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DVD Review: Attack on Titan, Part 1 (Blu-Ray/DVD Combo Pack)

attack on titan blu-ray reviewAttack on Titan: Part 1
Blu-ray/DVD Combo
13 episodes

When a highly anticipated property receives its translation, rescripting, and dubbing, consternation and grumbling are always sure to follow.  How closely do you (and can you) stick to the original writing and voicing?  Stay too close, and you run the risk of unintentionally dulling a property; move too far away, and you could alienate a fanbase.  With Attack on Titan (Shingeki no Kyojin), FUNimation mostly found a nice middle ground with one of the most engaging anime of recent years.

Attack on Titan traces mankind’s resistance against the titans – creepy, sketchily-drawn giants that devour humans – when they unexpectedly tear open walls that had held them at bay for a century.  Eren, Mikasa, and Armin, a trio of spunky youngsters, join other cadets and the larger army in the fight to defend civilization against a seemingly unstoppable threat.  This DVD combo set encompasses the first 13 episodes.  The first half mostly deals with demonstrating the deadly threat of the titans, as well as showcasing the training by Eren and the others, while the second half deals with a large-scale battle between the army and their gigantic foes.

Attack on Titan is one of anime’s most gripping series both because of its genuinely terrifying plot, in which everyone is in constant danger and no one is safe, and because of the look and feel of the series.  From the dark, but colorful shades used, to the most unique and fun anime weapon of recent years, 3D maneuver gear, the series bleeds a style that’s all its own.  But SnK is more than skin-deep.  During my first viewing of the series, when it originally aired, I was so taken by sudden plot developments and the horrific (though rarely gorey) imagery that I missed the well-constructed tale.  My viewing of the DVD helped me focus on the storyline, which functions by unfolding rapidly and then slowly unraveling both secrets of the world in which the characters live and the back stories and personalities of the characters themselves.  Series fans rewatching the show will also note plenty of little giveaways in character quotes and actions that foreshadow major events later on.

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Fathers, Be Good to Your Daughters: Steins;Gate and Fatherly Love

Fathers, be good to your daughters
Daughters will love like you do
Girls become lovers who turn into mothers
So mothers, be good to your daughters, too

In anime, an archetype of a distant and cold father has long been pervasive.  Gendo Ikari is foremost among them, but there are many other examples of dads whose lack of affection (or presence) have had a powerful impact on protagonists.  I wonder if this has something to do with the undeniable fact that many Asian fathers of previous generations were harsh toward their children.  But as we can see with Ed and Al’s dad in Fullmetal Alchemist and with Eren’s in Attack on Titan*, there’s a lot of love that dad’s carry toward their kids, even if they’ve caused their children hurt.  Perhaps that reflects another side (or a wished-for side) of Japanese fathers.

While these daddy issues are often limited to one character per anime, one series in which there are plenty to go around is Steins;Gate.  Between the future and past, there are several fathers that get emphasized in the series.  And on this Father’s Day, it seems to be an apt time to examine them.

Better yet, we can go a step further and see how these Steins;Gate father-child relationships compare to that of the Heavenly Father toward us.  As with character relationships between father and sons/daughters, many people have cold relationships with God, perhaps out of misunderstanding, lack of effort, or something else.  But like a father who proves that he loves his child to no ends, there’s far more than meets the eye.

Art by 鼬鼬 (Pixiv ID 36404085)

Art by 鼬鼬 (Pixiv ID 36404085)

Warning: Spoilers galore in the post below. Read the rest of this entry

Attack on Titan, Chapter 54: Kind Krista to Unhappy Historia

One of the things I’m looking forward to in the eventual next season of Shingeki no Kyojin is watching some of the supporting characters take on bigger roles.  For instance, Historia Reiss (formerly Krista Lenz), one of my favorites, has taken a pivotal role recently.  Chapter 54, in fact, inferences that the significance of her role is no less than that of Eren’s.

Of course, the Historia we know from the manga is very different from the one we last left in the anime.  She’s gone through some painful experiences since then, and we’ve uncovered her traumatic past and felt the pressure that has been put upon her.  She had been masking herself with a facade, which has now been lifted to reveal rotting wood underneath.  Despondent and unsure of herself, Historia asks Eren if everyone is disappointed in the real Historia.

Eren x Krista

It was only a matter of time before Eren x Krista became a thing… (Art by クロバラ子, Pixiv ID 41371983)

What follows is a Naruto-esque assertion from Eren which I think rings rather hollow (Eren’s a better character when he’s a mess than when he inspires).  Because I think what we’ll eventually find out is that Historia is a kind person – not naturally, but because of the influence of her real mother (I’m guessing that’s the woman from the chapter) and some others, like Ymir.  Historia will shine through and do something important,  out of love for those around her.

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Take Four – January 2013

While Beneath the Tangles has aimed to be primarily a place for Christian analysis of anime, we also don’t want it to be a place where Christian discussion is a necessity. In an effort to expand the scope of the blog , one of the first things we are introducing is a short monthly anime news series. We will be introducing and commenting on a few recent happenings in the otaku world which caught our personal interest and hopefully yours, too!

KanColle Nendoroid Petit Figures Announced – Kaze

kancolle Shoukaku

Art by わだつみ (Pixiv ID 39932159)

If you have been paying any attention to Japanese otaku culture in the past few months, you should’ve at least heard of Kantai Collection, or KanColle for short. As the fastest growing game in Japan right now, KanColle continues to feed on its unprecedented popularity with the release of 6 nendo petit figures. Chosen by popular vote, the results are hardly surprising: Kongou, Haruna, Kitakami, Kaga, Zuikaku, and Shoukaku. I for one am delighted to see Shoukaku finally make her way into the KanColle merchandise. With an anime already in the works, along with countless other products, its popularity doesn’t seem to be slowing down anytime soon, but I do wonder how long this will really last.

In America, when we hear an anime is going to made into a film (Battle Angel Alita, Cowboy Bebop, Evangelion, etc.), we take it with a grain of salt.  Of course, it’s entirely different in Japan, where Attack on Titan is a go for adaptation into a live action film.  To further wet fans’ appetites, Shinji Higuchi (the movie’s director) and his staff worked on a commercial for Subaru featuring three titans, including the one that chomped down on Eren’s mom and the Colossal Titan.  These designs may not be used in the final film (I hope not – I was a little underwhelmed), but still, I’m sure SnK fans (myself included) are now excited for the movie, if we weren’t before!

What is this?! I see no anime in this piece of news! Well, that may be true, but as most otaku can attest (except for perhaps Charles, ahem,) Vocaloid and video games are two media that tie in ever so intimately with Japanese animation. As a Vocaloid fan and an addict of the Project DIVA series, the newest entry, releasing on March 6 in Japan for PS3 and Vita, has been a massive source of hype for me these past few months… and this new trailer did nothing but add to my excitement! If the language barrier is keeping you from becoming involved in the series, fear not, as I originally played the series with absolutely no knowledge of the language, so it is quite import friendly.

Black Lagoon: On Toonami – Zeroe 4


Revy and Rock

Art by おまる (Pixiv ID 17238303)

Starting March 22, the Toonami block of Cartoon Network will be airing the anime Black Lagoon. I watched Black Lagoon and its sequel last year and very much enjoyed the series. I did watch it subtitled and not dubbed, but I don’t think that will detract from the show in any way. The story revolves around a Japanese Salary Rokura Okajima “Rock” who ends up getting stuck working for contract pirates in the South Pacific. I think anyone who liked anime like Jormungand, Psycho Pass, or other intense and somewhat violent anime will like this one. 

My Favorite (Anime) Things, 2013

The timing of Christmas is such that it’s a nice time to reflect upon the past years.  Applying that reflection toward anime, I’ve reworked the words to a holiday favorite, “My Favorite Things,” the last few years.  And here’s another version for 2013 (Note: there are Attack on Titan anime and Naruto manga spoilers in the lyrics):

Goro does better up on Poppy Hill;
Mizusawa with more karuta thrills;
Even if Chihaya’s arm’s in a sling;
These are a few of my favorite things.

Chihaya, Wataya, and Taichi

Art by GiantRobo (Pixiv ID 1223059)

Less creepy Kowaru in 3.0;
Genshiken’s back! Let’s get on with the show;
Mirai and Mitsuki and all the rest sing;
These are a few of my favorite things.

Kowaru Nagisa

Art by 边造-仕事募集-(´;ω;`) (Pixiv ID 39718348)

When Marco dies
And so does Petra,
And I’m feeling sad,
I simply remember my favorite things,
And then I don’t feel so bad.

Petra Ral

Art by AYI (Pixiv ID 39685413)

Koko and Yana and Banri and Linda;
Sasuke becoming a new nice boy ninja;
manga and artbooks all tied up with strings;
These are a few of my favorite things.

Art by Gnarf1975 (Pixiv ID 38917069)

Art by Gnarf1975 (Pixiv ID 38917069)

Watching, with my wife, Clannad After Story;
Kuroneko is jealous of Ayase;
Small group on anime girls with wings;
These are a few of my favorite things.

Nagisa and Ushio

Art by 茨乃 (Pixiv ID 3429365)

When Marco dies
And so does Petra,
And I’m feeling sad,
I simply remember my favorite things,
And then I don’t feel so bad.

Shingeki no Kyojin, Chapter 51: The End is Worth the Means…Right?

The newest chapter of Attack on Titan leaves off where the last one ended, with the aftermath of the great battle that occurred.  Mikasa is taken away with broken ribs and Erwin, with one less appendage, is attended to.  And while physical clean-up is occurring, humanity’s military leaders are also cleaning up behind the scenes, figuring out what all the discoveries point to.

The most important of these revelations is uncovered through poor Connie.  His experience in his hometown, combined with other evidence, suggests that the titans (perhaps all titans) were once human.  While the manga readers have supposed this from early on in the series, this disclosure is apparently new to Levi, Erwin, and Hanji.

shingeki no kyojin manga

Capture by matsuoka-rinrin (Tumblr)

All three react with pain and discomfort.  The moody Levi, in a rare state, vocalizes the inference that he’s become a master murderer.  Erwin seems half-crazed, and more out of character than any of the rest.  And Hanji…well, Hanji’s reaction might be most interesting of all.

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Something More: Super Popular Lucky Star Shrine, Shinto Anime, and the Nature of Evil

Jonathan Tappan tells of how the shrine associated with Lucky Star has defied conventional wisdom and grown in popularity. [FunBlog]

Inspired by Attack on Titan, Zeroe4 beings a series about whether war is evil or not with a post on the definition of what evil is (or isnt). [Zeroe4]

A video preview and artwork is now available for the heavily Shinto-theme anime, Gingitsune, which premieres soon.  The preview is below. [ANN]

PBS Idea Asks, “Are the Titans from Attack on Titan Really Evil?”

I think you all are going to like this.

The PBS Idea Channel, an award-winning Youtube series hosted by Mike Rugnetta, frenetically focuses on different aspects of culture each week in a fun and intelligent way.  This past episode, the channel attacked the titans.  Yes, the anime titans.  Mike Rugnetta and his crew focused last week’s show on Attack on Titan (they’ve also previously discussed Evangelion).

More specifically, PBS Idea asks the question, “Are the titans evil?”  From Kant to cancer, Nietzsche to the Daleks, and instinct to maxim, the episode presents interesting supports and angles to tackle a question the aniblogs have also been asking.

Check out the six-minute episode below and tell us what you think.  Are the titans evil?  And what do you think of the channel?

Attack on Titan, Episode 24: Remember When

The general feeling about Eren Jaeger is that, like countless leads before him in other anime series, critical viewers of Shingeki no Kyojin find this lead to be annoying and less-than-likeable.  Me, on the other hand – I’ve liked Eren relatively well, though that could be because I’m deep down in love with SNK.  And so, I’m willing to overlook his many negative qualities and chalk it up to “Well, if I was in that situation…”

That is, until this episode.

Eren Jaeger shingeki no kyojin

Art by 木又-友達募集中

For the first time in the series, I’ve found myself feeling rage toward Eren, as he watched his comrades die and his remaining family fly toward certain death because he’s unwilling to fight a turncoat who he knows to be have betrayed and killed his friends and fellow soldiers.


Of course, I changed my tune a little when I thought about how much of myself and other Christians I saw in the Eren of episode 24.

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Attack on Titan Podcast at Ashita no Anime

An atheist and two Christians walk into a podcast…

And they talk about Attack on Titan.

Sorry, no joke here, just the short of Ashita no Anime’s most recent podcast, featuring Alexander, Japes, and myself.  Though it’s about an older episode of Shingeki no Kyojin, I hope you’ll still check it out.  I’m not much of commentator, but Alexander and Japes are excellent.  And while you’re at, please check out Ashita no Anime and Japesland, a fairly new blog that often makes connections between Christianity and anime, as we do here.

Ashita no Anime Podcast 10 – Attack on Titan with Charles & Japes