[WARNING OF SPOILERS AHEAD. PLEASE DO NOT READ IF YOU ARE PLANNING ON READING THE MANGA/WATCHING THE ANIME. OTHERWISE, ENTER AT YOUR OWN RISK. THANK YOU]
With a manga and anime series as serious as Attack on Titan, you wouldn’t really expect a parody version, would you? Well, considering how popular the franchise is, I guess it’s not that hard to believe.
Attack on Titan: Junior High is a comedy manga/anime series that was released after the original. It has all the major characters (or at least, most of them) for AOT but they’re all in chibi form and attend school – so kawaii!
Just a warning if you actually plan on watching it – maybe before or after you’ve read this – I suggest reading the original manga and/or watching the original anime.
Currently, Attack on Titan: Junior High has one season of 12 episodes (less than half of original AOT) and 11 volumes of manga that ended in July last year. It follows Eren, Misaka, Armin and the rest of the gang as they enter junior high that rivals the Titan Junior High. That’s right – Titans go to school and their school is literally next door to the human’s one.
If you’re expecting blood shed, emotion, shouting and screaming, then Junior High doesn’t contain it – well, at least the bloodshed part it doesn’t. Because, guess what? No-one dies!
The Titans are still the antagonists somewhat in this series but they don’t eat humans – they eat their lunches. And that’s why Eren holds a grudge against them – one day, the Colossal Titan (also the principle of the Titan Junior High) attacks him and eats his favourite lunch infront of him – cheeseburger steak. From then on, he vows to extinguish every Titan in existence. Sounds familiar, doesn’t it?
So, that’s get onto the review where I’ll be looking at the main differences between the original and parody and whether I liked it or not.
As I stated, the majority of original cast may a feature but even the lesser-known ones do. For example, if you’ve read the special chapter and/or watched the OVA that features Ilse Langnar, she appears in 2 episodes and has a much bigger role of belonging to the school newspaper – clever, seeing as her notebook is what helped get a closer insight to Titans in the original. Furlan Church and Isabel Magnolia from Levi’s sidestory also make a brief appearence towards the end of the series.
Of course, none of the characters die like they did the original, so many of them make much longer appearences, such as Sasha who I would say is featured more in the parody than the original.
Also, they give a few of the character’s relationships a bit more depth that weren’t really existent in the anime but more in the manga, such as Misaka’s possible romantic interest in Eren (apparently in the manga, Misaka actually declares her feelings for him – I’m not sure whether that’s true or not, so please correct me if I’m wrong) and Ymir’s and Krista’s relationship. However, they did hint on a love triangle between Eren, Misaka and Annie, which I don’t think would happen in the original.
They also made Armin much ‘weaker’ in this one by making him have a futuon cover him all the time as he ‘doesn’t like the cold’ and even missed the first day of school because of it.
The parody stuck very close to the original manga and anime, such as Eren’s hatred towards the titans; Keith Shadis and the whole introductory scene with Sasha and Connie; even that business with the key Eren’s father gave him to open the basement comes into play (I’ll talk about that later). Despite being set in a school and a completely different stroyline to the original, it manages to stick to the true story, along with each character’s part in the story, such as Misaka’s speech about how she is strong and everyone else is weak (during a game of dodgeball, no less). Also, remember in episode 4 when the Colossal Titan attacks Trost and Eren does that cool spinny thing before say, “It’s been a while,” (or something along those lines). Yeah, that happened to – they got all the little details.
The Maneuvering Gear even makes an appearence as part of the Wall Cleanup Club (fronting the Scout Regiment who wish to rebel against the school rules of attacking titans) to clean graffiti that the titans put on the walls.
Despite Eren (or any other of the characters) having the ability to transform into titans, they are still referenced – for example in episode 8 of Junior High, someone dressed as Eren’s Titan form is seen chasing the students and a water fountain of Annie’s Titan form is seen in some shots of the school.
Many of the episodes are stories that appear in cliche school life anime, such as Jean receiving a series of love letters and trying to figure out who it, an episode about the fireworks festival in which Bertholdt tries to tell Annie how he feels about her (that is hinted in the original manga and anime), a sports day episode and even the school festival. But a lot of the gags used do relate to the original, such as Levi’s ‘clean freak’ like nature and Oluo’s ‘excessive’ ability to bite his own tongue when he’s bragging.
However, not all the comedy worked for me, such as a titan falling in love with Jean or the part in the sports day episode where you see Jean swooping above everyone in the gear – it was funny the first 2 times, but 4 was a bit too much. Also, that scene when Eren finds the key and puts in the lock of a model version of the Walls felt like it wasn’t needed – how can the modelled walls be a lunch box?
Overall, I really did enjoy this anime, which shows that it’s just about the emotional level that Attack on Titan brings along – the characters and the plot aid it too. With the combination of some very clever gags – such as in episode 8 , where the ghost is called Freida (that’s a major spoiler only known at this point in time if you’ve read the manga or looked up spoilers on Wikipedia),seeing the chibi version of Linked Horizon (who sung both opening for the original anime and for this one too) and having the original voice actors (both subbed and dubbed versions of the anime), I really enjoyed it while I wait for season 2. However, a lot of people on MAL seem to disagree with me.
Thank you for reading, hope you enjoyed! Feel free to favourite and comment. Until next week, take care!