This week may have been TV premiere week, but the most exciting programs this weekend are finales. Everyone and their grandmother’s awaiting the final episode of Breaking Bad. But for a select and awesome few, this weekend has a second must-watch final episode: the end of Attack on Titan.
Haven’t heard of Attack on Titan? If you don’t follow anime, I don’t blame you. It’s still airing in Japan and not yet dubbed into English. It has reached our shores through subtitled streaming episodes, posted on Hulu and Crunchyroll.com shortly after their Japanese broadcast. From there, it’s developed a devoted fanbase, probably one of the biggest an anime without an English dub has received. Even if you haven’t seen it, there’s a decent chance you’ve seen gifs of it on Tumblr, or perhaps noticed it was the subject of one of PBS’s Idea Channel episodes.
Well, you need to watch Attack on Titan. Don’t watch anime? I implore you to give it a chance. Casual anime viewer, who enjoyed a few shows on Adult Swim back in the day but doesn’t keep up with the latest stuff? This is the most addictive action-adventure serial since the original Fullmetal Alchemist. You’ll wish you kept up with it. Serious anime nerd? If you aren’t watching this, what are you doing?
The basic premise: 100 years ago, hideous, zombie-like giants known as Titans mysteriously appeared and devoured most of humanity. The survivors live in a fortress of three walls, the poor within the outmost wall, the rich in the center. Only the military is allowed outside the walls, equipped with “3D Maneuver Gear”, devices that allow soldiers to fly around like steampunk Spider-Men as they slice Titans in the back of the neck (the only way to kill them). Then, in the first episode, an abnormally large skinless Titan manages to break down the outermost wall, sending our heroes, the young and aggressive Eren Jaeger, his stoic badass adopted sister Mikasa Ackerman, and his brilliant but unconfident best friend Armin Arlert, on a quest for vengeance.
That’s as much as I can describe without getting into spoilers. The journey from there on is exciting, emotional, intense. You’ll laugh, you’ll cry, and on several occasions your jaw will drop from the insane plot twists. The animation weakens occasionally but the action scenes are consistently amazing-looking.
The only serious problem is that this Saturday’s finale simply can’t be the finale. It just can’t. There has to be another season ordered at some point, but there hasn’t been any news yet, so there’s a chance, however small, that this series is going to end before it should. The manga its adapting is still ongoing (and currently being published in English by Kodansha USA; I haven’t read the manga seeing as I don’t want to know what happens next in the anime plus the anime has better art), and the show’s been a huge hit in Japan, so there’s literally no reason for them not to make a second season. Watch and I think you’ll agree.
Oh, and if you need an extra push, check out the theme song. If you don’t want to jump out of your chair and kill some Titans after watching this, you might want to check your pulse.