Attack on Titan quickly became one of Japan's most popular animes, after the cult manga was adapted into a TV show. It's easy to understand the anime's popularity: the story is dark but compelling, with a thrilling plot and fascinating characters. Attack On Titan, or Shingeki No Kyojin if you're a purist, soon received a live action adaptation too, though this has far from pleased fans.
When the Attack on Titan live action movies were first announced, fans were eager to see the stunning animated effects realised on the big screen. The long wait for the movies to be released only heightened the anticipation, and by the time they came out, fan expectation was high. Unfortunately, their hopes were soon dashed when the movies were released.
Bad Critical Reception
Early reviews from Japan tore the movies apart, persuading many American fans not to even bother seeing the films when they were released. The "all press is good press" rule really didn't work with this one, as furious fan reactions spread throughout the internet. It's difficult to pick a favourite bad review to quote in this article: there are just so many and they're all pretty amusing. Most reviewers focused on the incomprehensible changes to the plot, and the poor characterisation that failed to get audiences to empathise with the heroes.
"Everything feels superficial. The title says Attack on Titan, and there are characters with names I’ve heard in Attack on Titan. But they’re not the same characters. Key moments are cast aside. Character motivations are either reworked, dissipated, or disregarded entirely. What makes these characters tick either isn’t shown or has been written out of the script entirely." - Kotaku
The character he's referring to are Annie, Reiner, Bertholdt, Ymir, and Christa. Despite being fan faves (and crucial to the original story), the filmmakers didn't feel the need to include these characters in the film, instead creating new characters who didn't really chime with fans. Even the characters they did include fell flat: Mikasa in particular paled in comparison to her anime and manga counterpart.
"Mikasa is a cowering, pouty girl and serves as a love interest for two of the characters instead of being a badass protector. Even Eren’s angst had some sort of depth in the original story, but with his motivator completely different, he just feels like an overreacting jerk. The other characters are bland, one-dimensional, and usually only serve one purpose on screen."
This is very disappointing for fans of the original, as the characters carry the story.
We are supposed to empathise with these humans in their battle against the terrifying Titans, but as the Japanese reviewer Cho Eiga Hihyo (think Rotten Tomatoes) said, "I wish the titans would eat the kids so the movie would end."
But there's still hope! The second season of the anime is coming soon, and thanks to this leaked clip we know it looks better than ever!
Season 2 Leaked Footage
After the movies disappointed fans, it's good to have something to look forward to. Season 2 will be released in 2016 after a 2 year hiatus, and we've already had a leaked preview.
This takes us straight back to one of the most shocking revelations of season 1: that the looming walls that have contained and protected humanity for so long are actually made of Titans! And Hanji is determined to discover the answer. Check it out!
Damn, Hanji doesn't pull punches, but it's good to know she's not ready to straight up murder a dude when he doesn't give her the information she wants. The preview doesn't give us any answers... yet, though it proves that season 2 will be just as exciting and action-packed as the first season.
Season 2 will be released in spring 2016, and in the meantime US authors are compiling a spinoff anthology comic to accompany the manga. There's also a high school chibi anime series if you really need to get your Shingeki No Kyojin fix!