Sunday, August 09, 2015

Netflix I Watched On Paternity Leave: Ben Nitpicks Attack on Titan

So, I've been spending some quality early mornings feeding and rocking and otherwise caring for a small person whom I am 50% responsible for. As a result, I've watched a lot of streaming video. Also I am writing this with a baby in my left arm.

First up: Attack on Titan. It's a diverting show, not a complete waste of time, but a bunch of things keep wrecking my suspension of disbelief:

1) The Title. The show's English title is "Attack on Titan" because that's what the Japanese designer wrote in English under the Japanese title, in English only slightly better than my Japanese.
These two lines of text are not the same.
Basically, the way this was translated is if I wrote a manga-style comic called "Revenge of the Otters" and titled it in Japanese "Revenge on Otter." Depending on whom on the Internet you ask, the Japanese literally translates to "advancing giants" or "the giants' attack." Also, in Japanese grammar you don't always have to indicate whether a noun is plural (you can leave it to context), but this is kind of an important thing in English.

And the Japanese version makes a lot of sense, because the story is one of mankind under assault by giant, man-eating, genital-less naked people with varying amounts of skin and/or grotesque physical deformities (for which "titan" is an acceptable homonym). So the titans are attacking. 

But with every opening sequence, I'm smacked with that English title and I say, "translation fail!" Which opens me to be critical of-

2) That's How You Intend To Kill 50-Foot-Tall Monsters?

So, you are being attacked by giant, super-strong, regenerating monsters, and cannon are not ideal weapons against them because you can only kill them if you hit a precise spot on the back of their necks. Let's further add that you have a century to develop an awesome steampunk way to combat these giants.

The obvious development in weapons technology is to arm the traveling cast of Peter Pan with Batman grappling hooks, jetpacks, and mini versions of those utility knife swords from Evangelion, right?
This makes so much more sense than developing man-portable, semiautomatic artillery with high-explosive shells that could be mass-produced for use by minimally-skilled troops.
As you can imagine, when humankind's soldiers fail to be the absolute perfect combination of Spider-Man, Zorro, and Cirque de Soleil, they get eaten. And as this show keeps a plausibly low number of characters with superhero-level talents, casualties are high.

So, every episode, I ask myself, "why aren't you doing something more efficient?"

But this is not what made me say, after episode 15 or so, that I could put this down and watch more episodes of Leverage when bottle-feeding a newborn. That was:

3) Obligatory Magical Teenage Boy.

So, after watching a lot of Lost Boys fail to think enough happy thoughts to avoid getting eaten by titans, the plot decides to give one of the obligatory Overly Moody Teenage Boys magical powers. Of course it goes to the Harry Potter-like one with the impulse control issues.

An aside: this show's Harry Potter has as his potential love interest his sort-of adopted sister (who has the same name as the company that made my wedding china), which is made even weirder because the reason she's sort of his sister is that as pre-tweens they teamed up to kill the slavers who murdered her family and were going to sex traffic her, so she ended up living with his family. In my mind, that's a set of facts that do not lead to a romantic relationship that I am comfortable endorsing.

The powers, sadly, do not go to the show's Ron Weasley.
Sorry, Armin, you're totally the Ron Weasley of this show.
So, basically, now I have to get smacked with bad translation title, cry with frustrated despair at futile wire-work swordplay, and deal with the least deserving, most irritating main character with magical powers, plus at least Ron gets to mack on the brains of their trio. I may finish the season; I'm a little curious what's in Magical Angst Teen's Creepy Unethical Medical Dad's basement, but I'm in no hurry.

1 comment:

Clovis said...

"The obvious development in weapons technology is to arm the traveling cast of Peter Pan with Batman grappling hooks, jetpacks, and mini versions of those utility knife swords from Evangelion"

This literally made me LOL. Nice.