Blu-ray Review: Attack on Titan – Season 3 Part 1

The fight against the titans continues with Manga Entertainment UK’s Blu-Ray release of Attack on Titan – Season 3 Part 1; but what can one expect from this release? Let’s burst through the walls and find out.

Synopsis:

The truth about the Titans begins to come to light. Political secrets, a false king, and the reality that will shake the foundation of the world—all falls on the shoulders of Eren and his friends, as they fight to survive.

With Historia set to be the rightful Queen, the Levi Squad must act. But a figure from Levi’s past, the deadly Kenny, could turn this into a losing battle. Are Eren and his friends prepared to face the true monsters that lie within the walls?

Our View:

The exhilarating intensity of Attack on Titan, otherwise known as Shingeki no Kyojin in Japan, continues in this first half of Season Three and once again the rules of survival have changed. What was once a fight for humanities survival outside of the walls has now become a fight for survival within the walls; especially for members of the Scout Regiment. Animation Studio WIT, combined with musical score form Hiroyuki Sawano, continues to bring the best out of the franchise and even more so with the events of Attack on Titan Season 3 Part 1.

Taking place directly after the events of Season 2, of which saw the Scout Regiment rescue Eren and Christa (whose real name is Historia), from Bertholdt and Reiner, we now find the Lev’s Squad hiding out in a cottage in order to shield themselves from potential threats. Here Hanage continues testing Eren’s Titan transformation to see if the plan to fix the wall can succeed; but after returning to walls she discovers that Pastor Nick has been brutally tortured by the Military MPs. Fearing that their location has been compromised, and that the Military MPs were up to something, Levi’s Squad ventures back into the walls in order uncover the truth behind this ordeal.

Unfortunately for Levi his worst fears are realised as the Military MP’s are working with an independent unit lead by Kenny; an outlaw who up until recently has been killing Military MPs for his own agendas. This change in story turns the tide of battle from Humans against Titans to Humans against Humans, with both fighting for survival – the difference here is that Kenny’s Squad has a unique ODM Gear as well as guns in addition to the usual arsenal used by the Scouts. The battle between the Levi’s Squad and Kenny’s Squad, of which continues throughout this entire part, is just one piece in a larger puzzle.

During the events of the Scouts vs Kenny, of which sees Eren and Historia captured for a surprising revelation, the commander of the Scouts forms a plot that will dethrone the King and restore the true heir to monarch within the walls. At first you may think this is irrelevant but it actual ties to the events taking place with Historia and Eren and, even more surprisingly, once the curtain has drawn on these events everything makes sense. It’s another fight for survival; but just not in the way one might expect. Old friends become enemies and enemies become comrades in a world that offers nothing but uncertainty and murder.

In short this whole ordeal within the first half of Season 3 is about revealing the truth of the Historia’s past and the government cover-up that sees a false king ruling the nation; but it is so much more than that. We begin to learn more about  Levi, Historia, Erwin and Eren’s Father and it helps further cement their place within this cruel world. Levi for instance was raised by Kenny in the underworld, while Historia was raised by a false mother in other to protect her true identity while Eren’s father knew about the Rice family and their true agenda of restoring the first kings memories through the use of titan power.

Deception and Secrets have always been a key part within the Attack on Titan universe; but finally these secrets are starting to come out and the world isn’t as simple as it was once thought. From a progression perspective then it doesn’t seem that Attack on Titan Season 3 – Part 1 provides much movement, as it is simply one big rescue attempt, but in terms of historic background and factual information then it provides an exceptional amount. An enlightening and entertaining experience; but more importantly it continues to deliver that ‘on edge’ excitement we all love from the Attack on Titan franchise.

Extras:

Manga Entertainment UK have once again opted to use disc masters originally produced by FUNimation and as such all of the supplementary content in the North American release, minus FUNimation related trailers of course, are here on this UK Blu-Ray release. As a result of this it means we receive quite an exhaustive selection of content that will help extend the running time of your overall experience.

In this case we receive two Video Interviews with the English voice actor for Eren Yager, who is Bryce Papenbrook, and the Japanese voice actor for Eren Yager, who is Yuki Kaji. Both of these segments see the voice actors respond to various questions relating to their experiences with voice acting and Attack on Titan. In addition there is also a ‘Directors’ Video Commentary with Episode 46 of Attack on Titan. Here the Japanese Directors of the episode talk us through the process of making the episode as well as changes from the source material.

These are not the only insightful segments either as also included are several “Inside the Episode” segments, with each having interviews with different English voice actors whereby they give their experiences of voicing that character. Rounding out the ‘insightful’ pieces of supplementary content we then have English Cast Commentary for Episode 40 (Disc 1) and Epiode 47 (Disc 2); but unfortunately these are not as insightful or as entertaining as one might hope.

In addition to all of this informative content viewers will find a ‘Chibi Episode’, which focuses on the house cleaning duties passed down from Levi to the Scot Regiment while in the cottage, Japanese Promotional Trailers, which helped promote the series before its broadcast, and an Eyecatch Gallery of the different informative segments that take place before (and after) the ad-break. The final selection of supplementary content meanwhile are the textless opening and closing songs which, in my opinion at least, are the weakest portions of the series.

If you enjoy Attack on Titan and want to learn more about the series, whether it be through the voice actors or creative team behind the show, then the selection of supplementary content included with Attack on Titan Season 3 Part 1 certainly has you covered; but more importantly than that it is a very impressive selection of bonus features and I am glad they have been left intact on this UK release.

Specs:

Media:  BD 50, BD 25
Region: B
Running Time: 3:11:36 (Disc 1), 1:35:33 (Disc 2)
Video: MPEG-4 AVC
Audio: Dolby True HD 5.1 (English) & Dolby True HD 2.0 (Japanese)
Subtitles: English (White)
Resolution: 1920×1080 (1080p)
Aspect Ratio: 16:9
Frame Rate: 23.976 fps

Overall:

Attack on Titan – Season 3 Part 1 continues to deliver the exceptional story of mankind fighting for survival; but this time the rules have changed. What has previously been about fighting Titans, or pushing forward to reclaim the wall that was once lost, has now become a fight for survival within the walls in order to restore peace and order within the kingdom. Once again Eren is at the focal point of the story, but this time he is sharing the stage with Historia as both are required in order to make dreams a reality.

Spoiling the story will disrupt the excitement and suspense that  Attack on Titan – Season 3 Part 1 provides; but it throws some surprising revelations and truths out into the wild. This aside the events within this part see the Scout Regiment fight for survival against an unlikely enemy while at the same time trying to demonstrate their innocence to the Military MP’s who want them dead with Commander Erwin formulating a plan to return the kingdom to its former glory with the true heir to the monarch.

In addition these three different events, all of which seem to take place at the same time, we learn more about Levi, Historia, Erwin, Eren and Mikasa; of which further cements their place within the Attack on Titan story and provides some backbone to the new characters and events being represented in this part of the story.

In terms of Blu-Ray presentation then it is business as usual with Englsh 5.1 and Japanese 2.0 audio tracks being presented alongside white English Subtitles for the Japanese audio track. As with most FUNimaiton related releases the subtitles are locked to the Japanese audio track (and cannot be removed); additionally there doesn’t seem to be a ‘signs/songs’ subtitle track for the English dub nor are subtitles presented for the songs and information breakdown in the Japanese audio track.

It is a strange decision indeed; but fortunately the text displayed during information breakdown (which has information about characters, locations and gear at the halfway point of each episode) is presented as a bonus feature and is easier to read.

My assumption is that the text was difficult to incorporate as on-screen subtitle text and instead FUNimation opted to make it as a separate bonus feature option rather than have it displayed as subtitles during each episode. Personally I think this works better, as everyone has different reading speeds, but it is a far-cry from the norm of what you would expect. The lack subtitles during songs is also interesting; but yet again a small issue when compared with the consistent presentation and quality of this release.

Attack on Titan – Season 3 Part 1 is entertaining story arc from start to finish; but crucially continues to deliver the experience one would expect and this is further enhanced with the impressive selection of bonus features included.  The lack of song/signs subtitles does disappoint slightly; but it does not dilute the overall experience.

Score: review-stars-5

Attack on Titan – Season 3 Part 1 will be available on Blu-Ray from the 12th August 2019 within the UK via Manga Entertainment UK.

About Scott Emsen
Scott is the Founder and Executive Editor of AnimeBlurayUK but in the past he has worked at ZOMGPlay, Rice Digital and Funstock 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, PS4 or Xbox One.

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