Jun 30, 2019
Krunchyman (All reviews)
Prior to season 3, little was known about the origins of the titans, as the previous seasons focused on humanity’s survival in the face of impending doom. While bits and pieces were revealed through the Reiss family history, nothing about the titan’s origins were divulged. Until now! Yet, should we be pleased with these revelations, or disappointed with the paltry character development? Because let’s face it: Attack on Titan’s (AOT’s) characters are terribly written.

Starting with Eren Yeager, he’s gone from being a vengeful edge-lord who was consumed with killing titans at all costs, to a whiny, vengeful edge-lord who can’t think beyond his emotions. Rage, sorrow, and regret is his entire range of feelings. Besides his family lineage and transformation into a Titan, he serves no other purpose in the series.

After 2.5 seasons, I still don’t know who Mikasa is besides a cold-hearted, reserved girl who obviously loves Eren (that smile in episode 10, tho). She’s the female version of Levi, a proverbial bad-ass who is all style but no substance. Levi is brutally honest to his comrades and honestly brutal to the Titans. Like Mikasa, his combat skills are nonpareil to cover his overall vacuousness as a character. Also, while AOT built itself up on semi-realistic fights, it became too enamored with making Levi look ‘cool.’ His fight with the beast titan stretched the limits of human physics to the point of comical absurdity.

Erwin is the veritable “go get ‘em” leader with his hardened determination and unwillingness to surrender, despite the circumstances. His laser focus on accomplishing his goals makes him very one-dimensional (CHARGE!). I understand that he was constrained by the rock throwing of the beast titan, but a full-on kamikaze ‘attack’ seemed ill-advised (CHARGE!). Correct me if I’m wrong, but why couldn’t they help capture the armored titan and colossal titan first, then wait for the beast titan inside Wall Maria?—setting up an ambush, if he decided to come. If the horses were lost, who cares! Eren could have turned into a titan and carried his comrades back to Wall Sheena or Wall Rose.

As for Armin, he seemed somewhat relatable, given his initial trepidation and eventual growth as a self-confident strategist. But overall, he came off as extremely plain and ill-explored. Furthermore, due an in-universe plot device (i.e. the titan’s regenerative powers), his ‘sacrifice’ lost all emotional impact; speaking of which, it was humorous when Floch started calling everyone out at the award ceremony for being complicit in Erwin’s death. Dude knew how to rain on everyone’s parade at exactly the worst possible moment. But in all seriousness, it was a contrived rant that felt soap-opera-esque to drum up tension in a jejune final episode.

As for the aforementioned revelations — a primary reason a preponderance of people are watching AOT — they were interesting, but not enough so to counteract the paltry characters. You can only ‘horrify’ the viewer so many times before they become desensitized to it. Moreover, the progressively foreboding tone made the story feel mechanical. A good story needs to have some irrational flexibility, otherwise its contrivances felt forced and theatrical. The introduction of titan lore was fascinating and made sense within the context of the story; however, the overuse of ‘shock and awe’ has made Attack on Titan rather predictable.

While the animation exceeded most expectations, it should be noted that the colossal titan had some jankey aesthetics. The OP was a rehash of "Guren no Yumiya” — a creative block? — and the overall pacing was atrocious. It seemed like whenever the Survey Corps were in a battle, there was a million flashbacks that drag out the proceedings. But if the WWE can have lumbering, slow-witted ‘giants’ string along the audience needlessly for ratings, why can’t Attack on Titan? Quality aside, it certainly brings in the cash! Just understand what you are getting into.