Shingeki No Kyojin OVA 1 Review: Ilse's Notebook
Well, Hello there, mina!
Today, I decided to do a review of the very first OVA of Attack on Titan, because, well, I can't get over it.
It's not like it's my favorite show from all time ever, because that would be pushing it! I also watched the second OVA, and I will also do a review of that one too later on. Anyhow, I've been browsing some gifs of Attack on Titan, and yeah, Levi does hold up his place as the most popular character of SnK.
I emphasise, very popular character.
My google search results either include, Hanji, dat titan (doe) and Levi. On that note, let's get started.
Plot: This OVA is mainly about Hanji, it is here to show us a deeper look into Hanji's character. The OVA does a great job portraying that, by the way. It follows the Survey Corps as they prepare yet again for another expedition outside of the walls. Hanji, in her frenzy, goes out alone to pursue the titan that Mike had "smelled" and he turns out to be just a little stranger than your average abnormal titan. He has a story to tell. He spoke words of meaning. All to the aforementioned Ilse Langnar.
My Take: So I also won't be divided this post into subcategories. Since this is only one episode long, it won't be overtly long either. I love Attack on Titan. I really do. Do you ever get hung over when your favorite show, movie, book, etc. is over? Do you ever get the feeling that you should just crawl into a hole and die? That's what I felt at episode 25. I could not believe that it was all over, but it was. Then I discovered, the OVAs. I was so elated that I sat and watched both of them at once, with the attention of a hawk.
I thoroughly enjoyed this ova. I was happy. However, I felt also a bunch of other emotions, a trademark of the SnK franchise. So, we got the opening that we are so used too, when Armin is reminding you exactly what kind of show you are watching. Remember, I went into this not knowing what it was going to be about, and I was so happy to see more Levi! A-Ano, I mean more Attack on Titan! The beginning of it all sets the tone for the ova, when it showed the death of Eren's mom. No episode in the anime (after the first one of course) showed it so explicitly. It was mostly used to show what Eren was thinking, to show what motivates him to act the way he does. I think that this episode is set before Eren first saw Levi, thus around episodes nine to thirteen. I knew that this OVA was going to be quite dark (which it was). I was excited because the Survey Corps harbours some of my favorite characters in the whole show. Watching humanity's strongest soldiers go at it was something I was ready for.
|I think that this picture sums up their personalities very well.|
I was a little shocked however, at Hanji's attitude outside of the walls. I was mostly shocked because I had never seen this insistent side of her before. She always seemed like this airhead who loves to experiment on titans while being downright freaky and unnerving. But this was a first. I did not really know what to think of it, since I realised that I probably did not know that much about Hanji yet. I hope the second season, enlightens us a bit more, because this was slightly out of character. Apart from that, every character had not really changed. Levi was his sassy self, Mike smelled a lot of stuff, and Oluo/Auruo was being himself. On the note of Auruo, I actually really liked this character. I was surprised when I figured that out. I mean, I have never seen an anime character that made me want to punch something every.time.I.see.that.guy's.face. Every single time. I give Isayama props for this. His death was actually the one that bothered me the most. I am sorry for all the Petra lovers, but I just don't see her appeal. Whenever she speaks, often time, it is to tell Auruo to stop acting like Levi. At least Auruo has his own lame-ass personality, but where is Petra's? Well, since Levi was so sad that she dies, then I'll be sad too. Anyway, if we come back to Hanji's insane fierceness, I went right along with the guy that told her to stop talking to Erwin the way she was. I went right along with him, because I sort of didn't understand. But my comfort came back, when she galloped full throttle in the forest to find that titan, which was her main objective since the beginning of this ova.
Well, that titan was something. I mean, I thought he was the ugly-ass male version of the female titan. At least, it runs normally! Oh, wait... I remember that thing smashing into tree after tree in the most damnedest hilarious way possible. I felt in my zone when Hanji started to sweet talk that titan, because we all know how batsh*t crazy she is. She is very smart though, but also insanely stupid and fearless. I am not kidding this is what went into my mind. She follows that thing deep into the forest after he deviated form following her, but she is also cautious. When she approached it after dismounting she was always ready for it to attack. She flew away when it came at her. At least she is al-right in this sense. But I remember that at the very beginning she was literally chocking Auruo when he tried to talk her out of capturing titans. She is so hell-bent on doing so, that I found her actions completely unacceptable. Especially when Auruo almost dies after he tried to kill that titan, she yells at him to stop, he freezes mid-air (fatal move, but Auruo-stupid style) he almost dies as the titan was ready to devour him, Levi comes to rescue, and all she could think about as the titan was evaporating was how much it could have been a perfect experiment. I was so mad, that when Levi went dangerous, I wished that he had slapped her. But he is an interesting kind of gentlemen, so he only got pissed.
Like Levi said, she should think about others first. But the end of the episode, when she made up to Auruo (after unwilling chocking him near death yet again) I actually liked her again. Her reckless actions came out a bit more justified this time.
Now I'd like to talk about the main aspect of the whole ova. So, Ilse Langnar (what a name!) was part of the 34th expedition beyond the walls. She (yes she! I thought it was a guy at first!) was alone after the death of her whole squad and decided to try to get home on foot. Now I don't know much about Ilse, I don't read the manga, but she seems very courageous. I liked the fact that she recorded every single moment on the notebook, frantically writing form the beginning to the point where she was about to be eating by the titan. She was in its mouth, and she was still frantically writing. I remember that when she first met the titan, he kowtowed in front of her. Very strange and interesting.
I have never seen this before and I think that my mouth was agape the whole time. I started to get a glimmer of hope, that may be they aren't as monstrous as they seem to be, that maybe there is something there that the humans aren't saying. Then it started to say Ymir's name. Ymir is a character that I don't really like. She doesn't do much for me. It's cool and all that she is Hatsune Miku, but aside for her canon relationship with Krista, I don't know. Even then, I wished that Krista had a better partner than her. Levi's sass is intriguing but hers just pisses me off. I seem to not really like the female characters of this show except for Annie. But I did find it strange that it was saluting "Ymir's people", whoever the heck they are. I started to get so many questions, questions I know will be answered in a very long time: Who is this titan? How is it related to Ymir? Is it a titan shifter? SnK seems to love building up mystery after mystery, but I wished that it was giving answers as it went along sometimes. I understand that it is part of the appeal of this show, but still. This was a little too much. I don't like titans, thus their existence must be explained. Unless the factor is really awesome, such as Eren's Rogue Titan, then I would leave out the mystery aspect (how the hell did he get that power??) and just enjoy it at face value. but not in this case.
Then that titan started doing that:
|OH MY GOD....|
|And I thought it was cute! Damn|
And I remember almost sh*tting my pants watching it do then. Like, what the flying f*ck???? I understand that Ilse should probably not have started asking it "why do you eat us?" so loudly at it, almost shouting. I thought it was only reacting cause it felt bad--- haha, dear god I am ridiculous for thinking that--- or maybe it did not like the accusations and wanted to atone for his sins by starting to rip its face off and making me cringe in fear. I think that I was starting to turn into Hanji. As if I cared about that thing!
It ate Ilse's and stored the body in a tree and I coaxed myself to think that it was like all the other. I decided to forget EVERYTHING seen and enjoyed watching the end. Hanji finally bought back a piece of Ilse to her grieving family (great move, by the way. Then for the first time, she finally captured a titan (good) with no casualties (great!). Actually, I also want to mention something else: I have never seen Levi show his emotions so openly before. He did take out his rage on the Female Titan, but this? I think my ovaries exploded. This ova really showed you different sides of characters that you are already familiar with. I got chills when I saw Levi like that. It really scared me. I mean, he was always scary, but this? Amazing.
|He is sick of you sh*t Hanji, can't you see?|
Final thoughts: All in all, this was a great ova. It bought in a new story, showed you how Hanji was able to capture the titans that became a plot device in the actual show. The struggle she went through, to get Erwin to give her the go. During this journey, you get the story of Ilse Langnar and the Talking Titan (I promise you, you'll get nightmares!) and more Levi sexiness. A great ova. Dark, troublesome, followed by familiar badass soundtracks, and flawless animation as usual.
A casual 9.5/10.