God Eater is a series that very much feels like Attack on Titan. It’s got a pretty interesting premise and fun concepts but it ultimately focuses too much on the tragedy and horror surrounding the characters. They’re all put through the wringer quite a bit and this only escalates as the series gets closer to the end. Ultimately the series goes way too far into this and ends up shooting itself in the foot so it can’t end up taking advantage of the interesting art style.
God Eater is effectively divided up into two stories that are being told at the same time. The present where Fenrir trains fighters known as God Eaters to fight the Aragami and defend the Earth and the past where we see how the Aragami first appeared on the Earth and how the scientists reacted. The past is told in a black and white art style while the present is full in color. Each story gives new information and context to the other so they end up bouncing back and forth on that.
The main character is a boy named Lenka. His goal is to destroy all of the Aragami and it’s his motivation for being a God Eater. He is one of the new types but unfortunately he doesn’t know what that means or much about the world. His only focus has been on destroying the monsters so he never really bothered to find out more about the world than that. Well when the defense force is low on fighters, Lenka takes that chance to run out of the base and fight. Unfortunately he gets crushed rather quickly and has to be saved by the First Unit. This happens again in the next episode so it’s rough for him but ultimately he is allowed to enter their squad. Can he make a difference or will he learn that aspirations alone are not enough to win?
God Eater is one of those titles that is tragic in a way because I do think this could have been an absolute top tier if it could just tone down the edge a bit. So lets get the negatives out of the way here because those are pretty easy to go through. First off, the series is just incredibly violent. You have a character who gets eaten alive in a really disturbing way. People are chomped, blown up, and very few characters get a happy ending here. Whenever you have a flashback to a character’s past you now that things are going to get crazy.
Like with Attack on Titan there is a lot of focus on how despair is all that most of these guys have to look forward to. These monsters are just too numerous and keep on coming. Aside from a select few top tier fighters, the rest can only hope to defend themselves for a few minutes before getting eaten. While this is the case throughout the series, Lenka’s backstory definitely gets the most drastic about it.
God Eater is just unrelenting on this. Soma’s backstory also gets rather tragic with a birth going wrong and you probably wont go more than an episode or 2 without something twisted happening. The crazy thing is that the show didn’t start out quite so violent. I felt like the first 2-3 episodes seemed normal. Perhaps a little intense but nothing crazy. Then the show just dialed everything up to 11 all of a sudden. Even in other ways like the scenes with Lenka’s sister got rather crazy by the end even outside of the violence. Don’t think we needed that kind of subplot there.
This is why I said it was easy to go through the negatives pretty quick though. Really it boils down to the show being way too extremely edgy the whole time. With this kind of premise it could be expected to an extent (Even the opening starts off on a rather dark note) but there’s so many possibilities here. If you focused more on the story and less on the violence this could have been really great.
Now for the animation, it’s a little different as I mentioned earlier. The style is heavily shaded and it’s hard to describe but it feels like there’s a ton of detail in the shots. Some scenes almost feel like an illustration. It takes a little getting used to because it is so different. It’s certainly not touching Ufotable’s big hand drawn titles like Demon Slayer or Fate but I would say it’s still a high tier production in its own right. Then the animation randomly seems to change later on.
I felt like the first episodes looked a lot more high budget than the latter ones at first but that’s when it dawned on me that it was just a very different style. It didn’t necessarily get worse, just different. The deep illustration style was gone and it looked more hand drawn I’d say or at least trying to emulate that style. It threw me for a bit of a loop because both styles are good but just different. So this was a roundabout way of saying that I liked the animation style. Once you get used to it, it holds up well and it’s the kind of style that looks really good even when you pause at any point. It works well for the dark atmosphere the show is going for as well.
The show starts to fall into the fanservice trap a little more during the second half though. It was virtually nonexistent in the first half outside of Alisa’s impractical costume but the show never really puts any attention on it so that’s easy to overlook. The fanservice in the second half just feels out of nowhere and just added in for kicks. Too bad on that, it’s enough to be noticeable but not excessive enough where I would deduct big points or anything.
As for the soundtrack, I thought that was excellent. There are quite a few lyrical songs that show up and they all have a fun electronic feeling to them. They really get the hype going in each scene like when Lenka’s escaping the base to go and try to save the day or when the heroes finally fight as a unit. There are quite a few different songs too so it’s not like they’re just spamming the same lyrical song either. You’ve got battle ones, somber ones, and montage types. There’s a good variety here. They all have the same feel but work well. I also like how the opening starts with that great rock beat although I feel like the rest of the opening falters a bit after that. Either way, this is definitely a 5 star soundtrack that I would recommend without a doubt. You can just listen to the music without context and get how it would work really well in the show.
Now lets talk about the characters real quick. It took a little time to really learn the main guy’s name since it’s so similar to the captain. Lenka is really like Eren Yeager. He wants to save the day and destroy all of the Aragami but as the series goes on he starts to learn what that really means. It’s really not as easy as it sounds and while the first unit makes it look easy, every monster can be a threat under the right circumstances.
Lenka quickly gains a lot of development from being someone who wants to jump into the action each time to becoming more of a strategist. For a minute there I actually thought the show was going to totally have him shift roles so I’m glad that he still stayed in an action arrangement. It would have been a shame if he didn’t get to fight again. Lenka goes through a lot but always gets up no matter how grisly the injury. He also hasn’t abandoned his morals and will try to help people as long as he can even if it means going against orders. I always like main characters who prioritize doing the right thing over following orders like that so in the end I did like him quite a bit. He would be the second best character here.
The best is captain Lindow and that guy earns every bit of it. He really knows how to lead a team and has the right amount of discipline while still being a hothead. He doesn’t just accept how Fenrir does things and has his own plans to save the day. This does mean that he’s always in a dangerous position though and doesn’t really let his teammates on it. The guy prefers to do things on his own. He’s also not a new type but has strong enough abilities to compete with them. By the end it’s fair to say that he is still one of the strongest characters in the series. It was always fun to have him around and Lenka owes a lot of his development to this guy.
Sakuya is the right hand woman on the 1st Unit and she is always there to provide backup to Lindow. She specializes in strategy and also helps a lot with making sure that the plans are good. Her sniper skills come in handy when training Lenka as well and you could say that she’s the heart of the team. She doesn’t want to be the leader and is always satisfied just being there to support the team. She’s another good character and I feel like Lindow could have trusted her a bit more and told her what was going on. I’m sure she could have helped out.
Soma is another one of the core members of the team and he’s quite powerful. He can shoot out a giant energy blast that takes down a lot of monsters. I wonder why more characters don’t have a cool finisher like that but I suppose it ties into his backstory. The guy certainly had a rough time of it as a kid and so now he just tries to avoid everyone as much as possible. You can’t blame him because that does seem like the safest bet at this point. Things never work out when he’s around others so at this point it makes sense to go in solo. He’s not afraid of dying and even puts himself in positions where that’s likely.
Lenka is able to give Soma a little hope which was good. The guy was certainly drowning in his despair by this point so it was nearly too late. I like his cool demeanor although I wish he could have done a little more. I suppose he would have a larger role in season 2 if that ever came out. Then there’s Kota who feels a little out of place next to the others because of how weak he is. I suppose that’s the fate of being the old friend of the main character, you’re not one of the hype characters nor do you have a lot of power ups coming into play. I like to think he’ll do better soon but as it is the guy just didn’t stand out to me. I thought he was okay I guess but not too impressive in any way.
Alisa is interesting because initially I thought she was going to be one of the best characters. She has a dynamic intro where she is shredding the Aragami and shows Lenka what a real new type looks like. She has absolute confidence and even makes sure to save everyone on the plane even if it meant that she wouldn’t get out alive. So she has top notch skills while still looking out for the innocent. All right, count me in! That’s a great start for any character and she still keeps up her tough personality after that.
Unfortunately she falters once we start seeing more of her past. There is one Aragami that is stronger than all others and he takes a real pleasure in destroying humans. You can probably imagine that her family didn’t have a good time here. This traumatized Alisa to the point where she needed serious therapy. It worked for a while but unfortunately during the course of the show she relapses and from there she’s just never the same. She spends whole episodes hiding and letting everyone get eaten around her because she can’t move. It lasts for way too long and it’s always just sad to see everyone dying when a character could have prevented it.
If Alisa had been able to help at all in the village then things would have been over really quick. A single new type is a game changer in any battle so having her off the board like that was unfortunate. I’ll give her some credit for not going too far in the end and being able to resist her brainwashing and trauma. Alisa does eventually get over it all but it just takes way too long and it did hurt her character a lot. It shouldn’t be an issue for a sequel but at least in this season she dropped hard from temporarily being around the top.
Back at the base you also have Tsubaki who is head of operations. She is also doing her best to look into the darkness plaguing the world but I tend to disagree with most of her decisions. While she does have a tough job of trying to balance being careful with going on the attack, she is too quick to give up and let the areas plunge into chaos. She should have just let Lenka jump in each time. Sure, he’s untrained but you have to take a risk to save a lot of lives right? Even if he did die, the risk would have been worth it because everyone would have died otherwise.
Then you have Johannes who has a big role in both stories. In the past he is the head researcher studying this Aragami threat and the origins of how that appeared. He ends up hiding some research and acting shady but everyone is shady here. In the present he is the head of Fenrir so you can directly blame him for some of their policies like not letting any nonpowered individuals in. The guy is incredibly shady and you always have to wonder if he is really a hero or a villain. I’ll talk more about this later on.
There are some parts of the show where you feel like they are missing something from the game though. For example, we see that Lenka can boost his speed somehow and presumably this is a feature from the God Arc weapon he wields. How come he only uses it once or twice in the whole season? It would be really helpful in a combat scenario. In fact, he should be able to absolutely crush the Aragami with this but ends up getting wrecked by basic types early on. Soma has that cool energy attack I mentioned, why don’t the other characters have something like that? I bet every character has a super attack in the game so I’m wondering why they aren’t here. Either way I think the show could have gone more into detail on how the powers work.
Getting some exposition and lore is good in cases like this. They went more into detail on how the Aragami work inside the weapons at least which is good. I thought that was a very interesting idea and as we saw it in action, it was an effective one as well. I dare say the heroes should use them right off the bat instead of waiting towards the end. Seems like it’s a one hit KO in most instances so why not use it sooner right? Would save the team a lot of heartache that’s for sure.
Okay time for some spoilers so skip this paragraph and the next 2 if you haven’t seen the show yet. You’ve been warned so proceed at your own peril. Lets gooooooo. Begin Spoilers So near the end of the show we find out that the Aragami can’t be destroyed because they are produced from the very planet. Meaning no matter how many you destroy, they will keep on coming endlessly. The members who have found this out either retired in despair or left the combat role. It’s hard to find out that your efforts seem to be completely futile. As a result there are a few different plans here on how to deal with it. The first is to build an arc. It will take hundreds of thousands of monster cores but in a few decades this goal may be achievable. Humanity will be able to move in there and be protected from monsters forever because none can break through it.
That’s the idea but you should be very skeptical about that. No dome is unbreakable and we see some really powerful monsters in this series. It feels unlikely that this would work and Johannes agrees with this. So his idea is he believes that the monsters are some kind of way the universe keeps the balance. The monsters will destroy the planet and reset everything. So his plan is to get a bunch of people into space and then blow up the Earth himself to speed up the process. The obvious downside here is that the rocket can’t carry everyone so a whole lot of people will be left behind to die by the monsters or get blown up by Fenrir. So it’s a plan that has a better chance of success than the dome but it is also giving up in a sense. He also went full villain by the end with how he’s intentionally sabotaging the characters and undermining their efforts. When you’re trying to injure some of your best fighters, you have to wonder at what point you’re just helping the Aragami out. You need someone to guard and launch the rocket right? I think he needs to think this through a bit more.
Finally, the rival doctor’s plan is to have humans coexist with the Aragami. He figures if they keep on evolving then it will be possible to coexist. We already have one case where the monster evolved enough to develop emotions and feelings. Of course the downside is that this monster ended up turning evil as he enjoyed all of the negative emotions. This plan feels really far fetched. Imagine if this guy is actually intentionally evolving monster and we find out that he created the big one? That will cause a lot of drama within the ranks for sure. We don’t yet know what route Lenka will take but I think he would lean towards the dome. That said, he may not be able to see it since his death is being accelerated. I feel like the ending ends up confirming that he has surpassed the illness and won’t die anymore but it is open to interpretation for sure. End Spoilers
By the end of the series you probably won’t like Fenrir though. As with many titles involving the end of the world against a common threat, the lone government group left is as corrupt as can be. Seraph of the End, Attack on Titan, Resident Evil, etc. This is how it always happens and God Eater is no exception. As mentioned before, Fenrir doesn’t even let you go within the walls unless you are compatible with a God Arc or have family who are. Everyone else is left outside to fend for themselves against the monsters.
Now, we do have several instances of monsters getting within the borders anyway (As early as episode 1) so maybe there’s not a huge difference but it does make the group come off as cold. On a practical sense you can see how they can’t possibly house everyone but at least try to do more against these monsters right? Provide some support or slowly keep on extending the walls to get more people in. It is a little idealistic and since I was with Ironwood to an extent in RWBY I should be with Fenrir right? The difference is that Ironwood’s plan actually seems to have a chance and isn’t actively sacrificing everyone while Fenrir seems to just be delaying the inevitable by locking people outside. Surely you could come up with more weapons or ways for the outsiders to fight. At least give them mechs and some better guns to work with. It’s why I was glad that Lindow and Lenka helped out.
Finally, I’ve mentioned him a few times but Pita is the big monster who gets a lot of hype here. The guy is evolved to an extremely high level and has no problems slaughtering both humans and Aragami. It makes him a real mystery as well as for why he enjoys murdering people so much. The monster toys with his prey and also has a good memory as he remembers his victims. The show really makes sure that you know this guy is a threat. Even if there was just one more of him then I don’t think the heroes would have a chance. It took everything they had to just take one on. There are other fighters around the world but it doesn’t seem like there are a ton of them and even with reinforcements it wouldn’t change a lot since most would be taken down in an instant.
While I did think some aspects should have explored more, I do want to say the writing was still pretty solid. When the show wasn’t going for max edge, it did take time to really establish each character’s personalities, motivations, and why they are here. There are a few different factions running around and you get just enough details to keep you interested while also making you feel like you want to know more about what’s going on. The dialogue between the characters is also strong as they wrestle with the situation they’re in and discuss things like what they could have done differently. In each case where Lenka had to fight without a God Arc, I agreed with him that he had to do something. Abandoning others because you didn’t have the right equipment just won’t fly.
Overall, God Eater is a series with a very interesting world and a whole lot of world building. There’s a lot going on here and a whole lot to discuss and theorize. It’s the kind of title where you will leave with a lot of questions and the ending has so many sudden twists and cliffhangers that you’re ready for season 2. Whether the sequel could capitalize on that is another question. The game had several sequels but it looks like the show may not get there. That’s why it’s too bad they couldn’t just tone down the darker aspects. A lot of times the shows with the most interesting premises are the ones that jump off the deep end like Attack on Titan, Fate Zero, and a bunch of others. The dark atmosphere plays a part in why these get so interesting but you can absolutely keep that without all of the extra content. Madoka Magica certainly pulled that off, Digimon Tamers got rather dark at times and there are more as you go down the list. Madoka would be my top recommendation if you’re looking for a show where things get dark and the heroes seem to be up against impossible odds.