Attack on Titan Part One (Blu-ray/DVD) Review

Attack on Titan Part One (Blu-ray/DVD) Review

Arguably one of the most popular manga and anime series currently out right now, Attack on Titan seems to have captured the world by storm. Featuring a deep story, engaging characters, towering giants, hack-and-slash action, teen drama and a lot of blood and gore, Attack on Titan is a series that features something for everyone. Available now, FUNimation has brought the popular series home, not only having it aired on Cartoon Network's Toonami, but also on Blu-ray and DVD pack as Part One (episodes 1-13).

The main premise of Attack on Titan centers around the appearance of mysterious giant humanoids with a penchant for human flesh, after a century of peace, of the surviving humans forced to live behind two hundred-foot tall walls of stone. Though there are rumors of humans living beyond the walls, most of humanity has taken to living behind one of three walls: Wall Maria (the outermost one), Wall Rose (the middle one) and Wall Sina (the innermost one); the walls themselves also serve as an inadvertent divider between those who are rich and those who are less fortunate.

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At the center of the story's plot is Eren Jaeger, the young son of a doctor and his wife. By Eren's side are his adoptive sister, Mikasa Ackerman, and their best friend Armin Arlert. Together, the three of them live within the walls of Wall Maria, though both Eren and Armin long to venture outside of the walls. With each passing day, Eren longs to join the Survey Corps, one of the three divisions of the Military, in order to both fight the Titans that roam the land but to also see the world beyond his stone "cage". One day, a mysterious two hundred-foot tall Titan suddenly appeared and had attacked Wall Maria, which allowed several smaller Titans to flood the town, including a Titan that was encased in armor. Once the attack commenced, Eren and Mikasa rushed home to find their mother but instead, witnessed her being devoured by a Titan. From that point, Eren had sworn vengeance to avenge his mother as well as kill every Titan in his path as he vowed to join the Training Corps and become a member of the Survey Corps. Eren's path towards the Survey Corps takes many twists and turns that will surprise even the most seasoned anime viewer.

In Part One of FUNimation's Attack on Titan collection, episodes 1-13 have been collected on two discs for both Blu-ray and DVD formats. Included as well are: dual languages (Japanese and English), Making of Attack on Titan (which is in English), Chibi Theater: Fly, Cadets, Fly! (voiced in Japanese though subtitled in English), an eyecatch gallery and textless versions of both the opening and ending themes. The collection itself also comes in three flavors: a regular edition that consists of both copies of the Blu-ray and DVD, a limited edition, which features the same discs with bonus features but also a twenty-four page digibook and lenticular art card and finally, a FUNimation exclusive collector's edition that included four pins and two necklaces on top of the items from the limited edition. Though there is a price difference between the three packages, it's nice to have choices that appeal to how much you like Attack on Titan.

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Watching the Blu-ray version, colors popped and the visuals were quite clear but thanks to the added clarity, one can easily see how the production budget varied from episode to episode as there were elements that were downright ugly. The translation choices of FUNimation's staff were great, as I do prefer "omnidirectional gear" when describing the 3D gear that the Military Corps uses to maneuver as well as maintaining many of the Germanic names in their correct forms. Subtitles were clear and easy to read but what was a bit curious as to how the subtitles would obscure cast names during the opening and ending animations. Sound in both Japanese and English were well done, as it was interesting to hear the characters in both languages, while also hauntingly grotesque as you could hear bones crunch and blood spattering with clarity that you wish you hadn't heard. One grievance I did have though with the English dub was the odd omission of closed captioning, as that just struck me as weird thing to cut out.

Attack on Titan itself is quite a captivating series, from the mystery of the Titans, to the trials of Eren and his friends and all of the literal gut-wrenching action in-between. The story offers many twists and turns while not shying away from the rather graphic depictions of violence – both from the humans and the Titans themselves. It's actually refreshing and hopefully the plot continues without having to rely on too many tropes. Overall, FUNimation did a commendable job with not only their English translations and dub, but also providing a good value for fans to watch. Both the limited and collector's editions will certainly appeal to more hardcore fans, but again, having a choice is nice. Visuals were clear, colors were bright as well as corrected from some of the errors during the initial airing in Japanese and the translation was solid. A few hiccups with the placement of subtitles, the weird omission of closed caption text and the rather bare-bones treatment of the regular edition set are probably the only downers in the set but in all, hopefully some of these things can be ironed out in future releases.

The O-rating B-


Pros:

• Engaging story and characters

• Solid translation and voice-work for both Japanese and English staff

• Choice in sets offered for fans – from casual to hardcore

Cons:

• Sloppy placement of some subtitles during the opening/ending visuals

• No Closed Caption text when watching English dub

• Regular edition set is very bare-bones

• Story pacing is a bit erratic

• Some parts are overacted a bit.

Disclosure: A review copy was provided by the distributor.

Last modified on Sunday, 08 November 2015 16:00