Attack on Titan blew the doors off of the anime medium when its stunner of a first season dropped in 2013. Based on the manga series of the same name, Attack on Titan is known for its grisly violence, regular character deaths, and some of the wildest plot twists this side of Lost.
With blade-wielding, high-flying action, as well as political intrigue and ever-growing lore, Attack on Titan ends almost every episode on a cliffhanger that will have you eagerly awaiting the next installment of the story. It’s totally enthralling and utterly addictive, which is part of its massive appeal.
Not only one of the most popular anime in the world, Attack on Titan is also one of the most popular TV shows in general. With its pedigree, you’ve probably already heard of this alternative medieval adventure, but what’s all the hype about? That’s what we’re here to clue you in on with our beginner’s guide to Attack on Titan.
What’s Attack on Titan About?
Attack on Titan takes place in a walled-off city on the island of Paradis, where the surviving humans live in relative safety from the massive titans that roam outside of its walls. Though corruption is rampant and the truth of the titans is not known to the people, they’re happy to be safe and prosperous within the walls.
All of this changes when two special titans appear and destroy the gate of the outer wall, leaving a large swathe of the humans open to attack. As a third of the walled city dies off, the military must struggle to keep the titans at bay while uncovering their origins if they hope to save the last bastion of humanity on Paradis.
From this point of entry, we follow the Scout Corps of the military, whose job is reconnaissance and titan extermination outside of the walls. As the titan threat goes and shocking new revelations shed light on their motivation, the scale and scope of Attack on Titan changes considerably.
Who Created Attack on Titan?
Attack on Titan was created by Hajime Isayama, who originally developed the manga as a one-shot, 60-page story. Though he offered it to Shonen Jump, a popular jumping-off point to success for manga, the magazine wanted him to tone down the violence and skew it toward their younger audience. Instead, he took it to Weekly Shonen Magazine where it was serialized and eventually grew into the phenomenon it has become today.
Who Are The Main Characters?
There are a whole host of characters to keep track of in Attack on Titan, but let’s start with the basics. Eren, a young boy who lost his mother to the titans, is the main protagonist. He has a burning hate for the titans and his anger his fuels his passion his to destroy them once and for all.
Next up is Mikasa, his adopted sister. A swift and dangerous warrior, Mikasa stoically protects Eren at all costs as she owes him her life.
Then there’s Armin, the brains of the operation. Armin is a practical strategist with a tactical mind, even if he lacks the brawn to fight up-close.
Other key characters are a pragmatic military leader named Commander Ervin, Hange, a scientist who is seeking the answers to where the titans come from, and Levi, the fan-favorite badass who has never met a titan he couldn’t cut to ribbons in a hurry.
Where To Watch Attack on Titan
Like Demon Slayer, the first season of Attack on Titan is available on Netflix. However, for the rest of the series, you’ll need to go to Crunchyroll or Funimation. Furthermore, the last bit of the final season will only be on Crunchyroll as the anime giant recently purchased Funimation. This means if you want to see the adventure through, Crunchyroll is likely your best choice. Alternatively, the episodes can be purchased on services like YouTube, AppleTV+, and Google Play.
Where to Watch the Live-Action Attack on Titan Movies
Like many popular anime series, Attack on Titan has been adapted to live-action but the results are a bit underwhelming. Stripped of the scope and possibility of animation, the live-action version of Attack on Titan is more interesting as a curiosity than as a genuine adaptation of its source material. Set in Japan and with a host of other changes that fail to do the story justice, this take isn’t a bad way to spend a couple of hours but it will likely disappoint most fans of the manga and anime of the same name. Still, as a b-movie horror or Japanese thriller, you could do worse.
Where Can You Read The Attack on Titan Manga?
If you want to read the Attack on Titan manga, you can do so in a few different ways. There are several ad-based services like this one where you can read the entire series to your heart’s content, provided you don’t mind scrolling through or closing the occasional ad. Alternatively, you can order a print version through popular book services like Indigo, Barnes and Noble, or Amazon.
What Should I Try After Attack on Titan?
The closest thing in tone to Attack on Titan is probably Game of Thrones. Both shows take place in a medieval, dark fantasy world, feature graphic violence, and regularly grapple with the moral grayness of our own lives in the safe framework of an alternate reality. Since you’re likely seeking another anime to try, though, we’ve got you covered there too.
Berserk and Goblin Slayer are two easy recommendations if you’re looking for more brutally violent dark fantasy with murky morality at their hearts. Demon Slayer offers the same, but it goes down a lot easier with a tone that regularly shifts to full-on comedy, offsetting the brutality considerably.
Since Attack on Titan eventually goes full kaiju with plenty of giant-on-giant fights, another good fit would be Neon Genesis Evangelion. The acclaimed series is relatively short, features plenty of moral grappling, and is just as disturbing and provocative as Attack on Titan is.
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