Japanese anime is a journey through the futuristic megacities and urban centers, presenting quintessential experiences with the magic of spaces. The architecture of the in-betweens, the memories of the elements, the storyline evoking feelings and emotions connect the world of the cartoon to the viewer’s inner self. If action is your genre, Attack on titan, a Tetsuro Araki anime based on the Japanese manga series written and illustrated by Hajime Isayama, is a must-watch. Unraveling the secrets hidden behind the walls of a parallel world of Shiganshina, all four seasons of the series deprive you of sleep.

An architectural review of Attack on Titan - Sheet1
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A Tale of Misery

Over one hundred years ago, humanity was driven to the brink of extinction by giant titans and forced to live inside the walls to survive. A tale of despair, cruelty, and miserable lives caged in with life but not living it, drives you into an emotional journey with three childhood friends with dreams and destinations but forced to seek an answer for their fate written by someone else. While the quest for revenge against the titans leads Eran Yeager to the military, Mikasa Akerman follows him to protect him and her promise to Eren’s deceased mom. A third of the trio, Armin Arlet, and his insecurities do not deprive him of choosing the scout along with his friends for humanity and to see the sea.

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Getting into the shoes of every character is a different journey. Deaths, killings, homicides, and the list go on to give the storyline a mysterious thread and the characters into an incredibly difficult situation that the viewers are not able to decide the right choice. Seeking answers to the most difficult questions, finding the real enemy, the inner war, the ultimate question of standing on whose side is as disturbing for the audience as that of the characters. There is something in it that the viewer is no longer a mere audience but someone invisible with the cast, riding with them through the whole journey.

An architectural review of Attack on Titan - Sheet2
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A Tale of Emotions

Little Eren watching his mother being eaten by the titan, Mikasa’s parents being brutally murdered in front of her very eyes, Armin watching his parents shipped off to die, the tormented young Historia, all deprived of a colorful childhood, not because of their fault. We empathize with Eren himself becoming something he hates the most. From emotional breakdowns, watching a comrade die before the eyes, physical tortures to the embarrassment of telling your crush how you feel, the series walks you down through a mix of emotions. The scars on the characters are not as painful as the ache in their heart. Cutting off the head of someone you love, you owe to protect at every situation, for the sake of humanity, and walking down to the grave with a head kept tugged between the arms along with the background score is a miserable journey at a slow pace.

An architectural review of Attack on Titan - Sheet3
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A Tale of Spaces

The interesting storyline gets into our mind through the spaces they walk through, the in-betweens of the walls, and the life beyond the walls. The conceptual development of the defensive walls to protect the town and civilization from the attackers and create something new from the existing is seen throughout the series. The walls reach about 50m in height and reach four or five times a human’s height below the ground. The three walls, Wall Maria, Wall Rose, and Wall Sina with Wall Maria being the outermost wall of the human kingdom 100 km away from Wall Rose. Wall Sina follows wall Rose at a distance of 130 km. Wall Sina is the innermost wall protecting the kingdom where the king and other civilians reside. On the edges of the walls, there are also small districts where small towns are located. The arrangement and architecture of the space are made from memories and experiences along with a tinge of drama and fantasy.

An architectural review of Attack on Titan - Sheet4
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The architecture of the place is characterized by a large hefty appearance with semi-circular arches and small paired windows, as well as the groin vault that suggests a Romanesque influence. The walls and the more civic buildings followed the style. Looking deep into the interiors of the town, the spaces in between are infilled with several kinds of materials like brick, stone, tiles, mud. There’s a plaster that covers the infill, and the structure is left exposed. Timber is used as structural framing for the homes. The intricate detailing and style are developing throughout the series.

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An architectural review of Attack on Titan - Sheet5
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We build a strong bond with the characters from the very beginning. The not very approachable, clean freak Levi Ackerman hiding a sense of morality and empathy in a thick outer shell of a leader, the dialogues without words, the action sequences together elevates the anime into a higher level of psychological dramas. The monstrous developmental personalities and the meaning beyond the words are pointing towards strong social issues. It is up to the viewer to take a stand and guide the perspectives to something more. This is not recommended for children below 12 years and the intolerable minds who couldn’t read between the lines and see beyond what is shown.

References

  1. Alex Anyfantis. Attack on Titan Review: Hating Your Own Creations

. [online]. Available at: https://medium.com/the-shadow/attack-on-titan-review-hating-your-own-creations-99bd75a7f064 

  1. Heyitszel (2018). [ANI-Reality] Attack on Titan. [online]. Available at: https://heyitszel.wordpress.com/2018/08/30/ani-reality-attack-on-titan/ [Accessed 30 August 2018].
  2. Angel Rojas(2021). Review: I binged “Attack on Titan” in a week

. [online]. Available at: https://info.umkc.edu/unews/review-i-binged-attack-on-titan-in-a-week/ [Accessed 2 March 2021].

Author

She is an architecture student hailing from the small state of Kerala, in India. Writing has always been a passion for her and combined with designing, became the underlying rationale which led to the field of architecture. The thought provoking stories told by buildings and their surrounding environments brews her to be a storyteller.

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