REVIEW: Attack on Titan – End of the World (2015)

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2015, Toho Co. Ltd./Kodansha/Licri/Nikkatsu

Director:
Shinji Higuchi
Producers:
Yuji Ishida
Genki Kawamura
Writers:
Hajime Isayama (original manga)
Yusuke Watanabe (screenplay)
Tomohiro Machiyama (screenplay)
Cinematography:
Shoji Ehara
Editing:
Yusuke Ishida

Cast:
Haruma Miura (Eren Jaeger)
Kiko Mizuhara (Mikasa Ackermann)
Kanata Hongo (Armin Arlert)
Satomi Ishihara (Hans Zoe)
Nanami Sakuraba (Sasha Blaus)
Takahiro Miura (Jean Kirstein)
Hiroki Hasegawa (Captain Shikishima)
Pierre Taki (Souda)
Jun Kunimura (Kubal)
Satoru Matsuo (Sannagi)

Picking up where the first part leaves off, the finale of this 2-part epic based on Hajima Isayama’s beloved manga feels a bit rushed but makes its point known.

The Scouting Regiment have become completely shocked when they learn one of their own, Eren Jaeger, has the ability to become a Titan, thus allowing him to use his powers to defeat the Titans who have ravaged the outer city. However, Regiment commander Kubal thinks of Eren as a monster who will eventually kill everyone. Despite pleas from Armin and Hans, Kubal insists on having Eren killed. It is here where Eren learns a very dark secret about his past. However, that’s the least of Eren’s problems.

Moments away from death, an Armored Titan appears and kidnaps Eren. Kubal is apparently killed in the chaos as are many Scouts. The only survivors are Armin, Misaka, Sasha, Hans, Jean, and Sannagi. Misaka, feeling regret for how she treated Eren, is invited to join the mission to rescue Eren. Meanwhile, Eren learns that Captain Shikishima, who had masterminded the kidnapping, wants Eren to join him in an attempt to overthrow the corrupted government. However, Shikishima has other plans in mind and even worse, a secret no one ever expected, forcing Eren in a situation that will determine the fate of both the inner walls and the outside world.

Having a two-part epic of sorts can be always risky. Look at the likes of Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows and The Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn as examples of those that can work well if done right. Others like The Hunger Games: Mockingjay and the recent box office flop The Divergent Saga: Allegiant, which only took the first half of the book with the second half still meeting a fate that is undetermined, as examples that either start out promising and fail or vice versa. The first Attack on Titan was a great start with the action being sporadic and highlight the talents of the cast, clocking in at 98 minutes.

This finale, clocking in at 87 minutes, had the potential to become as good or even better than its predecessor. However, it ends up being a rushed mix of not enough action and relying more on the dramatic effect. Haruma Miura still drives the film as Eren, who learning he is able to be a Titan, finds himself very conflicted with the film involving now a corrupt government, which is obvious from the start with Jun Kunimura’s Kubal not having a care in the world about Eren’s heroic actions in Titan mode. The reason is seen in the first few minutes as we learn about how Eren received his powers and a fate that causes his parents’ death, a deviation from the manga, where Eren’s mother is eaten alive by a Titan.

Kiko Mizuhara once again becomes stern faced as the betrayed Mikasa, who finally comes to her senses and helps the team find Eren. Kanata Hongo’s Armin goes from nerdy to a more confident fighter who along with Satomi Ishihara’s Hans, leads the mission to rescue Eren. While it is great to see a change in some of these characters, the character of Shikishima, played by Hiroki Hasegawa, changes in a negative way and brings a more predictable role as to his intentions and fate. As if Jun Kunimura’s Kubal wasn’t evil enough, Shikishima can be described as the epitome of evil as well as his actions are no better than Kubal’s.

Sadly, it is that predictability that comes in pretty quickly and becomes more of a hindrance rather than bring a positive effect to the epic. That doesn’t take away the action, which still holds its own in the film. The visual effects are still nicely done and that can’t be taken away. Had the film run a little bit longer, it could flesh out more to the story and brings something more mind-blowing and exciting. Instead, the rush and the predictability makes this inferior to its predecessor.

Attack on Titan: End of the World gets an A for effort, but a predictable twist and rushed storyline leaves more to savor rather than just put a stamp on things. It is an okay effort, but could have truly been better.

WFG RATING: C

This review is from the Hong Kong DVD with English subtitles. The U.S. release is set for December 6, 2016. When Amazon has the link up, this post will be updated.

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