JAPAN ANIME: ATTACK ON TITAN

CADY ABE WRITES- On Sunday, March 28th, MAPPA animation studio released the last episode of the first half of Attack on Titan’s fourth and final season. Attack on Titan, a manga (comic book) turned anime that first aired in 2013, is currently the best-known anime in Japan. In addition, it has accumulated a huge fanbase reaching across multiple countries and languages. Writer, creator and artist Hajime Isayama is not yet done, but he leaves fans waiting nearly another year, for part two, in Winter 2022.

As a popular anime production company, MAPPA changed its type of art for the Attack on Titan anime, from 2D drawings to computer-generated imagery (CGI) in order to save time in production. But the change created backlash within the anime community, as the new animation style was choppy. Still, this was no big problem because of Isayama’s masterful writing.

No catastrophe is too large, or small, for Isayama. War, death, destruction, genocide and gore are common occurrences in his mind-twisting anime. Every “to be continued…” at the end of each episode leaves audiences asking questions, creating theories about what has and will happen and craving more.

Just what is the Attack on Titan narrative? Roughly, it can be explained as humans fighting against monstrous yet mindless humanoid figures called titans who will not hesitate to eat people and destroy towns. But Attack on Titan takes viewers on a deeper, completely different path than viewers could have anticipated. The season kicked off by answering some of the biggest questions fans had about the mystery proposed in the first three seasons; as commentary on the horrors of war, season four centers around the effects of fighting, power imbalances and terrorism on military forces and populations.

The beginning of season one delved into the history of a nation named Marley. The Marelyan race mirrors Germany’s WWII tyranny, as atrocious acts are committed against a race called Eldians. Some of the horrific actions the Marelyans take include keeping all Eldians locked in the slums, beating and degrading the Eldians and turning the Eldians into titans. The later episodes of the season explore the fragility of diplomatic ties between nations and the ambiguity of morals and ideologies. This final season was a wild ride of emotions that brought a wide audience to tears. Why? Because it addresses deep and unanswered topics relevant to our current world, sparking conversations on the topic of what is just, and what is not.

Attack on Titan is not only a riveting, all engrossing and entertaining show, but one that provides social commentary and holds a mirror up to us all.

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