Attack On Titan Is Good. Damn Good. But Not Perfect.

Attack on Titan is Good. Damn Good. But Not Perfect.

Almost five months ago I called Attack on Titan one of the must see anime of the spring season. Three months ago, I said it was good, but didn't live up to its own potential. And as for my final verdict? It's definitely worth watching, though still not quite perfect.

[Note: This review contains moderate spoilers for Attack on Titan. For a non-spoiler look at the series, check out my review of the first half.]

Good — Everyone is Mortal

Attack on Titan is Good. Damn Good. But Not Perfect.

Coming out of the first story arc, it seemed as if the series had finally established its long-term supporting cast — namely Eren's trio and the rest of his class. Then the second half introduces us to veteran characters, the best of the best when it comes to Titan hunting. But as the series quickly makes apparent, none of these characters, old or new, are safe. Better still, destined to die or not, the supporting cast gets an equal amount of development, making it hard to guess with any certainty who is going to die before hand. This creates a constant tension that is missing in many anime.

Good — Expanding the World

Attack on Titan is Good. Damn Good. But Not Perfect.

The first arc of the series took place almost exclusively in two cities (barring the training camp/flashback episodes) and showed us only the bare minimum of what the world of Attack on Titan is like. The second arc takes us outside the safety of the walled cities and shows us a countryside overrun by Titans.

But more than just the scenery, the world is expanded by showing humanity's tactics and technology for combating the Titans. This in turn shows us how the humans must work when out in the open where they are unable to use their manoeuvre gear to its fullest. Then later, we move into a forest and see the best possible environment for using the gear — as well as some of humanity's new tricks for dealing with the Titan threat. All in all, the second arc does a great job of expanding the world of Attack on Titan by looking at the implications of such a world.

Good — An Excellent Climax

Attack on Titan is Good. Damn Good. But Not Perfect.

The majority of the second half of the series deals with the discovery of and attempt to capture the Female Titan. It is a lengthy battle, but in the end, it turns out to be a costly draw with neither side obtaining its objective. In fact, it looks more like a defeat than anything else to our heroes who have lost countless lives — not to mention the loss of equipment and other supplies.

Yet, all this occurs so as to set up a final climax where our heroes must snatch victory from the jaws of defeat in a series of fast-paced episodes. And because of their recent failed attempt and the impending repercussions of that failure, the stakes seem far higher than ever before. It really allows the show to end on a high note — though with an admittedly bittersweet twist — even though the full story of Attack on Titan is far from complete.

Mixed — A Good Mystery for the Characters, but Not So Much for the Audience

Attack on Titan is Good. Damn Good. But Not Perfect.

The sudden (and bloody) arrival of the Female Titan is a great twist for the story. While it was obvious the Armoured Titan and the Colossal Titan were also human Titans like Eren, there had been nothing to overtly suggest there was a fourth human Titan among the humans.

While Eren and the survey squad do eventually work out her identity through clues and careful logic, watchers of the series are likely to figure out her identity long before the characters do. After all, there is literally only one female character we know of that is not on the survey mission.

This mystery (as well as that of the identities of the Armoured and Colossal Titans for all you manga readers out there) make the whole series worth a second viewing. There are clues everywhere you look — and even the characters' proximity in certain key scenes should have been a dead giveaway. And it's always interesting to listen again to these characters' conversations when you already know the secret of the big reveal.

Bad — The Same Old Problems

Attack on Titan is Good. Damn Good. But Not Perfect.

Sadly, little has changed with regard to the problems I noted in my review of the series' first half. It's still talky to the point of lunacy — where a several minute conversation is supposed to have taken place in a matter of seconds in the storyline. It also still relies far too much on cliffhanger endings as a way to get the audience to come back each week. And as with using any trope, you use it too much and it loses its effectiveness.

As for the pacing, there are still episodes where you feel as if nothing really happens and other places where flashbacks are used mid-climax — largely dispelling any of the carefully constructed tension.

However, suspecting all this would be the case, I decided to wait for twelve weeks after finishing up my first half review so that I could watch the rest of the series all in one go to see if it would mitigate these problems. It did. Because while the problems are all still there, when you don't have to wait a week in between each episode, you have no time to think about useless cliffhangers and a lack of major plot progress as you're already diving into the next episode.

Random Thoughts — A Giant Robot Anime in Disguise

Attack on Titan is Good. Damn Good. But Not Perfect.

When you look behind the window dressing, Attack on Titan is really a giant mecha anime. A young boy discovers that he is the only one able to pilot a giant robot (read: "turn into a colossus"). Moreover, his giant robot is also far more powerful than the other side's standard giant robots (read: "normal colossi"), and he looks to be the key to turning the war in his allies' favour. However, soon he runs into the enemy's own special pilots — each who have his or her own super powerful mecha (read: "colossus forms") — that are intent on defeating/capturing him.

Yep. When it comes down to the general framework, Attack on Titan is basically Gundam.

Final Thoughts

Attack on Titan is Good. Damn Good. But Not Perfect.

All in all, Attack on Titan is easily one of the best shows of the spring and summer seasons, and I really enjoyed it despite its several nagging flaws. The world it creates is not only imaginative but also chock-full of mysteries. Moreover, the series goes to great pains to explore the implications of this compelling world. So, if you like steam punk, dark fantasy, or want a series filled with real life-or-death stakes for the characters, then be sure to give Attack on Titan a try.

Attack on Titan currently airs on Tokyo MX in Japan. It is streamed in the United States with English subtitles on Crunchyroll, Funimation, and Hulu.


Comments

    yeh its great but ur right too much talking and flash back just to troll the viewers and extend the episode longer

    best anime for spring would easily be
    Kingdom S2

      Flash backs and long talks? That is all anime today is like or more like ever. I can think only 1 that have less of that, DBZ. Sure it tends to delay the good part like hell but god damn! It's worth it, the anticipation hits the spot.

    Damn it, that Gundam comment just ruined it. I will never view AoT the same, ever again. :'(

      Gundam so what it's basically not like it. the plot is nothing like gundam and there aren't giant robots these are interesting abblities and more fantasy mortal that comment about gundam is about giant robots in space there a huge difference between titans and robots so what they controls giant titans how eles there going save humanity...

      Why, gundam (uc) is over all an amazing anime series

    So wait. Episode 25 was the last one?

    What the hell? The manga is still going. The Anime isn't even halfway through the manga yet. What happened to the rest? What the hell was the show about then?

    If the anime has truly ended once and for all, then that is officially the worst anime in history, based on the number of plot lines it did not even bother touching. The next episode was going to start a really awesome part of the manga....

      This happens to pretty much 90% of all anime based on a manga. They find a good cut off point in an arc and wrap up the anime as either season 1 or in general. Ep 25 ended at exactly where I had predicted it to. The fact they even alluded to the next arc at the end of the credits suggests a season 2 but that will depend on if they can get a similar arc ending point from the manga, which atm looks to be a couple more issues off.

      This isn't anything new... only a handful of mangas can spawn animes that run every week for years with hundreds of episodes...

      Last edited 02/10/13 5:31 pm

        another 2 years to exact

          based on the date of the first volume of the manga and the date of the first episode of the anime with to where the manga was up to when the ep was aired. To how many Manga vols the first season spanned over to how many vols it was over the volume where the anime finished.

      Isayama has stated that he intends to wrap up the manga by the end of the 20th tankōbon volume, which at the rate the anime has been coming out, would translate to about 60 episodes in total. Given the ever rising popularity of the anime, I'd wager that it will finish at the same place the manga does. As far as I know they're just taking a break while they wind up for the next season.

      Do you people think before you talk it's only season 1 the manga is monthly process it's not like naruto where it's updated every week it's not over just on a break untill season 2... They even set up a cliff hanger for season 2 If you watch the manga this is all in volume 8 this arc ? If you don't like how it's written then who cares it's great show or could be like full metal alchemist that didn't run that long but it's still a great anime

    I've complete confidence a second season will be created. This was a great anime.

    Nagging flaws aside... every episode was watchable, decently paced and typically contained either a resolution or a climax. So it was really good pacing in my opinion. My most basic description of AoT is "Game of Thrones" meets (suit-less) "Evangelion".

    My biggest gripe with this anime is the pacing. It's on par with DBZ!
    The story and artwork so far was really great. Plenty of Nightmare Fuel and Uncanny Valley. But... damn it's so SLOOOOOWWWWWWW. It takes them fifty thousand years to talk about one thing. And then they talk at the most inopportune moments, like as they're about to be executed.

    I found myself screaming at the television because they spend so much time talking as horrible things are happening. Add that to the fact that 80% of the background characters are unfit for their job, and that they fail at everything, and you've got frustration central. I get it: War is Hell. But geez, stop beating me over the head with the concept.

    I'm glad some people don't mind it, though. Because this show is really interesting. I mean, those Titans are just... ugh. Perfect.

    For me, I like good pacing and well-thought-out plots with few lulls in the flow. If it takes extra time to get that, I'll wait. But otherwise, looks good. I'll watch the new season when it comes round.

    If those are the only complaints about the series, I'd say it's been incredibly well done. It's easily one of the best series I've had the pleasure of finding.

    As for being overly similar Gundam, I disagree. When you put it into horribly broad terms, yes, they are going to sound very alike. On a side note, I do love Gundam, but I'd go as far as saying that Attack on Titan is better.

    I agree with your assessment. Great series, nice plot but I think it should be called 'eyeball close up and self realisation' as that's what makes up most of the first 15 episodes.

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