the human race, in Shingeki no Kyojin, we see that even the people who are supposedly equipped to deal with the situation turn tail and run. The possibility of death is persistently there, and it is a constant threat (as a comparison point, no matter how cliff hang-y things get, you don’t honestly expect someone like Kurosaki Ichigo to get eaten by Aizen or something, do you?)
Something else that chungky mentioned so imma mention as well – the opening song. I felt like if it was a song that was separate by itself, like something that was on the radio, I would be all like ‘dude chill, you’re just a song’. But seeing as it wasn’t – as the opening song of this anime, it’s very anthem-y. It’s like their school song or something, vowing to kill all the titans. It makes you feel like moving, like doing something. It’s not some depressing emo song that goes on about the pain and loss and needing the strength needed to move forward! =’D There is a resolution in this song (not the 720p kind) that is more like, screw this shit imma kill me some titans and regain the dignity of the human race. There is that pride and determination that really reflects the sort of obsession the hero has with destroying titans; which is why this opening complements the anime very well. It pumps you up for the episode to watch everyone get eaten. Yay.
The only other thing that I’m going to cover briefly are the walls themselves. So these things are about 50m tall, and they also cover quite a massive amount of space from the looks of it, seeing as there’s enough to house and feed a significant human population. Considering how dedicated these titans appear to be in consuming the human race, I wonder where they found the time to build the whole damn thing if they weren’t getting eaten along the way. This question has sort of been dealt with in the manga, but this is still one of its perpetuating mysteries and imma be like hurryupandspititoutalreadygoddammit
For those who have read the manga and aren’t sure if they should watch the anime, having gone through the experience of both, I would say that it really is worth it. The first reason that comes to mind is, of course, the seeing the use of the 3D gear in full animation. I’d watch like one whole episodes of the characters just swinging and slashing around like the chimpanzees on Animal Planet. I also like animals a lot. But for some reason they all seem to literally take a shit on me.
Anyway, also compared to the manga, I feel like the anime spends more time exploring the characters so there’s that added perspective that you get less of in the manga. This is pretty much the case I feel with most anime adaptations; the producers tend to sell the characters more than in the manga. The timeline of events are also slightly different in the anime; while the manga tends to jump around quite a lot in the timeline, the anime simply rearranged it so that everything is more in sequence. However, even though there are the inevitable variances between the anime and the original manga, the differentiations don’t go off on their own tangent and flutter away to some nonsensical storyline; rather, it enhances the whole experience. Like adding more flavour to your Shingeki no Kyojin experience. The following video will also add more flavour to your experience, and life in general =D
Now that I’ve come to think of it, neither me or chungky spoke about the characters specifically. So… oh well, umm… they’re a nice bunch, I’ve got no complaints about any of them, hope they don’t all get eaten, and maybe we’ll talk about them some other time…?