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Edge of Tomorrow is the newest vanity project from Tom Cruise. It’s based on the bizarrely titled Japanese novel All You Need is Kill. With a Scientologist lead actor, a sci-fi premise, Japanese source material, and a less than stellar trailer, this had all the makings of a disaster. Surprisingly, it wasn’t a disaster. Even more surprising, Edge of Tomorrow was pretty damn good.
I can’t say how faithful the film is to the source material, but it doesn’t really matter. The movie needs to be able to stand on its own in order to be successful. Fortunately, the story put forth by the filmmakers was compelling. Cruise plays Major William Cage, the military’s slimy PR guy who has never once stepped on the battlefield. He’s a weasel, for sure, and Cruise plays him with a smarmy attitude. We immediately dislike him, and we should, since he’s such a jerk. Cruise actually plays against type here, as a cowardly weakling who isn’t immediately the savior of the human race. His playing against type is a huge advantage for the movie, because if he played his usual hero-type, the movie would have fallen flat on its face.
My faith in anime was at an all-time low. I had thought about completely giving it up more than once. The last show I really enjoyed was Gurren Lagann and before that, Akagi. Those series came out in 2007 and 2005, respectively. Since this is 2014, that means there had only been two great shows in the last seven years. That’s pathetic. Nobody in Japan seemed interested in creating a good series any more. All they care about is selling moeblob merchandise which cater to the lowest pedophilic denominator.
And then I watched Attack on Titan.
I’m not going to say this series is perfect. It’s not. It isn’t the next Cowboy Bebop or Haibane Renmei. It has flaws. But it is a huge step in the right direction. It tones down the moe factor, ramps up the action, and even took the time to include a plot. These are the only things I ask for in an anime. Unfortunately, most anime are incapable of meeting these three criteria. Attack on Titan, however, made all the right moves.