Shingeki no Kyojin: Of Monsters and Men

I decided to do a really popular anime review because the next 3 to 4 that I have planned are going to be a bit offbeat. I am sure you’ve heard of Shingeki no Kyojin/Attack on Titan if you’re vaguely aware of anime. If you’ve been wondering whether to watch it, how about I try and help you out?

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So what’s it about?

In this world, humans are terrorised by giant humanoid creatures (Titans) which devoured a considerable part of the human population. Over a hundred years ago, to protect themselves, the humans created a wall around their settlements to keep the Titans out. However, one day, a Titan, much bigger than the wall smashes through making humans once again susceptible to these giants. Will the human fight back? Are the Titans the real monsters? Is there something much deeper going on?

To binge or not to binge?

Don’t even TRY to take Shingeki no Kyojin slowly. This anime demands binging! Take out a weekend and watch the first season (25 episodes). Then once you’re all caught up, suffer with the rest of us as we wait for the day when season two is finally released.

Is it a gateway anime?

Yes it is. It’s a good place to start. The animation is fantastic and the story is very compelling. There are scenes of gore which will really dissuade the faint of heart. If you can get through the first episode, then you can make it through the rest of the show.

Dub or sub?

You can choose either. There are definitely differences between the two but the dubbed version is not bad. I do believe anime purists will shoot me for saying that because there is a lot of polarity about the dub and sub versions of Shingeki no Kyojin. However, the fact is, Wit Studios animation deserves absolute, 100% appreciation. Having subtitles can sometimes distract from that.

What’s to like?

There are scenes of this anime where you can just pause, take a screenshot, print it out, and frame it as art. The story is very smart, it makes you think. I mean, you could take everything happening at face value, but there is definitely something much deeper waiting to be unearthed and the anime does hint at that. The Titans are perfect vessels of horror, as the mangaka Isayama says – the most terrifying thing is something humanoid which you just can’t quite understand (I’m paraphrasing of course). There are strong female characters in this anime and no one is overtly sexualised. Not to mention, interestingly, the gender orientation of two of the characters has been left ambiguous by Isayama despite the voice actors sort of boxing them according to their own gender. Also, who can forget the first OP which is universally loved? The show is also complemented by the soundtrack which is phenomenal (my personal favourites – Army Attack and Megata Kyojin Kuchiku).

Basically, you can’t know anime without watching the biggest thing to happen to anime in the past 3 years.

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