Attack on Titan / Shingeki no Kyojin – Between Monstrous and Human

Attack on TitanAttack on Titan - Shingeki no Kyojin anime poster (Known as Shingeki no Kyojin in Japanese) is certainly the most popular anime of the Summer and Spring 2013 anime seasons, and also the best selling one. Based on a manga, we have an action show where people die by the bucketloads. A hundred years ago titans appeared, huge monstrosities that forced humanity to wall itself within a huge state-wall, and now they live under siege. Our protagonist, Eren Jaeger, is a determinator determined on killing those titans, after they break into the small section he lives in, and he loses his parents.
Let’s be honest – everyone loves action shows, well drawn action shows. Everyone likes bloody, grim and gritty settings. It’s easy to understand why people like this show. In this show, humans are helpless, and they are killed by titans left and right. The show has definite themes of helplessness and being cattle.

One thing a show’s ending is useful for is presenting the show’s themes, or at least presenting themes that you can look back rethink the whole show through the lens of. The lens I chose for this post is the one pushed quite heavily toward the end of the show, but which had been present throughout – the distance, or the tension between becoming a monster and being human. The question is usually raised in the manner of “Are you willing to turn into a monster in order to defeat monsters?” or in the same way that Code Geass had raised its question – “How much are you willing to sacrifice in order to win?”

(This is a Things I Like post, it’s not a review, but more a discussion of the show and of ideas that have risen in my mind as I’ve watched it. There will be spoilers of every single large plot-twist in the show’s first season.)

Continue reading