Attack on Titan: Roar of Awakening begins in media res, hurling the viewer into the centre of the action. The humans had been living in walled cities designed to keep them safe from the Titans, the human-guzzling, mindless and horrifyingly grotesque naked giants that roam outside the walls – until the Colossal Titan broke in, leading to utter mayhem. Now it turns out that the church know far more than they have revealed about the Titans – but they’re sworn to secrecy.
Fighting a desperate battle for survival against the Titans are the Survey Corps, most notably Eren Jaeger and his childhood friends Mikasa and Armin. Eren is the Scouts’ not-so secret weapon as he has the power to transform himself into a sentient Titan and fight against the enemy. But the sudden appearance of a huge, ape-like Beast Titan – who also seems to be sentient and can control the other lesser Titans – throws the Scouts’ plans into disarray. Astonishing revelations about the Titans begin to emerge –as well as the importance of one slender, fair-haired member of the Survey Corps: Christa. As their comrades fight and die all around them, the presence of traitors in their midst puts Eren, Mikasa and Armin into even greater danger than before.
Season 2 of Attack on Titan brings many reverses and revelations and Roar of Awakening, the two-hour compilation film could so easily have turned out to be a meh sequence of tacked-together scenes. Luckily, WIT Studio and the creative team have the skills to reduce twelve action-packed episodes into a tightly-edited two hour film that ratchets up the tension from the moment it begins. This is aided, as in the TV series, by the stirring score from Hiroyuki Sawano which does all the right things with a full orchestra at his disposal (and an organ!). The ending song “Barricades” is by Survive Said the Prophet (Banana Fish) and, like many of their songs, has English lyrics.
Roar of Awakening received a limited cinema release in the UK in 2018 and our reviewer Incendiary Lemon covered it for Anime UK News.
If you’re a fan of the original Japanese cast, then you’ll be very happy with this edition (Japanese audio 5.1 & 2.0) – however, for those who’ve become accustomed to the Funimation voice cast, there is no US dub on offer, only English subtitles.
The Limited Collector’s Blu-ray/DVD combo edition from Anime Limited is presented in ‘a rigid case that will house a digipack to hold the Blu-ray and DVD discs. Also included will be a 68-page Production Sketches booklet with sketches of characters and settings from the film’ (not seen). ‘While stock lasts every order of this product will also come with a set of 8 Japanese Attack on Titan: Roar of Awakening coasters!’ The only Extras are trailers and four Japanese TV spots.
This stream-lined version of Season 2 is remarkably effective and quite different from the experience of watching an episode week by week which delivers a slow build-up with a growing sense of impending doom (although with the advantage of adding in all the little details that breathe life into the characters). Attack on Titan: Roar of Awakening benefits from this compressed method of delivery; events unfold with a relentless and horrifying momentum, so that we get the feeling we’re experiencing them in real time. If you missed Season 2 – or just want to remind yourself of what happened before plunging into Season 3, this is an excellent way to catch up. (And for fans of Levi and Sasha, don’t miss the extra footage after the credits have rolled…)