Attack On Titan: Movie Questions Answered

Attack On Titan is just two weeks away from being shown in cinemas and some fans of the original material might have some unanswered questions about the movie adaptation.
Based on the Japanese dark fantasy manga series, written and illustrated by Hajime Isayama, Attack On Titan has been a commercial success, earning fans all over the world. The series has received critical acclaim for it’s atmosphere and story.
The series opens with a post apocalyptic world, where in the remaining survivors of the human race hide behind closed cities, protected by towering walls to hide themselves from Titans, humanoid giants who eat people (whole and raw) for no apparent reason. The humans have lived peacefully for over 100 years but are suddenly reminded of what it means to live in fear of Titans when a colossal Titan appears.
While Attack On Titan can be considered as one of the most anticipated adaptations of the year, speculations from fans have increased as promotional images and trailers were released. I’ve done some research and here are some answers to some FAQ on the upcoming movie.
In an interview with Cinema Today, a Japanese website, Attack On Titan screenwriter Tomohiro Machiyama (also a famous columnist and critic) explained the reason for the changes in the movie. Director Shinji Higuchi decided to change the setting of the story in Japan. In the original material, the characters are made up of different races so instead of getting Japanese actors to portray Caucasians and vice versa, the decision was just to change the setting to Japan. In this way they could cast Japanese actors to portray Japanese characters, which is why Armin has black hair instead of blonde hair, It’s important to note that most of the changes in the movie will stem from this decision
Where is Levi ? 
It’s surprising that one of the series’ most popular character (Levi) is not in the movie. The decision to
not include Levi in the first movie, at least – fans are still hoping for him to appear in the sequel(s) has two contributing factors, the first is a simple case of his name not being Japanese enough. In the decision to change the setting of the movie in Japan and having Japanese characters instead of a mix of races was to change the names of the characters as well, except for the main characters (Eren and Armin) Jean and Sasha get to keep their names though. So instead of Levi we have Shikishima?
Another reason for dropping Levi’s character is so that the story can focus on main characters (and the relationship) between Eren and Mikasa (we’ll talk about that kiss later). In the anime and manga, Levi steals the show as an even more popular character than protagonist Eren, that would pose some challenges in the movie version but has left some fans dissapointed.
The Kiss 
With the release of the recent trailer a scene revealed what you would think is Eren kissing Mikasa but at closer look it seems to be Shikishima kissing Mikasa, whoever is kissing who this seems to be a betrayal for fans as this is a far cry from the original story, while this may not be a surprise for most audiences.  Did the movie jump the shark on that kiss? Fans may not be happy about it but it’s something that can be appreciated by broader audiences, it really is a gamble and we’ll only be able to see if it was a winning bet when the movie comes out.
Creating the Titans 
Considered as an ambitious endevour, there is a lot of CGI graphics that would be used in the movie, especially with the titans, it is basically unchartered territory in movie making. Titans are not robots, they are humanoid giants, that come in different sizes. Creating a 17.5ft robot that turns into a 1977 Camaro seems to be more realistic on screen. Also Japanese studios are not known for creating CGI heavy movies. Even Hollywood has their own tricks with movies that use a lot of CGI, so yes the rains in Pacific Rim and all that smoke in Godzilla are tricks which serve as smoke and mirrors so to speak. How will the team behind Attack On Titan take on the challenge of creating the titans on the big screen? The CGI and effects don’t just end with putting the titans on screen but also creating the 3D Manuever Gear and making it work. Wait? 3D Manuever Gear?! It’s a mechanism worn as a belt which allows the wearer to swing through buildings and trees in order to reach the Titan’s weak point – the nape of the neck. One of the best things in the anime was watching the characters move through the city or forest with their 3D MG, how will that be translated on the screen is something that we’ll have to wait for the movie to see.
Movie adaptations of our beloved anime, manga, series, comic books have been common in the last few years, while changes are inevitable for many reasons it’s important to look at each work as a separate entity. Books are books, anime is anime, manga is manga, etc. If you get caught up with the details it may ruin what could have been a good movie experience for you. The Attack On Titan movie adaptation is an ambitious undertaking that could possibly be a make-or-break in Anime-to-Movie adaptations. Don’t get to hung up on the details, take things as they are and just try to get lost in the moment. It will be hard to judge a movie based on trailers alone, we can only really know once we’re sitting in that movie house and watching the movie on screen.
From Pioneer Films, Attack On Titan will premiere in Philippine cinemas on August 12, 2015 while the sequel, Attack On Titan: End of The Wolrd will follow on September 2015.