Attack On Titan: The Roar Of Awakening (Cert 15)
Japan (2018) Dirs. Tetsurō Araki & Masashi Koizuka
The Attack On Titan franchise has been one of the biggest to hit anime, and international pop culture scene for that matter, over the past five years from its inception as a manga to a phenomenal anime TV series and two best-forgotten live action films. With the second season of the TV anime about to hit UK shores, a rather sizeable taster is about to invade the big screen first.
Ahead of the upcoming home video release of season 2 (read my review HERE) All The Anime bring the saga of the rampaging titans and the plucky humans left to defend humanity against them to select Showcase cinemas across the UK. Usually feature length contractions of TV series arrive after the show has been released and whilst this may be the case in Japan and other territories, we Brits get it the other way around. Is this Brexit messing things up already?
Picking up the story from where season one left off, we join the defence corps reeling from the shock that a titan has been found in the Rose Wall, and pastor Nick of the order of the Wall is refusing to explain why. He’ll only reveal that it is imperative that a young cadet named Christa Lentz is protected by all costs, as she is the key to this whole fiasco. But Christa is currently in the thick of the action when the titans attack her station, but luckily, her best friend Ymir has a unique way of keeping her safe.
Condensing the content of the 12 episodes that make up the highly anticipated second series into a singular two-hour presentation might not sound like an edifying experience given the depth of the storytelling in the series, not limited to the ongoing intrigue of the titans’ existence. Yet the handling of the excising of material to keep the integrity of the story intact demonstrates much care and prudence in its selection.
If you’ve seen season 2 already you will know what is missing; if you are coming to this film fresh then not only is a two-hour spoiler but you’d barely notice where the cuts are. It is mostly the flashbacks and exposition scenes that have been extricated which rarely shows, with only the occasional reference to something not featured suggesting where a cut has occurred.
The basic philosophy of this film is action with only the most vital and cogent discussion scenes left in for the sake of progressing the plot, while the narrative is easy to follow regardless of any missing developments. The time constraints make some of the dramatic dialogue heavy moments seem like info dumps without the supporting context but anyone familiar with anime will be used to this anyway.
Within this framework of this presentation, many of these cuts help the pace stay urgent and brisk, ensuring the pauses between the scenes of breathtaking action is never too long; the only exception is at the top of the second hour when a major plot reveal comes to light with the entire segment from the TV series airing in full, the only time the film seem to lapse into a general lull.
For fans who enjoy the gore and violence of the show, not a single thing has been cut for the cinematic release, meaning the geysers of blood and bodies torn asunder will be on the big screen in all their unpleasant and stomach churning glory – and this applies especially to any horse lovers watching.
Aside from an extended recap of the first season of the TV anime at the beginning of this film, the only major difference from the TV version is in the ending – the latter ends with a major tease for what is to come in the third season (due to be broadcast in Japan in a matter of months); this version ends before this, then features a light hearted post-credits coda offering a different primer for future events.
Depending on how desperate you are to rekindle your love affair with Attack On Titan’s anime iteration – and if you are lucky to live in an area where this is screening – The Roar Of Awakening will more than satiate that hunger, but be warned it does include all of the relevant material of the series. That said, the TV series does offer the complete AOT experience for the hardcore fan who will find the missing material quite bountiful in fleshing out the characters and the mystery aspect of the story.
Those who can wait won’t necessarily be missing out but if the idea of seeing this on the big screen appeals then there will be a screening as part of the Glasgow Film Festival on March 1st at a secret venue.
For information on this event or to find out which cinema near you is screening this film visit the All The Anime site: http://blog.alltheanime.com/attack-on-titan-the-roar-of-awakening-at-glasgow-film-festival/
Rating – *** ½
Man In Black