Created By: Hajime Isayama
Studio: Wit Studio, Production I.G
Directed By: Tetsuró Araki, Masashi Koizuka
Audio: Japanese, English
Certification: 15 (BBFC)
Licensed By: Manga Entertainment UK, Funimation
Format: DVD, BluRay, Digital, Limited Edition
The remaining human civilization resides within three walled cities, each separated by a persons’ wealth and standing in society. Wall Maria houses the vast majority of farmers and laborers within the furthest wall from the Capital. Wall Rose is for middle class citizens, whilst Wall Sheena is mostly home to the Royal family and the aristocrats. These towering walls have stood for over a hundred years, protecting and caging those inside from what can only be described as a living nightmare beyond the gates. Their lives are forever changed on the day a Colossal Titan breaks down the outer wall of Wall Maria in the Shiganshina district. Three children witnessed first hand the devastation that happened within their town that day. Eren, Mikasa and Armin have stuck together through the next couple of gruelling years, joined the Military and are now fighting tooth and nail to kill every Titan they encounter. However what happens when you discover that part of you, is exactly what you have vowed to destroy?
It has been seven years already since the first episode of Attack on Titan (Shingeki no Kyojin) aired in Japan, way back in 2013. I remember being obsessed with this show when it first came out and watched it week by week. The premise of the show was something very new at the time, an anime and manga that dealt with the wrath of man-eating titans that continuously try to kill the last of humanity. A military that tried to kill the Titans beyond the walls, using 3D Maneuvering Gear that allowed them to almost fly through the sky in order to battle against the Titans. And then the twist, discovering a certain person could change into a powerful Titan at will.
Season One had a gripping storyline and animation at every turn, it looked flawless. It also managed to keep the suspense going, but at the same time was able to reveal many secrets both about the Titans, the mistrust within the Military and the bonds between various characters. It had it all, but then all went quiet for four long years as fans waited for the release of Season Two. It lost many fans with a wait so prolonged, the hype went down considerably. Where Season One ended with a shocking image of what was inside the walls, Season Two carried on with investigating this discovery. The Collosal Titan, which first broke the walls in the very first episode of the show, returned once again and we discovered their identity. Several intellectual Titans just like Eren have been discovered and their identities revealed. Many were shocking, their reveals not only took the audience by surprise, but the characters they interacted with within the show. This has lasting effects throughout all of the anime thus far and the latest chapters of the manga. Season Three see’s a shake up within the Capital in regards to the Royal family, the truth about the Titans and the lost history from before the last 100 years of peace is revealed to the public. Not only that but more Abnormal Titans have appeared, a decision has to be made as to who to save between two note-worthy characters, a new Titan is created and Eren sees his father’s past memories and all his secrets are revealed to him.
Across these three seasons we see how Eren, Mikasa and Armin have grown from mere children to trained warriors, who have fought, survived and barely escaped with their lives from many dangerous missions. Because of Armin, Eren learned of stories about the World beyond the Walls. He became determined to go out past the confines of his cage one day to see it all. To experience the freedom, one could say it was like it was almost within his blood. Even as he learned to control his powers, he still struggled with the weight on his shoulders and could be seen breaking down both mentally and psychologically many times. Even if Eren got to see the outside World and the large body of saltwater that Armin read about in books, would that ever bring Eren peace? Mikasa from the very start is more like a big sister and bodyguard to Eren. When you have seen all three seasons, just try to recall the very first time Eren and Mikasa met at the cabin in the woods. How quickly did her personality change the split second Eren told her to get up and fight. Details like this have been planned out from the start. I can not wait for the series and manga to end, so I can go back and reread it all, from a different point of view having known what happens.
There are so many notable characters in this show, each of whom have their own stories. Some of which deserve their own show! The ones that I have enjoyed thus far have been Mikasa, Eren, Levi, Annie and Christa. Let me know in the comments below who you have handpicked as your top five characters.
We have seen many Titan vs Titan fights across the seasons, from just the scouts taking on normal Titans, to the special ones like Eren that have flattened towns just by fighting one another. A key fight for me was actually from Season One, when they took on the Female Titan in the forest. At the same time, the inclusion of the Survey Corps using the 3D Maneuvering gear always makes for great scenes. Be it in towns, forests, in the open on horseback or swinging off of Titans trying to cut them down. It always works so well visually on screen. Throughout the seasons we see not only Walls falling, but society crumbling over the influx of refugees from outer walls, the risk of famine, the general population’s opinion on both the military and those seated in power rapidly turning. If not for the fear of Titans attacking at any moment and refugees trying to build new lives and the mourn those they have lost, there would have been a rebellion within the walls on several occasions. The fights within the walls, would rival the chaos that lives outside them.
The Military have trained to only battle Titans, but without them knowing any better, there are also enemies within the confines of the Walls. From corrupt Aristocrats to a Secret Military group, a hidden Royal line that knows EVERYTHING, soldiers that can transform into the enemy and a Dr that entrusts a key to his son, in hopes that he will one day unlock the cellar door.
It has been a whirlwind seven years in the making. We are almost finished with the anime, with Season Four expected to air this Fall in Japan. However that could very possibly be pushed back even further because of the deathly Virus that has been plaguing the World. For now though, with Season Three we have finally gotten to see what Eren’s key unlocks! We discover some incredible secrets from Dr Yeagers’ notes, but my question is, will Season Four stay true to what has happened in the manga? If so, then this anime will go down in history for more reasons than just great animation and story concepts!
Attack on Titan first began as a manga series back in 2009 by Hajime Isayama. It is currently on-going with 30 volumes out at the moment and is being translated into English and published by Kodansha USA. It was adapted into this anime series beginning back in 2013 and was produced by both Wit Studio and Production I.G. Following a four year delay the show returned in 2017 with Season Two, with just Wit Studio producing solo from here on. Season Three followed suit just a year later in 2018 much to everyone’s delight. With the increased popularity of the show, it has already received three animated compilation films that just encase what happens in the show as a feature length instead of episodes. The series has also had two live action Japanese films and a miniseries in 2015. As well as several video games releases, three light novel series and five spin off manga series. The success of the series has been so renowned that it has also been adapted into an attraction at Universal Studios Japan. The international success of this franchise has even bypassed Naruto in my opinion. Never have I seen so many different adaptations across various media for a show, Dragon Ball is the only one that comes to mind and I try my best now to recall the horrendous American live action film that was released.
You can view Attack on Titan on both FunimationNow and Netflix. You can also buy the physical releases from Season One to Three from Manga Entertainment UK, across DVD, BluRay and Collector’s Edition Combi pack now.