Mugen Monday - Fourteenth Edition

For Those Who Dare Dream.

The world of Anime traverses through an enigmatic journey, in some sense. While some series are rebooted, some are remade - although such a thing has not happened in a great while.

Talking about this sure takes me back to the good old 2000s, especially in regards to Fullmetal Alchemist.

For the uninitiated, Fullmetal Alchemist Anime had somehow overturned the Manga and was left with no more immediate chapters to adapt, given that both were being developed simultaneously.

The producers dared to take a route no modern Anime takes in the current era - to continue with the Anime story separately and independently of whatever story the coming Manga chapters may have told.

A snap of Edward meeting god in FMAB, watch the Anime here.

What happened? not much - the Anime still came out as a noblesse masterpiece. We as humans do tend to judge things on a relative basis, however. And when Full Metal Alchemist Brotherhood came out later on, people finally said “Oh I see, so this is what the true FMA was truly about”.

Don’t get me wrong, Full Metal Alchemist Anime was amazing. FMAB came out much later and was a faithful adaptation of a manga that had concluded.

The Manga and the original story it told was so divine that it happened to outcast Full Metal Alchemist - the anime that had strayed to its own path away from the spotlight. Today both the series remain popularly positively regarded and evaluated, although Brotherhood (FMAB) is critically acclaimed higher than FMA.

This topic finds relevance in Anime fans who were hoping Attack on Titan Anime would take a drastically different route from the Manga, doing something similar to what FMA had done long back. Yet no such thing happened. There could be multiple interpretations of the reasons as to why this happened, but few do stand out -

Eren as seen in the Manga, image rights belong to Kodansha, read the official manga here.

a. The Attack on Titan Manga had already finished, unlike the FMA Manga back when the Anime was first adopted.

b. Such a drastic step is not commonly acceptable nowadays in the industry. Producers are way too scared of the insanely huge Manga base, which has now merged with Anime fandom - even slight changes may incur heavy reactions from the fans which may not work on giving the producers the green papers.

c. As it happens Japan is facing a huge shortage of animators, putting the available ones into heavy overloads of work day in and day out. Given such disparity of work environment towards prioritising profit, it seems the heavy tendons and obstacle of creative imagining and thinking up a whole new plot line for an anime, straying from the source manga, is quite a daunting thing to even imagine. Also, here are top 5 places in Japan you should visit.

All these lead us to the Attack on Titan Anime ending, which did not stray much, if at all, from the ending bestowed upon us by Hajime Isayama in his Manga.

There’s much more to be said about Attack on Titan, however. Such as why no other Anime may make it as big while retaining a similar level of complexity and quality to its work as Attack on Titan ever again - and this will be elaborated by our writer Mayukh down below.

One may notice that when Anime is caught by the masses, they are usually simple shonens. Nothing was simple about Attack on Titan, with its deep thematic core and highly philosophical notions - yet masses upon masses of fans loved it.

Take for example Monster - one of the most critical Anime ever made by the same author as the recent Pluto. Sure, there are quite many Monster fans, but these fans are quite limited in number. These are often elite few with very refined taste.

For an Anime to be as complex as Monster and be as popular as Demon Slayer - only Attack on Titan had done it perhaps a decade after Fullmetal Alchemist.

Given such, it may not be wrong to say some Anime truly are once in a decade's worth of creation. Do you know what else is worth in a decade? This newsletter.

- From the Editor’s Desk

Rhytham Das, Editor-in-Chief, Spiel Anime

Attack on Titan's execution has set the bar high: Here's why no other show could do it again

I asked Mayukh, one of our best writers to note down why he felt no other Anime could take over AoT any time soon. 

Attack on Titan is undoubtedly one of the greatest plots ever in anime and manga history. The sheer execution of the plot is immaculate, and it leaves much less room for error that the flow of the narrative defines the word 'perfect'. The story building and the character development is infact the most priceless factor of AoT and it does a very suitable job at delivering controversies and conflicts with ease.

While we talk about how Attack on Titan has set the bar high in terms of execution and has probably established itself as a unicorn, we must also remember that the changes and the revelations were almost always heartbreaking and bone-twisting, wrenching the soul into a piece of nothingness until the viewer fails to feel anymore.

Why is Attack on Titan so well executed compared to other anime?

Attack on Titan manga has always been a sensational fan favourite. However, it is primarily the anime which gave life to the manga and the plot. The execution of the anime is very simple - follow the plot until it breaks and start different narratives from the broken pieces. While many other anime shows in the past and also the present have tried to do this, all have failed to maintain the flow of the narrative.

It all comes down to just the basic motifs and themes when we talk about Attack on Titan. There is revenge, gore, adversity, loss, pain, revelation, loyalty, honour, and so much more to the story. But any other anime would've failed to take all of these forward in a blind manner, something which AoT excelled at.

Although there were moments of disappointment and shock regarding the lives of some of the major characters like Eren, Armin, and Mikasa, these revelations and character alterations were deemed necessary for the plot to develop and for it to find an end.

Why is Attack on Titan such a good social critique?

Attack on Titan explores the society and its structure by means of fantasy. However, the fantastical elements in tragedy are often grounded in social realities.

These are tragic tools which help the viewers understand the representation of their reality through a mirage which mirrors fiction and lies, deceit and abandonment, treason and treachery.

A metaphor of a story?

Attack on Titan therefore explores society through conflict and the change in Eren's ambitions and his entire character is a representation of the fleeting nature of society. Attack on Titan also explores the theme of social hierarchy.

The story explores a class-divided society where the rulers and the subjects are clearly separated and it is always the subjects who suffer from grave injustices, while the flourished and rich strata enjoy a fruitful and prosperous life outside the walls in a different land. This makes AoT such a good social critique as the plot is engraved in a mysterious block of ice which is fragile yet cold and preserving at the same time.

Will there ever be another anime like Attack on Titan?

We have had a past in anime which gave us some of the greatest masterpieces.

Shows like Naruto, Dragon Ball, Bleach and One Piece shaped the course of anime and how it is perceived. During the 1990s, the genre flourished and various subgenres emerged, which gave meaning and direction to the genre itself.

However, with AoT these things only settled down as the show introduced everything in its extremes. Death, loss and pain became natural and this general approach to life itself shaped the entire narrative structure of the show.

I do not believe that there is any other show in anime at present which holds the ability to surpass the quality of execution delivered by Attack on Titan. It is simply the most graphically moving and poetically drawn piece of art which contemplates on the human nature of conflict and confusion, all at the same time trying to understand how politics is performed on a social stage.

The theory of justice in the anime is also very conflicting and the idea of the right and the wrong is subject to ambitions and motives.

Conclusion

If you haven't already watched the final season of AoT, leave your work, quit your jobs, abandon your friends, and sit in front of the screen for a few good hours.

It might be possible that human imagination would take another few years or a decade to surpass such a form of artistic insight, and while you are at it you must enjoy it.

And as you tread the path of finding more things to enjoy, we shall bring to you further of these newsletters - these which you may find quite enchanting. And until we meet again, we wish you quite a bidding farewell.

For those who dare dream.

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