The Realm of the God Eaters
God Eater is a unique and interesting new anime, having just aired during the Summer of 2015. God Eater is unlike most anime as it is originally based off of a video game. Check out what the producer has to say about the transition from a game to an Anime. Slight spoilers ahead as we dive into an overview of the God Eater Universe.
God Eater takes place in the year of 2071. In this apocalyptic future, there are small strongholds of humanity left barely hanging on. They are contending with evolving, hive-like beings spreading throughout the world. Their designated names are the Aragami. Currently the only means of defeating them are through God Arcs. Which are specialized weapons created from the Aragami themselves; a familiar concept many viewers may be used to seeing. The people who can use these weapons are called God Eaters, hence the title name. Fenrir, the elite organization in charge of God Eaters, has almost complete control over the world and a unique connection to the Aragami. This is an action-packed show that has the background and lore necessary to keep producing compelling episodes.
The emergence of Aragami stems from research a few decades prior. In each episode there are flashbacks to a group of scientists working on advancements in biotechnology. They were working on something called Oracle cells. Without going into too much detail, it can be concluded that these cells are responsible for the creation of the Aragami. The way the story is told is one unique aspect of this series. The majority of an episode consists of following the main characters, fighting the Aragami, while in the same episode there is also a rich and interesting backstory being explored through well-paced flashbacks. These flashbacks serve as a great expository tool to explain the background of this world. The scientists that are being focused on, are also shown in the present day. One scientist of note is Johannes Von Schicksal, now a high ranking official of Fenrir. If there was any mystery as to how they created the God Arcs, then this fact gives the viewers the clues to determine the scientists were also responsible for creating the God Arcs.
Aragami are the main antagonists of the series and are well-crafted enemies. This is due to the show originally starting out as a video game. The video game series began with the action RPG God Eater for PSP, originally only available in Japan, but debuting overseas with the upgraded God Eater Burst. Because of its history it has a rich amount of characters that are still being introduced in the show. The show's main character differs from the main playable character of the game, making it not a complete adaptation of the game. There are a multitude of different Aragami that differ in strength and abilities. Luckily, God Eater has a vast amount of characters and history to draw upon. Also with the added ability to explore new stories not confined to the video game. Several light novels and Manga have been made in the God Eater world.
Allure of God Eater
What sets this show apart from other similar titles? Its similarities to our real-life modern day technological advances is something to take note of. Our group of scientists were attempting to advance life in a progressive way. There didn't seem to be any malicious motives behind their research. As they progressed, their work turned on them. The connection with our real world is chilling because it serves to illustrate the double-edged sword of technology. That's not to say the advancement of biotechnology should be halted, but carefully reviewed and highly transparent. This theme alone is enough of a reason to watch God Eater. Threaded together with action-packed scenes and moral questions about the promotion of new technology, God Eater can evoke a cerebral viewing experience as well as the simple enjoyment of seeing good guys kill the big bad monsters. Something that God Eater does well is its fighting scenes.
This show has striking visuals and a new animation technique that sets it apart from other series. The shading effect used in the animation gives the shows its hyper realistic look. Every battle is packed with equally stunning visuals as monsters of varying sizes and looks attack our protagonists. Viewers are greeted to the video game aspects that are being translated into the show. Animation used in God Eater sets it apart from other anime. At times it can feel like you're playing the video game, but instead being able to watch it unfold. The storytelling grips the viewer, and makes them feel engrossed with the fast-paced images.
God Eaters' Finest
What's a show without a compelling cast of characters? God Eater features a couple of groups of characters. Lenka is our designated young male hero. He is headstrong and has been living outside of the protected walls for a long time. As he comes to Fenrir's base of operations, he figures out he is a compatible candidate to wield a God Arc. Disregarding orders and rushing into battle, Lenka figures out he is a New Type of wielder, which means his oversized God Arc weapon is both a gun and sword. Another new recruit is his friend Kota. The comic relief of the group, whose inexperience is evident in battle.
The rest of the crew is Unit 1, battle hardened God Eaters who have seen their fair share of battles. Rindou is the leader of the famed Unit 1. It is remarked that ever since he took over, there hasn't been a single death on any of their expeditions. Usually seen smoking a cigarette and nonchalantly destroying Aragami with ease. His cool, laid-back attitude can quickly change when it's time for action. He is a dynamic strategist and can assess a situation to determine if they are going to make it out alive or not. His subordinates are not treated as such, as long as they can keep up and aren't a hindrance to the group. He will also accept advice from members of his group in times of turmoil. An example was when he first wanted to retreat, but was then convinced otherwise by Lenka, demonstrating his easygoing attitude even in the middle of a life or death situation. Two other elites in Unit 1 are Sakuya and Souma. Rindou counts on these two a lot and respects them as equals. Another main character is Alisa, equally as focused and headstrong as Lenka. The two of them clash against each other when they first meet. We first meet Alisa on top of a plane from which Unit 1 was trying to rescue her and several wounded human survivors. She vowed not to leave the plane until all her people were deemed safe, showing she cares for those weaker than her. Alisa strives to take out all of the Aragami similar to Lenka's goals. Together this group is the best shot humanity has holding back the enemy.
Another important group in the God Eater Anime is the leaders. Tsubaki is the elder sister of Rindou and retired God Eater. She is tasked with training the new recruits and being a supervisor for the Units of God Eaters. Often, she is at odds with Lenka, who she feels hasn't trained enough and disobeyed her orders too many times. Begrudgingly, she must let him fight alongside other God Eaters because of his innate skill. A couple of other names to remember are the scientists we've heard about. These names include Johannes Von Schicksal, head of Fenrir, his deceased wife Aisha, and former scientist seen in the flashbacks, Paylor Sakaki.
Aside from God Eater's characters, what is also important to note is the many different terms and backstories in this world. There are some key terms to familiarize yourself with, here is a quick recap. Fenrir is the de facto leadership organization of the entire world. They operate in branches, and their bases and cities are surrounded by militarized walls to protect them from the outside threat, the Aragami. Argami are fast evolving beings that can only be killed with God Arcs, which are infused weapons with Aragami (Oracle Cells).
At this point of the story, God Eaters are considered either Old Type or New Type. Old types are limited to using their God Arcs as only one type of weapon, being either a gun, or a sword. Even though Old Types have a limited ability with their God Arc, it doesn't stop the wielders from being the best God Eaters there are. Some Old Type God Eaters includes Rindou, Sakuya, and Souma. Alisa and Lenka are both New Types. They are able to use their God Arc as either a sword or long range gun. They are both very skilled and are now an asset to Unit 1. As New Types, both Lenka and Alisa lack the experience the other members have. With their additional abilities they will become a force to be reckoned with.
Teams of young specialized fighters and older leadership is a theme that God Eater shares with many other anime titles. Post-apocalyptic settings, and a group of young adults who are tasked with fighting an incredible force. If you are interested in God Eater or have seen other anime like this, then here are some shows that are highly recommended for their similar themes and plot lines.
Neon Genesis Evangelion, redefined the mecha genre as well as becoming a legend in its own right. Set in the far off year of 2015, which probably seemed like a long time into the future when it aired, the world is set in the aftermath of a world-shaking event. Beings called Angels are attacking the world and the only things that can stop them are machines called Evangelion. Similar to God Eater, it is eventually revealed that Evangelion were created from Angels. The only way to combat the enemy is to use the enemy against itself.
Another similarity is the intrigue and secrets of the ruling government. As God Eater has Fenrir, the organization that is partly responsible for the Aragami's existence and at the same time now trying to combat it; NGE has NERV. NERV is the top secret United Nations force that deals with bringing down the angels through their Evangelion pilots. Pilots have to be compatible with their Evangelion just as God Eaters must be able to use their God Arcs.
There is a large wall separating human civilization from the great beyond. All semblance of peace and tranquility vanishes when the Titans return. This is the start of Attack on Titan. In both of these series, humanity lives behind a wall protecting themselves from the large and seemingly invincible enemy. It is up to elite groups to keep the peace and go out to hunt these creatures.
Besides the wall, the greatest similarity is how these two series depict their elite fighting force. The Survey Corps is the best of all the fighters and is led by charismatic leaders. They have seen many battles and are not afraid to face the enemy. There are new recruits, people like Eren in Attack on Titan, and Lenka in God Eater, who want to demonstrate their resolve to obliterate the enemy. Our main characters in both of these anime find themselves looking up to their squad leaders, and trying to better themselves in all aspects.
It is clear that all of these anime have similar modes of storytelling and settings. Through their mutual aspects they tell intriguing stories about humanity and a dismal future. In each story there is a lesson to be learned in human compassion, the drive to better humanity, as well as uncover the mysteries that exist in their worlds.