A review copy was provided by FUNimation Entertainment
Read the review for Part 1 here
And so we return to Attack on Titan, in English or Shin…something in the original Japanese. I believe I theorized, in the first review on this subject, that I would have to review the second half of the season at some point [Editor’s Note: He did, although it’s rather telling that he’s too lazy to double check.] Not that it’s an obligation or anything. I mean it is, by definition, an obligation but it’s not a chore, I rather like this show.
For those of you just joining us, Attack on Titan is an anime devoted to an alternate…reality (possibly timeline) where at some point in humanity’s past, giant naked people showed up with only one thing on their mind: Devouring humanity. The show picks up 100 or so years later, when humanity has walled itself off inside a series of giant walls, just as the Titans have decided that it’s time to breach them. This season picks up just a little after that, with our intrepid heroes beginning on a venture out beyond the still-safe walls. Given the nature of the show, I’m sure no one is going to die horribly.
I mentioned in the previous review that one of the things I like about the show it’s inversion or reveral of tropes and cliches common to anime, and that’s still completely accurate here. One of my favorite sequences involves several reasonably important characters getting killed in quick succession, and none of the ‘death moments’ you’d expect show up. No big final speech, no heroic sacrifice, no flashback to make the death more poignant. The most any of them get is a “Oh god, I f**ked up!” and out they go. In a way it makes their deaths, maybe not more poignant but more intense and immediate, reinforcing the Game of Thrones-esque “Anyone can die” logic.
The animation is another major drawn, and if possible it’s even more gorgeous here. The cityscapes of the previous DVD have been replaced by fantastic outdoor vistas and the action is better than ever. A fight in the second half of the season involves a, thus far passive, character and the resulting action beat is as bloody and awesome as you’d expect it to be (and it comes with a bizarrely well chosen sound effect; Think buzzsaw.)
The character work is extremely solid in this season. Without wishing to spoil (though some character design kind of does that for you, especially in the anime) several of the minor characters get enough screentime and depth to become well written and complex members of the cast. If anyone suffers in all this, it’s the lead, as he starts to look somewhat one dimensional compared to the more well rounded and interesting characters.
But, as before, all of that is true of the version of the show that you can stream on Netflix or Hulu, so once again, the DVD sets should be for big fans who want special features. And as with the previous DVD set, this is where the show becomes a bit lacking. A couple episode commentaries, a video of a panel, it’s not bad but it’s kind of lacking. It might be kind of cheap of me, but lately the only DVDs that I’ve bought are things I can’t get streaming (Game of Thrones),things with loads of special features (Being John Malkovich, Videodrome) or underappreciated gems that I feel need the support (Dredd, Attack the Block), and this particular release of Attack on Titan doesn’t quite meet those requirements.
Still, it’s not necessarily my job to review the DVD’s special features, but to review the show itself. And on that note, the show certainly shines. My own DVD purchasing habits might not cause it to be my first purchase, but I still like owning it and still think it’s quite worth watching. I guess that means this review gets to be a little shorter, since it’s mostly just reiterating stuff from the first one. So yeah, just go read that.
Elessar is a 24 year old Alaskan born cinephile and he can’t stop noticing how grammatically incorrect the title is.
– the animation is still gorgeous
– the action is still kickass
– the story is pretty good and the monsters are well designed…anyone else have deja vu?
– not a lot of special features
– bleak tone might turn…okay, now it’s getting spooky