Saturday, October 19, 2013

Shingeki no Kyojin: when will the suffering end?

"Attack on Titan"? I will never understand how they come up with some English titles!

This show was, without question, the biggest talking point of the last two seasons. And I'm not just talking about the West; the word is that it's captured the attention of a larger slice of the Japanese people than an anime usually does. The sales were on par with those of e.g. Macross Frontier, but the key is that these sales apparently weren't just going to anime otaku. Though I'm not sure how that was verified! The point is, it was very well received for a TV anime.

Personally though, I'm still not sure whether it deserves that much attention. Whilst the premise is interesting, and the plot gripping (when you aren't actually spoiled!), the main character is rather irritating half the time, and the story moves far too slowly. Of course, that isn't really the fault of the anime staff: very little was changed between the two, and the additions in the anime actually added to the show's impact well, to a certain extent. Some people complained about how often they focused on those that were lost, on the number of shots of boots lined up in the cartsPersonally, however, I thought that it was really important to show that these people are still human, they still cherish their friends and the sacrifices that are made. But this really did not make up for the 2-3 minute recap that viewers were subjected to almost every single episode. I think most people learned to skip it!

Some of the action scenes were very, very well animated

as were all of the Titans that would have been terrifying!

From start to finish, the only constant was...]

Nevertheless, there were a few things that made this show a worthwhile watch. Top of my own list was Sawano Hiroyuki's score: the music had a large part to play in some of the most memorable scenes (e.g. the end of episode 8; the piano in episode 22). To me, he's akin to the Hans Zimmer of anime - critics may say that he keeps writing the same, heavy pieces over and over again, but that's the kind of instrumental music I like listening to. .jpg?w=300alt="" title="MacrossF18-17width="300height="168class="size-medium wp-image-4295/>

Some of the more minor characters, however, were quite fascinating...

But the other things that made it worthwhile were some of the minor characters, and the relationships between them. I always enjoyed the interactions between the senior members the Survey Corps, and I'm definitely looking forward to more. Another fascinating exchange was the discussion between Commander Pixis (the Trost commander) and Irwin on top of the wall. That there is so much subtext and politics behind the scenes can be frustrating because we just want to know what is going on, but at the same time, it's such an accurate representation of what goes on normally in our own societies from time to time. Finally, I'll be looking forward to how Jean and Armin develop going forward; particularly Jean, as he is the person with the most interesting character arc, in the humble opinion of yours truly anyway.

In other words, I will keep following Kyojin even if Isayama doesn't quite finish it as planned by volume 20 (or, in 20 more volumes/). It's not the best series this year, nor the most beautifully produced one but it's most definitely interesting enough for me to see through to its end.
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