I would like to discuss my favorite summer movie, Pacific Rim, and the best anime airing this season, Attack on Titan, and their interesting parallels. WARNING: For those who have not watched Pacific Rim or Attack on Titan (or not caught up), THERE WILL BE SOME SPOILERS! For Attack on Titan, if you have only seen like 5 or less episodes, this has some pretty big spoilers. For Pacific Rim, there are some spoilers there, too, so best to see the movie first!
"Pacific Rim" is an example of what a live-action should be, when anime-inspired. Some say it had no substance, but I disagree. I can easily point at so many in-depth moments for what it was, but this post doesn't revolve around that. Anyway, "Pacific Rim" is basically, in a nutshell, a live-action mecha vs. giant monster (great combination!) but doesn't lack heart.
"Attack on Titan" is an anime, based off an ongoing manga, that is currently airing this season (19 episodes so far). This series has a lot of depth and heart, and while action is present, it focused a lot of human emotion and the fear of being eaten. They've lived a hundred years behind walls, until one day....a 60 meter titan breeches the 50 meter wall (typically, the largest titan is 15 or 30 meters).
Now, how could these two have similarities?
Giant walls JUST DON'T WORK - This should be common sense, but apparently not so. In Pacific Rim, many leaders thought "The Wall of Life" was a good option since currently, Jaegars were getting destroyed. However, it only takes a Kaiju SECONDS to break through the wall. In Attack on Titan, for a hundred years humanity lived in peace behind a 50 meter wall, since titans usually get up to 15 or 30 meters. Eren and Armin seemed to know that they would NOT be safe forever, and on that day....the wall is breeched when a 60 meter class titan mysteriously appears. Yup....when dealing with GIANT MONSTERS, walls just DON'T WORK!
"It's been 5 years" - In Pacific Rim, Stacker Pentecost looks for Rayleigh, the pilot of Gipsy Danger. It's been five years since Rayleigh last piloted an Jaegar, after the day he watched his brother ripped out and probably eaten. In Attack on Titan, Eren witnessed his mother eaten by a Titan after the 60 meter-class breeched the wall, and 5 years later that same Titan reappears! Yup, 5 years seems to be significant!
Class System - Pacific Rim catagorizes the Kaiju in classes, typical known only to get up to Class 4 or "Catagory 4". Attack on Titan also uses a class system for the Titans, measuring in meters, such as "7 meter class" or "15 meter class". Yup...it's easier to know what you're up against with a class system!
There is ALWAYS something bigger - The Kaiju were only known to go up to a Catagory 4, but later they face a Catagory 5 during the last assault. No one ever thought a Titan could breech a 50 meter wall, since they go to about maybe 30 meters, until one day a 60 meter Titan looks over their walls. Yup, remember...don't think they can't get bigger!
Jaegar, our only hope! - "To fight monsters, we created monsters of our own. The Jaegar program was born." That's very true for Pacific Rim and Attack on Titan! For Pacific Rim, an Jaegar (German; "Hunter") is a huge mecha, controlled by two pilots melding their memories together to control the machine, left side and right side (since controlling both is too hard on a person). As proven when the Kaiju broke through the Wall of Life, an Jaegar had to take it down since weapons take days to kill it. And yet they want to shut down the program? In Attack on Titan, we have Eren Jaegar, who after what seems like certain death, can become a Titan! Though in truth, it's more or less summoning a Titan's body, which he is fused to and controls. In this form, he is very strong and is able to take down titan, after titan, after titan, much easier than a soldier using 3D Gear could do. But, it wasn't easy for the higher ups to except this...they feared him, but soon learned of his value. Yup....only an Jaegar can win this fight!
Smart weirdos obsessed with the enemy - In Pacific Rim, we had Newt and his obsession with Kaiju. His colleague refers to him as a "Kaiju groupie", but Newt says he is just trying to understand them. Still, he has a Kaiju tattooed to his arm, and when he needed to find a Kaiju brain to drift with at the black market, he was absolutely ecstatic when he saw all those kaiju parts! The same goes for Hanji Zoe, who adores studying the titans and has an unhealthy fascination with them. When capturing titans alive, she gives them names, and loves observing them, and other crazy antics. Her means of communication are interesting. Both Newt and Hanji, however, are very smart and do pick up on some interesting facts about their enemy. Yup....the key to defeating your enemy might lie in the hands of crazy experimenters obsessed with it.
Badass commanders - In Pacific Rim, we have Stacker Pentecost. In Attack on Titan, we have Dot Pixis. Even without support, Stacker still believes the Jaegars are their only chance at winning this war against the Kaiju. He finds Rayleigh to pilot Gipsy Danger again, as he is the only surviving Mark 3 pilot. Also, Stacker had piloted an Jaegar solo when he saved Mako, like Rayleigh did when he lost his brother and finished the Kaiju off on his own. Dot Pixis sees the potential in using Eren Jaegar's strange power against the titans. Despite the risk, it's their only hope to take back territory for the first time. Yup....these guys are experienced, and know what they're doing when other higher ups do not.
Driven by loss - Rayleigh and Mako both suffered a loss, due to Kaiju attack. For Rayleigh, he was still connected to his brother in the Jaegar when a Kaiju ripped him out and probably ate him. For Mako, she lost her family when she was a little girl, and wants to get into an Jaegar so she can avenge her family! Eren and Mikasa also suffered loss of their family. For Eren, he watched his mother get eaten by a titan. For Mikasa, her family was killed...and disgustingly, not by titans. But inspired by Eren, she's strong in her will to fight, even at its bleakest. They are strong on their own, but even stronger together. Yup...it's fair to say that these two are compatable!
A battle goes terribly wrong! - In Pacific Rim, a Class 4 Kaiju is spotted outside of Hong Kong where The Shattered Dome is located. They send out three of their Jaegars, who sadly get their butts whipped (not because they sucked, either...you probably know why). Two Jaegars are destroyed, along with their pilots, and one is rendered useless. These are pilots you barely get to know. In Attack on Titan, when the 60 meter-class Titan appears after 5 years, our trainees after graduation are faced with the titans...but many of them die, ones we only met briefly! Yup...it sucks to see people we barely met torn apart, when it was almost gonna be a fist-pumping moment! Epic music plays before both these battles, too.
It seems hopeless, until.... - As said above, when the battle goes terrible wrong, it seems utterly hopeless, until in Pacific Rim, Rayleigh convinces Stacker to let him and Mako into the battle, since Gipsy is analog, unlike the other Jaegars. The Kaiju was NOT expecting a fourth Jaegar...she was a total wildcard. And in Attack on Titan, when it seems to be over, even for Mikasa (the best of them all), a mysterious 15 meter class appears, who FIGHTS other Titans and destroys them all. Bet they weren't expecting that! Yup...don't think it's over yet, there might be a wildcard!
Humanity strikes back! - In both, they are faced with threats that are unknown to them, striking fear in their hearts. However, humanity won't sit back and be extinct, either. Even though some see ultimate failure, even at failing parts in both this movie and this anime, if you keep fighting, you can turn it around, despite how hopeless it is! "You must fight!" "Today we are CANCELLING the apocalypse!"
EPIC SOUNDTRACK! - Two tracks from Pacific Rim and Attack on Titan sound perfectly similar in their own way, it is freaky! If you switched these songs for the movie and anime, it would fit!
That AoT song reminded me of Pacific Rim when I first heard it!
And there you have it. "Pacific Rim" was an amazing summer flick, and I had so much fun watching it. It reminds us what a movie should be! "Attack on Titan" is one of the best anime I had seen in awhile. Both have a pretty basic plot, "unknown danger threatens humanity, and we must fight back!" but takes it another level. You care for these characters. You'll be fist-pumping, gasping, crying, and sometimes even laughing....all in all, both deliver what it promises, plus a little more. Inspiring, heart-pounding, and some of the best stuff you'll see in 2013!