Oh hi there. I shall pronounce my presence to the world. I am Skanners Array, the de facto founder of Brave New Moe. Wait, what was that? Why am I showing up after a millennium of disappearance? Because I am an important figure, they vanish all the time, don’t question it. I definitely wasn’t slacking. I took it upon myself as the leader figure to commence a pilgrimage, soul-searching and doing all kinds of deep stuffs. I also had to attend to my duties as a mayor of Rosenia. I am a man of accountability, you can ask my lovely secretary, Isabelle 1693-1063-5683.
So where was I? Right, so let me make it up to you by singing passable praises of everyone’s favorite anime, Levi on Eren!
I should have opened this blog in the Spring. Now I have to go through all the formalities of recapping, and introducing my tastes before I can rain roses on this single piece of fabulosity. Ahhh, mendokusai….
Weekly reactionary journalism is always easier than having to do a thorough academic review. I could just start at episode 15 of Titans instead trying to be all pretentious and dissecting everything like some English class. I just felt the need to make certain assertions to my future readers and rally my base. Because he who started a blog and abandoned it for 2 weeks is totally going to get readers, right? Responsible journalism at its best!
Just look at that compact badassery. That man makes me feel so…. hot, and Free. I should go for a swim.
Well, damn, I sure like beating around the bush with the introductory craps. Now that you had your foreplays, let’s get to the real meats of this post reeking of yaoi fangirling. Please hold your orgasms. It sure is getting good!
Let’s get started with the recap of Flashback on Titans!
Isabelle: “Um, Skanners…. You have said it for the 4th times now? I am sure they are all anxiously waiting. And it’s Attack on Titans.”
Let’s begin with the recap of Recap on Titans!
As you might have guessed from the the title, this show is about a female somebody, alongside a sizable portion of the characters, recapping the events of humanity’s struggle against the Titans. There was a typo when the manga was conceived and became Attack on Titan, in a similar vein to how Monkey Kong became Donkey Kong, and in both cases, the name stuck. However, being the elitist and the purist of the bunch, I am going to stick with its original, cool, hipster-sounding name, Recap on Titans.
Considering various anime premises for the past year, Flashback on Titans is for sure one of the most intriguing and versatile. Humanity is in a predicament, somewhat akin to being under house arrest because of the existence of the Titans. A race of specimen more powerful than humans imposes their superiority by forcing the entire civilization to live in a confined space ruled by a group of corrupt bureaucrats? That have not been done, as far as my knowledge goes, since Gurren Lagaan. We also have never had a shounen of high production values since Fullmetal Alchemist: Brotherhood. Hence, Shouts on Titan is refreshing compared to almost everything else that makes the anime industry as a whole seems as uninspired as ever since the summer of last year.
The first twelfth of the show did a particularly competent job of enticing the viewers to the setting. The general tone and subtleties of the plot to be unveiled were well-established and well-directed. In plots like these, significant amount of world-building is obligatory. They went through great extents to portray Eren as a “not-quite right” anti-hero clouded by blind-hatred. Everyone was appropriately paranoid, and all ugliest forms of social problems and prejudice emerged.
The theme of despair and human’s fragility are first and foremost. On an almost per-episode basis, people are shown dying left and right, cowering in fear and hopelessness. Survival of the fittest, man versus. nature is the main motif. In many fantasy-settings, humans have some degree of mastery over nature. Fear on Titans is unique. It is one of those rare breeds of fictions that put humans on second place of food chain, and is hopelessly outclassed by the one on top. The denizens inside the walls is at the mercy of nature itself. Because there is no hope. The worse facets of humanity are exhibited in plain sights. It is every man for himself. There is a lot of attention to the sociology aspect such as everybody’s self-denial of the severity of their conditions. Or that they are too focused on the bigger threat in the Titans and forget that mankind’s worse enemy is himself. The portrayal of sex-trafficking exposed many things about the legality system. Youngsters join the army in order to become elite. They try hard, not because they want to break free from oppression, but to further withdraw humanity into the turtle shell known as “The Wall”. I appreciate the effort of all these details.
Sounds like an Oscar bait eh? All of this seems to amount to a rather intellectual experience on top of a supposed thrill ride, or so I’d hoped. This is definitely the Next Big Thing, and could quite possibly replace FMA as an outstanding shounen. If you don’t agree with that, you’re definitely some uncool kids hating on the popular thing just because it’s popular. There is no way Perfect on Titan could go Titanic, especially when it has an award-winning manga for the source materials.
Well, of course it did not go wrong! Because when a manga is faithfully adapted word for word, it is definitely a good thing for something that has already some prestige. Every details must be fed, every lines of dialogues, every pieces of information must be included, nothing gets left behind. This script must be written in such a way that it spans over 2-cours, filling the time slots and milking them cash. What do you do with a kitchen filled with the finest of ingredients? Good ingredients must be good food right? You can never have too much of a good thing right? (Except vegetables, you can always have too much vegetables and die). Because I am such a good cook in real life, I can totally relate and probably recite the formula for most of the episodes of Redund on Titans ( thus far. Welcome to the new segment, Winning the Through the Stomachs: Rinse and Repeat. Each episode is cooked like this:
– 4 to 6 slices of limps.
– A dozen dead bodies
– 2 Liters of flashbacks
– 4 spoonful of Despair, people asking “deep” existential questions.
– 600 grams of obvious. The strong devours the weak, it’s a cruel world blah blah.
– Dozens of mouthfuls of exposition.
– 3 kg of Armin’s whining. Two dozens spoonful of Armin’s salty-eyes.
– Two bags of Mikasa obsessing over Eren and being not much more than a stoic badass. She is as good a seasoning as tap water.
– A finishing touch of everybody shouting as loud as possible to emphasize the weight the the situation, because shouting works man.
– 16 ounces of padding (Just think of air inside chip bags)
Because nobody gets tired of eating the same good food over and over again.
Did you catch that? The major bug that is eating away at Deep on Titans is its own self-importance. It takes itself too seriously. It attempts to be a darker and edgier take on the shounen genre, all the while spewing things like “This world is too cruel, it is the survival of the fittest” or “OOOH NO EVERYONE IS GOING TO DIE!” I assume they want to maintain the heavy atmosphere. Perhaps everyone is too busy oogling Levi to actually work?
Look, we know that you have already set the tone of your story to be quite dark. We have seen people die and the survivors showing a considerable amount of angst for a great amount of episodes. People’s deaths only leaves an impact the first time. Subsequently we the viewers will just be nonchalant and indifferent. Among the numbers killed off every episode, none of them involves the main cast, of whom we know and actually care about. Sure, you can be a little bit philosophical every now and then and I couldn’t be bothered too much by it if you actually move on with the story. But come on! You don’t have to hit me over the head every single episode that this is a crappy world to live in and there is no hope for humanity. I get it the first time. Code Geass actually share many of these same elements in its world-building. However, it was very concise and effective. Most importantly, the world-building in Geass was done via the visuals and characters’ actions/reactions, rather than exposition and inner monologues. Your viewers are probably smart enough to fill in the blanks themselves. Remember the first rule of storytelling, show, don’t tell!
As a result of the relentless padding. Padding on Titans came off as rather incoherent and underwhelming. An especially bad case is when Armin and Raccoon yelling at each other for the whole episode about how Titan is not an enemy of humanity. The episode literally ended where it started. Despite my complaints however, I do enjoy Talk on Titans. When it finally gets around to the action, it does especially well to somewhat makeup for the horrendously slow build up.
As a direct consequence of the slow pacing and everyone doing fuck-all, most of the characters in Titans are not well fleshed-out. There are very few reasons to care for them. Episode 15 could have actually been rather a nice breather episode. I didn’t laugh at the jokes. However, I can see them as rather decent humors. Unfortunately, the characters felt almost lifeless. They also gave us a lot of useless information on the Recon Corp characters. Granted that this exposition isn’t as bad as some of the the previous ones, the plot is moving way too slowly. I have had enough padding, hence this episode seems more tacky than anything. I just didn’t really warm up to anyone, except Levi because everybody likes bad boy. In the end, they just ended up shooting themselves in the foot in an episode that could have potentially been enjoyable. Oh yeah, Erwin is obviously evil. I haven’t read the manga but dude, I called it, so obvious!
Ah, thank goodness that’s over. I was actually rushing the last few paragraphs because I need to sleep, classes tomorrow. I apologize for any incoherency. At least now you know what to expect from my style of blogging. Now that all the patchwork, recapping from last season is finished, I can go back to regular episodic writing. Which is a lot less work. I have a rather horrid memory of things that don’t particularly pickle at my interests. As a result, there might be some assertions that I have made without sufficient elaboration. I hope to rectify these lingering incomplete ideas in my future blog posts.