Let’s say it like it is: Attack on Titan: Junior High is exactly what would happen if a crack school AU fanfic came to life.
WARNING: Spoilers for both Attack on Titan: Junior High and the original series.
Attack on Titan: Junior High, or Shingeki! Kyojin Chuugakkou in Japanese, is a new anime based on a parody manga written by Saki Nakagawa. It was already clear from the beginning that this was going to be a comedic take on the original series. And that’s precisely what it was. As a matter of fact, the anime is produced by the same studio as the original anime, Production I.G., and it even features the same voice actors, which helps make everything even more familiar.
Parodies, tributes or fanfics have one common denominator: we already know the source material. They take advantage of the fact that they don’t have to invest any extra time on presenting the characters or any other key elements of the story because we already know them. Junior High uses this advantage by making many things which are usually kept more in the shadows in the regular anime much funnier: Ymir’s possessiveness over Christa, Mikasa’s
unconfirmed secret love towards Eren, Eren and Jean’s rivalry…
Even though this anime is 100% comedy, not everything in it is a parody. Junior High also adds its own unique elements to the story, like the fact that there are two schools: one for Titans where everything is giant and one for humans. The only parts in which the show didn’t shine as bright are those that repeated the same jokes or funny situations as the original series. See: Keith Shadis confronting Sasha about eating onigiri. The original scene in which Sasha is eating a potato is much funnier, if only due to the tense nature of the situation.
Overall, the series feels like an appetizer to what’s probably the most awaited anime in recent times: Attack on Titan Season 2, which is finally coming out in 2016. The fact that the Junior High features the same voice actors, some original tracks and even a weird remix of the famous opening ‘Guren no Yumiya‘, only made me more hyped for the second season. If that was even possible.