Alternative Media (Part 6): Attack On Titan

It’s been a while since I’ve done an Alternative Media article as I had to take time to watch and read a couple of more stuff before I decided to go on with what was on my mind. Here’s one of the latest ones I’ve managed to watch over the course of a few weeks with my friends and here are some of the things we’ve observed as well as a personal note on how it all relates to us and why we’re recommending it to other viewers out there. Due to the sheer size (no pun intended) of the story’s scope and themes, I decided to do an entire article about it (which I’m planning to do with future Alternative Media articles) which will try to cover the parts of the show that is most relevant to us Filipino viewers.

Attack on Titan or Shingeki no Kyojin (“Advancing Giants” in Japanese) by Hajime Isayama is currently one of the most popular anime shows to date. In Japan, it has gone on to rival that of The Walking Dead among the Japanese fanbase. A story filled to the brim with action, excitement and quite a bit of family-UNfriendly violence, the show is also widely known for an interesting cast of characters and their interaction with one another.

Shingeki-no-KyojinThe story of Attack on Titan takes place in a walled enclosure where the remnants of a devastated humanity continue to survive. Blocked off from the rest of the world by three concentric walls, humankind lives a seemingly idyllic feudal lifestyle reminiscent of Pre-World War I Europe or Post-Civil War United States. However, just a few hundred years before, humanity was nearly hunted to extinction by a race of giants, now referred to as “titans”, who lurk just outside the outer walls of mankind’s “sanctuary”.

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The story kicks off when a gigantic titan, referred to as the “Colossal Titan”, an enormous skinless brute with disproportionately small head and arms appears seemingly out of nowhere and kicks down the outer wall. Titans, who probably aren’t all that different from the zombies (barring their sheer size) found in other franchises, pour into the breached wall and began devouring all the humans that they encounter.

The core group of protagonists in this show are Eren Yeager, a young man with a rather typical shounen attitude, Mikasa Ackerman, a Eurasian girl whose quiet beauty is only matched by her ruthlessness in combat and, finally, Armin Arlert, a vertically-challenged but brilliant young man whose keen eyes and quick thinking have provided the heroes with an edge against their oversized enemies. The show actually has a fairly large cast with quite a variety of characters including the occasional goofballs, the jerk with a hidden good heart and the utterly humorless ice queen. Pitted against them are the titular “titans” of the show, most of whom behave like typical zombies and just go around eating any and all humans that they encounter. However, something else is at work in humanity’s redoubt as the forces at be seem to be hiding a deep and sinister secret.

Okay, this is as far as I’m going because saying anymore will give spoilers. Instead, I’m going to point out what makes this show so relevant which is partially based on one of my commenters’ own opinions. Due thanks to Mr. Gaang and his rather sharp observations.

One Family Runs Society…

The heroes of the story live in a land that is ruled by one family. Of course, this is not obvious from the get-go and no, I’m not telling you who it is. The people in Attack on Titan essentially live in a feudal oligarchy where the powers that be keep people in the dark about what’s really going on.

While the story may seem fairly simple at first, as it goes on, you begin to see that there is a bigger conspiracy at work. It doesn’t take long for one to realize that while things may look okay on the surface, something terrible is happening and all of humanity, or what remains of it, are still in grave danger despite the platitudes offered to them by the noble families or oligarchs of the setting.

An Apathetic Nation…

The people in the story don’t seem to really care that much about the things that don’t affect them directly. Like many Filipinos in Luzon and Visayas, many of the common folk of Attack on Titan don’t really care all that much about other victims as long as it’s not taking place anywhere near them. In the first part of season one, when the Colossal Titan appears and tears down the outer wall, the people within the middle and inner wall don’t even afford an effort to think about those trapped on the other side. Of course, this is somewhat understandable considering the kind of enemies they face, but a “screw them” attitude is a self-defeating principle that will eventually lead to our downfall.

Like the Fallen 44, the victims of the Maguindanao Massacre before them and every other hapless bystander in Mindanao who has been killed by terrorists, the people who were annihilated by the titans in the outer wall of Attack on Titan were simply considered “acceptable casualties” by their government and people. In the end, despite the tragedies the people of the outer wall have experienced, they were quickly forgotten as the people of the inner and middle walls were assured that they were “safe”, without ever realizing that a similar predicament could easily befall them.

A Lack of Vision Among the People…

In the story proper, the heroes only discuss what could be outside the walls of their sanctuary. They are completely unaware of what goes on beyond the walls because the oligarchs ruling them find it more profitable to keep them in the dark. In the end, they remain ignorant about the possibilities that could improve their lives or the dangers that could, at any moment, strike them unexpectedly.

Using the stretches of water that divide us as a substitute for the walls, one can surmise that our media and government has effectively blinded us from seeing what is really going on in the Philippines. As our president seems to be betraying the people of Mindanao and offering its territories to Malaysia, will we also forget our brothers and sisters who dwell there?

If only we had people like Eren Yeager…



11 Replies to “Alternative Media (Part 6): Attack On Titan”

  1. *SPOILERS* read my comment at your own risk *SPOILERS

    I don’t think the country can risk angry young men that can transform into the titans that they’re fighting to begin with.

  2. cmon guys. Since when were filipinos (angry young men or otherwise) fighting anything, except possibly the urge to sit themselves down and open another bottle of san mig?

    Half the idiots still wish for the return of the Marcos era and root for unrepentant criminals in positions of authority.

    On the rare occasion there is any rage, it gets carefully directed at strawmen set up by the ruling classes and the church, and the Filipino’s goldfish-like attention span ensures they’ve forgotten what they were angry about by the end of the week, anyway.

  3. No wonder this was banned in China.

    Anyway, if any local channel decides to air AoT to masses, even with edits and short-lengthened episodes, will the masses accept this or will it be like cause an uproar wondering why violence and over-realism shown like that? I expect a live-action movie to be shown in PI.

    Or will they finally accept anime is on par as any live-action TV/movies that can explore and expand stories, characters, and genre?

  4. A cursory glance suggests that this is all about the Philippines,LOL !!! The original premise of ‘A walled enclosure where the remnants of humanity are….’.

    UH,if the rest of humanity has been devastated, what are they really cut off from?

  5. G-man, with ‘Smart-matic’ voting machines that can be easily rigged by anyone who knows the source code(and the election board doesn’t know it?HA !, and neither do the voters, 4 sure!) doing the counting of ballots.How can an election even matter?(look who is running too,OMG!).With secret ‘training camps’ in Southern Mindanao supplying the M.East conflict w/bodies(the people do not even realize what is happening in S. Mindanao).With non-accountable GOCC’s not being properly,if at all, audited.With an electric utility system that has ENRON scandals as SOP for going on 15 yrs. producing the highest electricity rates IN THE WORLD (100 KWH= $29+/P1100+).With DAP/Pork Barrels (basically truckoads of funds) handed out to members of Congress.With every other business being charged tariffs so high (Example: on imported 2 & 3 yr. old technology,electronic products) all imports cost twice as much as other countries(Gov’t makes the profits business’s make squat,employees even less).Is it not obvious that the entire Phippine economy is rigged to benefit the ‘Kleptocratic-Oligarchy’/Political ‘Dynasties’ ? and that it is soo bad that there is not one single politician in the entire country that is not a criminal(a recent magazine had the Philippine congress on its cover and called it the biggest criminal syndicate in S.E.Asia) and that no matter how many ‘Blue-ribbon’ Bulls shit panels are convened or how many fuckin elections are held that this rigging of virtually every aspect of monetary transactions is controlled by a tiny percentage of the people in the country?
    and that it is not going to change and all the bullshit ‘political analysts’ Teddy Lacson/Karen Davilla’s/Ben Krists’,even if they are right, do not make one bit of difference and that the system in place will be there in another 50 yrs. if something DRASTIC is not done?

    The country has been economically devastated,like many other countries facing collapsing economies due to corruption along w/controlling oligarchs, and has NO FUTURE for any of its fledgling citizens? and if that is true,why are people not really waking up to this ? and doing something about it?

    Sad to say but if this is not stopped, the country will be just another cesspool of despair/gates of hell and all that live there will be slaves. From here to eternity.

  6. “If only we had people like Eren Yeager…”

    Nope, you REALLY shouldnt be asking for more Eren Yeagers. People go at Eren like he’s a righteous hero because he’s the protag and a show usually follows the protags point of view, and when that happens we see things and feel like its justified completely forgetting that Eren is totally not the role model you’d want considering his actions. Eren is unthinking and careless. Armin Arlert is a better role model. He’s the most challenged during training but still pulled through, there’s his will right there. He started out as the kid who was all about “I want to protect, the titans are the only thing I can bare to kill, even if its a traitor that hurts my friends I’ll hear them out” but by the current chapters in the manga he make the split decision to pull the trigger to that times antagonist. And he’s this person who makes an ingenious plan to make things possible or to get out in dire situation.

  7. “In Nazi Germany; first they came for the Jews. I did not speak up because, I am not a Jew. Then, they came for the Trade Unionist. I did not speak up, because I am not a Trade Unionist. Then, they came for the Catholics. I did not speak up, because, I was a Protestant.

    Then, they came for me. No one was left to speak for me. We all ended up in the Death Camps…” A true Nazi German survivor story.

  8. The Philippines being likened to the citizens within the walls is not new. A Chinese user once made a video using the first opening. (Its floating somewhere in youtube) However, its a point that Filipinos miss when they read the story as they prefer the Cinderella fantasy over this. And thus nothing changes.

  9. Failipinos just sit there and tolerate it, the same way everything in this stupid fucked up shit country is tolerated. Every deception, every lie, every bullet in the brains. Just as Failipinos are already tolerating bullets in the brains that will be implemented only after the bullet is put in their brains.

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