Attack on Titan Review

It’s finally time to take a look at Attack on Titan. It’s certainly a series that made it into the record books and shall never be forgotten. At this point you can make the case for it being in the top 10 most recognizable anime/manga of all time with how big it got. The series ended recently and while there is an 8 page extra coming to the volume format, we more or less know how things went. Unfortunately the original manga ending is the worst manga ending of all time. It’s unbelievably bad but for obvious spoiler reasons I can’t talk much about that just yet.

I would say we can divide the series into two main parts. Part 1 introduces us to a world where 80% of humanity has been wiped out by Titans. The few survivors live behind 3 walls where they have learned to live as a smaller part of the food chain. Among these people are the Survey Corps, a group of fighters who still resist the Titans. They scout the outside world and slay Titans when possible. After many years they have made almost no headway so most people don’t even want to join the team.

Fortunately the main character Eren Yeager is not afraid. He wants to be a Survey Corp member without a doubt. He doesn’t have a lot of physical skill but fortunately has the ability to turn into a Titan. Perhaps now humanity finally has a chance to survive? His best friends Armin and Mikasa are also here to help as needed. Armin’s the main strategist while Mikasa is the best fighter of the 3.

That’s a rather simplified version of Part 1 of course as a whole lot more happens. It does serve to at least cover the Pre Arc though. This is where we are introduced to all of the main characters or at least the ones for Part 1. There are a lot of characters running around so it takes time to get to all of their names.

Attack on Titan is a very serious manga so don’t expect everyone to survive. Part of what helped make it big is the sense of danger that the manga has. You always feel like someone could die at any moment. There may be some characters who feel really safe but a lot of the others certainly seem to be in danger when the Titans show up.

The art was quite rough when it first started but by the end it’s improved a great deal. Initially I would say the art was slightly below average compared to most other titles. It still had a lot of intense moments but felt rather rough around the edged. The artist clearly continued to improve his craft the whole time. If you see a comparison picture between the beginning of the series and the ending it is a world of difference. By Part 2 this was looking very clear and quite solid.

While the dark/grim tone of the manga may be part of what helped it get big, it’s also what limits the series. Even before the ending it’s not like this series was going to get a high score. It’s way over the top with the violence. Characters are eaten alive, dismembered, and even tortured. One of the worst scenes in the series was definitely when Levi and Hange tortured this one guy who wouldn’t talk. A big theme in the series is “relative morality” where you have to become a monster to defeat other monsters.

By the end of the series there aren’t any real heroes because everyone has compromised on their integrity at one point or another. It’s certainly a cynical view on the world but more on that later on in the review. The series is always going for as dark a vibe as possible though. Before dying the characters will beg for their lives or yell about how they don’t wanna die. All for that maximum emotional punch of course.

A lot of horses die in the battles as well since this takes place in a more old fashioned world. Whenever the titans show up you can expect that the horses aren’t going to make it which is unfortunate. All of these factors just kept on beating the series into the ground. I would also say with confidence that this has to be the most violent series I’ve read. It never really lets up.

As for Part 2 of the series. We finally see what lies beyond the walls. It turns out that the whole “80% of humanity being wiped out” was all a lie. The rest of the world is just fine and are having wars against each other as normal. Eren infiltrates these places and realizes that the whole world wants to destroy Paradis. He decides to destroy them first and gathers up his own faction. Back on the island Armin and the others can’t accept this outcome so they mobilize to stop him. Can they defeat Eren and ensure that Paradis is obliterated once and for all or will they be stopped, resulting in their island being saved?

Part 2 is definitely very ambitious to the point where it almost feels like a different series entirely. The idea of expanding the world like this is certainly good. It allows us to see the action from a different point of view to really see if you’re still rooting for Paradis or not. Eren’s big personality change is also intense since he is really acting like a different character. Whether you agree with him or not will definitely be a big deal.

So lets talk about Eren as a whole. I liked him a lot in both Part 1 and 2. In Part 1 he is your classic main character who is really determined, yells a lot, and wants to accomplish his goal. He wants to destroy all of the Titans since they destroyed his Mother and that will allow him to finally be free. The villains try for sympathy points a lot of the time but Eren never buys into it. The guy’s just a stellar main character through and through. If he doesn’t have a skill he makes sure to quickly develop it.

Then we have Part 2 Eren. For context, he finally gained the power of the Founding Titan and after making contact with Historia at the end of Part 1, he now has access to Paths, the Future, and the Past. Effectively he’s mind melded with every possible Titan owner from all timelines so like Dr. Strange he can see every eventuality. Eren decides that the only way to save his friends and to be free is to wipe out the rest of the world with the Rumbling.

That’s basically an ability where he will have Titans flatten the rest of the planet. This is directly going to murder every living being on the planet aside from his island. Right from the start you may think he has to be stopped but keep in mind that the rest of the planet aims to nuke Paradis off the face of the planet. This is due to a long tragic past history where the world believes they are all demons.

Attack on Titan shows many times that peace is quite impossible. I’d say the reason why you would likely go with Eren is because the heroes have no other plan. More than once characters explain to the heroes why this can’t work any other way. For starters, Eren gave them around 6 months and the heroes did nothing with that time. Later on when someone asks what alternative there is if they stop Eren, Hange says she has no clue.

So it’s a bit of a contrived situation you could say but it’s written in a way where Eren’s Rumbling really is the only option. Okay, here are the other two options presented in the story. You have Zeke’s idea which is to force every Eldian to not be able to have kids. This means their race will die out so Paradis will die eventually but perhaps peacefully since the other countries won’t have to murder them anymore. I think that’s an easy alternative to explain why it’s a horrible idea. The other countries will blow up Paradis anyway and they would be going down in a really awful way.

Alternative 2 is to just blow up a small part of humanity and call for a truce. I doubt humanity would really listen to that. Another idea brought up by Hange is to just ask for peace from the get go. Considering that the other countries have been attacking Paradis for years and destroying innocent people the whole time…that wouldn’t work either. If the heroes had an actual idea about how this would go down then it’d be easier to root against Eren but every time he would ask them for a plan they would just dodge the question or run off like Hange.

All right, time to talk about the ending so skip these next two paragraphs until you have finished the series. Spoilers start. In the final chapter I think the author realized too many people were on Eren’s side so it was time to assassinate his character. For starters, we find out that Eren murdered his mother. Yes that’s right….he controlled the Titan to eat her. This would start the cycle of him hating the titans and becoming the current him. The logic is that there was no other way for him to start on this path so using his mastery over time he made the events happen. You can see how awful that is right? If you can see and control events across the past, present, and future then you could surely do something else right? Ah man that was bad.

Next, at least we all knew Eren had a concrete plan for destroying all of humanity right? He wanted to be free and to save his friends. He had a ton of dialogue to support this including inner monologue. Well, no he admits to Armin he has no idea why he did this and only destroyed 80% of humanity. Armin’s happy about this at least since not everyone was wiped out. The chapter ends with Mikasa hinting that they’re all going to get slaughtered anyway but it depends on your interpretation. The final 8 pages haven’t come out officially yet but based on those it looks like it was confirmed that Paradis was obliterated so I like that my head canon was validated there at least. It also underscores why Eren’s plan was the only one that could work. I could talk about the ending for a very long time but let me quickly wrap this up. Eren gets reincarnated as a bird so he is now free but can’t enjoy it. Historia ended up marrying a random farmer which really came out of nowhere. Reiner looks pathetic and is trying to go after a woman who’s already married. Mikasa may have married Jean out of pity but still clearly loves Eren so Jean knows he was just the rebound. Oh yes and Eren cries because he doesn’t want Mikasa to like anybody else. Yes…this ending was baaaad.

Spoilers end Attack on Titan was certainly a grand journey. While it had a ton of faults I can at least say this for the series, it did have a lot of good world building. The fact that there is so much to discuss definitely speaks to that. It lasted for quite a while as well and had a lot of high moments. When it wasn’t focusing on being as gritty as possible we got some really iconic scenes and panels. Eren fighting the Armored Titan/Female Titan or when he got ambushed by the Jaw Titan were all great moments.

The series delivered on having a lot of action as well. It could transition pretty well between high action arcs and other stories which were more about mind games and taking things slow. I did get invested in seeing how things would go at least. The series had a long slump during the political arc but the final arc got pretty intense. If we really are getting a sequel series I’ll be interested in how that goes. Just massively tone down the violence and it could be quite good.

Now lets look at the characters. I’ve already spoken at length about the best character in the series known as Eren so we can skip him. Armin’s another big character. He certainly has a lot of moments to shine with his plans but he isn’t nearly as likable. Armin’s the kind of character you could see going over the edge way sooner than Eren and causing a lot of trouble. Armin always tries to claim the moral high ground as well even though I would say he’s never earned it. The guy annoys me the more I think about it actually.

Mikasa was a great character though. She’s an expert fighter who is quite loyal to protecting Eren. Aside from Levi she is likely the most talented human fighter in the series. By the end of Titan she can fight one on one against shifters thanks to the electro spears. Outside of the main 3 I suppose Levi would probably be the biggest character. The guy definitely gets a lot of hype and has the skills to back it up. The way he fights you would think the guy is not human at all. Technically as an Ackerman he is superhuman so that does explain a lot of things. I’ll never agree with him beating up Eren or assisting in torture though which does hurt the guy quite a bit.

Then we have Zeke. I just never liked the guy and there are a lot of reasons for it. I couldn’t sympathize with his backstory. He’s meant to be a rather aloof guy who says crazy stuff for kicks but it was never all that amusing. His plan was also complete nonsense so all of these things added up and I could never like the guy. It doesn’t help that he is absolutely traumatized by Levi and gets nervous whenever he appears.

I didn’t care for Reiner with how he keeps trying to guilt trip everyone and not take responsibility for what he did. The whole dual personalities thing wasn’t going to save him. He tends to beg and whine a lot and Eren shut down all of his arguments real quick. He was a very intimidating villain initially but by the end of the series he’s really a pushover.

Annie was a fun villain though. As the Female Titan she was able to use her hand to hand skills rather well to even give Eren a run for his money. Annie was also quite a sadistic villain so stopping her wasn’t easy. She didn’t really get to have a true character arc by the end but since she had her own arc I think fans should be satisfied.

Bertolt doesn’t get to do a whole lot next to the other shifters but I wouldn’t say there’s much to know about him anyway. He’s always acting rather nervous and definitely doesn’t have the confidence of the other members. Without them he would be absolutely and completely lost the whole time. So much for having the Colossal Titan right? It definitely would not be enough to help him.

Gabi is one of the new characters introduced in Part 2. I actually liked her from the start. She reminded me of Part 1 Eren although she was without powers so she could never be as useful in a fight. Gabi doesn’t have any honor in a fight so she’ll try any kind of cheap shot to win but that’s just the way the characters were brought up on her side. Meanwhile Falco also gets a big role in Part 2 although he isn’t nearly as good since he isn’t decisive the way she is.

Back to the main group we also had Connie although he never really stood out. The guy complains quite a bit and doesn’t do a ton in the action scenes so he is always doomed to be a side character. Then there’s Sasha who is the main comic relief character. The series is usually quite serious but she tries to add in a bit of levity here and there.

Commander Erwin was a big character for a while. As one of the acting captains in charge he would come up with a lot of plans. He kept the Survey Corps going for as long as they did. It would not have been possible without his plans. In fact, Armin never quite caught up to the guy.

Hange is easily the worst character in the series. She acts completely evil with her titan experiments and just about every scene with her is nutty. It’s wild that she tries to act like a hero with absolute morals by the end of it. Cmon, you just can’t buy it at that point because of how much she had done. She refused to even think of a plan which is why Eren had to go.

As for Historia, I liked her in Part 1. She’s an example of a character who did get ruined in part 2 though. She doesn’t really do anything throughout the whole series and really just gets manipulated. Not a great way to go considering her whole character arc of becoming brave and defying fate in Part 1. Her friend Ymir also got wiped from the story rather quickly. I liked that she would talk tough even if she was on the wrong side of the debate with Eren and Reiner.

Then we have a second character called Ymir and to this day I wonder why we got two characters with the same exact name. They could have changed it up a little bit right? Well, this Ymir’s pretty awful. She has a lot to do in the Paths dimension but the more you learn about her the worse it gets. Just wait until you read that final chapter.

So I wouldn’t call the character cast great but at least there are some very memorable characters. Eren really helps to carry the series a lot all by himself. Throughout Part 2 you are always waiting for him to appear so we can see more from his perspective. That’s where all of the hype comes from after all. If anything it would have been nice to have seen him talk/think a bit more in the final arc.

As a final note I’ll say the best scene in Part 2 was definitely the betrayal on the rooftop when the opposing army decided to try and capture Eren. Using the Jaw Titan teaming up with a bunch of others was a smart play. In Part 1 the best scene had to be Eren going up against the Armored Titan in what would be their decisive battle. Seeing Eren finally put his martial arts into play for the first time was a moment worth remembering.

Overall, Attack on Titan is definitely a pretty bad series which wrapped up with a terrible ending so I suppose that was fitting. The final 8 pages if the leaks are true still sound bad but in an extremely minor way do help the ending a bit since it would confirm one of my theories. At least we got a lot of great memes out of it though and even a fan character. The violence is too extreme and it consistently tries to be as gritty as possible. Get out of here with the heroes literally torturing people. It does force you to think about some rather high concept arguments though like a character resorting to committing genocide on 99% of the planet to save his friends. Is it worth it or is he just insane? You can have a lot of discussions on that which is good. If you like The Walking Dead or Game of Thrones for their elaborate universes and constant sense of danger then you will like this series. If you want something with a really expansive story but toning down the violence then I would recommend checking out Tower of God.

Overall 2/10

Han Solo vs Mikasa

Suggested by Destroyer Han Solo is a pretty good pilot and the guy has a lot of confidence. He’s not someone who would go down easily in a fist fight. I wager he would give Mikasa a good fight although she would ultimately win thanks to her enhanced stats. That said, with the 3D gear she would easily be able to zip all around him and just completely crush the guy. Han Solo just isn’t ready for that level of agility and would need The Force in order to make this a fair fight. Mikasa wins.

Attack on Titan: Lost Girls Review

It’s time to look at an Attack on Titan manga spinoff. I remember reading the light novel for this a while back so it’s interesting to revisit it in manga format. It seems to be a pretty faithful adaption, at the very least I couldn’t really see anything big that was removed or changed. Each of the girls gets one volume with Annie’s being a pretty big mystery while Mikasa remembers the good ole days. It’s a fun enough story that completely obliterates the actual manga and reminds me that the series is always at its best when there are no actual titans around. Yes, it’s pretty ironic, but it is what it is.

In Annie’s story she is preparing for her big showdown with the Survey corps. In a sense it’s her last day before her whole life is shaken upside down. She was planning on using the day to meditate and dwell on what’s going to happen, but then her roommate asks her for a favor. Well…”asking” may be putting it politely. In the novel it’s downright blackmail while here it’s basically the same thing even if maybe it’s more implied than stated. Since Annie needed someone to cover for her the next day when she was out on her master plan this girl wanted her to cover for her right now. See, this girl was put in charge of finding a lost girl, but decided not to bother with it. It’s been days, but someone’s got to take the mission on and at least give a fake speech to the person who gave out the request that they tried. Annie figures this will be a bother, but decides she may as well do it since it’ll give her something to do in the meantime. This mystery won’t be easy to solve though.

Keep in mind that everyone in Attack on Titan is pretty corrupt, especially the military police. As a result it’s hard for Annie to actually get any info through legitimate means so she has to go to bars and beat people up to get the answers. Everyone’s pretty suspect so you don’t feel bad for the various people she beats up. They all seem like criminals and would destroy her without a second thought. Annie is very capable so eventually she gets through the mystery and figures out what happens. It’s fun to see the series taking a stab at a mystery and it did a good job. It’s not easy to figure out the mystery so you may connect the dots along with Annie rather than jumping ahead.

I also liked that the guy who gave the mission seemed pretty intelligent. Usually these guys seem to be really slow on the uptake, but he did a full psycho analysis of Annie the moment she stepped into the room. That was certainly impressive. Then the actual missing girl also seemed pretty smart which was a nice dynamic. We’ve got enough drunk bar guys as it is so it’s a good change of pace to have some other characters who can think ahead. The only part of the story that may make you wonder a bit is the climax involving a titan shift. The shifts are incredibly loud and bright so I feel like there’s no way you can get away with doing that and not having people ask a lot of questions. It’s the only part that would make this seem to be non-canon as otherwise everything works pretty well. I suppose you could also explain this away by saying that Annie has enough control to lower the glow/intensity which isn’t really all that far fetched.

The other story for Mikasa isn’t quite as exciting. That’s likely because it’s a flashback story. We get to see how she and Eren first met up. Naturally this doesn’t cover the part with her parents getting bumped off since that was already covered in the show. Eren already seems a bit unstable and obsessive here which is an accurate depiction of him. He’s certainly one of the most ambitious shounen leads of all time with how his character arc goes so it’s always fun to see a bit of his early days as well. The issue is that there isn’t much to do. We see them hang out a lot, we get some foreshadowing with the human traffickers running around, and Eren gets beaten up for his political views. The story’s a little more mean spirited than the first one as it’s dark throughout. I don’t know if it’s meant to be dark, but you feel the tension throughout since you know that things aren’t going to end well.

The story also makes Mikasa’s parents look pretty bad since they definitely should have left the house after they knew people were lurking around. The mother was sick, but then tell Eren’s father or something. You need to have some kind of backup so you can escape because otherwise they were all doomed. They just really didn’t think ahead here. The scene of Eren getting beaten up by the adults is also pretty intense and not a fun scene. It’s literally full grown adults badly beating up a kid to the point where he was severely injured for a while. At this point we already get how the city is super corrupt, no need to beat it into us. (pun intended) Things don’t end well for them though since karma also tends to hit like a truck in this series. Characters who do bad stuff rarely get a happy ending, the cycle of violence tends to get everyone.

Finally there’s a 2-3 page story with both characters I guess so their stories could link up a bit. Mikasa basically takes issue with Annie’s ring blade since she feels like it could hurt Eren so there are a lot of veiled threats in the conversation. I’d definitely take Mikasa in a human fight between them, but in a no holds barred battle Annie would naturally win. Of course it would completely blow her plan so in a sense Mikasa could at least take a consolation victory there.

The artwork looks pretty good. It’s a little smoother than the main series art. I wouldn’t call it top level or anything, but it certainly holds its own pretty well and makes for a pretty easy read. The fight scenes have a lot of pop behind them with the art which is always a key fundamental to have. It really helps the whole manga rise up an extra notch as well. The writing is also pretty good which is definitely important no matter what kind of manga you are. This one does a good job with that.

Overall, Lost Girls is an interesting spinoff. Annie’s story definitely destroys Mikasa’s though. I don’t think we really need to learn too much more about her origins since the manga already covered that pretty well. It could have worked better if things worked out more for the heroes but with everything already being grim I don’t think this story really added to anything. Both stories are pretty self contained so you could probably enjoy them even without reading the main series. That being said, you’ll naturally get more out of it if you already know the characters. I’d recommend picking this one up, it’s a good enough story to add to the verse.

Overall 6/10

Mikasa vs Samus

Suggested by Destroyer Mikasa is definitely a very solid fighter and she’s always been a pretty cool character. That being said, she isn’t quite ready to take on Samus. Both of them are basically superhuman in terms of physical ability, but Samus has the decisive advantage when you take into account her armor. With that she heavily outranks Mikasa in both power and speed. Samus also gets an incredible arsenal of projectiles that she can use to completely overwhelm the scout. Samus wins.

Ujio vs Mikasa

Ujio is certainly pretty good with a sword. He fought well in the movie he appeared in and proved that strength comes from the heart. Still, Mikasa’s 3D Maneuvering Equipment will certainly give her the edge in combat and allow her to swing her blades a lot quicker than Ujio can. It will be a decisive victory. Mikasa wins.

Mercutio vs Mikasa

Mercutio is another skilled character from the old Shakespearean days, but he doesn’t have what it takes to defeat Mikasa. She is much faster than him and also more lethal in combat. He would have a difficult time trying to stay one step ahead of her here. My money would be on Mikasa winning in a matter of seconds. I just don’t see this fight managing to stay close since Mikasa could start the fight with a straight dashing slash and I doubt Mercutio could react to it. Mikasa wins.

Mikasa vs Tybalt

Mikasa is a strong member of the Survey Corps. She may not have the ability to Titanize, but she compensates for that with her above average strength and speed. Tybalt wouldn’t be able to land any blows and his speed is too slow for him to even parry her attacks. Mikasa has every possible edge in this fight so the gap in their abilities will become apparent before long. They are simply fighting on two very different levels. Mikasa wins.

Attack on Titan Season 2 Review

All right guys, the time has finally come. Attack on Titan season 2 has snuck up on us after all these years. As you all know, I wasn’t exactly a fan of the first season. Far from it, the first one had a whole array of negatives and it was all just too violent and dark if you ask me. Does this season improve? I’m afraid that it does not. It’s just as violent as it ever was if not more so and the show is as dark as ever. People complain about how they don’t want to die just to up the grit factor and the scouts forget their training so we can see everyone die at once. The show is still quite epic though. Whether that is tragic or a good thing is really up to you. Prepare yourself as I attack this series from all sides.

The first season ended with the heroes managing to capture the Female Titan, but not learning anything new since she enveloped herself in ice. This installment takes place almost immediately afterwards as 3 more humans shift into Titans. It appears that they are serving another master and have been acting as moles on the inside for some time now. Their mission is to kidnap Eren, but he’s not going to go down without a fight. Can Eren fight the three of them off or will his allies get in his way long enough to prevent victory?

This season only has 12 episodes so it has to move pretty quick. Lets start with some of the positives. This season has a great soundtrack. It’s not on the same level as the first season, but the new tunes that it introduces are quite good. The theme that plays during the return of the Colossal and Armored Titans was pretty epic. We also got a nice lyrical song in the final episode which was just as solid. A number of themes from the first season show up as well like the iconic opera theme that plays during the Beast Titan’s introduction. There aren’t really any bad themes in the show and it has a cinematic feel to it from start to finish. I also liked the third opening. The first one is still my favorite by far, but this one does a good job of quickly getting fast paced. The music does a good job of tricking you into thinking that it’s somber before getting action packed. Not a big fan of this new gimmick where characters just stand around for part of the opening though. It’s not as bad as My Hero Academia, but do we need to see everyone putting on their boots and getting ready to go outside and start their battles? It gets more fast paced from there though.

The animation is also quite sharp. Again, season 1 may have looked a little better, but this one’s certainly as impressive as always. The animation really shines for the Titan battles. I think it may have been limited by the fact that the series always seemed cloudy. The first season had a lot of scenes in the daytime as well as the night which always stood out well. This cloudy middle ground didn’t work so well. I suppose it was supposed to subtly show you the desperation of the heroes but this show is never very subtle at all so you could gather that anyway. All of the character designs are pretty smooth and while the CGI effects for the Colossal Titan are humorously bad, it makes the taunts from the heroes hit a lot deeper.

You also can’t say that Attack on Titan is boring. The show never disappoints in how much it can get you engaged. Some episodes were underwhelming like the ones focusing on Connie and Sasha, but for the most part the plot always moved rapidly. The two episodes were Eren confronted the other Titans and found out their secret identities were the best two episodes in the series by far. If the series had just been those two episodes it probably would have gotten a high score. The fights were handled well and the series didn’t resort to getting super gritty. It was emotional enough that the two traitors knew Eren pretty well. I’ve seen the fight well over a dozen times at this point. Mainly because I forgot that Eren actually wiped the floor with the Armored Titan. I always thought he had lost the fight so it was nice to be mistaken for a change.

Eren is also just as great a main character here as he was in the first season. I’m tempted to say that he’s even better here, but it’s tough because he was a star in both. His stand out scene is when the Armored Titan tells him not to put up a fight and Eren puts one up anyway. Even without any hands, Eren buys the heroes more time and makes it difficult on the enemies. His never say die attitude is what separates him from the rest. He really makes the whole season better. Eren is always yelling and calling the villains out on their fake sob stories, but also continues to use strategy the whole time. He’s always thinking about the next move and ends up being a much more complete character than you’d otherwise expect. Pretty much all of his scenes are epic, but aside from his big fight, his scene in the last episode where he punches a Titan was just really great. It would be nice if he could keep fighting Titans like that, but it was basically a one shot deal as I understand it.

Mikasa is also a great heroine as always. She just wants to protect Eren and doesn’t care about the traitors either. Good call if you ask me. She won’t hesitate to take them down and is always ready to support Eren. She’s a consistently good character who can actually fight even if she doesn’t have powers. Mikasa doesn’t get a whole lot to do in this season, but she’s always around. Levi fans will be disappointed though since he really doesn’t get to appear for more than 5 minutes in the whole season.

All right, lets start talking about the negatives though. This is Attack on Titan so the usual issues apply. The series is just as violent as the first one if not more so. One new element that the show added was an effect that is supposed to resemble getting torn apart by a wild animal. It happens twice where the screen will start shaking to save budget to emphasize the violence as blood starts flying everywhere and it’s meant as an optical illusion to seem worse than it is. I’ll take the bait though so that hurt quite a bit. Whenever Titans are around, the humans die horribly. People are eaten alive and always beg for their lives first. That’s a staple of Attack on Titan at this point. They always have to rub in the fact that the humans didn’t ask for this as they’re eaten and they’re eaten slowly.

It even comes at the expense of the plot. At the end of the series, a team of highly trained fighters decide to attack the Titans. Half of them forget that they know how to fight though as they calmly let the Titans snatch them up and have their dinner. This was really just for violence and to show how hopeless the situation is, but it made no sense. Honestly, it never made any sense how the humans haven’t covered more ground considering how many Titans they’ve destroyed at times. It’s a logistical issue that I’ve always wondered about. The series also has considerable animal violence as horses aren’t immune to the Titan attacks. It even showed up in the Beast Titan’s debut which prevented the scene from being as hype as it could have been.

I’m a big Dub fan as I always prefer it to the Sub. That being said, I could have done without some of the language. It was certainly overdone at some points and threw cold water on what was otherwise a pretty hype scene. Take Eren’s big fight against the other two. The whole thing was intense and awesome, but it’s hard to watch it as much as you’d like to since Eren is constantly swearing the whole time. It’s supposed to show just how angry he is and emphacize the whole thing, but you can do that pretty well without language. Honestly, with the stellar job that the VA does, it isn’t necessary at all. He’s always been good at yelling. Just about any intense moment in the show will have some language involved. I’m confident that it has spread a lot more compared to season 1 because I don’t remember it being quite so frequent over there.

It’s really a shame that some of the most epic shows always seem to have some kind of strings attached. They could end up becoming elites if they didn’t focus too much on being dark and gritty. Take Sonic Forces, it brings all of the hype without the negatives. It’s not out yet though so I’ll go more into that when it actually comes out. The plot definitely is engaging here so you’ll stick around but after it’s over, it’s hard to recommend the title. This season just had way too many gritty moments to actually recommend it to anyone. If someone asked for a good title to watch, I’d quickly have to offer up an answer like Naruto or Madoka Magica instead. Those had a better blend of epic scenes while still keeping themselves in check.

A good way to tell how epic a show can get is to check out the promos. Just look at the Attack on Titan Toonami promos for this season. Particularly the last few. They sell themselves and you don’t need to know anything about the show to get into them. I watched several of those promos over 10 times. The final episode promo I probably saw the most although it’s close. I can’t stress enough how fun the show can be. I need to savor this as well since the 3rd season is likely going to be a big step down since the political arc is about to start. It’s quite long and dreadfully bad so unless the anime can really shape it up, things are going to get tough until the 4th season.

Aside from Eren and Mikasa, the rest of the cast is mostly all right. I still don’t like Armin at all as just about every scene with him is annoying. He gives terrible advice like telling Eren to run and then 2 minutes later changing his mind and saying that it would be impossible. His most intense moment is him trying to act like a villain and using dishonorable tactics that I can’t respect. Sasha doesn’t really get much of an actual role here and I can’t stress enough just how bad her origin episode was. It was one of the low points of the series for sure. Connie is even worse as he panics for everything and is in a serious state of denial throughout the series. He needs to get his act together, but I fear that he never will.

Historia gets a big role in this season and she’s a good character. We finally have someone who is actually heroic and tries to be a bright light for the others to follow. The series tries to make the heroes almost as bad as the villains at times so she is a nice change of pace. Other characters claim that she is fake, but I feel like she’s genuine and the others are completely over analyzing her. She’ll always try to do the right thing even if it means dying in the process. She instantly became one of the best supporting characters. Ymir is another new character and she’s Historia’s opposite in terms of personality. She claims to just live for herself but in actuality she is always trying to protect Historia. Her speeches about how she is a real bad person can be a little repetitive at times like she’s trying to convince herself of that. It is nice to have another tough character in the show though and someone who knows the truth about the Titans as well. She makes most of the wrong decisions throughout the show as she defies logic throughout, but at least its her choices. She ended up making the decisions on her terms as opposed to the other Titans so that was good. She was a good character to have around. Annoying, but better than most of the others.

Erwin is one of those characters that I could never like. He doesn’t place much value in human lives as he’ll sacrifice them all to get one step closer to unlocking the Titan mysteries. He’s all about how the end justifies the means and is such an extreme character. His “Sasageyo” speech turned into a meme, but the joke was turned around since the anime had to translate it and there was nothing to meme in the Dub. He ended up doing pretty well for himself by the end, but I’m ready for him to step down.

As for the villains, well we can start with the Beast Titan. He gets a lot of hype since it seems like he is the mastermind behind all of the Titans. As a result, he doesn’t get to do a lot here since they have to build up to him. He’s the tallest Titan aside from the Colossal Titan and seems to have more intelligence than the rest. He keeps his speaking ability even in Titan form. There’s not much I can say about him, but in his Beast Titan mode he’s pretty interesting. I prefer the Armored Titan, but I’ll take him over the Colossal. His fans will be pleased since he looks pretty good during the season and is definitely a merciless villain.

The Colossal Titan isn’t my kind of villain as you can tell. He tries to justify himself way more than everyone else and like Eren I’m not buying it nor will I ever buy it. The Armored Titan is a little more accepting of the situation and is also more likable since he takes command of the situation. The other guy waits for his opportunity while the Armored Titan seizes it. He’s just more of a commander and takes on all of the tough jobs. Again, the dub is just really great and helps make all of these characters more engaging. I also have to give major props to the director because he manages to make all of the scenes more interesting than they would have been otherwise. Others could learn from his example.

You’ll exit the season with about as many questions as you had when it first started, but at the same time you’ll feel more progress here. The heroes are getting a lot closer to the truth and I think it’s safe to say that we’ll get a ton of revelations in season 4. I’m looking forward to the anime getting farther because it is much more enjoyable than the manga. Case in point, the Armored Titan’s fight against Eren was a lot more violent and extreme in the manga. I checked it out recently to compare the two and it’s just in a different league. While the anime is still much too violent, I appreciate the fact that they at least put a good effort into making it a little more manageable.

Attack on Titan is one of those shows where fans will have fun rewatching it as more seasons come out. After all, I certainly got to understand more of the hidden subtext since I’m caught up with the manga as characters reference certain things that are important later on. The author did a pretty good job of planning things out ahead of time now that I think about it. It never feels like these plot developments are really sudden or are coming out of nowhere. It’s all part of a plan even if the plan may have changed a little during the series. On a minor note, the unveiling of the 3 Titans in this season doesn’t feel as big as Annie’s reveal in Season 1. Maybe it’s just one of those cases where the first undercover Titan was always going to be more memorable than the others. I do think that the scene of the Colossal and Armored Titans revealing themselves was handled just about perfectly though. It was a scene that I liked in the manga as well since it was done in the background so it was easy to miss. It’s a little harder to pull that off in the anime, but they did a really good job.

On a final note, Attack on Titan is also one of the only shows that can effectively pull off flashbacks. The flashback of Annie teaching Eren how to use a spin move and then is occurring during his fight with the Armored Titan was smooth. In another anime, it would have happened sooner so that we could see the whole scene over again during the fight. The flashbacks in this series are minimal and all have a big purpose when they appear. Unfortunately, a lot of the flashbacks are pretty violent as you can probably imagine what Eren recalls during these moments, but the directing with them is on point. This show can seriously make an argument for having the best directing in all of anime.

Overall, Attack on Titan Season 2 is more of the same as you saw in 1. It’s still a technical masterpiece as the animation is on point, the soundtrack is stellar, and Eren is one of the best leads of all time. The show never stops feeling like a big budget movie and the plot is very engaging. However, all of these positives are nullified by how violent and gritty the series is. It goes way too far in expressing that point. Just about every episode has the characters talking about how much they want to destroy another character and murder is the only thing on anyone’s mind. The animal violence isn’t helping matters and this likely won’t change because Attack on Titan really wants to keep reminding us that there is no hope left. It could be done better, but at this point we all know the score. Attack on Titan is not going to change so it’ll always make for a pretty interesting watch, but it’ll likely never be a good anime. I’ll take this kind of “bad” anime over the other kind though. (One that is not enjoyable throughout in addition to getting a low score) At the end of the day I like being entertained so at least every episode went by fairly quick and I could still chat about it for a while. Really bad shows make it so that you can barely even talk about them. If this sounds like your kind of show, then by all means you should check it out. Otherwise, you should probably go watch Madoka Magica. I mention it a lot, but this title perfectly handled the concept of being really dark without crossing the line of also being really violent. I was quite impressed. Now, the 3rd season is supposed to come out next year and will likely be a full 26 episodes again so we’ll see how they handle it. If they can cut out a certain political scene, it could theoretically end up being the best season since there is a lot less Titan violence. After all, most of the characters can fight now and normal Titans aren’t a threat because of Eren’s secret powers. Only time will tell though.

Overall 3/10

Attack on Titan: Lost Girls Review

It’s time for another Attack on Titan novel! After that last one, I prepared myself for just about anything. This one splits into two very short stories which end up equaling a novel that is still 100 pages shorter than the last one. As such, it goes by fairly quick. On the other hand, it doesn’t stop the first story from severely holding the whole thing back for basically the same negatives as the last novel. Lets dive right in!

The first story is about Mikasa and how she first met Eren. It turns out that Eren was a lot meaner and more unlikable than we all remembered. Mikasa had been pretty bored at the time and only got to spend time with her parents on rainy days. One day, her doctor showed up and brought his kid along. Eren didn’t like to play with dolls and immediately started helping Mikasa break rules that she had never questioned. The two get to be friends, but Mikasa is always worried that one day Eren is going to go too far and anger the wrong people. This could end up being a fatal mistake.

At least Mikasa is a likable heroine here. She helped out around the house when her mother got sick and was always courteous to those around her. She stood up for Eren when he was getting bullied and didn’t give up even after he kept ditching her. Whether that was the right move or not if another story. Mikasa ultimately did grow up to be a very likable character as well as one of the best fighters in the series so she’s certainly never strayed from that path.

Unfortunately, I can’t say the same about Eren. He could be a likable main character at times in the anime although he ultimately dropped off quite a lot in the manga. In this book Eren is not even close to being a good character. He starts off very quiet and reserved and comes across as just very aggressive and mean whenever he talks to Mikasa. He compares her to a Chicken multiple times and even predicts that she will one day be destroyed. He picks fights with just about everyone and gets beaten up multiple times. Even though Mikasa is the one who helps him out of these situations, he refuses to visit her and spends all day hanging out with his new friend Armin. The way that Eren handled the situation was terrible. Whenever he appeared, you knew that Mikasa was going to feel sad again since that’s what Eren does best.

This series continues to enjoy upping the grittyness factor as much as it can and this story is riddled with it. For starters, a grown up beats up Eren for many, many pages. Keep in mind that Eren is only 9 years at the time and the beat down is very brutal and descriptive. It just keeps going on and on and on. This isn’t even the only time that Eren is beaten as a group of kids also took him out. It’s a scene that we really didn’t need in the volume, but it’s meant to show how corrupt the world is. Nobody is going to stop these guys and by the time the heroes investigate, the criminals are already dead via car crash.

There’s also a random magician who tries to get Mikasa to murder him and succeeds, but the twist is that it was a trick knife. The point of it was to show that ultimately anyone can be corrupted and convinced to murder someone. Before that, a mob ended up beating up Mikasa a bit by mistake as she was shoved to the ground and hit a few times. I believe that one aspect of the series which continues to bring these situations up is the overall locale. The slums are shown to be in extremely poor condition with people doing their business in the streets and the place just being in shambles. It makes for a lot of unnecessary details that don’t help the book, but just remind you of what a tough world the place is. Eren and the others will never get too much peace because they are defying the system. A bunch of people will die to the Titans and the other humans. It makes for a very somber piece.

Mikasa’s story was basically just a tale of grit and how you can’t trust anyone with the actual plot being on the backburner. The other story was about Annie which took place the day before she attempted to kidnap Eren. She needed her roommate to explain that she could not make it the next day but in exchange Annie was told to try and locate a missing person. The case is 10 days old with nobody actually looking so Annie would have a tough challenge ahead of her. Luckily, she is fairly determined and does have some time to burn.

This story was a considerable improvement over the last one. I’m always up for a good mystery. Some lingering elements of the Titan writing style remain as the areas continue to be described as being excruciatingly bad and it seems like everyone is either a drunk or a criminal in this world. Nonetheless, there is less time for grit and less opportunity for it since Annie does have her Titan powers and regenerative capabilities so she is never in any real danger. It really is handy to have powers like that right?

The end of the case may not be the most satisfying, but there were a sufficient amount of twists along the way and it was an interesting one. I liked how the rich father of the missing girl was actually smart for a change and was good at telling if someone was lying or not. It may not have helped him much in this scenario, but at least he wasn’t just oblivious to the whole thing. I’m a little skeptical about Annie transforming into Titan mode to take out the villains though. It’s not a question of whether it was necessary or not, but I feel like someone would notice even if the place was fairly deserted. It’s hard to miss the explosion and the light blast that hits the Titan to start the transformation right? I definitely wouldn’t mind a novel adaption of the actual mission to get Eren from Annie’s point of view. She’s a fun main character and has always been an interesting villain. Learning more about her background could help solve some mysteries in the long run.

There is a bit of an epilogue where Mikasa and Annie meet each other. I’m guessing it relates to the actual TV special/OVA content. It’s always cool to see veiled threats being hurled at each other and then the novel ends with Mikasa striking Annie down. Those two were certainly good rivals and if Annie ever breaks out of the ice that she’s in, I wouldn’t be too surprised if she ended up joining the heroes. It would make sense in a way as she was never too committed to the villains and seems like someone who could make a turnaround.

Overall, This novel had two very contrasting stories. On one hand, the first story was pretty terrible and had just about everything that’s wrong with the franchise as a whole. The second half was good and is certainly one of the better attack on Titan products, but still doesn’t exactly fall into great territory. Respectively, the first story would probably score a 2 while the second would get a 6. If we go halfway, then that’s around a 4 although the halves aren’t necessarily weighed equally. It’s like how a negative review always seems to hurt more than a positive one helps an item. In this case that’s the score that the novel gets though. I’d just advise to skip the Mikasa story when you get the volume and just read the Annie one. It’s still worth a purchase even if the book is a little small in that case. Alternately, buy the first Before The Fall novel. That one’s a solid story and easily had the least amount of grit from the Titan novels. I’m finally reading the last two part adventure for now and then the Titan novel marathon will be over. It was a good run even if the scores started to fade out. At least it’s always interesting to read, whether for good or bad.

Overall 4/10

Annie Leonhart vs Mikasa

Suggested by Eric Annie Leonhart and Mikasa are both fairly adept at hand to hand combat and are fairly evenly matched. In a pure fist fight, I’d give Mikasa the edge though. What helps give Annie an edge is the fact that she has her Titan Mode abilities. Mikasa has been shown to take down Titans before, but Annie has the clear advantage with her hardening ability and the fact that she doesn’t lose her combat prowess. She will simply have too many abilities for a human, even one as skilled as Mikasa, to defeat. Annie Leonhart wins.