Attack on Titan Series Review: An Anime Classic That Will Stand the Test of Time

Leading up to the finale of Attack on Titan, revisiting the entirety of the series via its manga and anime was a Herculian task, but it was one that was necessary for reviewing the epic anime series created by Hajime Isayama, which will go down in history as one of the greatest anime franchises ever created, and for good reason. From the early days of the Survey Corps that saw Eren attempting to solve the mystery of the Titans to the latter years with the tables being turned against Marley, Isayama weaved a thought-provoking story that will be discussed for years.

WARNING: Spoilers below for the Attack on Titan manga and Season 4 of the anime series.

The concept of Attack on Titan is certainly an original one, wherein we explore a civilization locked within a series of walls in danger of being eaten alive by giant, smiling behemoths, but it was in the revealing of mysteries and the world that was set up outside of the walls that held Eren Jaeger and his friends that the true strength of the series was shown. The war between the Eldian race and the nation of Marley, which spilled out into the world at large in the past and did so again in the final chapter of the series, warranted a lot of thought and discussion, primarily because it seemed as if Hajime Isayama was never afraid to dive into difficult storytelling.

What we mean by this is that it was difficult for readers of the manga to truly differentiate just who the "good guys" and "bad guys" were, especially when the final season came around. The controversial move to make Eren Jaeger the "villain" of the series after following him as the hero for so many years makes perfect sense when you follow his character from the beginning. He was doing what he believed was right for his friends and the Eldian people, but in doing so, became a monster of his own creation and you'd be hard-pressed to find fans that were able to rationalize his final acts. Isayama set the stage perfectly when it came to the characters that were created from both sides of the aisle, fleshing them out and making each death feel like a monumental occasion.

Perhaps one of the best aspects of Attack on Titan has been its "surprises," the ways it was able to throw in shocking story beats for readers, and anime viewers, alike. One of the perfect examples of this was the revelation of Reiner and Bertholdt's identities as the Armored and Colossal Titans. Instead of having this be a giant occasion, the series instead barely focuses on the event itself, with the scene jumping to different perspectives as Reiner himself spills the beans to Eren in a fashion that takes place almost "off-camera." It's moments like this that show how Hajime Isayama's series was able to take big risks that were the definition of risky, but ultimately paid off in spades.

The surprises of the series wouldn't ultimately hit as hard if not for the fully fleshed characters that make up Attack on Titan's world, with Isayama managing to create heroes, villains, and everything in between that you would grow to hate and love along the way. When Mikasa was forced to kill Eren in a truly graphic display, it elicited a feeling of disgust and pure heartache thanks to the perfect build-up, with the Ackerman having to pull the trigger on killing who was essentially the love of her life.

The characters were sloppy and flawed in a world that was sloppy and flawed, making Attack on Titan that much more impactful over the years. The series is far from perfect, as Isayama's art could have used more detail and there are certainly a number of issues when it comes to the final chapters of the series, especially in regards to the characters' acceptance of Eren's tactics, but it doesn't dilute what the series was able to accomplish as a whole.

In a world where Shonen series are king, Attack on Titan was able to carve a niche for itself and presented a thoughtful anime franchise that shows what the medium can do, permeating the public consciousness and proving itself to be a story that will most assuredly stand the test of time.

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Rating: 4.5 out of 5

Attack on Titan's manga can be read on Crunchyroll and Comixology.