Each year has its share of successful series, that of Shingeki no Kyojin in 2013 is of a larger scale and a rarer occurrence. The aberrant proliferation of cosplay is a first warning, the output of shoveled products a definite omen (several video games, a live-action movie, a prequel, and even a 4-koma manga). Definite sign and even more striking, people who are usually not interested in anime begin to talk about it on the net. Youtube videos explode and the monopoly of geeky conversations is needed: Shingeki no Kyojin is indeed a phenomenon that has failed to conquer the world, has infiltrated on a larger scale. This is especially the case in Japan, of course, where Shingeki no Kyojin has exhibited all over the streets of big cities.
The phenomenon is as amusing as it is painful to observe but the question remains, what is the anime in itself?
The synopsis is simple but attracts attention: it’s dark, it’s heroic and the promises of good action scenes sealed the deal. The beginning of the series is enough to convince the recalcitrant spectator to “shonenesque” codes by offering a first episode to the anguishing and bloodthirsty atmosphere.
The main quality of Shingeki no Kyojin is there: in his chaos. The anime is extremely captivating when the camera focuses on a routed humanity, its fragility, its fears and especially its helplessness in front of an indomitable and deadly threat. The annihilation of cities, the engulfing of bodies, the death of nonlambda characters … the destruction is full of energy and color. In her hours of glory she even takes the guts.
The same is true when it comes to diving into the whirlwind of fighting: the galvanization of hearts, even if clumsy and redundant I must say, the flight of fighters to battle, the colossal noise of the enemy crumbling and the splash of our friends reduced to heaps. This is how this war sounds epic but not totally stupid thanks to characters who are there to think, instead of a protagonist “slightly” undrinkable.
But once the rage is running out of steam, Shingeki no Kyojin begins to lose its beauty. Anime tends to get bogged down in unnecessarily slow exhibitions. We can add to that many flashbacks that dot and shorten the episodes, which ultimately gives a terribly poorly dosed and frustrating rhythm.
The intrigues of the series are not interesting enough to cross unharmed these lengths. Not that the script is worth nothing: the twists are present, the details shown during the interludes are pleasant and the author of the original manga seems to know what he does with the different elements of his universe (except the end … no happy ending beast and naughty plz). The fact that he is visibly allergic to fan-service is a rare enough to be underlined. It only remains to hope that he does not fall into the usual way by unnecessarily lengthening the series, and that the various mysteries raised throughout the episodes are solved satisfactorily. For sure it’s not won.
Shingeki no Kyojin could really improve in the development of his characters and his pace. However, despite a hype that has something to attract antipathy, we must admit that the first season (and OVA) did not disappoint those who have grown, in addition to convincing many of those remained in distrust , and that’s not nothing.