Survival of the Weakest in Attack on Titan Dec15

Survival of the Weakest in Attack on Titan...

Forget the proverbial answer to the universe hidden in the Yeager family basement; I’m more curious about the T-rex in Season Two’s opening cinematic. Whether as a reimagining or reflection of the real world, Attack on Titan’s Germanic culture and firearms place it firmly in postdiluvian days, despite all those giants on the earth. Aside from the military’s trusty steeds, little more than an occasional forest creature dares to show its face betwixt all the blood and brimstone. But when a T-rex literally comes marching over the horizon in Season Two’s intro, I’m completely pulled out of my deadlocked immersion, brain scrambling to make sense of this world-building idiosyncrasy. True strength, as Attack on Titan echoes through Marco Bodt, is “knowing what it is to be weak.” As the “king of the tyrant lizards” tramples over waves of ant-like human armies, accompanied by the show’s intense theme music, it becomes symbolic shorthand for misconstrued social Darwinism: survival of the strongest. The Beast Titan leads the dinosaur, along with a herd of other assorted creatures (each the largest species of their respective animal kingdoms), becoming an icon of unchallenged rule—as the most ruthless, most powerful, and most intelligent of his kind. With his nearly human, ape-like features, the Beast Titan poses as the missing link between monkey and man. And in a world where what it means to be human is the oft-posed, existential question, this makes him even more terrifying as Season Two’s archvillain. “Strength preys on weakness. It’s a very straightforward arrangement actually,” Armin introspects, likening local bullies to the cannibalistic titans that keep humanity trapped within a walled city. From the moment Eren watches his mother get eaten alive because he isn’t physically strong enough to lift a house off of her,...

7 Anime Characters You Never Knew Were Influenced by Christianity Jun02

7 Anime Characters You Never Knew Were Influenced by Christianity...

Fun fact: Only 0.1% of Japan’s population practices Christianity… which makes anime’s fascination with messianic imagery (Evangelion), creepy-cool crosses (Death Note), and kick-butt clergy (Trigun) a bit of a head-scratcher. Though often used as symbolic short-hand or “occult” aesthetic, Christianity’s influence on anime characters sometimes runs deeper than wearing a cross or practicing a pseudo-fantasy variant of the real-world religion (that probably involves vampire-hunting). Looking beyond the obvious examples (such as Kirei Kotomine from Fate/Zero and Rosette Christopher from Chrono Crusade), here are seven anime and manga characters you didn’t know were directly influenced by Christianity during development (and beyond). 1. Mihael “Mello” Keehl, Death Note Bearing a Slavic name synonymous with the archangel Michael’s, Mello decks out his attire (gun included) with crosses, wears a rosary, and keeps statues of Mary and Christ in his hideout (but only in the original manga, where his implied Catholic faith went uncensored). What truly sets Mello apart, however, is the stubborn distinction he makes between the “Almighty” Christian God and shinigami “gods” amidst a nihilistic narrative where most don’t believe his God exists. This insight deepens Mello’s characterization as a rebel determined to spite the ways of the world—far past the point of reason. “I hardly need to remind the reader about the epic battle between the century’s greatest detective, L, and that grotesque murderer, Kira. Looking back, I can only surmise that the gods [shinigami] smiled on Kira for their own vain amusement. Perhaps these gods actually wanted a blood-soaked world of betrayal and false accusation. Perhaps the entire episode exists as a lesson to teach us the difference between the Almighty and the shinigami.” – Mello, in his self-authored light novel, Death Note: Another Note 2. Rin Tohsaka, Fate/Stay Night At a glance, the...

Attack on Titan Reminds us to Value Our Origins May10

Attack on Titan Reminds us to Value Our Origins...

I come from a region known for ignorance and stupidity. In media, residents of the Southern United States are often portrayed as unintelligent people with thick accents. I can’t tell you how many cartoons I’ve seen with a character in overalls, a piece of wheat hanging from his mouth, driveling with an obnoxious southern drawl. Because of this stigma, in the past I’ve detested using southern words like “y’all” or “buggie.” I didn’t pick up the southern accent on purpose. Sometimes I’ve wished I was from somewhere else, so I didn’t feel like I had to continuously prove that I’m not an idiot. Attack on Titan’s Sasha Braus felt the same way about her humble beginnings. She grew up with her father in the woods, struggling to find food that they hunted with bows and arrows. She also adopted her father’s deep southern accent. When she decided to join the 104th training corps in the military, she changed her accent, carefully choosing her words to make sure no one knew what she really sounded like and thus disguising where she came from. The places I came from formed who we I am and will always be a part of me no matter where I go. At one point, one of her fellow trainees, Ymir, calls her out for “acting too nice,” accusing her of covering up how she feels and being a fake. Another trainee named Krista Lenz defends Sasha, saying that she likes how Sasha talks and that “her words are her own.” In Season Two, Sasha is forced to return to her village to warn her people of an oncoming titan attack. Memories rush back to her about her home and who she is. There she finds a young girl trapped by...

The FANtastic Geek Gift Guide Nov25

The FANtastic Geek Gift Guide...

Christmas is coming, folks. And we know gift shopping can be a hassle. What to get your geek buddies that they don’t already to have? What to ask for because no one knows what to get you? We did a Gift Guide to Geek Art already, but thought you might be on the lookout for other ideas too. We did the research for you and have compiled a guide to satisfy every fan’s dream. For the Anime Enthusiast We know RWBY‘s not technically an anime because it’s American; calm down, folks! Calm down. Also, our Small-size editor’s wanted that Attack on Titan hoodie for a long time. Just sayin’. Attack on Titan Hoodie – $34.99 RWBY Ruby Figure – $34.95 Works of H. Miyazaki – $188.99 Crunchyroll Subscription – $6.95/month Princess Mononoke Art Print – $28 Eevee Earrings – $13.16 For the Tabletop Titan No one can understand why the board game organizer is so awesome unless they are a board gamer. Escape: The Curse of the Temple – $70 Dice Bag – $9.95 RPG Dice Set – $9.98 Dungeon Master Screen – $15 Board Game Organizer – $15-$50 King of Tokyo – $39.99 For the Comic Cavalier Marvel’s taking the Star Wars universe to great places… need we say more? Plus some other cool stuff. Star Wars Comics – $4.99 Inky Superhero Art – $30-$75 Superhero Fingerless Gloves – $25 Nimona Graphic Novel – $15.99 Ms. Marvel Comics – $2.99 DC Comics: A Visual History – $35 For the Fantasy Fiend That handmade Falkor, though! Lindsey Stirling album – $9.99 Elf Ear Cuffs – $27.75 The Name of the Wind – $10.79 Handmade Falkor – $131.83 The Grisha Trilogy – $36.53 Game of Thrones Dog Tag – $14.99 For the Sci-Fi Supporter The closest you can get...

Hymns and Heroes: 10 More Matches Made in Heaven Nov18

Hymns and Heroes: 10 More Matches Made in Heaven...

Ask and ye shall receive! Here are ten more hymn-meets-hero matches made in heaven, because we believe in the power of resurrection here at Geekdom House (whether for Jesus, Gandalf, or a mashup list). See Part 1 of this list here. 1. Sonic the Hedgehog — “There is a Green Hill Far Away” Twenty-five years far away, in fact. And boy, do we hope Sonic Mania brings it back. 2. Pit (Kid Icarus) — “The Fight is On” Step 1: Insert Smash Bros. Brawl. Step 2: Select Pit. Step 3: Press “up” on the D-pad. Step 4: Continue as directed until all opponents gang up to pound you into silence. 3. Pick an Age of Ultron Avenger, any Age of Ultron Avenger — “Be Thou My Vision” This isn’t the first time we’ve made this pun, and it won’t be the last. (Maybe next time we’ll apply it to Daredevil instead…) 4. Ichigo Kurosaki — “The Call for Reapers” He answered that call in the dubbed version. 5. Eren Jaeger — “Fire of God, Titanic Spirit” Sink your teeth into that colossal pun. Seriously, though, we just want to hear him rage his way through the lyrics in Titan-ese while he’s on fire. 6. Pikmin — “I’ll Go Where You Want Me to Go” “Except when I see a pellet. Or get stuck behind a bridge. Or decide to get lost 20 seconds before launch.” 7. Glorfindel/Arwen — “Ride On! Ride On in Majesty!” Or, as we elves say, “noro lim!” 8. Solaire of Astora — “Praise the Father; Praise the Son” And engage in jolly charismatic worship. 9. Haruka Nanase — “Take Me to the Water” We bet he only sings freestyle. 10. Thor — “The God of Thunder and the Lightning” “This hymn, I like it. ANOTHER!” We can just see Thor hurling a...

Humanity’s Kindest Soldier Feb24

Humanity’s Kindest Soldier...

“Let me ask you something: as a Levi fan, why do you think the ‘courtroom scene’ is so significant to his character?” I was decked out in full Levi cosplay (Wings of Freedom and all), and I was totally unprepared for this question. Maybe the fact that the person asking was Lauren Landa, the voice actor for Annie Leonhardt, didn’t help my composure. In a trial for lead character Eren Yeager’s life, Levi intervenes at the last moment, brutally kicking the bound protagonist until he’s a bleeding, gurgling mess. It’s a stunt—one meant to save Eren from the custody of the Military Police—but I still cringe every time I see this scene. In pondering a response to the question, directed at me during OMNI Expo’s 2015 voice actor meet and greet, a million answers raced through my mind. The scene definitely showcased Levi’s intelligence; it hinted at the brutality that characterized his thug days; it made viewers wonder if he was a decent human being. But none of these generic answers described what his actions in that moment meant to me and what they meant to Levi. The Love of a Captain Despite his ability to drop 15-meter titans like flies—a quality that makes him untouchable by lawman and layman alike—Levi strikes me as neither a reckless rebel nor a cold-hearted sociopath. However, his ability to grasp people’s inner feelings and empathize with them makes him willing to play the “bad guy” as the need arises. No doubt a part of that willingness stems from his lifelong hostility to the government, but also I believe Levi is one of the few characters capable of showing true, selfless love for others. Sometimes that love appears masked by viciousness, dislodging molars and morals alike in the...

Lessons of the Emotionless Jan13

Lessons of the Emotionless...

In “Chuck Versus the Three Words,” when Sarah is trying to train Chuck to be a spy, she tells him, “You need to learn to ignore your emotions. Spies do not have feelings. Feelings get you killed. You need to learn to bury them in a place deep inside.” I know exactly how Sarah feels. Well, maybe not exactly since I’ve never been a spy (or if I have, I certainly wouldn’t admit it here. Shhh.). But I understand. I experienced both ends of the emotional spectrum growing up via members of my family. I had a couple extremely unemotional family members, who kept their feelings buried deep inside, and a couple extremely emotional ones, who let out their pent-up feelings in outbursts of anger and shouting matches. As a quiet introvert myself, I decided the latter didn’t look healthy or fun, and I would join the ranks of the stoic flag holders in my family. I came to believe that letting people know how I felt was a weakness; it made me feel vulnerable and I didn’t like that feeling. Crying in front of someone was an absolute no-no. If you loved someone, you didn’t tell them that; and you especially didn’t tell a guy you had feelings for him. That was just giving them the opportunity to hurt you…   Read the whole article from Christ and Pop...

A cage of fear Oct30

A cage of fear

Eowyn is no pansy. Tolkien has been accused of putting his female characters on a pedestal, and the lady of Rohan is no exception. From the moment she is introduced in The Lord of the Rings, Eowyn is pining for battle. With good reason. She was orphaned at age seven when her father was murdered by orcs and her mother subsequently died of grief. Eowyn’s origin story is worthy of Batman’s, and as any Eastern Asian martial arts movie will tell you, violent vengeance is the only solution to such problems. Deciding not to follow in Mom’s footsteps, Eowyn trains diligently in sword fighting and is referred to as a shieldmaiden. Step aside, Xena; there’s a new warrior princess in town. What’s more, she claims to be unafraid of death. My curiosity is peaked then, when Eowyn is asked what it is that she does fear. Her response? She is afraid of a cage. In a world ruled by men, Eowyn dreads the drudgery of the duties assigned to her on the basis of her gender, such as tending to her dying brother. For her, these “womanly” tasks are confining.You cannot truly love someone if you are afraid. Her greatest fear is that she will never be able to accomplish her desires because she is being held back by these obligations. The claustrophobia is palpable. She is trapped. The anime Attack on Titan opens on a similar sentiment. Here, the threat is the monstrous Titans, humanoid giants that look like the muscular system diagrams in your anatomy textbook (if the diagrams came alive and grew to six metres in height). Worse still, they eat humans. Yeah. Terrifying. Small wonder that humanity has retreated behind three concentric sets of stone walls to defend themselves. However,...

Mechon, titan, black and white Oct05

Mechon, titan, black and white...

Sometimes it’s easier to determine what isn’t a human rather than what is. What constitutes a human being? Is it our physiology? Our spiritual nature? Perhaps our unique ability to reason and use critical thinking, or our tendency to form intricate relationships? In the world of Attack on Titan, humanity survives on the cusp of extinction, barricaded behind fifty-meter-high walls—the only thing separating them from the carnivorous titans roaming outside. Within this post-apocalyptic microcosm, the lines between man and monster become blurred, with the greedy and needy turning to crime and causing as much havoc as the titans themselves. Even so, it’s an unspoken law that while a human may be “friend,” a titan will always be “foe,” and with most of the living having lost a comrade between a titan’s teeth, that notion isn’t too difficult to enforce. Things get tricky, however, with the discovery of Titan Shifters—humans with the ability to morph titan bodies around themselves at will. And if that doesn’t throw an ethical dilemma into the encroaching uneasiness, then the discovery that most—if not all—titans were once human beings certainly does. It’s simple and painless to forget that the objects of your hatred breathe the same air that you do. Captain Levi—whose human hit-list once surpassed his number of titan kills—actually lowers his face in guilt at the realization that “all the flesh I’ve risked everything to slice is actually human flesh.” For Levi and the other titan-slaying soldiers, the battle for humanity suddenly becomes a twisted tug-of-war between saving the lost souls trapped within the titans’ bodies and killing the rampaging titans in order to preserve themselves. But in killing these humans-turned-monsters, do they risk destroying the very thing they aim to save? With titans bearing the familiar faces...

An acrostic for Armin Jun24

An acrostic for Armin...

A horrible disaster Rampaging abominations Many people eaten I was one of them, but no more Nay, I will slay them all All of them Really! All of them Listen to me Every day Relentlessly Talking about slaying the...

Anime themes that rock May29

Anime themes that rock

Since May is our music-themed month, we will be regaling you with fun playlists every Friday. These are the anime theme songs that make us wish we spoke Japanese (except in the case of the Pokemon theme; we can sing along with that one, and frequently do). Pokemon It’s the very best, like no theme ever was. Attack on Titan We will keel all ze titans. Fairy Tail Yes, it’s SUPPOSED to be “tail.” Fullmetal Alchemist: Brotherhood That armor must’ve cost Al an arm and a leg. Sword Art Online This theme reminds us we want to take sword lessons and develop...

Abandoning our humanity Mar25

Abandoning our humanity

Attack on Titan is a brutal story that centers on one theme: survival. The only humans (that we know of) live in a city protected by gigantic walls, which prevent the Titans—giant, humanoid creatures that consider humans their chew toys—from entering. You might foresee the problems that could arise when Titans break through the first wall that surrounds the city, Maria, and flood the outer ring inside, causing thousands of refugees to retreat back behind Wall Rose (or be Titan dinner). I, however, was too caught up in the terror of the people and watching a mother get chewed up before the eyes of her traumatized son to think about what would happen later. After the citizens who escaped have made it to safety, after everyone, including me, has breathed a sigh of relief, the shoe drops. Hunger sets in as a food shortage becomes apparent. The space in the inner walls cannot support all the refugees who had flooded in from the outer ring, which is now overrun with Titans. Is it worth becoming a monster so your children don’t have to be? What does the government to do in response to this crisis? Something horrendous. But something that I might do in the same situation, because I can’t see an alternative. They send about 250,000 of the refugees (20% of the populace)—farmers, blacksmiths, architects, gardeners, husbands, wives, sisters, brothers—on a “mission” to reclaim Wall Maria. It’s a suicide mission, a glorified reason for getting rid of the extra mouths to feed. Armin’s grandfather is one of the people enlisted to go, and we see him saying goodbye to Armin with a grim but determined expression. He knows exactly where he is going: to his death. Technically, he chooses to go, but is it really a choice? Is there really another option? Sure enough, every single one of the refugees is crushed and eaten by the Titans, and this is one of the many reasons the main character of the show, Eren, vows revenge on the creatures and, along with Armin, joins the army to fight against them. I was too caught up watching a mother get chewed up before the eyes of her traumatized son. The needs of the many, as it were. RIP Leonard Nemoy. Armin, generally the voice of wisdom in the show, says at one point, “You can’t change anything unless you can discard part of yourself too. To surpass monsters, you must be willing to abandon your humanity.” Is abandoning your humanity worth mere survival? Are you abandoning the very thing you are fighting for by doing so? Or is it worth becoming a monster so your children don’t have to be? Everyone has a choice, but it is those decisions that seem to have no right answer that I dread facing. Would I have the courage (or folly) to make the same decision and walk off on a mission that if actually succeeded, would mean abandoning my own humanity to accomplish it? It is hard to say one way or the other until Titans decide to invade Canada, but I do know I would be terrified of the ethical decision before me. Whether it be Adama or Obama, these tough decisions are not new. At first sight, in Attack on Titan the needs of the many mantra can be interpreted as sacrificing your life for the lives of all the others who are left behind. That’s noble. That’s honourable. But the scary thought is pondering a future where it might be necessary for someone to sacrifice their humanity to preserve the humanity of others. That choice is...

Curse your sudden but inevitable betrayal Mar18

Curse your sudden but inevitable betrayal...

The best kind of traitor lives in a world of grey. They are not just evil for evil’s sake, but they have motive, they have passion, they are doing what makes sense to them. Even when I want to throw the TV remote at Jayne’s head when he betrays Simon and River during their heist on Ariel in Firefly, I can’t help but understand his desire to leave the cruddy life of space piracy to find a tropical planet to live the rest of his days with the reward money (or, more likely, spend it on his own ship, Vera upgrades, and “other” services). The conflict in him is obvious throughout the show. He’d grown attached to the Serenity’s crew. This was a hard decision. It was possibly made easier because Simon and River were relatively new and they weren’t a part of Mal’s crew. Not to mention he didn’t really like either of them. I don’t think even Jayne could have turned Kaylee in to the Alliance if she was a wanted convict. It is only when Mal shoves Jayne out of the airlock doors that we begin to see the true measure of Jayne’s character. Mal: “I should’ve shot you the second I found out what you did.” Jayne: “That would’ve been the right thing.” Could our scruffy-looking, loot-loving, gun-toting criminal actually be sorry for what he did? When Jayne realizes he’s going to die, he doesn’t plead for his life. He doesn’t try to explain his actions. He says to Mal, “Do me a favour… Make something up. Don’t tell them [the crew] what I did.” This. “I could either move forward or stay in the past. But the only way to move forward was to forgive myself.” This is why...