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Reviews » Blu-ray Reviews » Attack on Titan: Complete Season One (Blu-ray)
Attack on Titan: Complete Season One (Blu-ray)
FUNimation // Unrated // January 24, 2017 // Region A
List Price: $59.98 [Buy now and save at Amazon]
Review by Chris Zimmerman | posted March 21, 2017 | E-mail the Author
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Attack on Titan: the Complete First Season :

Attack on Titan is something of a taboo among recent anime. Not since the mid-nineties anime phenomenon that saw the likes Sailor Moon, Dragonball Z, and Pokémon catapulting the medium into American homes every Saturday morning has there been a breakout hit that has attracted both rapid otaku and casual audiences alike.

It's a secret formula few shows manage to crack. Its garnering of widespread acclaim has made it a commercial success where even popular series such as Fullmetal Alchemist and Naruto fall just short of reaching the cusp of mainstream popularity.

For those following the current trends of cinema and young adult fiction, the appeal of Attack on Titan should come as no surprise. Angst-ridden teenagers fighting for their survival make up the broad strokes of many a successful franchise in today's young adult saturated market. But Attack on Titan isn't just another dystopian thriller disguised as a romance. There is a palpable sense of dread that few shows manage to capture wherein no one is safe and every moment devoted to a character's screen time could be their last. Call it the Game of Thrones effect; Attack on Titan exists in a microcosm of fantasy that sees little use in adhering to the status quo.

Attack on Titan dials down on the sword and sorcery element to deliver a more visceral experience, highlighting the ingenuity of the human spirit in the wake of death and tragedy. Hope and optimism burn in the face of unceasing darkness that plums the depths of cruelty. Losses carry more weight than victories, and for all the hero's efforts, there is little glory to found in a world defined by its cruelty.

In a series recognizable for its somewhat but not quite human, scary but slightly funny naked monsters, it is the human cast that provides the hat trick in making the show the massive success it is. In a world in which humanity faces extinction at the hands of monsters, it's the mashup of personalities, likeable and malignant, born of tragedy, and given strength through hope that allows the characters to resonate with us. They represent the flipside of a world saturated with despair, where hope endures.

Visually, Attack on Titan's unique design choices set it apart from other animated efforts. Characters are given blocky outlines that set them apart from a textured background scenery. Make no mistake though, the best animated sequences are those devoted to the graphic violence that borders on gore. Limbs are torn from people's bodies and others are devoured whole while blood rains from the sky like crimson pedals caught in the wind.

If the series has one Achilles heel it's that more time is devoted to battling the titans than progressing the plot. Given that there is another upcoming season, mysteries are left unresolved and while the show continues to be compelling, the pacing grinds on unevenly without any hint of resolution in sight.

With a second season on the horizon, Funimation's rerelease of the first season is a testament to why the show achieved its massive fandom. It's not a perfect show by any means, but it succeeds in striking a cord in its viewers, sucking us into its world and daring us to step outside our comfort zone and care, and fear, and hope along with its characters, establishing itself as a juggernaut beyond anime, fantasy, and horror.

The Bluray

Video and Audio:

Funimation's release of the complete first season appears to be a repackaging of the first two initial releases, complete with the same content. The bluray image is vibrant and crisp, lending itself well to the unique border style of the animation.

Funimation's dub track is one of the strongest the company has put out in recent memory, pitch perfect casting. The English cast recite their lines lovingly and with a passion for the source material that is often lacking in many of today's anime dub tracks. Its only flaw lies in Bryce Papenbrook's depiction of young Eren, which is immediately off putting but thankfully limited once his character is grown and age appropriate after the second episode.

Extras:

Funimation's usual inclusion on commentary tracks with the dub cast make up the bulk of the extras, with the various actors speaking about their experience with the series and their initial reactions to getting the part. None of the four accompanying tacks are particularly informative but it is worthwhile to hear the raw passion conveyed from the cast for the material.

Surprisingly, there are more extras to be found, including a lengthy making of feature that focuses on the series' transition to from native Japanese to American. Also included are a collection of shorts title Chibi Theater: Fly, Cadets, Fly! Depicting the characters as comically super deformed chibi variations of themselves.

The epic textless opening and closing themes are included and worth going back and watching/listening to. A handful of trailers round out the discs.

Final Thoughts:

Attack on Titan is every bit the game changer as its rapid fan base responsible for its monstrous popularity can attest to. It doesn't just break from the mold, it shatters it. With a second season on its way, it's a safe bet that the show's unapologetic brutality will continue to take its viewers on a roller coaster ride that plumes the depths of beauty and brutality.

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