Attack on Titan – Episode 1

Shingeki no Kyojin! Very excited for this one – this director can handle action scenes fine, all the problems of Guilty Crown were in the writing/characters. And what I’ve read of the source is very fun, intelligently crafted stuff. Let’s do this.

Episode 1

0:25 – Wow, I already love how strictly they’re adopting the weird visual style of the manga. Those incredibly heavy lines separating characters from the background, those deep, ever-present shadows, the very distinctive and kind of off-putting facial designs… nice.

3:36 – I didn’t want to pause because the transition into the OP was so well-done, but that first scene pretty much confirms they’re willing to shift the adaptation around to better fit the anime medium – within one scene, they established as much about the “stakes” and “rules” of the action to come as the manga did across several conversations. I mentioned this in one of my Maoyuu posts, but I think one of the most important thing an action scene can do is always present clear stakes and rules – you need to know what powers each side has and what their objectives are before you can clearly empathize with the conflict, or understand why some particular action is impressive, dangerous, or awesome.

By the way, it’s occurred to me that it might be kind of hard to do the play-by-plays without murdering the pacing in a show like this, so my comments might just come when the show gives me a moment to breathe.

5:04 – Love the colors, vivid line work, and backgrounds. They’re using their budget well.

11:20 – It’s weird seeing cartoon characters overact this badly. At least the director’s into it

11:34 – “Well, that was heavy.” Yeah, that was metal as fuck, dude

12:35 – That’s a really graceful way to fit in this supplemental, world-building material. I can’t remember another show that used its ad break screens (what’s the actual world for them?) in such a useful way

Also, unrelated, but for some reason I really like Mikasa’s character. We haven’t gotten into her backstory at all here, but she just completely makes sense as a person – I never have to question her motives, or disbelieve her reasons for having them

14:20 – Eren’s dad has a pimp suit.

14:40 – Goddamn do I love this town’s visual design

15:19 – “You’re beating me up because you know I’m right and you can’t prove me wrong.” Wow, what a succinct explanation for downvotes

15:34 – “Enough with your crappy explanations!” raises downvote

21:19 – Difference between this dramatic scene and the last one? Everything. Stakes established, characters established, sympathies established, tension already in place – this is effective drama.

And Done

Welp, my expectations were met in a couple ways, and exceeded in a couple others, and only one of my actual hopes was disappointed. First, it was definitely smartly paced, and made slight changes while adopting the essence of the source – I feel that overall, this will be a Good Adaptation. Second, the visuals were just great in general. I really love how much they kept of the actual character designs and line work while working to make their world more lush and evocative. Finally, it seems this director might just love his melodrama a little too much – the only real offender here was that “here’s your son!” scene, but man did that scene ever come off as ridiculous to me. Hopefully that doesn’t crop up again.

Overall, I enjoyed it. I like a good story told well, and I think the source for this one is strong – I really like the dynamic between the main three, as well. If the director can keep his indulgence in check, this will be a fun, consistent ride.