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

Posted by Retrokaiser On Monday, May 25, 2015 0 comments

"Attack on Titan Collection Two" contains the second half of the first season of the sci-fi action show, Attack on Titan.  This show is about a group of youths that are part of a military, set on wiping out giant humanoid looking creatures named Titans.  One of the young youths named Eren just happens to have the ability to transform into one (you'll find out why from watching the first volume).  The rest of the military are scared out of their mind, so they put Eren though a very tough trial to decide if he is a threat to the human race or a weapon that can be used to fight back against the Titans.  After a very harsh and brutal trial we see that Eren is now a member of an elite group of hunters that risk their butts everyday to spot and fight Titans that lurk too close to the borders.  Sound the horns, release the hounds, and let the hunt begin (note: there are no hounds, horns, or horny hounds in this show but there is a hunt).  (Click on "Read More" to read the full review).

The story in this second half of the show has grown nicely to where it is feeling less generic as it goes along.  Don't get me wrong, when I say the word "generic", I don't mean that the story was terrible in the first half as it was still good regardless of that.  One thing I didn't like about the story for this half of the show was that the story-arcs either go for way too short or way too long to where the pacing felt really inconsistent.  I did like how each story-arc is marked out with parts and that's good for knowing how long a story-arc goes for, this also made it easy for me to know when I could take a quick pause break as well.  This series also has a marathon feature and so you can watch the whole collection as a giant movie as the marathon feature cuts out the opening and closing credits making very smooth viewing.  The drama in this show had it's moments but it wasn't anything that great as there were times where the drama felt forced to where it was laughable.  The huge upside to the story and drama is that it is very entertaining to where the problems won't bother you as much as you'd think. 

The action in this half of the series is slower than the first half as there isn't as much of it, what we do get in the action department is good and brutally violent but I felt that the drama surrounding the action could've been a bit stronger.  The drama I talk about is not with the main characters but with all of the little people (no pun intended) that live within the walls, like the Wall Cult and all the common villagers.  Why the drama surrounding those characters? (Warning: Next few lines may contain minor spoilers).   Well, it is because that you know that a good chunk of those people will die but their deaths don't mean a single thing as you don't feel anything for them because they don't give you enough time to know those characters.  Sure those characters pop-up from time to time but this show doesn't give them enough time to give those characters depth and so you'll feel nothing for them.  That is a huge shame as they do go through some horrific stuff and feeling nothing for them does ruin the mood and make the fights seem more awkward than depressing.

Characters in this show were a little flat when it came to character and personality but they did improve on that aspect with each passing episode and that is something that was nice to see.  You will feel something for the main characters (sadly not the side characters, like I mentioned before) and especially for what happens to them when they go scouting for Titans.  There was one character I didn't like, this character was named Hanji Zoe.  The reason why I wasn't a fan was because that she was way too cartoony for a dark serious show like this and it got to the point where she was a laughable character and a bit out of place (I'm going to get hate for that).

I am mixed on the artwork as it does have a major problem and that is that the characters have huge black outlines.  The reason why I don't like the huge black outlines is because it takes away any depth that the characters would have and make them look extremely flat.  Other than that, the characters have some very nice designs and good detailing, especially on the clothing as the clothing looks real neat.  Backgrounds are very beautiful looking and have some lovely detailing.  The animation in this show isn't bad but it isn't the greatest animation that I have ever seen but the flashy designs and fights will distract you from noticing the problems with the animation.   The main menus on this Blu-ray were a bit confusing to navigate through as the color of the options when highlighted blend in with the non-highlighted menu icons and I have no idea what I am highlighting and end up hitting the wrong option.

The English dub in this show is pretty decent but far from being perfect.  The voices did work well with the characters but the acting itself did come off as a bit stiff and forced.  The forced acting wasn't just for a few scenes but for around half the show but oddly enough it doesn't make the English dub un-listenable.  There are only a few scenes where the English dub sounds laughably bad but coincidentally that was during some scenes that were laughably bad in terms of writing regardless and so I can't blame the actors for that one.  The problems with the English dub seems more to do with the directing over anything as I've heard these voice actors performing these type of voices in other shows and they didn't sound forced in those shows.  The soundtrack in this show was very enjoyable and I especially liked the sound of the opening and closing theme songs.

Just like the first volume, this series has a very satisfying amount of special features that include: Attack on Titan at Anime Expo 2013, commentary tracks on episodes fourteen and seventeen, the second half of the "Chibi Theatre: Fly, Cadets, Fly" spoof series, an eyecatch gallery, textless versions of the opening and closing credit sequences, and the US version of the trailer for the series.  The feature about Attack on Titan at Anime Expo includes interviews with the producers of the show and fans of the show, clips from the Attack on Titan panel, and clips of the show itself.  This feature was alright but don't expect any mind blowing facts or opinions as it was all very standard stuff.  There were some answers that I did find a bit cringe worthy but understandable as it's mainly a feature to sell the show to people.

The audio commentary tracks on this release were decent but just like the prior feature, it doesn't have any mind blowing must hear information.  What is talked about is still pretty interesting as you get to hear what it was like going behind the scenes and recording the English dub.  These audio commentaries are also pretty serious for a commentary release from Funimation and they are good to put on in the background while you are doing stuff like cleaning the house, doing some cooking, or making a screenshot of this review and sending it to Funimation (that has actually happened before, I kid you not).

Chibi Theatre: Fly, Cadets, Fly is a comedic take on the main Attack on Titan series as it has all of the main characters in a super deformed state doing silly stuff that always ends with them getting eaten by a Titan.  I really enjoyed this series and liked everything from the adorable art-style to the goofy comedy.  The characters in this special series also have more depth and charm than the main Attack on Titan series and that's going for both art and character personality.  This feature is also exclusive to the blu-ray release and that sure does suck for people that own the DVD version but a big victory to those (myself included) that are lucky enough to have the blu-ray version #GOTEAMBLURAY (I feel dirty for saying that).

The eyecatch gallery has all of the artwork that was shown right in the middle of the episode AKA when they are going and coming from a commercial break.  I enjoyed the artwork as I found them to be very interesting and detailed looking.  Sad thing is that the artwork can't be seen in fullscreen, it has been shrunk down to fit into the left side of the screen as you will also see some text on the other side of the screen that has the English translations to what the Japanese writing says on the artwork.  The textless versions of the opening and closing credit sequences were good as they had interesting visuals and nice music.  Both credit sequences were also very dramatic and really set the tone to the show.  The trailer for the show was better than I had expected as I found it to be interesting and it would actually work being shown on a big cinema screen due to the dramatic nature of the trailer.

Also just like volume one, this series comes with a little booklet full of neat bonus content.  Included in this booklet are: Interviews, gag comics, and character profiles.  There are two interviews with one being with Yuki Kaji (voice of Eren, Japanese dub) and the other with Hajume Isayama (original creator of Attack on Titan).  Both interviews were a good read as they had some interesting answers.  The first interview (Yuki Kaji) has more straightforward answers while the second interview (Hajume Isayama) was a much more detailed interview and I liked them both.  The character profiles were okay but if you've watched the show then you'd already know what the character profiles have to offer.  The gag comics use the same art-style as the Fly, Cadets, Fly animated mini-series and shares the same sense of humor.  I didn't find myself enjoying the comics as much as the animated mini-series but it did have some very genius jokes that had me rolling with laughter.

Overall this show does have a fair share of problems but it has a lot more good than it does bad and was a very decent watch.  This is also a show that has a lot more appeal than the typical anime and if you are not into anime, you'll enjoy this show as you won't feel as alienated watching this show as you would watching something like Mawaru Penguindrum (2011) for example (you can actually read my review of the second half of the series right "here").  This show is also a decent starting point for if you want to get into anime and hardcore anime fans will also find this show to be entertaining.  Recommended viewing.

Title: Attack on Titan Collection Two
Animation/Production Studio: Wit Studio, Production I.G.
Genre: Animation/Anime, Drama, Action, Sci-Fi, War
Running Time: 300 minutes (12 Episodes)
Distributor: Madman Entertainment
Rating: MA15+ (Strong animated violence)
Price: $59.95
Recommended: Yes


Post a Comment