A spoiler free review of “Attack on Titan”

A reflection of the story so far from a devoted fan

Throughout the decade of the 2010s, the popularity of anime skyrocketed in the West. Dozens of titles have dominated the industry from “Fullmetal Alchemist Brotherhood” at the opening and “Demon Slayer” at the closing of the decade. Within this time the most popular anime in American 2010s is undeniably “Attack on Titan.”

“Attack on Titan” is one of the most popular anime of all time. Many anime fans today were introduced to the medium because of this certain show. This year the landmark series will be concluding with its fourth season. Now is a better time than any to revisit the journey so far, from the point of view of a devoted fan.

My experience with the show started in the 6th grade when I was way too young to be watching it. It was 2014 and the first season had just ended, the amount of hype and attention was astronomical. Every middle school hallway had at least a few kids wearing merchandise.

Shortly after Netflix added it to their catalog, I binge-watched all 25 episodes of the first season within a weekend. I was nothing short of amazed.

I was already hooked by the premise: Humanity is on the brink of extinction and hiding behind walls from man-eating giants, known as titans. As simple as the premise sounds, the series went in many, many unpredictable directions by the fourth season.

Because of the huge four year hiatus between the first and second season, I never kept up with the show until two months ago. In fact, I decided to revisit the first season on a whim of boredom. From the first episode, I was hooked again.

Upon rewatch, my enjoyment had surpassed from before. I was able to pick up on small details and foreshadows to later plot twists. I was also reminded and shocked of the challenges the show took to standard storytelling conventions. Since my first viewing, I’ve watched a lot of anime and I was surprised that this series still has some of the best animation and art that I’ve seen. The vibrant colors, which contrasted the dark story, made for the most engaging action.

By the time I finished rewatching the first season, I just had to continue. I’m really glad I did because season 2 is personally one of my favorite television seasons ever. When I think of Season 2 I immediately think of the epic opening song, ¨Shinzo wo Sasageyo!¨ At this point, I should mention, there are 6 openings so far and all 6 of them are amazing visually and musically. Season 2 is when the series takes steps to expand what we thought we knew and raises questions of the unique world.

Plot twists and over the top moments occur every other episode starting from season 2 and graciously continues through season 3.

Season 3 is the fan-favorite season for many. The season is actually divided into two parts based on the story arcs it covers. While I was not the biggest fan of the first part, the second part was one of the most intense viewing experiences I’ve had. Season 3 left off on such a high note that fans were desperate to see the continuation or end of such a beloved story.

The amount of hype and expectation has collectively intimidated animation studios. In fact, Wit Studio, who has previously produced the past three seasons, decided to step away from the final season. Many other anime studios declined the opportunity, except for Studio Mappa. With this new production direction, many fans were skeptical of their ability to execute the satisfying ending.

But now that Season 4 has already shifted gears into an epic fight scene spanning several episodes. It feels like a fair time to form an opinion, or at least my opinion. The studio change felt obvious, the color palette and dark outlines of characters are gone and viewers have noticed a more realistic design. While the color change felt awkward at first, it felt more fitting with the serious war tone of this later story. While some fans dislike the use of computer-generated imagery (CGI,) I personally feel like it is better than earlier uses of CGI in the series. Especially considering the tight deadlines for the studio, it is amazing what they have been able to accomplish.

Attack on Titan Season 4 has been impressing millions of fans in the past few weeks. Many people like myself have been tuning in every week to follow the epic saga to its long-anticipated conclusion. New episodes air every Sunday on Hulu and Crunchyroll.

While it goes without saying, I love this series. I personally think everyone could enjoy it and anyone who has not seen it should do themself a favor and at least check out the first season.