God Eater Part 2 (Episode 8-13) (Cert 15)
1 Discs DVD / 1 Disc Blu-ray (Distributor: MVM) Running time: 136 minutes approx.
The war between humans and the Aragami continues in the second instalment of this adaptation of the popular video game. Resuming the story from where we left it, God Eaters Lenka Utsugi and Alisa Illinichina Amiella have been rescued following their fateful mission, the latter being sectioned for psychiatric care due to an emotional breakdown.
Meanwhile Lenka’s God Arc is in need of repair after the blade broke during combat, but not because the armour-like skin of the monstrous Dyaus Pita was too tough, the weapon couldn’t handle the power of Lenka’s Burst Mode. The medical assessment shows that Lenka’s compatibility rate with his weapon is abnormally high and if he continues to use it, he will only have three years left to live.
Not really the sort of news a young lad like Lenka wants to hear but that is life in a post-apocalyptic world. Since he has been singled out as the nominal lead protagonist of this tale, Lenka’s extraordinary powers are inevitable as a staple trait of a shonen fantasy hero, but the caveat of his life expectancy being heavily compromised is a rare and welcome twist.
Ideally this should add considerable moral and philosophical discussion and dramatic tension to the story, but this is anime and with only five episodes left to follow up this bombshell as well as conclude the entire story, this sadly is quietly dropped by the wayside. A missed opportunity but an all too familiar handicap that blights anime, especially during single cour shows such as this.
This heightened abnormality in Lenka’s compatibility is caused by the Oracle Cells in his God Arc invading his body, and each subsequent use of the weapon will further increase this Cell count, shortening his life span. His time is extended due to his God Arc being repaired, and eventually rebuilt in a new, much larger form that carries greater firepower and a few new tricks to boot.
But surely, if his lifespan is in danger then souping his God Arc and throwing him back out onto the frontline is basically encouraging Lenka to use more power to activate it thus wilfully shortening his own life? This is a glaring lapse in logic that presumably infuriated the many fans of the original game who didn’t enjoy this adaptation but there is more to come, in the form of rushed plot developments.
As mentioned earlier Alisa suffered a mental breakdown and was treated by an unnamed therapist, taking her out of action for a few episodes before being declared fit for duty again. The recovered Alisa is less brash and difficult from before but still seems haunted by her suppressed memories of the past which seeing the Dyaus Pita awoke in her, initially affecting her performance against the more powerful Aragami, the Vajra.
Without giving too much away, there appears to be a hack in the Fenrir computer system and the missions are sabotaged with Alisa as a key component of this, proffering a clue as to who is behind this. Yet, this comes out of nowhere and the mystery saboteur has not been introduced into the story for this treacherous act to be shocking, nor is any motive revealed.
So that is two major plot points which have been inserted into the story at too late a stage to be truly effective, depriving it of some much needed drama and intrigue beyond the “humans killing monsters” angle. And Alisa’s breakdown should have been a perfect opportunity to explore the serious subject of Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder and flesh out her character at the same time; alas it was not to be.
Other characters in need of backstory are served by the flashbacks recalling the events of 21 years before this timeline, which continue to reveal who this sorry mess came to be. Previously limited to the ends of episodes, these clips appear more frequently, punctuating the action at various points throughout. The revelations come thick and fast, and in all honesty are more engaging than the main story itself.
The mystery of Lenka’s background is finally brought to light in an entire episode dedicated to his formative year as an orphaned baby, along with the history of sullen God Eater Soma Schicksal. Both tales are tragic affairs as you might expect and might have been better placed as part of a prologue to the current events than piecemeal flashbacks but they ultimately serve their purpose well.
Narrative shortcomings aside, this show remains a top-notch production with its stunning CGI animation and designs boasting a cell drawn like veneer, that never fails to engage the eye. The detail of the backgrounds, landscapes, equipment, and so forth are minutely observed, given extra depth through the cinematic camera movements, which also bolster the frenetic battle sequences.
It is very easy to get caught up in the moment once the fighting commences and there is no shortage of graphic violence for those who like a bit of gore with their monster slaying. Maybe a little less posturing from some of the male characters who can nonchalantly smoke a cigarette whilst blowing Aragamis away but the high-octane bombast beholden to the shonen genre is adhered to here.
Perhaps it is because I have no emotional attachment to the original games that I was able to enjoy this show at face value, which will be the case for a lot of anime viewers out there. This doesn’t preclude anyone from noticing the Attack On Titan comparisons (discussed in the first volume review) or the rushed storytelling in the final few episodes – some things are just blatantly obvious.
Overall God Eater purports to offer much more than it delivers but unlike other shows in this situation, possesses enough positive points and takes plenty of steps in the right direction to allow us forgive the shortcomings and embrace the things is does well.
Not the classic it aspires to be but an enjoyable enough sci-fi fantasy saga.
English Language 2.0
Japanese Language 2.0 w/ English Subtitles
Clean Opening Animation
Clean Ending Animation
Rating – ***
Man In Black