If you are new or have been living in the Attack on Titan universe, you might be well versed with the fact that both fans and non-fans of the series have this unexplained hate towards it. The love for Attack on Titan is in this grey area where we are left with a feeling of being undecided. Why is this the case?
Attack on Titan is getting so much hate because it is not a typical shonen anime. The protagonist is not likable and the series loves to kill lovable characters. The portrayal of the story can be confusing and shocking to many. It also mirrors socio-political issues which are not that entertaining.
Do you also have this unexplained hate towards Attack on Titan even though you love watching it? Do not worry! You are definitely not alone. In this article, we are going to run down the different reasons as to why people hate Attack on Titan based on a poll that we conducted. So keep on reading!
*This article contains spoilers.
1. Attack On Titan Does Not Have A Likable Protagonist
The typical formula of a shonen anime is to have a determined, fun, and powerful male protagonist. It is about the adventures of the protagonist with his friends as they all deepen their friendship, become strong together, and all that kumbaya.
For example, we have Luffy who is so cheerful despite all hardships and if ever you harm any of his nakama, then you are done for.
We also have Naruto who wants to become stronger in order to be the Hokage so he can dedicate his life to his village.
Then, there is Eren Yeager. The first episode of Attack on Titan was promising for Eren Yeager as we learn about his dreams and how he values his friends.
Warning! Spoiler alert!
Then boom! He commits murder at a young age, goes on a rampage as a titan, is unsure of himself, doubts the capabilities of his friends… and even after all of that, as we near the finale, he suddenly becomes the antagonist!
He is not likable from the very beginning then he quickly outs himself by sacrificing the lives of many to attain his ultimate goal to end the reign of titans.
Where was the innocent Eren in Season 1? Where was the trustworthy friend of Mikasa and Armin? Where was the hope of Paradis?
Well, he is over there…committing murder, treason, arson, and even a coup d’état. Oof. How about that for a protagonist?
2. Attack On Titan Relies On Shock Value
When we say “shock value,” we are not merely talking about instant deaths or random scares. No, Attack on Titan takes shock value to the next level.
We are talking about a titan, ripping the head of a human with its teeth and munching on it while crushing the headless body with one hand.
Further, the visuals are not the only thing of note when it comes to shock value. Even the character progression displays a lot of shock value. Spoiler alert!
An example of this is when Levi orders the throwing of the dead bodies of his fallen squadmates to hasten their escape.
Yes, a captain of the Survey Corps just ordered a legitimate action to desecrate the dead. Forget about laws, but the bodies that they threw were their close friends! Their dead bodies were just treated as dead weight.
The fault of the series is not because it has a lot of shock value. It is when they use shock value to make up for lapses in the screenplay.
There are moments when the dialogue is so deep, then there are times when the dialogue is lackadaisical, where the characters are just enumerating what they are about to do.
More often than not, if this is the exchange of the characters, the next scene will surely be a shocker. It is as if the series is trying to make you forget about the bland character lines before the shock value sequence.
3. Attack On Titan Has Many Meaningless Deaths
If you have not gotten the memo from the deaths of the first episode, then clearly, you will hate Attack on Titan because of its numerous deaths.
It would have been okay if we are talking about the deaths of side characters or even justified deaths, but hey this is Attack on Titan that we are talking about, so meaningless deaths abound!
It is already expected that a character will die in every episode.
It is as if you are watching an episode of Oprah, but rather than giving cars, gifts, or even houses, the creator is just pointing at random characters while saying, “You’re gonna die,” “You’re also gonna die,” “We are all going to die.”
Frankly, the death of a minor or even major character is a huge part of a shonen anime as usually, it is used as a springboard to bring about the character development of the protagonist.
But what happens if all of the characters that you like are just dropping like flies?
That is exactly what Attack on Titan is all about; endless death that might just be solved by even more deaths.
Spoiler alert in the video below!
We really cannot blame this on anyone, because just like what we mentioned earlier, Attack on Titan is not your typical shonen anime.
Part of its story and even its appeal is the realistically dark theme. Based on what is happening in the story, it is expected to have so many characters die.
Then again, not all of the deaths in the series served a purpose, and that is what sucks the most. It is as if the series knows our favorite characters and then they just give them a meaningless death.
Some fans argue that the meaningless death in itself captures the essence of the story.
I agree to some extent because, in order for us to have a feel of the Attack on Titan universe, we have to feel that pit in our stomachs when a character dies for nothing.
However, does the series have to kill so many characters just to prove this point?
4. Attack On Titan Has Excessive Gore
Not everyone is used to gore in shonen anime or even any type of anime. This is the reason why many viewers were shocked and even bewildered when they saw Attack on Titan’s visuals.
More often than not, when there is a death in anime it is usually not seen. They simply show an implied death or implied killing.
There may be splatters of blood, a sound of a scream or a gunshot, or the ever classic fade to black. Now, this implied killing is not practiced in Attack on Titan.
A few of the gory and violent sequences that we are talking about include the following. (Light spoilers below!)
- A tied character being beat up to death. You can see all the blows and kicks.
- You can see how titans munch on human beings.
- An underdeveloped titan with its stomach open is crawling around the area, leaving guts everywhere.
- Shooting a person point black in the face. Then the shooter
- Surprise suicide scene.
These are just some examples of the violence and gore that are present in Attack on Titan. Definitely, those who are used to lighthearted shonen animes will be left with their mouths open in the first episode alone.
A lot of people think that all this gore is just to add to the shock value of the series so as not to break the momentum of shock from the first season, but there are others who think that this excessive gore is what the series needs in order to fulfill its true nature.
It is not that Attack on Titan is the goriest anime out there, there are clearly other animes that have gore as their main theme, like Genocyber or Mnemosyne.
But the hate stems from the fact that one second a loveable character is walking leisurely, then the next second, she no longer has a head.
It is as if the characters were just planned to die for the sake of gore, and more characters will die to add more gore.
For a lot of people, blood, violence, and gore are okay when seen once or twice in an episode, but for Attack on Titan, expect to get bloody and violent sequences.
5. Attack On Titan Lacks Escapism
What is your reason for watching anime? If your reason is to have good and clean fun or you just want pure entertainment, then you will definitely hate Attack on Titan.
Note: Also have a look at our article about 10 Reasons Why You Shouldn’t Watch Anime here!
The appeal of shonen anime is its ability to take viewers in a different realm of their liking. It does not matter if it is a world of pirates, an MMORPG-like world, a world of shinobi, a world of talking animals, etc.
When watching shonen anime, it is nice to escape reality even for 25 minutes or so.
When you watch Attack on Titan, even if the setting is fictional, you cannot help but have flashbacks of the current world issues.
There are too many reflections of socio-political issues in the story that you just find yourself stressing about how things should be resolved when you should only be watching the series and letting the story unfold.
Attack on Titan also tackled these issues in such a way that it is so easy for the viewers to immerse in the conflicts in a certain episode. You might just find yourself screaming at the screen and shouting profanities towards a certain character.
This lack of escapism is why most of the time, fans of Attack on Titans take a break from watching it. There is absolutely no episode in the series where you can just relax or feel happy about anything.
The episodes leave you with a sense of dread which, if you look at it, resembles reality a lot.
6. Attack On Titan Does Not Have Clear Cut Villains
The love and hate relationship of Attack on Titan fans greatly stems from this reason. You will soon find out as you watch two to four episodes that you do not have someone or something to blame for all the bad things that are happening.
Even if there are some instances when there are budding villains, as you progress through the story you will even question if those villains were villains after all or were they, victims of the system, as well.
The series even pushes the limit by making the viewers empathize with the supposed villain.
For people who are so used to typical shonen anime where there is a clear-cut villain that you can hate as they are just pure evil, you will not find those in Attack on Titan.
So what are we left with? this unexplained hate that we cannot pin on anyone, which is very frustrating.
An example of this is Kenny Ackerman. He was painted as this ruthless villain that is not a titan shifter. He just keeps on killing everyone may it be related to a mission or not.
However, it was also shown that even though he does not have this fatherly love, he still “took care” of his nephew, Levi Ackerman.
In his backstory, it was revealed how he reached his breaking point to become the feared serial killer that he is.
Everything for him was survival and given his harsh circumstances, one cannot help but think that it was inevitable for him to become that way in order to live.
There are a lot of other supposed villains that end up not being a villain at all. So what are we going to do with the unresolved conflict brought about by these people?
Nothing, we cannot do anything. Probably just scream at our screens due to immense frustration.
7. Attack On Titan Does Not Have Relatable Characters
Shonen animes thrive on relatable albeit stereotypical characters. You have your protagonist who has a special trait or power, is beloved by all, and just has all the makings of changing the world for the better.
You also have funny side characters, one may be a bit dumb but delivers the comedic intent of the episode, another character can be the hottie but also a softie, then you have the mascot who is just an all-around cutie.
Good shonen animes have lovable characters, while great shonen animes have relatable characters brought about by a solid backstory. So where do the characters of Attack on Titan reside? Well, they do not belong in either category.
It is hard to describe a certain character in Attack on Titan as with every episode, there is always a shift in their character. We are not talking about personality, but there are always some things that happen in a certain episode that changes the outlook of a character.
This is not necessarily wrong as we have already established that Attack on Titan is on a different level when it comes to shonen anime.
Just remember, the series does not aim to entertain or even please the viewers. The end game has always been to tell the uncomfortable story.
So going back to the characters, the problem is their backstories are so tragic that even with a bit of realism involved, we cannot find a common ground with them.
We may like and even have a favorite character but it is a bit difficult to relate to their characteristics as the subject matter is just too dark.
Here are some examples:
It is easy to say that we relate to Luffy of One Piece because his friends and family are his treasures and he is devoted to achieving his dream no matter what.
On the other hand, it is hard to say that you relate with Eren who paved the downfall of everyone just to end the reign of titans.
Another relatable character is Konohamaru of Naruto. He worked hard and lived by the examples of his heroes; The Third Hokage and Naruto.
Then in Attack on Titan, we have Gabi Braun who killed the most-loved character in Attack on Titan simply because he was raised to believe false philosophies.
We are not saying that there are no characters in the series that you can relate to, but the main characters are more or less not that relatable. The side characters are interesting, but then again, they usually end up dead.
Did the thing that you hate about Attack on Titan make it to the list? You can also view the poll and be part of the conversation when you click this link. Share your thoughts with us!
Whether all our aspirations are met in the series or not, we all know that Attack on Titan is complex to not really have all the “qualifications” to be a likable anime.
What we are sure about is that the series takes a stand in telling a story in a way they believe it is best told, even if fans hate them for it.
So love it or hate it, Attack on Titan is here to stay. So after we take a break to ease our hate on certain parts, it is back to watching!