Tuesday, September 23, 2014

Attack on Titan might end in three years - fan across the world weep, wonder what's in that damn basement

There's a bit of good news / bad news in today's post. Over the weekend, Attack on Titan's creator Hajime Isayama revealed that that manga will probably end in three years' time.

On one hand, this is incredibly sad news for dedicated superfans hoping for a titanic grand, sweeping storyline full of flashbacks and ancillary plot arcs. On the other, it might be best for Attack on Titan to maintain its "tight pace" and not verge into the 75+ volume range of some other manga I could name.

Frustratingly, Isayama's announcement gave no indication of when the next anime chapter of AoT (or SNK, you prefer) will arrive - which is sad news, no matter how you look at it since it's inarguably one of the greatest anime to make its way to the airwaves since Evangelion.

I admit, I was late to the SNK party since it looked like typical Shōnen fare where an easily overlooked teenage boy makes up for his lack of intelligence and abilities by yelling really loudly and charging forward regardless of what anyone tells him to do. Ichigo Kurosaki's been working that angle in Bleach for the better part of 13 years, and he's hardly the first to do so.

But then I sat down and watched Attack on Titan and was completely blown away. Not by its story (which is, again, nothing new for the genre) but for its amazingly progressive treatment of women.

See that bloodstain on the tree? That was a female soldier, and it's absolutely great that she's dead.


Because Isayama doesn't give women in Attack on Titan's military any special treatment. They're not mollycoddled or shielded from nasty deaths by their stalwart male compatriots. They fight, die, and have heroic moments of kickassery just like the men do - and fittingly, members of both genders meet gruesome ends with alarming regularity.

He's a real maneater 

This equal treatment of both genders in the face of death shouldn't come as a surprise, considering how uniform Isayama makes the military's, err, uniforms.

Male and female members of the military wear the exact same outfits, and there are no exposed midriffs, fetishistic rocket heel boots or super-short, super-cute skirts on the women of SNK's military.

They dress identically to the menfolk, and that's a breath of welcome fresh air in a genre that's gotten away with some pretty liberal definitions of "uniforms" in the past.

That can't be regulation...

In fact, the uniform appearance of the military in Attack on Titan has even allowed Isayama to work in a non-gendered character (who is, for better or worse, rendered as female in the anime) - which is something that would be either impossible, or treated as a punchline, in a similar anime.

Anyway, rambling aside - if you haven't watched Attack on Titan yet, get your ass over to Netflix, Crunchyroll, Hulu, or just about any other online streaming service and give its 25 episodes a watch. Chances are it'll restore your faith in the state of modern anime.