As it was with Madoka, I don’t mind the hype because this is generally a pretty good show. It has its faults, though. Maybe too much of them, but I still managed to find things to like about it… a lot of things, tbh. Some scenes were just too epic, enough to make me re-watch them for a couple of times and admire them even more every time. My favorite would probably be “sealing the wall” scene that combined gorgeous animation in full motion with great OST in the background. I was probably covered in goosebumps the first couple of re-watches. There were some scenes that were on par, but didn’t have as much impact, imo.
But there were also scenes where I just wanted to drop the anime. That Mikasa backstory episode, for example. If anyone asked me I’d go into detail about how almost nothing in that scene made sense… kids killing adults, adults watching kids kill them, suddenly 5 year old (don’t take this for granted; I have no idea how old they were, but they sure looked like kids) knows how to improvise a halberd, 5 year old is prehearing some wise words about magic of friendshit, 5 year old has defined views of the word… dear fuck, shtap.
Granted, I found the characters completely meh. Eren is just a usual Shounen stereotype, Mikasa is robotic, borderline Mary Stue, and Arming is… well, Armin… and then Jean. Jean is perfect. He’s actually the only one we see thinking, processing every event throughout every second of his screen time, and actually growing through all this. And it all fits, it’s all plausible and I’d love to see more. I think that his death would be the closest thing to good drama (wait for it). And then we have Potato Girl, the comic relief… and Connie… I have yet to determine his purpose for being here. There wasn’t much development in this… but that’s just Shounen thing (huge cast of characters, excessive world building, etc…) Annie… that girl who had 8 lines all together before shit hits the fan later on… yep, great character… would totally care for.
No really, not a single good, well-developed, memorable character died in this whole show. They tried to make a big deal out of Marco… but damn me and the whole cast for forgetting about him after 2 episodes (except Jean, because Jean). Only background decoration characters die, and that is quite obvious. And yeah, they killed off that whole team of great characters… that had maybe 1 or 2 episodes of screen time… I have no idea how they looked or what their names were, but apparently some people found them great (seriously?). And what’s even worse they’ll even devote a whole episode to reminisce about “great character” that died… so much drama gold, nat.
Pacing was one more of my problems. Sometimes it was so fast it didn’t leave me bored for a second… and sometimes they’d devote a whole episode for something so trivial. And I wouldn’t really mind if they used that time for development or exposition of that huge one-personality-trait-max characters. I did like when they devoted that time to military shenanigans; that shit was really interesting and well thought-out. Also, world building was quite good.
I also liked the atmosphere. At first, it was fueled with despair and mystery and it was just mesmerizing, but that is sadly lost later on when the plot started to advance in one particular direction… and when you just realize that plot armor is there, it’s not even that suspenseful, just entertaining.
Dialogues were one more of hits and misses. Sometimes they were really cool and gave some substance to the events. For example, I really liked the time Levi talked to Eren about making choices and consequences in that chase scene. It was structured well, fitting, and it wasn’t a one time only. And then there’s some scene where you can literally see cheese falling from their mouths… or just hear them screaming the obvious… or just listen to Erens preaching about magic of frendshit or whatever… or when Mikasa does something and suddenly everyone starts to applaud her existence (totally not Mary Sue).
This anime re-defined inconsistent animation. Some scenes were full of detail and just gorgeous, but some looked horrible and were painful to look at. That scene where titan chases Potato Girl comes to memory when thinking about badly animated parts. It was ok most of the time, with some really fancy background, but sometimes really unpolished CGI. And there were so many flashbacks that I couldn’t count them after a while. So much recycling, and sometimes they’ll have flashbacks of thing that happened 1 or 2 episodes ago… like we have a memory of a gold fish or something… and those stills, so much god damn stills were used.
I’d say that fights were good. I didn’t felt mind-blown at any point, and there wasn’t much suspense because… you know. Some looked fine and some looked… not as fine. And I’d like to point out that you can see things coming from miles ahead… I mean, really? Tell me you expected that they’d kill an MC in a Shounen (this ain’s GL babe)? That you didn’t have second thoughts about Female Titan’s identity… or about who might be that suspicious karate titan with pointy ears?
Music was, imho, the best thing about this. Soundtrack was very rich and some tracks made some scenes way more epic that they should be. Both openings and second ending stood out as amazing pieces, and they were crafted so damn well. There were a lot of memorable songs, but I wouldn’t know if anything stood out as first op and “Call you name” OST. But anyway, music complemented everything very well and probably made this even better than it actually was.
All in all; it was fine. Not the best thing that ever happened to anime industry, but a fine title that definitely stands out in the crowd ( a bit overhyped, mind you). There are some faults, but it’s nothing major that would put you off from watching it. I really enjoyed myself, and I’m quite sure that some people will find a lot more to like about it. So, I say give it a try, if you didn’t already.
Best girl: Jean (just because)