1. Anime generally derives from Manga, which is textual.
2. Some level of writing still needs to be done, such as the script, which can be infinitely more complicated than novel writing.
3. It's good study in diversity; not many stories in America follow these Japanese-style conventions or tropes, and I would give a great deal to see it happen more often.
4. Jay Kristoff is publishing his second Japanese steampunk novel soon, Kinslayer.
5. Because it's my blog, and because I feel like it.
Over the years, I've started almost a hundred different anime series, and not all of them have been great. A lot of them have been garbage, in fact. It takes a lot of dumpster diving to find anything of value, and my hands are by no means clean, but I feel like the list I've created would satisfy even the most curmudgeon of skeptics.
So here it is.
(Make sure to turn on High-Def).
So what did humanity do? They built a huge goddamn wall fifty meters high.
Flash forward a hundred years and we get to the meat of Attack on Titan. No giant has ever breached the walls, but things go awry when the giants of giants thrusts a kick at everyone's last hopes for recovery. Now soldiers are needed to defend their home and push back the titans from entering the city.
Attack on Titan is a dark fantasy TV series that will leave you crying in the fetal position for hours. If you liked George R.R. Martin's Game of Thrones, you'll probably enjoy the way this beautiful yet chilling story is told (especially if you were sick of the pseudo-threat of White Walkers). The animations are nothing to scoff at either, and if you have children in the room, you might want to put them to bed a few hours early--unless you need them for emotional comfort. This shit gets bloody.
One of the first things I look for in any story is character, and here there's plenty to be had. We have Eren, who would burn the world if God would let him. We have Armin, whose strength relies in strategy, but not brute force. And last we have Mikasa, who is undoubtedly the most well-written female character in any anime series I've encountered. She's smart, deadly with a blade, and will stop at nothing to protect the people who are close to her heart.
Often times, women in anime turn out to be nothing more than pretty background, a nagging mother, or some cryptic witch villain, but Mikasa is none of these. She was almost sold into prostitution, and had quite a few deaths in the family (understatement), so it makes sense that she'd train as a solider to better protect the loved-ones she has left.
Most of the melodramatic dialogue prevalent in other anime series is something you won't have to worry about here. Sure, there's an overambitious kid with an unrealistic view of the world seeking revenge, but it's leveled off with a balance of humor and appropriate relevant subject matter. I think I too would be crying if I just saw my childhood friend get eated by a fat ugly titan.
The writer of the series seems to be aiming for a more morbid picture that comes with a dystopian society living on the fringes of humanity. Sure, the city itself is beautiful and nothing to balk at, but it purpose serves to juxtapose the dream-like quality in which people live. Gangbangers, organized crime, and even an underground black market that kidnaps little girls and sells them into prostitution are some of the more immediate dangers.
Themes here include the morbid death of family members and feelings of helplessness that soon follows. Additionally, these people live like penned sheep, safe within their walls from the horrors of the outside world, but bereft of any of the beauty and majesty that comes with honest living. It's difficult to imagine what horrors lie in knowing that you are the last echo of mankind, the last chance for survival, and the last chance to break free.
If you're thinking about watching the show in English, you can forget about it for two reasons. First, it only airs in Japan, but most of what you find online will have subtitles available for you to read. Second, English voice-overs are notoriously horrible, and some cultural differences just don't translate well. For full emotional effect, I recommend sticking to subtitles.
That's all for now! If you've enjoyed this post, feel free to leave a comment below and check out the rest of the website. I hear Tony's been having some morbid thoughts lately, and E.L. Smith's writing is always a delight to read.