People think that because they sat down every Saturday morning to watch the X-Men battle Magneto or some other show that only kids would like. Attack on Titan is far beyond that.
Picture a world with giant creatures that look almost- but not quite- human. Picture those creatures regenerating body parts after taking direct explosive hits. Picture graphic depictions of them eating people.
Those are Titans, and that is the initial draw of this top anime. It’s definitely not for kids.
Plot Basics With Minimal Spoilers:
The show opens with Eren Jaeger and his friend/adopted sister Mikasa gathering firewood. Eren has a prophetic dream, they watch the scouts return from a mission outside the fifty meter walls that keep the Titans out, and return home with the firewood. He runs off after arguing with his mother, Mikasa follows, and they meet up with their friend Armin.
And then the Colossal Titan appears. The gate is smashed. Titans get in.
This unleashes a chain of events that lead to Eren fighting on the front lines as a young adult, where the bulk of the story takes place, and that’s what engages viewers and makes them care about the show.
Why Should You Watch?
As stated before, what draws in most viewers is the Titans themselves. The uncanny near-human look is simply creepy, and the constant death and struggle triggers our dormant primal prey instincts. It’s like watching a train wreck- you find it freaky, but cannot look away.
However, the show grows far beyond that.
Be warned now: characters will die left and right, even major characters you believed would drive the plot until the final episode. That’s what makes it beautiful. It becomes a tale of loss and tragedy, a tale of coping, a tale of soldiers looking death in the eye and continuing to fight anyway. It becomes a tale of people who stand and fight even when the odds are impossibly stacked against them.
What Shows Are Similar?
This is where Attack on Titan really stands out from other anime. There are almost no similar shows.
Most anime falls into one of two camps: shounen (think DBZ– an overpowered main character that always wins and ridiculously long fights) or otaku fanservice (Fairy Tail, Soul Eater, etc.- goofy cast of characters with superpowers, maybe with ritual attacks that finish each enemy).
AoT focuses on remarkably ordinary people. Most have no superpowers, and most aren’t exceptional or overpowered fighters. They’re just soldiers trying to survive battle with a far stronger foe.
The closest comparison might be Neon Genesis Evangelion, and even that doesn’t quite fit. The characters are far stronger mentally and emotionally. However, there is a sense of mystery about the Titans and their origins similar to the Angels of Evangelion.
What, Where, And How To Watch
There is only one season available right now, with season two currently slated for Spring 2017. I also wouldn’t normally say this, but it is definitely better with subtitles than with dubbed English dialogue. You can find these episodes on Netflix.
Final Attack on Titan Review
Because of the shounen and otaku fans, a general Attack on Titan review would only find an aggregate score of 4.3/5. I would place it among the top anime, easily a 4.8/5, simply because it is such a compelling, emotionally deep, and realistic show. It is one of a few shows that transcend typical anime storytelling.
Basically, you have to watch this, even if you don’t like anime.