Regardless of your individual thoughts on the series, there’s no denying Attack on Titan is one of, if not the, most popular anime in recent years. The eventual second season is highly anticipated by many, and will likely be just as popular as the first. However, in the meantime, some fans have felt burned by the deluge of extra Titan content being shoveled their way. First was the production of two animated recap films (an annoying if not uncommon practice in the anime industry), followed by two poorly-received live-action movies (of which I can personally attest to their lack of quality) and now the release of a comedy spin-off called Attack on Titan: Junior High. If you haven’t seen it, the first trailer for the series is below.
The general response to the Junior High announcement was… not pleasant, to put it lightly, an attitude which has carried through to last week’s premiere. Wherever I look, there’s an abundance of negative reactions to the series:
- “They’re milking the cow dry!”
- “Chibi, highschool, generic, and everything that Attack on Titan shouldn’t be”
- “The ‘Teen Titans Go!’ of Attack on Titan”
... and the like. This kneejerk hostile reaction is understandable. Are they milking Titan for as much money as they can get? Yeah, probably. Was Junior High greenlit just to be an easy cash grab? It’s certainly possible. Does any of that really matter? Not to me. If an anime is entertaining, I couldn’t care less about the motivations behind its production, and I’m willing to bet most people are the same way. Nonetheless, I’m sure that the vast majority of haters haven’t even bothered to try the series out, simply spewing their uninformed opinions with no experience to back them up. (A shocking occurrence on the Internet, I know.)
It doesn’t help that the purpose of Junior High has apparently been misunderstood. It’s not just plopping Titan characters into a generic slice of life show, expecting the audience to slurp up what is otherwise a typical high school anime. Rather, it knows exactly what it is and what it’s doing: it’s a very direct and very funny parody of Attack on Titan itself. The entire premise is that it riffs off iconic and epic scenes from the original. In the first episode, instead of eating Eren’s family and friends, Titans eat their lunches, but Eren reacts identically to his character in the actual series, which only highlights how over-the-top his attitude can be. It’s wacky, ridiculous and perfectly indicative of the mindset for the entire show. It’s just a good laugh, and not at all meant to be taken seriously. Nowhere is this illustrated more clearly than in Junior High’s opening (which is, again, below).
At the time of this writing, one of the top comments on the opening video was “please tell me your joking”. Um, actually, that’s exactly what’s happening here. They’re joking. This was never supposed to be a legitimate part of Titan’s story or somehow “replace” the second season. (Don’t worry, that’s still being produced.) I can’t help but laugh when I see people declaring Junior High the death of the franchise. The show’s completely superfluous, with no bearing on the rest of Titan. Take it or leave it, but it doesn’t somehow make the main series worse just by merely existing. In fact, the brave souls who actually bothered to check it out seem to be having a good time! Some of their reactions were:
- “Pretty funny”
- “Way better than I expected”
- “The entire point of the show is that it’s the stupidest spin-off imaginable and I love it.”
Of course, everything I (and they) have said is based solely off the first episode. It’s very possible that the show could nosedive soon, but for now, it’s entertaining, absurd and a lot of fun (for Titan fans, that is). I know this was a short piece, but that’s because my point is rather simple: Attack on Titan: Junior High isn’t as bad as you think.
For any interested parties, Attack on Titan: Junior High is being simulcasted by Funimation.
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