Attack on Titan | Summary & Review
Immerse yourself in the captivating world of Attack on Titan, an anime masterpiece that combines epic fights, complex characters, and a brilliantly woven plot. With stunning animation and a powerful soundtrack, it's a must-watch series that has redefined the genre!
June 20, 2023
By: Simon Shoklevski
In the world of anime and manga, there are many different opinions and arguments such as the “what is the best show out of the big 3” debate, the question of whether one character is stronger than the other and much more. However, while there will always be division in the community, what seems to stand out is the large acceptance of Attack on Titan as one of the best shows ever.
The roots of this story go all the way back to 2006 when a young boy named Hajime Isayama released a standalone manga named “Humanity vs Titans”. After being rejected by many publishing companies, Isayama improved on his previous work and three years later, Attack on Titan was released.
A dark story full of hope, epic fights, love, politics, betrayals and so much blood. Attack on Titan came as a unique take on the shonen genre that has captivated many readers throughout the country of Japan. It quickly gained popularity, and safe to say, getting an anime adaptation was just a matter of time. Four years later, in 2013, the Attack on Titan anime was released and marked the start of a global shock in the anime world.
Since its release, the anime took the world by storm and has not stopped leaving viewers amazed, mesmerized, hurt, and confused for 10 years straight. It has become a global hit that is loved by both anime and non-anime fans. Something that doesn’t happen very often.
So what makes this show special? How can one show be so influential and popular among many communities throughout the world? Where to begin…
Attack on Titan is a great mixture of a plot and a character-driven story. There are a lot of complex, morally grey and well-developed characters that go through a lot of situations where tough decisions and events are massively contributing to their amazing development.
While we are talking about complexity, the first and best example of this show is the main protagonist (or antagonist, for some), Eren Yeager. He is a young boy who has lost his parents to the Titans and has a goal of becoming strong enough to wipe out evil and find freedom by any means necessary. He is supported by many people in this tough journey, with the most important ones being his two best friends, Mikasa and Armin.
Mikasa is a young girl who was growing up alongside Eren. She is secretly his love interest and is a strong and fierce warrior who only wants what’s best for him. Armin, on the other hand, is the smartest guy in the group and is not much of a fighter. He wants to liberate the world in order to reach the seas and explore places he read about in books.
Did someone say fighting? Here swings Captain Levi with his ODM gear! Levi is a cold, but caring person who fights for liberating the world of the Titans by leading expeditions in such missions and later helping out our three friends.
However, he is not the only leader out there. Captain Erwin Smith is a fan-favorite character, a true leader and motivator, a brave person who looks danger straight in the eye without budging, and a man ready to give his all for humanity.
We cannot forget about Hange, a dear friend to both Levi and Erwin and a great warrior who loves killing and inspecting Titans. Then, there are two rather mysterious friends that hold very big secrets that are revealed later in the show. These two guys are Reiner and Berthold, members of the Survey Corps and Eren’s friends (or maybe not?).
There is also Annie, another member of the Survey Corps who fights for humanity but just like her friends we just mentioned, holds a big secret. And lastly, we cannot have a complete Attack on Titan review without the cutest one of them all. Sasha is a young warrior who just like Mikasa and Annie, wants to help in wiping out the Titans. She is very playful and has an enormous love for food, especially potatoes!
When you see a Shonen show, you usually know what to expect. A young boy wants to become strong to fight evil, he finds friends, mentors, and love, and despite the hard times at the end of the day he endures and saves the day. Well, things are a little different here and what is great about this show is that, while being labeled as Shonen, Attack on Titan is much, much more than that.
The story starts in a small town named Shiganshina where the last people on Earth are living inside walls built to contain the Titans from the outside. Unfortunately, in one of the most gruesome scenes ever seen in anime, these big, hideous Titans attack the city and destroy it. They basically walk through town, tear down buildings and eat people.
After seeing his home destroyed and his mom eaten by a titan, Eren swears on wiping out these species and finding freedom. He joins the Survey Corps and meets many friends he can rely on to reach these goals.
While this may sound simple at the beginning, things take a quick turn in the seasons that follow. We see some big jaw-dropping revelations such as Eren being the Founder Titan and his so-called friends, Annie, Reiner and Berthold being impostors and one of the 9 main titans.
Later, we learn of the beast titan who speaks and controls an army in a fight against humans. After an intense and emotional battle where Erwin dies, our group of warriors finally liberate their country and reach the ocean. However, this is far from the ending and is actually a point where all things start to get complicated as another big and much more advanced country called Marley is revealed.
Humans vs Humans
In the episodes that follow things start to make some sense as we gather very important information that allows us to connect some dots and have many “a-ha!” moments along the way. However, many new questions also arise.
When you thought that you’ve seen it all, the history of the titans is explored, and their characteristics and origins are explained. We learn about the Royal families, the ancient battle between Eldia and Marley, and the Path.
Up to this point, the story was focused on the battle between humanity and the titans. After revealing the secrets of the basement, we learn about Eren's father's past, the Marleyans and the experiments those people were doing and their ultimate goal - capturing the Founder Titan.
This is the turning point in the series, as the Founding Titan (Eren) finds out who his real enemy is. He finds out who took away the thing he yearns most about - freedom.
The Rumbling is Coming
Eren decides to achieve that freedom by doing whatever needs to be done. He practically goes mad, and after a series of events reaches the final form of the Attack Titan, which is both majestic and extremely terrifying. And here starts the Rumbling.
With this power, he controls all of the titans and rushes to wipe out every single Marleyan, every single person who is a part of the civilization that ruined his and the life of everyone he ever loved.
In these final chapters, we see the division of both the characters and the people who are watching (or reading) the series into two groups - Yegerists and the Alliance. This is the part of the show where you don’t know who the real villain is because everyone had a reason to be one.
At the end of the day, many die, but Mikasa does what has to be done and with a heavy heart kills Eren and stops the Rumbling. After this, all of the titans turn back to humans, and the people start working on achieving world peace while the world is slowly rebuilt.
The thing that stands out in this series is how beautiful and mysterious the world is. In the first three seasons, the story is set on Paradis island where all of the remaining Eldian people live guarded by three sets of walls. This setting gives the series a scary and dystopian vibe where no one can ever be sure of their safety.
A great amount of focus is given to Shiganshina District. A beautiful historic town with magnificent architecture that is inspired by a real place called Nordlingen. Since it’s our favorite characters’ home, Shiganshina is a focal point of the story where a lot of legendary moments take place in.
You can’t watch this show without having the desire to unfold the mystery of what is behind the walls. A lot of questions arise as to whether there are there other civilizations, or if the whole world is conquered by titans, and so on. The world is scary and intimidating, it’s warning you to stay safe but at the same time, it’s calling you to explore it.
Luckily for the viewers, Captain Levi is doing just that. Following his missions outside the walls, we are able to enjoy the lands and the forests while also getting chills from the nerve-racking appearance of the Titans.
Aside from the power of the Titans, this world is filled with a lot of betrayals, politics and scheming that come to a climax with the appearance of the new civilizations, especially Marley. This advanced city made things much more complicated and, instead of answering the great number of questions every fan had, it opened the door for a lot of new stories and mysteries.
Attack on Titan’s Soundtrack
“Shinzou Wo Sasageyo!”
Any true fan is getting chills when hearing these words. “Shinzou Wo Sasageyo” or its English version, “Dedicate Your Hearts”, is a famous saying of Captain Erwin Smith, who used it to motivate his comrades in the battles against the titans.
Aside from that, “Shinzou Wo Sasageyo” is the title of one of the most iconic openings of Attack on Titan. It’s a song by Linked Horizon released in 2017 and was used as an opening for the second season of the show.
This isn’t the only great piece of music these guys composed for the show. As a matter of fact, the first opening called “Guren no Yumiya” is widely considered as the best opening of the series, and one of the best anime openings ever.
As the story continued to be nothing short of amazing, the creators certainly made sure that the soundtracks like “Red Swan”, “Boku no Sensou” and “The Rumbling” will follow the brilliance of the whole series.
Animation from Wit Studios
Animation from MAPPA Studios
There is nothing average when talking about Attack on Titan, so why shouldn’t the animation be amazing too? And why have one animation studio when you can have two? This show was first animated by Wit Studios, a studio with a vast catalog of great shows. They animated the first three seasons and did it in a great fashion, especially the ODM Gear swinging.
After that, MAPPA Studios, which is considered one of the best Japanese animation studios, animated the fourth and last season of the show. They changed to a darker and more realistic style that was certainly able to bring all of the emotions to our TVs.
We already have a huge debate on whether Eren made the right choice or not, right? Well, the debates don’t stop here - the fans also can’t seem to reach a concrete conclusion on whether Wit Studios or MAPPA Studios did a better job animating the show. What is safe to say is that while both studios’ animation styles have their ups and downs, the overall quality was brilliant and every studio made the show special in its own way.
Final Review: 10/10
Attack on Titan is certainly one of the rare anime series that does everything on a high level and keeps the quality consistent. The story is probably one of the most complex and cleverly written stories ever seen on TV, the characters are very well-developed and all have highly important roles, and on top of all that, there are a lot of epic fights and emotional moments supported by amazing music and animation.
It’s safe to say that throughout these past 10 years, all of the time waiting for new seasons and episodes was absolutely worth it as we got to enjoy a show that’s truly one of a kind. And lastly, we need to thank Hajime Isayama and all of the people who worked hard on the anime.