Watching Shingeki no Kyojin was not planned. In fact, I knew nothing about this. I was aware that a two-part real-life movie version starring Miura Haruma is due to be shown in Japan this year but this still did not arouse my interest in seeking out this anime nor the manga. Then I happened to see this anime available to watch on demand via my new cable TV service. Out of curiousity, I gave this anime a shot to see what the hype was about.
From this point onwards, there will be spoilers so if you haven't watched this and do not wish to spoil the fun, please skip this review.
Shingeki no Kyojin started off as the debut manga of Isayama Hajime in 2009 and there have been 15 volumes released to date. The first anime series was shown from April 2013 to September 2013 while there is a second season scheduled for 2016.
Broadly speaking, there are three main arcs in the anime i.e. the Shiganshina attack, the Cadets training and the Scouts Regiment. The Shiganshina attack set the foundation on what we would come to know about Titans and their threat on human beings while the Cadets training describe the three main characters' coming-of-age and how they mature in the face of their first major crisis in the Trost attack. The Scouts Regiment arc offers a deeper look into the Titans and an unexpected twist in the form of the Female Titan who has a big secret. Personally, I thought that the last arc was far more interesting than the other two but without them, the anime would not have seen a good climax in the final arc. However, my biggest grouse with the story is that there are quite a lot of things which were not explained clearly e.g. why and how Eren got his Titan powers, why Annie had such a love-and-hate relationship with her father and what caused her to become the Female Titan. I have no idea if this is due to the fact that there is a second season which will provide all the answers or the detailed explanations can only be found in the manga. As such, it is probably unfair for me to say that this is an incomplete piece of work. Until I've watched the second season, I think it's a bit too premature for me to write this off completely. Having said that though, I think I would have been more satisfied if there were some questions answered rather than having a whole bunch of question marks by the end of the anime.
To be honest, after watching the anime, it leaves me wondering how the real-life adaptation can do a good job especially as it is introducing some new characters not seen in the original manga and would inevitably make some changes to the storyline since the manga is still ongoing. Moreover, I find it difficult to imagine how they can achieve the same fluid effect of seeing the Scouts using the ODM against the Titans as seen in the anime. I also wonder how the Titans would look like which would probably be dependent on the CG technology used. I guess I would have been more interested and optimistic about the movies if I had not watched the anime first. Nonetheless, to look on the bright side of things, I thought the anime was an OK piece of work on the whole albeit with some flaws so it has made me somewhat interested in reading the manga. I certainly hope that Season 2 next year will provide the answers I am seeking and in the process, improve my impression I have about this anime.