The Rise of Attack on Titan

You know what i just realized? I’ve never actually talked about Attack on Titan before on this blog! At least, not extensively. Which is weird, considering how much I love this series.

Attack on Titan’s first season aired way back before I even started watching anime. Back then, the only real ‘anime’ that I had seen were Pokemon, Yu-Gi-Oh, and other stuff like that. I wasn’t really cognizant of the difference between them and regular cartoons. They just seemed like a different flavor.

By the time I reached middle school, however, that distinction was starting to become clear to me. I started hearing about this weird ‘anime’ shit from all sorts of people. People ranting about shows like Sword Art Online, Death Note, Fullmetal Alchemist, Soul Eater, and of course, the hottest topic of them all: Attack on Titan.

I didn’t start with Attack on Titan. It wasn’t until after I finished Dragon Ball that I really took the plunge into other anime. But it was among one of the first that I ever watched. I can still remember watching it on my dad’s Iphone on some sketchy site (I didn’t know where to watch it legally yet) in the middle of the night around the time I started high school.

If you still haven’t seen the show, go ahead and watch the first episode in the middle of the night. Have fun with the nightmares, like I did!

Now, setting personal history aside, it really was amazing just how big Attack on Titan’s first season was. Remember, this debuted back when anime streaming was still finding its footing, before anime truly surged to become what it is today. Back then, it was rare for anyone other than hardcore weebs to talk about anything anime related. Yet, with Attack on Titan, everyone was watching it! For fuck’s sake, my dad was watching it, and he can’t tell the difference between any Shounen that isn’t Naruto and Naruto!

This show was everywhere, man! Kids at school were wearing the cloaks! The opening song was memed to all hell! That fan game that controlled like ass but was super fun was a thing! Everyone was talking about it! Attack on Titan was an unstoppable juggernaut!

And then it disappeared. For, like, six years, I think it was? For some reason, despite the absolutely insane popularity of the show, it just… vanished.

By the time season two came out, much of the hype had died down. Only the most devout stuck around for season two. Still, it was a substantial number. While the hype never reached the insane heights that the first season achieved, it was still the talk of the town, at least among weebs.

You’d think that would carry over to season three, seeing as that came out not too long later. Oddly enough, though, it really didn’t. For some reason, the hype around season three was very subdued. Underwhelming. Like people had just forgotten that Attack on Titan was even a thing.

Which is strange, because season three was the show’s best.

Oddly enough, the show’s quality and popularity seemed to be on opposing graphs. Season one was the most popular, but it also had the most production issues and the least interesting segment of the story. Season two met a balance between quality and hype, though I’d argue that it was skewed in favor of the former. Then, in season three, the quality shot well over the popularity.

That, or I haven’t been paying attention. Who knows? It’s probably that. Feel free to write an angry comment and correct me.

Everything about the show has been on an upward climb in quality ever since season one. The story built up one of the biggest mysteries in the history of anime and actually managed to deliver on it in a shocking and satisfying way! The animation has gone from ‘pretty good’ to ‘HOLY SHIT’ levels of incredible. With every passing season, the show just gets better and better.

And now, at last, we’re nearing the crescendo. This December, the fourth and final season of the show will be debuting. Now, whether it will stick the landing or not is still yet to be seen; it is wholly possible that it’ll fall flat on its face. But if it does land it (which I pray to whatever God may be listening that it does) in the end? This series could very well become a modern classic!

Not just because of the quality, but also because of the momentum it gained along the way. In the modern landscape of anime, it takes a lot to break the mold and earn attention. Very few shows earn more than one or two seasons, let alone a whole series. Even rarer still is it for a single show to breach the anime scene and truly break out into the mainstream. This story, this beautiful, horrifying, wonderful story, stomped onto the scene and truly changed everything.

For many, it was among the first, if not the first, anime they ever watched. Now, all these years later, it’s going to come to an end. And that is a truly incredible thing.

Fuck, man, I’m not ready for season four.

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