At First Glance – Attack On Titan

Note: There are spoilers for the first episode of the anime in question in this article. This may even possibly be the most spoiler heavy one of these I’ve done so far. You have been warned.

Welcome back folks. Unfortunately I only managed one of these last week. But as a way to make up for that, I’ve decided I’m going to do three this week to make up for it. As a quick reminder for those who are new or have forgotten, the idea of these “At First Glance” things is that I watch the first episode of an anime I’ve never seen and give my thoughts on it. Simple, right? With that out of the way, let’s get down to business

Attack On Titan

Here’s a fun bit of trivia for you. I actually had a chance to publicly watch the first episode at a local event several years ago. But I was so caught up playing Mario Kart 64 and then going back into the Cards Against Humanity space that I just didn’t watch or pay attention to it at all. So this is truly the first time I’ve given it a shot. I’d been meaning to for a while, so I guess it’s a good thing I started doing these articles, isn’t it?

As far as the actual plot goes, it really just boils down to a struggle between the surviving humans of this world and these giant, cannibalistic humanoids known as Titans. Which seems like a gross oversimplification, but I AM only one episode in. Speaking of, the first episode basically just drops us into this world, and shows us how everything is fairly ok, despite the imminent threat of the Titans, due to them living in a massive city surrounded by 50 foot walls.

Then of course everything goes to hell when the heavens declare “fuck this” and up pops a SIXTY FOOT TITAN who literally kicks the door in, allowing the smaller Titans to get through. Chaos ensues, obviously, and that’s what we’re left on. Damn. What a way to start this thing off, right?

We’re only introduced to a handful of characters, but luckily most of the episode is spent following around or introducing recurring characters, which I very much appreciated. I mean sure, seeing a bunch of people just wrecking shit and fighting these things will be pretty cool to watch when it happens, but this episode taking the time to introduce us to this world and the set up was the best choice.

The reveal of the “Colossal Titan” is probably my favourite moment though. Just this massive lightning strike and then bam, there it is. Kudos to the voice actor for the character Eren Yeager too. His reaction to the whole thing is great and really sells it. Really everything in that moment sells it, the whole think had me completely engrossed in what was happening. Though I almost wish I’d watched this in my room on my PS4, so the size of the Colossal Titan REALLY stood out. Oh well.

Speaking of the characters though, the primary three we’re introduced to are Eren (as I mentioned before), his foster/adopted sister Mikasa Ackerman, and their friend Armin Arlert. Mikasa seems to be the most ambiguous character right now out of the three going by this episode alone. The episode paints her out to be Eren’s de-facto protector, but that’s about all we know. Hell I didn’t even know she wasn’t Eren’s blood brother until I checked a wiki.

Eren and Armin are the more vocal of the two, and both seem to share the mentality that if the humans continue to live like this then they’re nothing more than herded cattle waiting to be slaughtered. Pretty bleak worldview, but hell, I can’t blame them. Even with that giant wall there I’d be pretty fucking terrified too. That said I also would’ve ran the fuck away as soon as I saw that Colossal Titan. Not just waited for it to level a few blocks with that kick. Though I guess I can understand a person being paralyzed with fear. I mean look at the damn thing.

“Peekaboo mother fuckers”

That said, despite the Colossal Titan’s reveal being my favourite moment, the climax of the episode itself is also a pretty great moment, in that it’s the most emotional moment of the episode. Eren & Mikasa have run off to their home to make sure their mother is ok. Turns out she’s still alive, but is now pinned down under the remnants of their home. They try to save her, but she tells them to leave as her legs have been crushed, so she’d just slow them down.

They keep trying anyway until a Hannes, a Captain in the branch of the military called The Garrison, shows up. At first he says he’s going to fight off the Titan and save them all, only to lose his nerve and grab Eren & Mikasa, getting them to safety instead. The most poignant part of this whole thing to me, is what happens when they’re out of earshot. Their mother has one of the most human moments I’ve ever seen in an anime, and openly goes back on her wish for them to leave her to die.

And then of course, we have to see the poor woman get eaten by the damn Titan. She even thrashes her arms around a bit until it does….something to her, to make her go limp. Broke her neck? Snapped her spine? It kills her in any case. Then Eren and Mikasa (or at least Eren) end up witnessing the whole thing. God damn, Attack On Titan. Heavy thing to end the first episode on.

On a lighter note, good God does this anime look beautiful or what? I mean as creepy and weird as the Titans look, my God, look at that Colossal Titan. It honestly looks amazing. The backgrounds, the city itself, pretty much everything. Sure there are some moments where the animation is a bit simplified, but it makes sense when it happens. Overall I couldn’t find anything to bitch about animation wise.

Now, will I be watching more of this anime? Holy shit, yes. I mean, it’s a slow start but I am definitely interested in seeing what happens next and finding out just what the hell is up with the Titans, which we apparently find out later in the show. If you’re interested in checking it out, Attack On Titan is 25 episodes long, and is available in both subbed and dubbed formats. There are also two live-action movie adaptations of the show, two anime film adaptations condensing the events of the show, and a spin-off satirical anime series called Attack On Titan: Junior High.

Well, that about covers it. If anyone has any suggestions for anime I should watch for this in the future, give me a shout and I’ll put it on my list. If it’s already on my list, I’ll bump it up in priority. However if I’ve already watched it then I’m obviously going to have to decline. And just in case anyone was curious, next up in this “Three articles because I forgot to do two last week” special will be my thoughts on the first episode of One-Punch Man. I’ll see you then folks.

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