What They Say:
The long-awaited return to Shiganshina has come. Once again, Eren, Mikasa, and Armin face the Titans in their hometown where the secrets of the Jaeger family cellar lie in wait. On this do-or-die mission to take back Wall Maria, the Scouts quickly learn that Reiner and Bertholdt are the least of their worries.
The sound quality has options of 5.1 English Dolby Surround and the Japanese a 2.0 Stereo option. There were no complications of the audio throughout the release and the 5.1 option definitely comes through well with no need to adjust default settings on the audio system I was using. There were no problems with the video synching in with subtitles as definitely acceptable as a DVD release.
Similar with the audio, the video is set in 16:9 – 1.78:1 aspect ratio via NTSC transfer to PAL format – with DVD releases nowadays the effect definitely seems grainier compared to HD and with me doing a ton of Blu-ray reviews recently this is a good way to remind you how the times have changed. That said, the animation was good overall, and despite the use of CGI during a lot of the attack sequences and the swinging it isn’t horrendously noticeable compared to other series I’ve reviewed in the past (and with the animation of the new Titans to boot as well) so this works out quite well.
There was no packing for this test release.
The menu on both discs pretty basic – both discs have the same background of the AoT green with the insignia in the forefront with the selections of Play All, Marathon Play (the same but you get just one opening at the start, and one ending at the very end), Set Up (audio and subtitles), Episodes and on disc 2, Extras. The menus and images are unremarkable and standard, menu is quick and does its job with no glitches and can quickly return back to the main menu when watching the series, just the fact there aren’t even any of the characters on the menu screen makes this even more bog standard than usual.
The only extra is what is known as an eye-catch gallery: Gives more in-depth info on the eye catches throughout the episodes with little information and tid bits to help explore the facts and lore of the Titan world.
Attack On Titan is one of those series that over the last few years has gotten huge recognition from fans, as an anything goes, anyone can die type of anime – it’s popularity soared when it came out from fandom, cosplay, bids to licence it, etc – but throughout watching the seasons I’ve had a mix reaction from ‘believe the hype’ to ‘am I the only one who thinks it is overrated?’ The last half was definitely fortunately more the former with the Historia arc coming to an end and whilst Historia/Christa was one of the reasons I felt the show improved when we learned her true identity, now that has ended, where is the show going from here?
Well, it’s time to go back to the beginning where it all began with Eren….and how it ends….maybe?
The initial plan is to go to Eren’s old family home to find out his father’s secrets, but with enemies and Titans about things are always planning to go pear shaped, and indeed Reiner is the first problem as he goes armoured Titan on our heroes, which also alerts other Titans to stop them escaping. With Hange’s Thunder Spear technology though and some diversions from Eren, the team begin to take the turn on their side, but with Bertholdt still out there (and get some interesting flashbacks to Marco’s death of all things!), despite Armin’s best attempts to talk with him, Bertholdt believes in his idols and changes into the Colossal Titan.
The Titans begin their attack, with Eren outmatched with Levi ordering a new strategy, it is Erwin who seems to give his final bow as he charges in with what appears to be a futile attempt to kill the intelligent Beast Titan…which turns out to be Zeke. However, whilst Erwin is indeed hurt badly, it allowed the distraction for Levi to sneak attack and drag Zeke out of said form, as well as Armin realizing a weakness that may allow them to fight the Colossal Titan, lead to a battle sequence that goes in favour of the Scouts. However Zeke tells Eren that his father lied to him before escaping (Levi chasing after him) – however Hange gets some titan serum from Reiner so they can transfer it to one of their own – it appears they want to give it to the dying Erwin but Levi surprisingly changing it to Armin instead, with him wondering why…
They get to Eren’s home and find some books referring to Grisha (Eren’s father) which leads to a dream sequence of Grisha and his sister Fay where we learn that his sister was brutally killed, with Grisha highly suspecting one of the officers Gross did it. The idea is that their family is sadly being prejudiced against them for their heritage in a classic case of 1st class vs. 2nd class divide – we learn of their bloodline and what Zeke’s connection is. It leads to Grisha along with others being turned into Titans (including his then wife Dita, who in an ironic twist becomes the Titan than will eat Eren’s mother and Grisha’s second wife Carla) but before Grisha can be sacrificed, a man named Kruger turns traitor and sends Gross over the wall to be killed, revealing himself as the ‘Owl’ someone who was part of a secret movement to protect the Eldians. We learn he also recommending Grisha to start a new family, the lifespan of those with Titan energies and Grisha’s own experience with the Titan serum. It ends in the present with humans now as much as an enemy as Titans, Eren learning a power that he keeps secret, Historia returning and telling the truth about the Titans to the public (with mixed reactions) and within a year, most of the Titans have died and people have returned to their lives. Fast forward to 6 years later, and it seems there are enemies in the future, more so than the freedom they wanted….
And that’s it…for now?
The show seems to end on a stalemate as of the current time, there is no new season being aired and as I haven’t read the manga I don’t know if this is the ending or there is more to come. It does feel like it has, and yet it hasn’t if you know what I mean?
The main storyline basically has a good combination of action with the battle of the titles, Reiner and Erwin’s last stand, the confusion if Arwin is being grooming as the new leader, the obligatory badass Levi moment and some actual history with Eren’s father as a photograph of children not him brings the memories into his head, basically cementing a new power we discover more when he and Historia meet again. The funny thing was that the end of the 1st half seemed to indicate a confrontation between Eren, Mikasa and Levi…and that confrontation only lasted about a minute and didn’t really become anything significant in the long run so felt was a bait and switch – hell, Mikasa again gets the short end of the stick as she is barely relevant in this arc after being the main heroine for the majority of this series – heck, the characterization is very sporadic as it focuses more on the antagonists and of Eren’s father in the flashback sequences – granted it works as a potential finale, but at the same time, feels anti climatic that a lot of these characters you have watched over the years really are understated (Erwin and Arwin pretty much get the most focus in this arc).
The learning of Zeke’s relationship with Eren also has many unanswered questions which we are not sure if we will get answers to. And the future of the Scouts with more enemies on the horizon suggest that peace isn’t complete yet, which again, lingers on to a potential sequel or continuation. It’s this that makes this arc of Attack Of Titan nothing really bad about it, on the contrary, it’s still very good, action heavy, plot heavy (with the history of Zeke and the flashback sequences with Grisha), bringing everything full circle (Historia returning at the end setting up the finale) and ends in a thinking note…
…it just feels like there should be more, which puts this show in the confusing category of ‘do we get our hopes up or accept the ending?’ Because there feels to be more to this story and not sure if I can approve of the ending for the time being.
For the moment, I’ll just keep my hopes up for more.
Whilst Attack On Titan on the whole deserves to be acknowledged as a modern day classic and one to bring people into anime (barring they are OK with gore of course ^^), the final arc just feels like it’s finished on a spark rather than a bang. Nothing wrong with it at all, high speed action, good plot development, and an open ending where they brought as much together as they could, but with a lot of our favourite characters pretty much not used to their fullest if this is the finale combined with the open ending, it makes you ponder a bit. I’d still recommend this definitely, but keep your thoughts open that this isn’t the end…
Content Grade: B
Audio Grade: B
Video Grade: B+
Packaging Grade: N/A
Menu Grade: B-
Extras Grade: C+
Released By: Manga Entertainment UK
Release Date: March 23rd, 2020
Running Time: 300 minutes
Video Encoding: 1080p AVC
Aspect Ratio: 1.78:1 Widescreen
Playstation 4, Sony Bravia 32 Inc EX4 Television, Aiwa 2 Way Twin Duct Bass Reflex Speaker System.