Well, this looks familiar…


A single, blood-red hand appears at the top of a tall wall, followed by an enormous, grimacng head. Beneath it, human soldiers stand terrified but ready to fight. A voice narrates that on this day, humanity received a grim reminder…

…and Eren Jaeger is shaken awake by Mikasa Ackerman, who informs him that they are late for their first day of junior high school. As the pair runs to school, Eren collides with a series of familiar characters, including the gentle Christa, the food-loving Sasha, and the unlucky Jean. Imagining a romantic scene that might follow, Mikasa attempts to bump into Eren, but accidentally knocks him to the gates of their school, “Shingeki Junior High”.

When the students reach school, they notice something is strange. Everything from chairs to doors is immensely huge, with a single eraser being enough to knock out Eren. It turns out that they have accidentally wandered into a classroom built for the immense Titans with whom they share their school.

The human students finally find their classroom, where strict Professor Shadis conducts introductions. This goes less than smoothly, as Jean’s attempts to impress Mikasa go unnoticed, Sasha is caught eating at her desk, and Eren’s declaration that he will drive out the Titans from their school earns him a bad reputation from day one.

The school’s entrance ceremony is interrupted by the same scene that opened the episode, with the immense Titan appearing over the wall. It breaks down the wall, and other Titans emerge, intent on devouring….the students’ lunchboxes. Eren, armed with two brooms, atempts to fight back, but fails to clear the wall and has his lunch eaten by the Colossal Titan.

You can tell the characters’ personalities from pretty much any given screenshot

As a fan of Attack on Titan (havingĀ  seen the original anime and staying up-to-date on the manga) I was interested to see what the latest entry into the mega-hit franchise would be like. Honestly, after the first episode, I’m still not quite sure -what- to make of it.

Shingeki! Kyojin Chugakkou takes an infamously dark, sad, bloody anime and transforms it into a junior high school setting. It’s…less different from the original than you would probably think. Episode 1 still opens with what is probably the series’ most iconic scene: the Colossal Titan appearing over the wall. In fact, the first episode consists almost entirely of events pulled directly from the original story, such as Jean falling for Mikasa and Sasha being caught and punished for eating at a bad time. Even the opening borrows heavily from the memorable “Guren no Yumiya”. The juxtaposition between these near-verbatim scenes and the cheery junior high setting is rather jarring at times, especially when the characters react with the same level of intensity to much less serious circumstances (such as Eren screaming with despair that the Titans had taken something precious from him….a scream originally referring to his mother and now meaning his lunchbox).

The attempt to create a more lighthearted tone and simpler story also resulted in several characters being condensed into their most basic elements. Sasha loves food, Bertholdt is nervous and shy, Jean is hot-tempered and dislikes Eren. Not to mention, my personal favorite Armin was absent entirely. (Though he appears in the OP, so he’ll likely show up later.) I can easily imagine these versions of the characters getting obnoxious quickly, especially Ymir and Jean’s constant yelling and Sasha’s cries of “My [food item]!”

The biggest thing I can say for this show so far is that it seems to be aimed entirely at people who have already seen or read the original Shingeki no Kyojin story. All of the humor I found in the first episode came from comparing it to the original anime, such as Eren crashing into the wall due to his lack of 3D manuever gear. If the show hopes to cater to anyone other than SNK’s most devoted fans, I hope it moves away from such exclusive jokes.

In general, that’s what I hope to see the most from this series – a movement away from directly parodying the original show. The joke of “let’s replay the same scenarios on a much smaller scale” will not remain humorous very long. I hope future episodes utilize the junior high school setting more fully to place these characters into situations they haven’t previously encountered.

Because I am a fan of the original, and because episodes are only 15 minutes long, I do plan to continue watching this show. Whether or not I blog it depends on how the rest of my First Impression shows turn out. For now, I’ll give the first episode this many Dios:

diodio

From the tragic loss of his mother to the tragic loss of his…cheeseburger?

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