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Attack on Titan Review (or The Difference Between Violent, Dark, and Morbid)

Arnox

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This is something I've been giving a couple days thought to. And before I even say anything at all in condemnation or praise for this show, I wanna start off by simply describing exactly what happens in two specific scenes in this anime. Keep in mind, I will assume you are at least familiar with the core premise of the show. If you aren't you may be a little confused. Besides that though, it's mostly spoiler free.

So the first scene is of a bunch of soldiers upon a roof top, looking helplessly down to their comrade, a woman being held by a sadistic titan, begging for help, pleading for her life, crying and screaming in desperation as her body is slowly ripped apart and eaten before their eyes. The second scene is of a man within the stomach of another titan, his arm ripped off. He looks around and sees fresh corpses stewing in the stomach acid along with another woman barely alive and almost submerged, dazedly and deliriously asking to go home to her mother, her last words becoming slightly more desperate as she sinks further into the stomach acid before finally slipping in entirely.

...

So I was recommended this... Anime by a local friend of mine about a week ago. They were raving about how great it was. Me being slightly skeptical, I watched it anyway to give it a chance, and also because I wanted to show them something as well. And what I got was... This psychotic shit.

"But hold on, Arnox," you might say, "That seems hardly fair. You fangirl over Black Lagoon every chance you get. Why is it that BL gets a pass when Attack on Titan is just as dark?" Well, I'm glad you asked that, mysterious strawperson, because I actually questioned myself about this as well, and after some thinking, I have arrived at a firm conclusion about the real difference between these two shows.

The difference lies in how we define dark, violent, and morbid. Now, something violent would be a soldier in a WWII warzone, his leg blown off but he can still fight. He gruffly pulls a pin on a grenade and throws it into a nearby enemy foxhole, killing the enemy soldiers instantly, if grusomely. That is violent. Darkness is cynicism. So something like The Dark Knight and Black Lagoon. The show/movie portrays a dim view of the human race and of their future, and most of the time, through the main villain, though not always. And then there's morbid. Morbid is something like the Saw movies. Torture porn. Where sheer pain, agony, fear, and horrific images are not just a feature of the film/show, but a full-on focus.

Now, all of the media I've just mentioned above is both violent and dark, but when you have both of those and combine that with a ton of morbidness, which is what AoT does, then it goes way beyond those two and ventures into a twisted disturbing realm all its own. But that's not even what shocks me the most about AoT. No, what shocks me is how so many people actually enjoy this. And just for comparison, here's Cowboy Bebop's rating.

The problem is not with the show. And in case people get hard of hearing, let me repeat that. The show is not the problem. Never was. The problem is with us. What the FUCK is wrong with us? Was I just dead asleep to all this as we slowly transitioned into wanting this kind of "entertainment"? Is this why MLP became so popular because so many of us were giving ourselves PTSD with these kinds of shows?

...

I don't really know what else to say, or if there's even anything left to say now. But I firmly think we need to question what kind of media we're consuming here. And I also understand that there's also a fair few arguments to be made against my own entertainment, but I am very welcome to discuss that. I understand if people do not get the difference, though I won't FULLY defend that kind of media, so just keep that in mind.
 
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gaijinkaiju

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How much did you watch? Just the first season?
I personally really enjoy AoT, don't really have anything else to say other than that
 

Gauche

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I've read the manga up to the the point where it was left unfinished, volume 4ish. The entire plot was just a carrot on a stick. Nothing at all gets answered by that point. I gave up on the anime after the first episode.

Dunno how the stomach scene is handled in the anime but in the manga it was pretty good.

Heard Attack on Titan: Junior High was good but that came from a friend whose judgement I don't trust.
They probably enjoyed the character interactions in it.
 

Arnox

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How much did you watch? Just the first season?
I personally really enjoy AoT, don't really have anything else to say other than that
I watched the first 9 episodes of season 1 and stopped there. Look, if you have anything to say in defense of this show, I would actually like to hear it.

I've read the manga up to the the point where it was left unfinished, volume 4ish. The entire plot was just a carrot on a stick. Nothing at all gets answered by that point. I gave up on the anime after the first episode.
There's yet another morbid ass scene right at the end of episode 1 too. That didn't bother you at all?
 
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Gauche

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There's yet another morbid ass scene right at the end of episode 1 too. That didn't bother you at all?
I don't remember, was years ago.
I do remember thinking it was way overly dramatic though. Those lines at the bottom/top of the screen rushing by was overused.

Giants gonna eat people, it what they do.

Fee-fi-fo-fum,
I smell the blood of an Englishman,
Be he alive, or be he dead
I'll grind his bones to make my bread.
 

Arnox

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I don't remember, was years ago.
I do remember thinking it was way overly dramatic though.
Actually, morbid scenes aside, I totally agree with this. lol

I've heard, seen, and read COUNTLESS accounts of soldiers in wartime from many different periods, and while obviously a few just absolutely freeze up, most don't and keep a laser focus on their objective and obeying orders, because you know, that's what they were trained to do and if they don't do it then their squad dies. In complete contrast, almost every single soldier in AoT has a mental breakdown five seconds into the actual battle despite the fact that many are trained at a very young age. Despite the fact that many have already seen this horrific stuff anyway. At this point, these soldiers should be made of iron, but they have the maturity of a 10-year-old.

As a sidenote, I'd highly recommend watching Band of Brothers.
 
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gaijinkaiju

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I watched the first 9 episodes of season 1 and stopped there. Look, if you have anything to say in defense of this show, I would actually like to hear it.
If you didn't enjoy it that's fine, not everyone has to like it. At least you checked it out.

At this point, these soldiers should be made of iron, but they have the maturity of a 10-year-old.
That's kinda because they are, most are in their teen years. And this is the first time they've seen titans eating people. With the exception of the scout company, no one ever encounters titans till the wall is breached.

It's not till later in the series that characters develop a sense of maturity, great example is Reiner. Due to the consequences of his choices, he begins to question them later on, even developing a form of ptsd.
If there's one message the series gets across is that 'Hate breeds hate, War breeds war'
 

Battousai

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I got pretty far with the manga a few years back, stuff just got really weird and I lost interest. The animation has it's moments of course, some people are madly in love with it. Personally I was not interested in watching the anime.
 

Houseman

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I'm still actively following the manga. @Battousai ,if possible, without spoiling anything, what part did you get to that you thought was weird?

To @Arnox , I don't think you got far enough in order to appreciate the mystery aspects of the series. Where did that colossal titan come from? What about the other armored titan? Where did they go? Why can Erin turn into a titan? What's in the basement? What's beyond the walls? Don't you want to know the answers to these questions? That's the driving force of this series, the mystery and the answers to all these questions, not just torture-porn.
 

Battousai

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I'm still actively following the manga. @Battousai ,if possible, without spoiling anything, what part did you get to that you thought was weird?

Don't really remember the chapter, but it was a bit after the whole titan backstory was explained, it started getting kinda mystical. I kept reading for a while but then I lost interest, it wasn't bad but I just didn't enjoy reading it anymore.
 
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