Japan should take notice. Americans and the world have made an imported anime a hit without flashy advertisement, but by fans to fans saying a simple sentence; "You've got to see this show." Welcome to "Attack on Titan" (aka Shingeki no Kyojin), a series based on the popular manga of the same name that's written by Hajime Isayama and produced by Wit Studio, which puts a "giant" twist on zombie survival genre, spills more blood than a nervous nurse, and never lets you go no matter how much you beg.
In the future, humanity will lose their domination over the planet and be trapped within three huge circular walls: Wall Maria, Wall Rose, and Wall Sina. Outside these walls roam giant, naked creatures, called Titans that try unsuccessfully to breach the barriers to feast on the humans within. The Survey Corp repeatedly, a military group in charge of keeping the peace as well as expansion outside the walls, fail in their attempts to develop humanity's reach beyond the fortification. Something has got to give and that something comes in the form of a colossal Titan. This titian appears out of nowhere and puts a hole in the outer wall that allows smaller titan to flood in. With humanity now backed into a corner, Eren (the main protagonist) and his companions are humanity last chance for survival. That is, if certain forces within the wall doesn't get to him first.
The first thing that pulled me into "Attack on Titan" is the dark atmosphere surrounding the story. This anime is not Naruto, One Piece, or Bleach. "Attack on Titan" is brutal and in your face; it sets the bar high for Eren and his companions to win as they're going against giants lusting for their flesh with nothing more than grappling hooks, precise sword hits, and outdated guns and cannons. They're seeing their best friends and teammates get killed in horrible ways, but they have to soldier on or face the same fate. There is no resurrection for dead characters and all but a few characters seem safe. It is this deep connection to the characters and their plight that had me yelling for joy when they do mange to overcome the titans in some way. Every punch or slash means something and that's sometimes hard to say about Japanese anime.
While "Attack on Titan" drew me in with the brutality and action scenes, what kept me in were the mysteries. Taking a page from "Bleach," each episode offers possibly one or two answers and tons of questions. Who are the Titans and where did they come from? What is the deal with the walls? What is down in Eren's basement that only his key will unlock? When is Eren's dad going to make an appearance? There are just so many questions to answer that you are drawn to watch episode after episode to try to get the answer to them. The downside of too many questions is that you feel let down if the last episode doesn't wrap everything up. I guess that is what the second season is for.
Finally, Attack on Titan has a good mix of characters that grows on you. Eren comes off Naruto-ish or Luffy-ish, but has a legitimate reason for his passion that comes from more than just proving himself. Mikasa steals the show every time, whether she is by his side or fighting by herself. Armin really had to grow on me, I have to admit. When thrown in with a supernatural, Eren, and a badass, Mikasa, Armin used to come off to me as a "why bother" character. Yet the ideas that he comes up with against the titans, the emotional balance he provides to Eren and Mikasa, and his dramatic scenes towards the end of the first season made me a believer in his continued survival. As to the rest of the cast, which are too numerous to get to, they offer the viewers different reactions to the world of Titan. If you constantly saw your teammates die in the Survey Corp, would you be full of emotion or would you be like Captain Levi. Can you keep your sanity while studying giant eating machines or would you lose it, like Titan scientist, Zoe? It is the balance of the background characters' reactions that makes "Attack on Titan" real to me.
"Attack on Titan" hit's the major points that make it deserving to be a hit. The world, the characters, and the serious threat of the titans keeps you glued into your seat. From the first episode, thru the numerous fillers, and to the end of the first season, you will be blown away by "Attack on Titan" ability to continue to surprise you. It is no surprise that two spin-offs have been planned; one involving Levi and the other about the early days of the wall. So if you haven't seen the show yet, give it a try. As for me, I have been using mediation and discipline to avoid reading the manga for answers. However, the series gets 5 stars for being so awesome!