Now, I’m the resident expert on batshit crazy, around these parts. I’ve seen things that have triggered Vietnam flashbacks, which is really weird, as I was born years after it had ended. I’ve pushed myself — face-first and screaming madly — into just about every crazy thing I can find. I’ve built up something of an immunity to most mundane forms of crazy.
That said, Attack on Titan is not your garden-variety crazy. This is the kind where the camera fades into a padded room, and there’s a dude in a straitjacket, babbling and yelling at something unseen. I would know, I’ve been in the straitjacket. But I can safely say I never thought about eating other people (a lie), rampaging through cities (also a lie), political intrigue (yet another lie), or flying around a city on Spiderman-esque ziplines (ok, that’s not a lie).
I just wish I had thought of doing it with a really wicked German and Japanese theme song. Seriously, that song just gets the adrenaline pumping faster than the possibility of the police finding the body in your fridge.
So let me set this all up for you. Humanity is living in one giant city, lined with concentric circles of walls. One outer wall, two inner walls, dividing the entire world of humanity up like some sort of medieval Escape From New York.
Why are they in this cage? Well, outside the wall is a metric ass-ton of these giant humanoids. I’m talking so large that the only way to defend against them is having walls too big for them to climb. They’re more or less gigantic, feral humans. And those giants (the titular Titans) are cannibals.
You didn’t read that wrong, an entire race of cannibalistic giants. And they want to play hide-n-seek with the humans in the walls. Oh, and did I mention one of them looks like a flayed anatomical display? Yeah, there’s that, too. All muscles and sinew and bones and such. The creepiest part is that, due to not having lips, he constantly looks as if he’s got this huge grin on his face.
So what do the humans do? Well, for the most part, they run away to hide in the walls, because there’s 15-meter tall cannibals at the gates. What would you do, in that situation? Beyond that, humanity does have a military, meant to safeguard the rest of the penned-in cattle, as well as attack the titans, using a crazy bit of gear that allows them to zip-line at really high speeds, pretty much anywhere. Long as the line can anchor itself on 2 points, you can zip around like some kind of anti-cannibal superhero.
Now, by this point, you’ve probably got a good many questions. I’m not going to answer any of them, in part because even the manga has not given sufficient answers to work out some sane and at least coherent picture of just what is going on. You think you’ve got one answer, but 50 more questions pop right up. A few of those get answers, and suddenly you’re even more lost. I’m up to date on the manga, and I’ve still got questions that I really cannot figure out any rational answers to. Hajime Isayama apparently is madder than ol’ Tom, here. Mad enough that, every month, I’m practically falling over myself in wait of the new issue. I even started going to Crunchyroll to get it as fast as humanly possible. For some, the drug of choice is heroin. For me, the drug’s gigantic cannibals. To each his own, right?
With the series already getting one amazing anime season (with season two on the way), as well as an upcoming live-action adaptation, we’re all going to be seeing more of the titans. Luckily, I don’t think anyone’s gonna be actually eaten by one (though I would not be adverse to the idea of throwing a few to the titans), but frankly just watching one chew up an animated human is spine-chilling. Frankly, the live action adaptation is something my fondest nightmares are made of, and I will have it once it comes to the US. I need my titan fix.
So if you like horror, action, a great and mysterious plot, or just to sit there and wonder what someone is smoking, Attack on Titan may well be up your alley.
(Disclosure: The version of Attack on Titan reviewed by the writer was watched via Crunchyroll.com)
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