Blu-Ray Review: Attack on Titan Collection One (2013)

Posted by Retrokaiser On Tuesday, August 12, 2014 2 comments

"Attack on Titan Collection One" is the first of two volumes of this animated fantasy war show. This show starts off with three children named: Eren Yeager, Mikasa Ackerman, and Armin Arlert who are trying to live a normal life in their home village. This is not any ordinary village as this village (and many others) is built behind a very large wall. Why is there a giant wall you ask? To keep out a race of terrible humanoid looking monsters named "Titans" whom like to feast down on human flesh but not because it keeps them alive but they do it just because they can (jerks). While most of the village is taking their lives easy, Eren isn't willing to sloth around as he wants to join a group called "The Scouts", a group of fighters trained to take down Titans.  Eren's dream is looked down upon by his friends and family as they don't want to see him die in battle. Not long after we hear a huge explosion followed by a BREAK THE WALL DOOOOOOWWWNNNNN!

Well we don't really have professional wrestler Chris Jericho come out but we actually see something very terrifying... A huge skinless Titan. The huge Titan manages to crack a hole in the wall where we then see a whole load of Titans break in and invade the village.  Eren, Mikasa, and Armin manage to get away on a boat with a lot of other people and moved to a safer location. We then flash-forward a few years and now we see out three heroes part of the army to where they'll go under training to defeat the Titans and claim back their land. (Click "Read More" to read the full review).

This Titan uses Steam just to farm trading cards and play Team Fortress 2.
The story in this show is a basic war story of men verses monsters and it was very interesting. This show is also dark and edgy but it works as they do not need to try very hard to be so and ends up being enjoyable. One thing it does try a bit too hard on is trying to be an intense action drama series as when they add drama to the action as it just becomes so forced to where it becomes a little painful to watch, thank goodness most of the show has action and drama separated from each other. 

The standalone drama was pretty good as those scenes just grip me and make me really care for what is going on and helps tell a good war story. One thing about the story that could've been handled a little better were the scenes where they flash-forward though time as it was very sudden to where I didn't know that the show jumped a few years. Another thing I didn't like about this show were all of the filler scenes as they just dragged on for way too long and were boring as all hell. While that is a huge problem I wouldn't say that this show has much filler but when you reach a filler scene you'll know straight-up that it's a filler scene.

The drama scenes help build-up the show to where you'll expect the fights to be great and the suspense does pay off. The actions scenes were great with a lot of exciting sword-play mixed with steam-punk styled zip lining (ZZZIIIIPPPLLLLIIINNNEEE). The action scenes were also unpredictable to where no one is safe from being killed off from the show and it does make you worry for the characters a lot as you want them to survive this clash of the Titans (no pun intended). Most of the characters were pretty good and you will care for them but they are also pretty darn generic and very standard in terms of anime characters although you'll forget all about that pretty during the action scenes.  The biggest character I had a problem with was "Eren" (pictured above) as he can be very whiny but he does have some very awesome moments as well so he isn't completely bad.

This show does come with a marathon feature where all episodes play with the credits cut out.  I like anime with a marathon feature but this is not a show I recommend marathoning as you need time for the story to seep into your brain and I recommend watching this show two episodes at a time. I know that is easier said than done but you'll find yourself burning out fast marathoning this show due to the show's structure. I know because I watched the show that way and regret watching it that way.

I am mixed on the art-work as while I like the coloring and the lovely detailed backgrounds I found the character designs to be very problematic. First problem is that a lot of the human designs were very generic and unoriginal but that's not to say that they weren't drawn well. Some characters are freaky looking (both human and Titans) and sometimes that does help build-up some unsettling atmosphere but a good chunk of the time it was very laughable to where it made the characters look so stupid that I was laughing instead of feeling scared.  The thing I really despise about the art-work are the very thick black outlines the human characters have. Those thick lines take away all of the depth from the characters and give them a two-dimensional look that's hard to ignore. This is a shame as I really like the artwork.  

I liked the animation in this show and I especially enjoyed it during the action scenes as it was animated well adding excitement that keeps me mesmerized. I wouldn't say it's perfect though as there were some scenes that were a bit choppy and there were also some scenes where the 2D and 3D effects didn't blend well.   The English dub is passable with voices that work well with most of the characters. My problem is that the English dub sounded a bit rushed during the earlier episodes to where you had parts that sounded forced to where it was laughable. The dub does pick up greatly from the third episode onwards but I wouldn't say it's the greatest dub ever but it's way far off from being un-listenable.. I enjoyed the soundtrack in this series with it's mixture of power rock and classical music to a point where I would buy the soundtrack if I ever saw it in the shops.

This release includes a bonus booklet containing artwork, comics, and profiles on the characters.  The artwork was really nice to look at and also some very grotesque looking art as well which was very appropriate.  The mini-comics were all gag related and I did like the "chibi" (big heads, small bodies) look to them but the humor was very dry and unfunny.

There is also a bunch of stuff to be found in the special features section on the discs.  You get audio  commentaries on episodes "three" and "thirteen".  The commentary tracks were very standard with giving you information on what it was like working on the show and was nice to hear an actual serious (mostly serious) commentary track from the Funimation crew as they tend to goof around a lot (not say that's a bad thing at all).

You also get a documentary called "The Making of Attack on Titan" that runs for about an hour and gives you information on what it was like working on this show from the English side of production.  This wasn't a bad documentary at all and you do get a very in-depth look at what it was like dubbing, translating, script writing the show.  While I did like this documentary I only recommend watching it once as that is all that is needed.

There's also a thirteen episode series titled "Chibi Theatre: Fly, Cadets, Fly" where we have our heroes in a super-deformed state trying to get through combat training in a comedic style.  This series starts off a little slow (like the main show itself) but the writing picks up and you do get some funny moments.  I liked the art-style and character designs as they had a nice cute look with strong coloring and are also designed off the "One Coin" toy-line.  Like the main show my problem is that the characters lack a certain depth and look very two-dimensional although it is more forgivable in this series with it being a gag show.  Animation in this series is pretty minimal like a motion comic book just like "Watchmen: The Motion Comic (2008 - 2009)" (man I reference that quite a bit) and the mouth movements look bad as they are very choppy.  In the end this series was worth the watch and I am really glad this came out as it would've been lost in obscurity with only people who watch fan-subs (maybe not even that) only knowing about this bonus show (now if we can only see an English release of "Petit Eva: Evangelion@School (2007)"). 

There is a picture gallery with all the eye-catchers with English translations of what is written on the pictures.  The eye-catchers look nice and it was nice knowing what was said on them but what I don't like is how they aren't full screened pictures and are only little tiny pictures found on the left side of the screen.  You also get the text-less opening and closing credit sequences with both of them having very nice visuals that worked well with the music. While I did like the music I also found it to be some of the most overproduced songs that I have ever heard.  Lastly you get the "U.S. Trailer" of the show and it is what it is as it does explain what the show is about but it wasn't anything special.

Overall this show was pretty good and while it does have a lot of problems you'll still find that the good outweighs the bad. I do recommend picking this up and I am looking forward to the second volume that comes out soon. Decent show.

Title: Attack on Titan Collection One
Animation/Production Studio: Wit Studio, Production I.G.
Genre: Animation/Anime, Drama, Action, Sci-Fi,War
Running Time: 325 minutes (13 Episodes)
Distributor: Madman Entertainment
Rating: MA15+ (Strong animated violence)
Price: $59.95
Recommended: Yes


DeathAdder83 said...

When it comes to the world of Anime, you are like John Cena and I am like Heath Slater. BUT I did watch and really enjoy Attack On Titan, I thought it was a really cool concept and enjoyed the freaky giant naked man babies with no dicks and the hook shots from their thighs. I am very much looking forward to Part 2.

Retrokaiser said...

Let's go Kaiser! Kaiser sucks!

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