Tuesday, October 8, 2013

Attack on Titan

Most of the people who stumble across this article are probably going to be more familiar with Attack on Titan () than I am. I don't read much shonen manga, but this is a series that has really gained a lot of attention and success over the last few years.

I picked up a new Sony PRS-T3 e-reader this week, it seems to have come under the radio without much fanfare. It's only an incremental update from the T2, but a big improvement from my old PRS-650. It included a few vouchers for the Sony e-reader store, so picked a few manga that I've been eyeing for a while, Attack on Titan was one of them.

Written and illustrated by Hajime Isayama (), the first volume was released 4 years ago, in October 2009. I'm really impressed with the novelty of the setting, it makes a change from ninjas, pirates, and giant mecha, but I'm having a hard time really caring about the one dimensional characters. There is a common trope in lot of shonen manga, anime, and JRPG, where the teenage protagonist saves the world. Although to be fair, it's not a trope limited to Japanese culture, Orson Scott Card's Ender's Game suffers the same limitation. Adult characters are shown to be useless, incompetent fools who interfere with the potential of the youthful protagonists. In Attack on Titan, I have found myself cheering for the muted lumbering giants, because I feel like the characters Erin, Mikasa, and Armin are just bidding their time until they can fulfill their destiny and save the human race. Let me know if one of them gets eaten. That's a twist in the story that would increase my interest.

With several games, a spin-off manga series, it was really the anime that brought wider attention to the series. It was published by Wit Studio, a new animation studio formed in 2012, and directed by Tetsuro Araki () who worked for 10 years at Madhouse where he directed the anime adaptation of Death Note. For me, the marauding giants are the focal point of the series, and I feel that the anime is a successful adaptation of the source material, and even does a better job of capturing the giant's menacing and foreboding presence on the landscape.

Check out the author, Hajime Isayama's blog here:
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