I was about forty minutes into this movie when it dawned on me that I should’ve live-tweeted it. I’m very witty when I live tweet. And I have come to the conclusion that I am not as shallow as I thought I was. Even though two of my favorite Japanese actors are in this future “so bad it’s good” instant cult classic, I could not enjoy it. Apparently my movie soul needs something more than pretty faces.
When the story begins, Armin (Kanata Hongo-- bias #2 ) and Eren (Haruma Miura-- bias #1) are discussing the world outside. Eren, especially, feels stifled. And this is no mere youthful male bravado or a cheap attempt to impress his girlfriend Mikasa. Things are getting bad in the human world. That’s because the giants have encroached and are pushing past the three concentric high walls that protect the humans.
Well, wouldn’t you know? Just as they’re complaining, who should appear but the gigantic Titans? And what happens is the beginning of several battles. Think Battlefield: Los Angeles but instead of aliens, we have naked zombies with no genitalia. No one knows how they propagate because they evaporate when they are wounded at the back of their neck along their spine.
This film has been universally panned. Lovers of the anime feel betrayed. And those of us who thought the original anime wasn’t too great won’t like it much either. But, there is a way to enjoy it and I will tell you how.
First, accept that there are no such elements as characters or even character traits. This is a deep truth you must accept and incorporate inside your innermost story-loving soul. Characters ARE their costumes, their schtick, their poses and their speeches. Think tableau. Think “How cool is this shot!” Remind yourself of Cloud Strife’s Buster Sword from Final Fantasy Advent Children. Think type and stereotype. There is the cold emotionless sensei/philosopher warrior who says deep things and laughs inscrutably as he teaches the angry uncomprehending young’un (whose girl he has apparently taken but that’s not really important.) Think iconic images; Ya know.. the apple as a symptom of sexuality. Count how the loads of Germanic and Biblical and Norse imagery feel like they add up to some deep meaning then accept that they are really like Grimm, Sleepy Hollow, The Matrix, and Hemlock Grove where names, titles, words, are thrown out because the invocation of the name or the concept is sufficient
And love the weird mix of CGI and live action. Because, dear readers, it is indeed weird. Access your expertise on shoving, because passionate shoving requires skill and is a shortcut for all kinds of underlying tension. Embrace and love the chaos. Love especially the typical waif-girls that one tends to find in anime. Love the overwroughtness. Dear me! Are these characters overwrought! Very emotional these Titan fighters. Don’t upset yourself by thinking of context. Just accept that speeches, costumes, and poses are what passes for plot progression and personality and you’ll have a good time. Recommended. No, really, I recommend it. Have friends over and have a laugh.