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God Eater Collection 2 Blu-ray Anime Review

8 min read

God Eater Volume 2 CoverA pitched fight for survival amid terrible odds.

What They Say:
After the previous encounter with Dyaus Pita that left them both physically and mentally scarred, Lenka and Alisa both return to the base. Feeling there might be a correlation with the Aragami’s behaviors, Lindow decides to go off the reservation and investigate the truth behind the “Aegis Project.” At the same time, Director Johannes Von Schicksal announces the plan to accelerate the completion of the Aegis Project through Operation Meteorite – a means to wipe out a large amount of Aragami and receive their cores. With newfound resolve, Lenka returns to the battlefield with his new God Arc, designed by Dr. Paylor Sakaki. However, when Lenka is reunited with his teammates, what awaits them is a twisted fate, and the aura of despair brought on by the black Vajra…

The Review:
Audio:
The audio presentation for this series brings us the original Japanese language track and the new English language dub, which brings in actors from the game, both of which are done in the uncompressed PCM format. The series is one that would definitely have made out better with a 5.1 mix but the mix here is definitely a very solid one. With a great instrumental score to the series and some strong action sequences, these areas dominate in setting the mood and tone in a very strong way. There’s good flow across the forward soundstage and the movement is well conveyed. The music has a really welcome warmth to it, especially with some of the quieter pieces, that allows you to be drawn into it very well. Dialogue is a little more straightforward but it has its areas where it stands out with placement and depth while also coming across in a sharp and clean way with no problems such as dropouts or distortions during regular playback.

Video:
Originally airing in 2015, the transfer for this TV series is presented in its original aspect ratio of 1.78:1 in 1080p using the AVC codec. The six episodes for this set are spread evenly across two discs with three on each. Animated by Ufotable, the show has a very crisp and appealing look to it with its animation style as there’s some great color quality and depth to it and it all comes across in a very solid way with no noise or breakup. The detail throughout is strong while the flow of the movement in busier sequences keeps it all together in a great way, making for a dynamic and beautiful looking encoding that brings the grime to life but also the bursts of color. The visuals are definitely ones that work for me here and the way it’s brought out with a solidly high bit rate just makes it even more appealing with all of its detail.

Packaging:
The packaging for this release uses a soft slipcase to hold the clear Blu-ray case inside. The slipcase has a really nice design about it as it uses the Japanese packaging artwork where the front has an action and intense pose for Soma as he fights while the back cover lets Sakura Lindow take the stage with a darker feeling to it as Lindow is in the backgruond. The wraparound covers all the details of how the set is put together and while it’s a bit awkward in some areas to group things, it does get the job done. Inside the slipcase we get the Blu-ray case itself with more character artwork with Lenka and Alisa on the front that wraps around to the back with more of the core cast fighting. The reverse side runs with a red background that breaks out the episodes by number and title with the extras underneath where the discs go. This set also comes with a full color booklet that’s mostly filled up with character design work and details about them. It also includes some keyword breakdowns with what they mean and a couple of pages to recap the episodes with some really nicely chosen images to complement it.

Menu:
The menu for this release goes for a simple static image approach and it works fairly well as it has the whole arc/binding piece that the God Eaters wear as its central piece. It’d done with the material in the middle before it’s worn so we get some nice yellow/gold tones here with the symbol surrounded by the more industrial tones. The navigation over it is kept simple but easy to use as both the main menu and the pop-up menu itself during playback. It’s not an in-depth or complicated menu but I like the way it ties into the tone of the show and sets you up for what kind of atmosphere you’re greeted with almost right away.

Extras:
The extras for this release are spread across both sides but the big ones are all on the first. It’s here that we get the lengthy extras that dig into the show, of which there are three this time. There is a lot to like with this if you’re keen on how shows get made and to see the enthusiasm of the creative side and the various stages of the production. The first two run about ten minutes each while the second comes in at about twenty-four minutes. The second disc brings us two collections of the commercials and promos for the Japanese run.

Content: (please note that content portions of a review may contain spoilers)
The opening half of God Eater was a show that worked quite well for me, partially because I had distanced myself from the “chaos” of its premiere and delays and could just take in the show itself. It was a lot more fun than I expected even as it worked the traditional apocalyptic story ideas that we’ve seen before. The downside, to some degree, is the split between volumes. It’s a show that works well in marathon form as it ramps up events pretty smartly and having a couple of months between releases made it a bit harder to reconnect with since so much was established in the first set. Once it gets its momentum back, however, God Eater definitely moves well and proves to be pretty engaging.

The back half of the series is, admittedly, fairly traditional but well executed. Events in the final couple of episodes play out with the big battle that doesn’t end all the problems or truly solve anything in a grand way but essentially kicks the can down the road some. Which works for me as I’d love to see a sequel series since I’ll never play any of the game material. These aspect of the series goes big with all those that are able to fight and the mix of action and emotion hits better than one might expect since the cast is largely kept small and the visual design for it is as strong as the first half of the series was. Yes, it’s a familiar end arc kind of thing but when built upon what’s come before it resonates well and it left me enjoying the premise as a whole knowing just how far it would go.

What comes before that is definitely interesting for a couple of reasons. First, we get some solid background time with Lenka that digs into his past and shows how he ended up coming toward Fenrir and brought into the program. With his parents lost and scavenging for his brother and sister as he was skilled at it, we see how it all ended for that family and the promise his siblings made in order to get him to where he needs to be. That they’re not truly related isn’t a surprise to me but it impacts Lenka until his sister makes it clear that they truly are family. Lenka was revealed to be special earlier but their mother kept him away from there unless there was no other option. So seeing his sister and brother push the narrative that he must go hits home well as they’re looking out for him knowing that their lives are a drag on his potential and life. It ends tragically for both as we know but it really hits home with his sister and colors some of his interactions later on with others in Fenrir.

The other piece that works well for me is also Lenka focused. While other characters do get their time, I appreciate that the focus is mostly kept to him. What we discover is that he’s so in sync with everything through his weapon that continued use of it will end up killing him. Without using it he has three years at most but far less if he continues to use it. Naturally, he does pull back at first and wonder what he should do but you know that he’s going to go all in with it. And this is pretty exciting since the disease/wear on him is showing and making a visible impact when others see it. He doesn’t quite go through a transformation along the way as it feels more complicated than that but the end result is definitely engaging in the final arc as he fights hard and puts it all out there while suffering the consequences. It’s a solid hero’s journey arc through and through.

In Summary:
God Eater has definitely been one of the more surprising shows of the past year for me, particularly since it is in many ways a by the numbers show. It’s just so solidly executed and with some really well done and enjoyable animation that I simply enjoyed it thoroughly. The cast is kept small, the story expanded nicely here with both background and flashback aspects, and some very fun action with a good sense of scale to it, that the combination hits a certain sweet spot for me. Aniplex put together a great looking release here whose quality leaps off the screen and will delight fans of it that soak it all up on their big screens. This is definitely a gem for me that I finished hoping that there’d be more of to explore in the future.

Features:
Japanese PCM 2.0 Language, English PCM 2.0 Language, English Subtitles, God Eater Extra 02 ~ 03 (Creator Interviews), Commercials, Promos

Content Grade: B+
Audio Grade: A-
Video Grade: A
Packaging Grade: B+
Menu Grade: B
Extras Grade: B+

Released By: Aniplex USA
Release Date: January 31st, 2017
MSRP: $89.98
Running Time: 141 Minutes
Video Encoding: 1080p AVC
Aspect Ratio: 1.78:1 Widescreen

Review Equipment:
Sony KDL70R550A 70″ LED 1080P HDTV, Sony PlayStation3 Blu-ray player via HDMI set to 1080p, Onkyo TX-SR605 Receiver and Panasonic SB-TP20S Multi-Channel Speaker System With 100-Watt Subwoofer.

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