NOTE: This article contains SPOILERS (as far as the anime goes). Read at your own discretion.
Attack on Titan, or Shingeki no Kyojin, has cemented itself as one of the most popular and critically acclaimed animes of all time. A classic in the making, AOT dazzles fans with its rich storyline and action-packed scenes. It’s a modern day adventure for anime lovers and conspiracy theorists alike.
Based off the manga written by Hajime Isayama, AOT revolves around a human civilization that resides within a set of three gigantic walls for fear of contact with man-eating humanoids called titans. One day, a breach in the wall not only unleashes chaos among the civilization but also opens a can of worms, as secrets about the past painstakingly come to light.
While the plot seems like a fairly interesting anime action-adventure story, let’s get into why AOT is exactly not what it seems like.
It has the basic anime necessities, and more
The characters are well developed and complex; each character isn’t typical in the sense that they have a single, defining characteristic. They’re all 3D, with their own personalities and aspirations, a certain goal in mind of how to escape the living hell they’ve been put in.
The plot is also absolutely amazing. Isayama spares no one in his quest to portray the true beast that is the titan. Characters of varying importance are just titan fodder all the same, and the manner in which this is executed adds extra weight to the loss of each person.
What seems to be straightforward is actually a box within a box, within a larger box, as every moment, scene, and person makes a significant difference to the story.
And the action scenes? Out of this world. The titan-fighting regiment, called Scouts, utilizes ODM (omnidirectional mobility) gear to swing past the mammoth-sized titans and maneuver through buildings and trees. The concept was interesting to see play out and the animation made the foreign gear look cool and appealing enough to inspire a legion of cosplayers.
It offers parallels to reality
War, racial inequality, class issues, political agendas, and corruption — it seems as if AOT was able to touch upon all of these difficult topics. You don’t see this many deep themes popping up in a shounen anime, let alone have these themes actually mean something.
It’s easy to pick a side in the beginning, as we witness titans wreaking havoc on humanity. But as the series goes on, viewers can’t help but scratch their heads and think, “Who’s the real enemy here?”
Because of the intricate themes that explore each side of the story, it’s hard to decide what exactly is right and wrong.
AOT depicts war as it is — with children and civilians on both sides and a seemingly noble cause to believe in. The relationship of racial inequality between Marleyans and Eldians are akin to that of those in the Holocaust era. Corruption within the MP, or Military Police, is just a reflection of real-world police corruption.
Peace is desired, but as we all know, the real world does not allow that.
It’s almost as if we’re experiencing a weirdly fantasized version of what our world really offers to us.
It is consistently unpredictable
Animes, more or less, follow the same formula of a resilient protagonist fighting against an evil, stronger being. While this dynamic is still present, the process of unraveling the villain and the rationalities behind it is simply mind-boggling.
We start off the same as Eren and friends, riding on the rollercoaster of revelations as what we think to be one world is actually just one little piece of the whole. Even now, as we near the midpoint of the last season, we still aren’t able to give a definitive answer of what will happen next.
But perhaps this is AOT’s best trait. The ability to keep us on our feet is what keeps us tuning in every season. And if there’s something to know about Attack on Titan, it’s that this series is 100% worth it.
Catch the latest season on Netflix, with new episodes dropping every Friday.