DVD Review: God Eater – Volume 1

Just before Bandai Namco Entertainment released GOD EATER 2 onto the PS4, and PS Vita, within Europe an anime series of the same name was being broadcast; and now a year or so later MVM Entertainment will be bringing the series to the UK in both DVD and Blu-ray formats. So with this being said does the anime live up to the excitement of the original game it is based upon or can it be considered another videogame flop? Well let’s take a look with our thoughts of the DVD release of God Eater – Volume 1.

Synopsis:

In the early 2050s, unknown life forms called “Oracle Cells” began their uncontrolled consumption of all life on Earth. Their ravenous appetite and remarkable adaptability earned them first dread, then awe, and finally the name Aragami, the “Mad Gods.” In the face of an enemy completely immune to conventional weapons, urban civilization collapsed, and each day humanity was driven further and further toward extinction.

The year is now 2071… the domain of the mad gods lies here in the Far East.

One single ray of hope remains for humanity. Following the development of “God Arcs” — living weapons which incorporate Oracle Cells — their wielders are organized into an elite force.

Our View:

Adapted from Bandai Namco Entertainment’s game franchise of the same name, and animated by Ufotable, the same studio who animated Fate/stay night Unlimited Blade Works, comes God Eater; a TV anime series that despite the impressive backbone is actually quite a bad experience – especially within this first half of the series. Harsh words; but unfortunately, in eyes at least, it is the truth which is a real shame considering that the games themselves are pretty awesome.

So; what went wrong? Well it is hard to say but personally I believe it is due to the overall presentation and direction of the story within this TV anime adaptation.  God Eater begins with the main character, Lenka Utsugi, being given his God Eater weapon and bracelet by the people who run the facility known as Fenrir; to which we then see Lenka partaking in training before the base is ultimately attacked by monsters known as Aragami. All of this takes place within the first episode and at the time and we have no ‘real’ understanding of what is happening and why. Sure enough some deception is good for keep viewers engaged; but we are literally being told nothing about the world, the God Eaters or what they are fighting for – which is entirely frustrating and bad direction from a story perspective.

The story of God Eater doesn’t really come into effect until the fourth episode whereby after surviving the Aragami attack (which was over in the blink of an eye) Lenka must work with Unit 1, the best division of God Eaters, in order to protect a female transfer-student (so to speak) from another Aragami attack. This was easily the highlight of this first set; not just because it provided some backbone to the actual story but for once we got to see numerous God Eaters fight the Aragami. Basically the story here is that the God Eaters must defeat the Aragami and protect the base from destructive while at the same time devouring the Aragami so that their cores can be used to create earth’s last chance of survival. It’s a simple story; so why it wasn’t mentioned until now is beyond questionable especially when the introductory episodes don’t even focus on anything in particular.

Even being familiar with the God Eater franchise doesn’t help on dissecting what is happening within the series either it seems like things just ‘happen’ for no apparent reason other than because they can. From a story presentation it would have been better for the first episode to fully explore Lenka and the reasoning behind his admittance into Fenrir and then go into detail about his training and the Aragami; but alas instead viewers are just thrown about until the middle stages of this release which then reveal some of the details we have been waiting for – and even then they are not that great. How do I know this? Well because I have already forgotten what actually happens in each episode.

Its not just the episodic content either; as the animation style that Ufotable opted to go with isn’t entirely great either. When you compare the quality of Fate/stay night unlimited blade works with God Eater it is hard to imagine that they are from the same studio; but they are. Some sequences do look great – especially the fight scenes on top of the plane – but for the rest of the series it looks horrible; but it does flow naturally within the God Eater theme so maybe that is what they were aiming for.

Extras:

Unforutnately it’s not just the episode content that are a disappointment either; as unfortunately the only bonus features included on this DVD release of God Eater are the textless opening and closing songs for the series.

It is a ‘very’ barebones release; both in episodic content and bonus features but at least the opening song is pretty good.

Specs:

Media:  DVD 9
Region: 2
Running Time: 2:40:37 (Disc 1)
Video: MPEG-2
Audio: Dolby Digital 2.0 224kbps (English & Japanese)
Subtitles: English (White)
Resolution: 720 x 576 (576i)
Aspect Ratio: 16:9 Widescreen
Frame Rate: 25 fps

Overall:

Adapted from Bandai Namco Entertainment’s videogame franchise this TV anime of God Eater follows the journey of Lenka Utsugi, a new-type God Eater who has been recruited at the Far East Branch of Fenrir in order to defeat monsters known as Aragami and retrieve their cores. Depicting the story this way makes God Eater sound great; but in actuality it is nothing of the sort and instead provides a rather mediocre experience using a large brand name.

The goal, as mentioned, is to destroy the Aragami and retrieve their core; however this objective isn’t discussed until the later stages of this release. Instead we see Lenka training, surviving an Aragami attack and then being scolded for disobeying orders without any real knowing as to why. Naturally when viewers are informed of the situation, which takes place when a newcomer arrives and a new unit is formed, things begin to get better – but its nothing to short home about. Simply put this isn’t the anime adaptation of God Eater I was hoping for; but sadly it is the only one we will get.

Sadly the disappointing news does not end there as this DVD release, which is being released by MVM Entertainment and most likely authored by Hanabe Entertainment in Australia, has been encoded in PAL format as opposed to the new ‘standard’ of NTSC. Its possible that PAL had to be used in order for this set to be released, which sometimes does happen; but considering my experiences so far it may be a wasted effort. The PAL conversion isn’t the only issue as the quality of these, most likely due to the art style of Ufotable, doesn’t look particular good and the same can also be said about the English Subtitles which are presented in White text are not completely clear due to the darker-toned-nature of the series.

The only positive I can give is the English Dub which proved to excel my expectations and brought up the overall quality of the series; but alas the overall presentation of the story and disc content is just woeful. The God Eater anime is solely for die-hard fans of the game and while the series looks interesting this Part 1 / Volume 1 is far from good.

Score: review-stars-2

God Eater – Volume 1 will be available on DVD and Blu-ray from the 17th July 2017.

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About Scott Emsen
Scott is the Founder and Executive Editor of AnimeBlurayUK but in the past he has worked on ZOMGPlay and was once a Community Moderator for the Nokia N-Gage forums. Based in the UK, he loves anything related to Games & Anime and in In his spare time you'll mostly find him playing on one of his many gaming consoles; namely the PS Vita or Xbox One.

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