Shingeki no Kyojin Review — C-

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A group of teenagers join the army and fight naked giants.

When this show started, I was optimistic. It had this great depressing tone, where people would die at the drop of a hat. It was excellent at establishing a mood of sheer terror. The fight scenes were exciting and intense as well.

But then it became repetitive. Every episode had the army confront some insurmountable challenge. And they would spend half of the episode discussing an essential, timely question: should they fight, or should they just roll over and die? It got annoying very quickly. And no one ever seemed to learn anything from all the previous times they asked the same question.

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The creators also felt the need to explain every little detail. We wasted so much time learning about the long range scouting formation, which in the end no one gave a crap about. It felt like they were just padding out the material to fit into the requisite number of episodes. But they never make a single bit of progress on the show’s central mystery, which people actually do care about. With a show like this where the mystery plays such a big role, you can’t just leave everyone hanging forever. You have to slowly reveal tantalizing clues, possibly leading to an even bigger mystery. Titans hasn’t done this. We know only a few more details than we surmised from the first episode.

Many people also complain that Eren is a terrible character. I didn’t mind him initially, but as the show went on, I had to agree. He doesn’t grow at all. He makes the same mistakes over and over again, asking whether he should fight or not, and never learns a thing from it. In the penultimate episode he witnesses a titan crush some of his friends to death, but still manages to question whether he should fight or not. Come on, dude.

  • Storytelling – D – Wastes so much time on pointless details and questions.
  • Voice – B – Cool setting, gritty vibe.
  • Characters – C – I like some of the side characters, particularly Jean. Eren came to annoy me. Mikasa kicks ass but they made surprisingly little use of her.
  • Attention Grab – C – Grabs your attention when stuff is actually happening, which is sadly rare.
  • Production – B – Looks nice. Especially the titans.
  • Overall – C-

Recommendations – Berserk OVAs, Hellsing Ultimate

15 thoughts on “Shingeki no Kyojin Review — C-

  1. I agree a lot with you said and a lot of the manga readers were very disappointed with this adaptation; if you have the time I would really highly recommend reading the manga! Things are not dragged and the story and characters are told so much better in it!

    1. I’d imagine that at least the dragging won’t be as much of a poblem, with manga it’s easy to quickly flip through the pages.

  2. I told you when the show started that it would peter out after they got on horses for the first time. The manga actually gets worse…they gradually replace the humans fighting giants like guilliver’s travels with a bunch of titans wrestling with each other (how this happens isn’t well explained), they introduce some annoying intrigue, expand the cast more without explaining anything, and so right now the plot makes as much sense than LOST.

    1. You were completely correct. After that expedition it all went downhill.

      The titan fights are definitely less interesting than the grappling hooks. It’s interesting though how there seem to be such conflicting opinions about the manga. I suspect I would probably side with you though, based on the show.

  3. The sad thing is, Mikasa has a bigger/stronger role in the manga, and from a bunch of added scenes between Mikasa and Eren that weren’t in the manga I’m guessing they’re probably going to end up as a romantic couple, when the source material makes no hints to it whatsoever. Jean also has a much bigger role, I wouldn’t even have called him a ‘side character’ in the context of the manga. SNK anime a shit.

    1. Huh, really. From the TV show I came away entirely convinced that Mikasa and Eren were getting set up as a couple and that Jean was some side character. He is one of my favorite characters in the show too, I wonder why they didn’t emphasize him more.

      1. Jean has a pretty strong role in the manga, generally all of Eren’s friends from training have bigger parts. I honestly don’t even have a guess as to why most of the characters were dumbed down. And yeah, Mikasa and Eren aren’t at all romantic in the manga, it’s really disappointing to see that they’re trying to force it into the anime for some reason (plus since I consider it incest for all intents and purposes, it’s a little jarring). Annie and Eren is the only plausible couple I can see Eren becoming right now, I just hope the second season stays truer to the source.

        1. Weird. The manga you describe makes much more sense than the show I’ve seen. I could totally see Annie and Eren as a couple much more than Eren and Mikasa.

  4. I haven’t read the manga but it seems it is much better than the anime. Still, judging the adaptation in it’s own right I would rate it much better than “C-“. Agreed, it there were too many lengthy and pointless discussions, in particular after Eren’s transformative ability was revealed and during the scene in the forest.

    But the basic premise was awesome imo, like a nightmare for humanity. I also loved how they captured the tense atmosphere of a city under siege w/ lots of rumours and many people trying to secure themselves and their wealth by any means. Artwise it was pretty nice, as well. In the later episodes I particularly loved the facial expressions of the Female Titan and A.L., respectively. Finally, there were so many cool character which I liked, in particular Mikasa (would have appreciated more of her, as well), but also Levi or Hanji, the mad scientist girl. I must read the manga one day, but I’m hoping for a continuation of the anime, as well!

    1. The premise and the art were cool, I’ll certainly grant it that. They never did much with the rumors in town and people to secure their own wealth. They could have gone a lot farther with this, but instead chose to focus on Eren whining about whether they should fight or not. That just really grated on me.

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