HERE BE SPOILERS.
I liked it. I did not think I would.
I had been warned of multiple character assassinations in this live version and I fully expected to not like or connect with anything going on. I expected total cheese special effects because Japan isn’t really known for doing realistic monster effects. I expected them not to really care for the music because anime SnK had already made a splash that would be hard to follow. I expected the sets to feel like sets and the costumes to visually advertise that they were costumes.
I’m glad to say I was wrong on all counts.
Mikasa starts out not as the Mikasa we know and at first you might worry because why is she so helpless and seemingly romantic feeling? Anime Mikasa didn’t start out the badass. She was wide eyed and helpless in the face of her attackers until Eren makes his statement that,
“If you win, you live. If you lose, you die. If you don’t fight, you can’t win!”
So it makes sense she starts out that way. We’ve been so used to her being what she turns into it’s a little weird seeing her origin again. I don’t mind the subtle hints at romance. Because it’s asian cinema it’s subtle by western standards. But because it’s subtle enough it’s easy to interpret it into other kinds of affection. When she looks away from him it can be brotherly or friendly.
Armin and Hanji stay Armin and Hanji. Hannah and Franz are there albeit with different names. Someone I think is Pixis and a dude that could be Reiner is also around. There were a couple new characters who I had no backstory on really so it was harder to keep up with who was who. I wonder if someone unfamiliar with the anime/manga would have trouble keeping up with the motivations of anyone who wasn’t the main trio.
There is a Levi replacement as well. Not sure if I like that. It’s well known that Levi is the most popular character and to change his name seems like a weird choice. But perhaps it will be explained in part II.
Maybe they wanted to play up some kinda romance and thought that couldn’t be with two characters with the same last name. That doesn’t make total sense though. Mikasa and Levi replacement’s scenes weren’t and don’t need to be interpreted as romance at all. It easily could have been devotion to someone who saved you or a master and his tool.
Jean is pumping up the asshole this time around. He’s one in the original but they make it really clear here. I didn’t mind that at all. I hope he has a comparable character arc in part II with Marco if possible but it’s ok if not. I like this Jean. He’s my favorite anyways but I didn’t expect to like this live one but I do.
Effects were well thought out. They did a nice mix of CG, blue screen, and practical and it felt cohesive. I only noted a couple places where the person being eaten looked stilted but that’s a hard thing to pull off so they get a pass on that.
The costumes felt gritty and real. Everything was dirty which worked. They wanted to convey how dire it was and that certainly helped. The ODM/3DMG gear was pretty well done. It looked sized proper. The scenes of them introducing it was heavy handed but again, they get a pass cause they had an hour and a half to cover this story.
I recommend fans of the series watch it. It’s different to be sure but not as bad as you heard. Part I is worthy of the SnK name.