Attack On Titan: Failed VFX?

Gio Escudero, Staff Writer

One of the most anticipated animes of the year is currently facing a ton of backlash over their newest season of Attack On Titan Season 4.

In 2020, the original developers of the anime had stated that their contract with the VFX developers was coming to an end and that they were going to switch companies for the final season. The new company, MAPPA, is well known for producing many other popular animes in the past, and is still in production finishing the season’s final episodes.

Criticisms of MAPPA’s involvement were muted until episode 5 of the new season, when significant action sequences started with regularity. But as more episodes were released, many critics claimed that the animations appeared rushed, leading some fans to believe MAPPA didn’t spend quality time on their final project. While some audiences appreciated the different artistic renditions, more traditional fans took their anger out on MAPPA Studios on social media. The firestorm came to a head earlier this year, when several members of the MAPPA creative team acknowledged via social media that the critical response had taken its toll on their enthusiasm for the project.

Fantasy/Sci-fi media site Epic Stream took note of the drama surrounding the switch to MAPPA, the ensuing controversy over the art, and rumors of the season’s cancellation. Epic Stream managing editor Elazje Carillo noted that “If the fans were only voicing their discontent, it would have been acceptable as it is their opinion. However, the toxicity of the hatred has become so great that some anti-fans have become fixated to the point of harassing the staff via Twitter and other means. This toxicity led a staff member from MAPPA to address the issue head-on.”

But many other fans argue that they love the new look of how the titans move and how it’s animated. A Quora discussion board article by anime/manga critic Ark Abhyudaya entitled ” Is MAPPA doing a good job in animating Attack on Titan Season 4 as compared to previous seasons done by WIT Studio?” acknowledged some of the criticism from traditional fans, but also noted the relative accuracy of the trasitional models for characters and praised the use of rotoscope animation.

“The fanbase is currently divided when it comes to Mappa taking over for WIT, two sides of the same coin colliding,” Abhudaya noted. “As manga fans, you’d most likely be carefree about the animation as you’ve only experienced the essence of the anime captured in graphic novels. As anime fans, it functions inversely as the mainstream fans have had a long-lasting loyalty with WIT (studios) and would not be able to adapt to the new animation.”

While the new CGI has the AOT fanbase divided, and at the end of the day, only time will tell if the franchise shifts VFX studios once again, or the bastion of hardcore titan fans grows accustomed to the new style.