Attack On Titan Part 1 Blu-ray Review
Attack On Titan has quickly become a phenomenon, spreading like wildfire throughout Japan and now making its way to the the west in both manga and anime form. Few anime newcomers conjure up the massive amount of hype that this one has, and Attack On Titan has managed to – at least in its first part – live up to it.
Attack On Titan follows three kids who live a sheltered life, hiding behind massive walls that protect the last remnants of humanity from Titans – gigantic humanoid, seemingly unintelligent beings who devoured most of the planet’s population for fun. The Titans first attacked 107 years ago, and the fortress consisting of the concentric walls Maria, Rose, and Sina have provided ample shelter ever since. Suddenly, an enormous 200-foot tall Titan appears and breaches Wall Maria, allowing an influx of smaller Titans to lay waste to the district of Shiganshina and force mankind to evacuate behind Wall Rose. When main protagonist Eren Yeager witnesses his own mother being ripped apart and eaten by a Titan, he vows to destroy every last one of them, or die trying. Eren enlists in the military alongside his adopted sister Mikasa Ackermann, and his longtime friend Armin Arlert.
While the humans know next to nothing about the origin or physiology of the Titans, it’s learned that they have extreme regenerative abilities and can only be killed by slicing a spot at the nape of their neck. The military develops Omni-Directional Mobility Gear, which allows its user to navigate in a three-dimensional space quickly, which is of utmost importance when dealing with the frighteningly destructive Titans. Flesh Paring Blades are used alongside this device to deliver lethal blows to the Titans, but even with both of these armaments humanity hasn’t made much progress at all in the war against the Titans. That is, until Eren and his friends come along…
Even in just the first 13 episodes, Attack On Titan has some utterly shocking twists, and just about every episode features a ton of action and great-looking animation. The mystery behind the Titans and their origins kept me heavily invested, and it was entertaining seeing the military forces come up with some very clever strategies in an attempt to outsmart their foes. That said, there are a ton of setbacks for humanity in these first episodes, and the show can get very bleak at times. The backstory that ties together Eren and Mikasa is intriguing, and really brings home the fact that Mikasa will do whatever it takes to survive, and protect Eren at all costs.
FUNimation’s 1080p Blu-ray transfer for Attack On Titan Part 1 is stellar, with the superbly animated characters and painterly environments really popping off the screen with sharp clarity and a vivid color palette. The battle sequences, which feature an incredible fusion of computer graphics and 2D animation, are truly something to behold. The Titans themselves are downright creepy, with their painted-on grins and empty eyes. The Armored and Colossal Titans look menacing, while some of the lesser Titans are unintentionally humorous in the way that they’re animated – which makes it even more unsettling when they tear a man to pieces.
Attack On Titan Part 1 packs a decent amount of special features. There’s commentary on two episodes featuring ADR Director Mike Farland as well as some of the English voice actors. “The Making of Attack On Titan” is an hour-long, in-depth look at the production of the English language adaptation at FUNimation’s studios, which also talks at length about the success of the manga and anime. There’s also a 47-minute series of shorts called “Chibi Theater: Fly, Cadets, Fly!” which sees Eren, Mikasa and Armin on various adventures in adorable chibi animation. Rounding out the extras are a US trailer, an Eyecatch gallery, and textless videos for the opening and closing songs.
One of the most disappointing aspects to the Attack On Titan Part 1 Blu-ray release is the menu. Text is incredibly small and difficult to see from a distance, and it’s impossible to switch between the audio tracks without going back to the main menu. Beyond that, the only option on the pop-up menu is to go back to the main menu, which is absurd – you may as well be watching a DVD in this regard.
After watching the initial batch of episodes, I can see why Attack On Titan has found success outside of the immediate anime community. Its intriguing premise, compelling characters, and incredible animation combine to form a thrilling experience, and the mystery surrounding the Titans had me eagerly consuming the episodes. This is an emotional, adult story, and one that is greatly acted by both the Japanese and English voice casts. FUNimation’s Blu-ray release features fantastic audiovisual quality, as well as some nice extras, but the menu could definitely use some work. Overall, highly recommended.