Dec 11

Attack on Titan Returns

By Jack McDonough, 2021 prospective JET

The Final Attack Begins

Let’s talk: 2020 has been rough. From Corona Virus to the economic downturn, this year has gone on too long for my liking. For me, and many others, December is a time that is remembered fondly; it’s a break from the monotony of regular life with wassailing, hall-decking, and merry-making. 2020 needs an injection of ‘‘ ’Tis the season” and luckily, for anime fans, we got just that. I’m not talking about Christmas; I’m talking about Attack on Titan.

Attack on Titan originally aired in April of 2013 and is based on the manga Shingeki no Kyojin by Hajime Isyama; it’s one of the most popular manga to ever be released. The first three seasons of the show were produced by Wit Studios and the current season is animated by MAPPA Studios. The anime follows Eren Yeager’s quest for revenge against the human-eating giants that killed his mother and destroyed his hometown… or at least that’s what it used to be about.  My first time watching, I asked a series of questions: “Why are there Titans eating people, why are there giant walls protecting humanity, and how can mankind ever defeat these monsters?” The characters in the show ask themselves those same questions; the story is really a mystery, where the characters know nothing of the giants assailing them, or the cruel world they inhabit. The viewer never knows more than the characters, for the most part, and the viewer and the characters unravel the mysteries together. The “plot twists”  in Attack are unparalleled and take the story from a simple “humans versus monsters” story into something much more dynamic and all-consuming. This, combined with excellent animation, great voice-acting, and an epic soundtrack, creates a fantastic experience.

Attack on Titan: The Final Season couldn’t have come sooner.  The first episode of the season, “The Other Side of the Sea,” was action-packed and conveyed that this season would be the most intense one yet. The new animation by MAPPA does justice to the series. Watching the first episode felt like when the pieces of a jigsaw puzzle finally come together: the mysteries of the world have been unraveled, and all that’s left is to watch and see how Isyama’s characters will react to the truths he has revealed.

I used to say that Attack on Titan was the anime equivalent of Game of Thrones, but this characterization is wrong. While it’s easy to convey the shared dark-fantasy theme between Attack and Game of Thrones, Attack on Titan is so much more than that now: its political, violent, mystifying, and epic. Attack on Titan isn’t just a great anime or a great show, it’s one of the best stories ever told. If you haven’t watched it and you’re a fan of anime, watch it. If you haven’t watched it and you’re not a fan of anime, watch it. Attack on Titan transcends genre and medium and is a must-watch, and it’s all I want for Christmas this year.

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