Attack on Titan: Wings of Freedom
I’m going to get more personal with this entry because Attack on Titan has had a large impact on my journey through anime.
In 2013, when Attack on Titan came out, I was exiting my sophomore year of college and entering into my junior year. This was a big time of transition for me: new friends, new outlook on life, new struggles. One of the big things that came with my new friends was a reintroduction into the world of anime. I had watched Dragon Ball, Inuyasha and Sailor Moon (among others) as a child, but that they were a distinct category of entertainment never particularly entered into my brain. So, 2013, for me, is when my anime journey really began in earnest. And one of the most critical shows in that new beginning was Attack on Titan.
I can’t recall in all honesty how many times I’ve seen the first season of Attack on Titan. I was so enchanted with it that I showed it to everyone I could think to watch it with. Even my normally non-anime-watching friends got exposed to Attack on Titan through me. I want to say I’ve seen the first season more than twenty times, and even that might be lowballing it.
After showing it to everyone I could, I became so hungry for more that I began reading the manga, something that I had never done before. In a group chat I was in, we had a system where — when the fansubs (fan translations of the manga before an official translation would come to the west) would come out — we would excitedly spam “green flares” in the chat until everyone was aware that the fansubs were out. In short, I was a fanatic.
That’s my story with Attack on Titan, but where does it fall in terms of quality, impact on the animation industry, and western fan impact?
In terms of quality: I’ve gone back and forth over the years significantly. At first, obviously, I was in love, but then, influenced perhaps by the manga’s glacial pacing and my own stubborn nature that causes me to instinctively dislike popular things, I began to poke holes and look for flaws in the show. But now I’m back on the hype train; I earnestly think that Attack on Titan has the potential to be a truly special series. The first season was the best thus far, but as a manga reader (without spoiling anything!), I think the chunk coming out this spring could top even that.
In terms of impact in the western fandom, I would say Attack on Titan is the indisputable king of the last decade. Conventions everywhere remain packed to the brim with fans in their green wings of freedom cloaks or 3d movement gear. Even if the show was only average (and it’s not), the massive impact that it has had would warrant it earning a high place on this list.
– Austin ( @austinsanimeabode )