“A person who cannot give up anything, can change nothing.”
One hundred years ago humanity was thrust into a one-sided conflict against incredible giant humanoid Titans; a devastation that would result in a majority of the population being wiped out – without remorse, without reason. Since then, peace has been found within the safe and well defensive confines of three ginormous walls: Wall Maria, Wall Rose, and the center-most Wall Sina. During this time, many people have lived their lives happily without ever laying eyes on a Titan; but peace can only last for so long uninterrupted…
In the year 845, the outermost wall containing the Shiganshina district would experience this terror once again and numerous citizens and military personnel would invariably lose their lives and lay witness to a massacre and evacuation that would not soon be forgotten.
Within this area called home to so many, three youth connected by difficult experiences and dreams of the outside world go about their day as if it is any other. Eren Jaeger and Mikasa Ackerman make their way home while completing chores and stop to see the return of the brave but war-torn Survey Corps; one of three branches of the military that go beyond the walls in hopes of quelling the Titan onslaught and gathering intel – though usually at the cost of many lives. As people insult and disgrace the men and women as they return home, Eren is enraged, hoping to one day join their ranks and help gain humanities freedom. Along the way they also run into a close friend named Armin Arlert, a sweet and intelligent young man who would do anything for his friends.
It is after a brief visit home that all hell breaks lose upon Shiganshina as a giant Colossus Titan appears as well as another variant known as an Armored Titan break through Wall Maria and let lose an onslaught of Titans onto humanities doorstep. Peace has ended and blood swiftly begins to flow down the streets of destruction and terror. As military personnel try their best to defeat the 3 to 15 meter tall titans overtaking the city and evacuate as many citizens as possible via boat to the inner walls; the three youth make their way to safety but it is not without tragedy or heartbreak. As refugees to the inner Wall Rose, Eren vows to join the cadet ranks and enter the fight personally to kill any and all Titans that have torn his life asunder. At this proclamation, Mikasa and Armin also agree to enlist in order to help protect Eren as well as accomplish their own motives.
The next 5 years follows the three through harsh military training: vigorous regiments, classes, hand to hand combat and mastering the core weapon used to down their most formidable foe – 3D Vertical Maneuvering Equipment. This equipment sits at the belt and is comprised of a storage vessel for blades on each side connected with a trigger hilt which not only houses the sharp swords for use but also triggers the maneuver part of the gear. The maneuvering allows the user to be versatile in air combat via gas supply by extending two separate hookshot-esque lines into walls, building, trees and Titans – and is invariably the only method that allows reach to the Titans true weak point: a death stroke to the back of the neck. Most other attacks will simply allow the Titan to regenerate injuries and lost limbs within a short amount of time.
Attack on Titan, or Shingeki no Kyojin, is a 25 episode anime that follows humanities fight for survival against the fearsome Titans. Staying close to Eren, Mikasa and Armin, as well as the other cadets in their graduating class, they are thrust headfirst into battle and bloodshed, unknown circumstances and enemies and even distrust within their own ranks. As they watch elite members of the guard fall time and again, they must somehow find the strength to carry on with their mission…no matter what the cost.
It is an action intense, dramatic anime that will keep attention throughout. With a decent amount of character growth within the first season, it brings forth many different elements and truly accentuates the fact that there is rarely an easy or correct decision. A good leader must be willing to risk everything to gain results, and this is truly the mindset that becomes impossible to ignore. Although many of the ‘shocking’ moments and realizations can be estimated beforehand, it does not take away the intensity and want to keep watching. There should be some warning though as it does contain a large amount of graphic content from horrific and bloody deaths to the harsh language one would expect to accompany such atmosphere. The anime ends with just as many questions as it begins with, if not more; but that leaves plenty of room for the oncoming second season to pick up with.
At one point in the series a character states that, “It takes great courage to go against the tide. I respect that.” In difficult times it can be easy to simply cower in fear and run with the crowd, but it is those who stand up to fear that show their true strengths when it really counts – and it is those that make all the difference.
“They are the prey and we are the hunters!”