With the final season of Attack on Titan drawing to a close, many fans will be saddened by the end of an anime that's been going on for nearly a decade. But fear not, as there is more Attack content out there, ready for eager eyes. Especially since we finally have most of the story, now's the ideal time to look back on the Attack on Titan live-action films from 2015. While the films are a whole different beast from the manga and anime, it brings back a sense of nostalgic excitement from a time when the anime was peaking. It's a great way to re-live the hype.
Back in 2015, Toho Pictures released a 2-part, live-action adaptation of Attack on Titan, the first part having been released in August of that year and the second in September. It strays quite a bit from what we know as Attack on Titan, especially since there wasn't more manga or anime to draw content from. There's a bunch of major details that get changed, such as Eren and Mikasa's relationship, the absence of several main characters and the Titans' origin story.
In the anime and manga, Eren and Mikasa are together through thick and thin and there isn't too much time of separation between them for many years. The first live-action changes this, having Mikasa and Eren be separated for two years before reuniting, only to find their relationship in tatters. That was a major shake-up from the anime and manga, considering their relationship is a pivotal dynamic in the story.
Other major characters are missing as well, such as Levi, Reiner and even Connie. Missing some of those memorable characters really takes away from the films a little bit, considering it was the dynamic between them all that made the Scouts so endearing. On top of that, the Titans' origin story is completely different. In the live-action, they are man-made monsters that arose from human experimentation. This shifts the whole perspective of the story. While the live-action did take on a lot of thematic and stylistic elements, they really had to mess with the original story to make it work for the adaptation.
The closest similarity between the live-actions and the anime/manga is the sheer brutality and carnage that the Titans cause. When the films show the Titans eating people and stomping around, they show it in all of its glory, plus some crudely-done CGI. Blood spatters are front, center and plentiful in these films. The Titans themselves are something to behold, as well. The animators tried to get them to look as close to the original as possible, but it just doesn't translate to a real human face. The result is that the Titans end up looking more grotesque than usual and there are a few that are genuinely funny to look at.
Overall, the live-action films are good but not great. If fans are on the hunt for canon Attack on Titan content, this is not the place to go. But what it does do well is that it embodies the hype of when the anime was just getting started. The excitement of not understanding the Titans and having this eternal mystery that just keeps creating more and more questions. The excitement of the Scouts and their relationships with one another, friend or foe. While it may not be an accurate or even high-quality adaptation of the original, it still succeeds in garnering that feeling that we all once shared, especially when it's time to say our final goodbye to the series.
Both parts of the Attack on Titan film can be streamed on Amazon Prime or Funimation.