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Attack on Titan, Part 1
There's a certain little series known as Attack on Titan. You may have heard of it. It's the most discussed anime series currently around with a huge audience and a great deal of fervor around the entire globe. Funimation has recently acquired this series: the biggest anime hit of the year. Astonishing viewers worldwide, Attack on Titan is a ambitious success regardless of its genre.
The world is now filled with destructive, terrifying beasts known as 'Titans' which run amok destroying the human world: killing human beings and destroying everything associated with humans in the way of their path. These titans are monstrous entities that can be around 30 to 40 feet high and that seem to stop at nothing to bring destruction. What can the world do to stop the Titans?
Perhaps it's not really so little after all. Featuring action-packed episodes, a mysterious storyline, a array of plot twists, and an intensity rarely seen in anime, Attack on Titan is a thrill-ride that anime fans (and newcomers to the art fan) have been clamoring for and getting super-duper excited to see. Does Attack on Titan live up to the immense hype surrounding it?
Yes... and no! The series is not quite the amazing masterpiece that some have called it. It's not the greatest anime since sliced bread, that's for sure. The series is simply an impressively built one with stunning animation at times, a smartly developed plot-line, and interesting characters within a thrill-ride format that leads to one intense episode after another. The basic story was one which I thought could have been developed a bit more in-depth and not as quickly (so the pacing was certainly an issue for me; notably during the earliest episodes).
Yet the massively connected plot-lines changed the series from first seeming like a typical anime production into one that seemed to flow as if each episode was directly connected to the previous one: making Attack on Titan feel a lot more film-like in its approach than anything. Once Attack on Titan really gets going along with its plot-line the series never slows down for a breather and it makes for a really intense experience.
The last of humanity developed a group of gigantic walls that were built high enough to avoid destruction. Within these walls are groups of people still fighting for their survival and for the survival of the world and human race. The series introduces Eren, who is determined to stop these Titans and to leave the manmade walls and enter the outside world. Joined with some friends, Eren will eventually grow up to face the Titans. With intense combat training and steadily progressing skills, can Eren save the world?
Part of the reason Attack on Titan is so successful is that it's a suspenseful series with a lot of interesting plot twists, turns, and developments. The characters within the story aren't really necessarily as well developed as one might enjoy (so there are certainly drawbacks to this show). However, the action, suspense, and thrilling nature of the direction keeps it intense.
Directed by Tetsuo Araki (Death Note), amongst others, the series has a strong directing approach which makes it more inventive and well-made. The animation is also strong in showcasing the gigantic Titans and the man-made structures. The character designs are a worthwhile addition to the story, too (if also somewhat generic).
The writing credits all go to the screenwriter Hajime Isayama, who does a good job adapting the show and it's intelligent structural aspects. Fans of high-octane thrillers should consider giving it a chance. With darker, grittier animation, creative writing, and intense direction, Attack on Titan is a high quality series worth discovery. It's one of the best anime series of the year and is certainly worth seeing. One might find themselves feeling surprised by just how inventive this anime series can become.
Attack on Titan has been presented on Blu-ray with 1080p MPEG-4 AVC encoded transfers in the original broadcast aspect ratio of 1.78:1. The animation style was rendered in native High Definition and the series looks quite impressive on Blu-ray. The clean, bright, and visually unique approach benefits from having a good presentation. Some minor banding is present, though it's less noticeable in comparison to some of Funimation's other releases.
Funimation has included Dolby TrueHD 5.1 English and Dolby TrueHD 2.0 Japanese audio. English subtitles are provided for with the Japanese language presentation. The audio on the Japanese language version is clear, clean, and effective and has a good presence for a stereo presentation. The dub mix provides listeners with a more enveloping surround environment. Either option should satisfy fans depending upon their preference.
The supplements on this release include:
English Dub commentary on episodes 3 and 13, a extensive Attack on Titan English adaptation making-of (52 min.) Chibi Theater (47 min.), featuring short films with the main characters as cute Chibi style renditions, a Eyecatch Gallery, textless opening/ending credits, and trailers promoting other Funimation releases.
Attack on Titan doesn't seem to be the epic masterpiece that some anime fans have already heralded it as being. Yet the series is an edge-of-your-seat thrill ride with a lot of uniquely interesting elements and a mystery builds on this first set that will hopefully see resolution during the forthcoming second set. The series is based on a manga that isn't finished yet so there's not necessarily a sound conclusion in store for viewers and that's certainly one of my qualms about this sort of anime series.
Though another season of the series is most likely inevitable, it's probably too early to tell if this is truly going to be considered as one of the "great" anime series but it's certainly one which has sparked a lot of interesting discussion and it seems to be bringing in some new viewers to anime (which is certainly a good thing). Fans will want to pick up the series on Blu-ray (either via this standard edition or the Digibook Limited Edition version).
Neil Lumbard is a lifelong fan of cinema. He aspires to make movies and has written two screenplays on spec. He loves writing, and currently does in Texas.