With all that being said, this is still leagues ahead of its rivals. The presentation and voice acting are both beyond peer, and this helps connect us with the characters because they’re both believable and aesthetically intriguing. Furthermore, while I have the aforementioned issues with the broad narrative arcs, there are stories in here that are worth thinking about more deeply.
The most obvious of these is the bond that forms between one of the human soldiers, who has a scientific interest in the titans, and a couple of captured and imprisoned titans. Despite the savagery from the titans that leads them to try and kill her at every opportunity, this woman is keen on understanding the monsters better. Why? Perhaps to simply combat them more effectively, but it’s also strongly implied that she simply wants to understand them better, as once culture or species to another.
Then they’re murdered in cold blood while being restrained, this woman reacts with pain, and we in turn are meant to ask questions of humanity and its sense of vengeance, because as monstrous as the titans are, the behaviour of humans often equals it. When Attack on Titan isn’t focusing on the action and melodrama, it’s really quite effective at the moral philosophy. There’s also a greater sense that the titans do have their own sense of culture in the second collection, and while we’re not lead to quite sympathise with them yet, it’s quite obvious that over future seasons we will be encouraged to think about how enmity colours our opinions of a culture, and how that can lead to conflict.
While the second collection left me concerned with the future for Attack on Titan, and concerned that it could degenerate from the highs it kicked off on. With that said, for now it’s a gorgeous, violent and often intelligent popular anime that deserves all the success that it’s seeing.
In terms of the Blu-Ray package, it’s a superior effort from Madman. The Blu-Ray disc has additional features that the DVD version doesn’t have, and the collection box (which is a gorgeous hard box set) has pennants, an art booklet and an phone charm. It’s an essential package for fans and it’s an effort I’d like to see being done in more anime.
– Matt S.
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