Attack on Titan: No Regrets Review

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It’s time to look at another Attack on Titan OVA. I read the manga version of this one a while back so I basically knew what to expect. I definitely considered it to be one of the better spinoffs and it did a good job of making Levi a good character. The main series disregards that of course as it makes everyone compromised by the end, but that’s why prequels can be cool sometimes. The OVA is divided into two episodes with the first one being really good and the second one pretty bad. The mix makes for an outcome that you’d probably expect from the franchise.

The story starts with a girl named Isabel running from shady fellows who are unnecessarily gritty as always. Levi stops them and the guys retreat. Isabel realizes that learning how to fight would be pretty useful here so she joins the group and becomes one of the team. The other member being Furlan. She gets the hang of things rather quickly. Unfortunately, one of Levi’s comrades is taken to a hospital and held as a hostage so he and his team are forced to join the Survey Corps to murder the commander Erwin to help a corrupt politician escape persecution. Can they accomplish the task before they are eaten by titans?

The first episode is pretty fun. It still gritty in some aspects, but there aren’t any titans running around. It’s just Levi and the others trying to survive the slums. Levi’s a pretty stand up guy who looks out for his comrades and he gets a lot of respect around the place. He’s the kind of heroic main character that you’d expect to find in a Shonen. He goes through with the scheme to get Erwin because if he doesn’t his friend will be in trouble. He’s just a great all around lead and he also knows how to fight. His 3D Vertical maneuvering abilities are second to none.

Furlan is a good second in command. He doesn’t have much character except that he is always ready to help Levi and also stands up against injustice. That’s good enough for me. Finally, Isabel is a chipper young cadet who is eager to help out. Her first scene has her protecting a bird which is a great start and it even gets to live which makes the whole thing even better. The dynamic between the three characters is pretty fun and that probably would have made for a pretty fun show on its own. I had no real complaints with the first episode. The animation was sharp and the soundtrack was good. The ending could have even worked as an ending since it shows how he joins the corps.

The second episode is where it all goes downhill. The first half wasn’t bad as we see the characters excel in the Titan hunting practice. Levi may use an unorthadox grip, but it gets the job done. The other members may not like it, but as long as he gets results they can’t do much about it. They still plan to destroy Erwin, but there aren’t really any openings for them to accomplish this. The guy is like a stone wall that blocks everyone off. Finally, they get their chance on a titan hunt when the rain gets extra thick. Levi goes ahead to take Erwin down, but as he leaves a titan murders all of his friends so he murders it as well. In despair, he decides to follow Erwin’s cause so that his life can now have meaning.

Erwin’s not very sympathetic to the whole situation as the show portrays him as a guy who’s been around the block many times. None of this is as a surprise to him anymore and he’s made of sterner stuff. He’s willing to cross any line if it means defeating the Titan so he’s not really a hero. He just aligns himself on the same side as the main characters. He’s not my kind of character, but he’s certainly someone who’s useful to have on your side. At least he saw through Levi’s plan the whole time so he’s fairly cautious. It makes sense to be suspicious when the characters were caught so easily. I like to think Levi would have defeated Erwin in a fair fight.

What hurts the second episode is naturally how super violent and dark it is. The animation uses a detailed style to try and make the deaths as graphic as possible. You see the spine and body parts as their remains are found. It’s definitely super done and likewise with Levi’s fight against the Titan as he keeps on slashing it over and over to take his rage out on it. I would have preferred the light novel approach where Titans just turn to steam and don’t really bleed. Those were the good ole days.

Levi was still a great character of course as avenging his comrades is the first thing he should do and he did abandon the mission to check on their safety right away. It’s like Spider-Man’s origin story as his choice ultimately decided their fate. He couldn’t do everything, but the overall message of the OVA was good. You can’t regret your choices when you don’t know what outcomes they will bring. Some choices lead to positive outcomes and some don’t. As long as the decision itself was good, then you shouldn’t actually have any regrets. Levi’s reasoning for joining Erwin wasn’t bad either. I definitely think part of it was helping to avoid what happened to his friends to anyone else. Who wouldn’t want to stop the Titans after that?

What makes it more painful for him is that he warned his teammates not to come. Their skills aren’t at the same level as his so it makes sense that it would be dangerous for them. Still, it’s not as if he could have stopped them from coming in the end so what’s done is done. It’s a pretty sad ending to the OVA and I would have preferred the first one, but it shows why Levi is so cold to everyone.

As I mentioned earlier, the graphics are really good. All of the character models are really high quality and the fight scenes are smooth. The Survey Corps battle with Levi squad is definitely the best part of the whole thing. The animation and directing did a good job of showcasing their speed without getting distracted or spinning around in an attempt to look good. Some anime try to do that to be clever, but it’s a cop out. The soundtrack is also great as it grabs a lot of the good themes from the anime and plugs them in. The fun techno theme is always a fun addition and I’ll never forget it from the very first Attack on Titan episode. It was a good way to start the series….for an instant.

Overall, No Regrets had a solid beginning, but a weak ending. It’s a little too dark/gritty/tragic at the end which brings down the score considerably. That’s why Attack on Titan will always be limited since it always goes down when the Titans appear, but a series without Titans would be a completely different show. Still, it definitely has an interesting premise and I’d probably recommend checking it out over the main show. If you like the OVA then you should go ahead and watch it. The intro is included here and some quick exposition so you’ll know what’s happening from the get go. I have another OVA coming up and it has the potential to be the best yet as we return to the main cast. It’s hard to say which ending was more tragic and mean spirited, this one or Ilse’s Notebook. I dare say it would be the latter since Ilse was by herself and pretty much defenseless while at least Isabel and Furlan had each other, but it’s close. Hopefully the next one has a happier ending so it can end the OVA on a solid note.

Overall 4/10

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Lucy Review

This review is of the edited TV-14 version of the film. All thoughts below should be addressed as such as a review of the unedited version would likely be a lot more negative.
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It’s time for one of those films that you know is going to be bad from the get go. That being said, you always end up being curious on just how bad it could be. Lucy lives up to the expectations and then some as it gets real gritty right from the get go. It also gets pretty abstract and meta by the end as well so you can make your own theories at the end. It’s essentially a poor man’s Salt, but with added sci-fi powers.

The film starts off with Lucy being tricked by her beer buddy. He handcuffs her to a suspicious package that he was carrying since he knows that he’ll be murdered if he actually makes it to the destination. He figures that maybe they’ll go easy on Lucy and in a sense he’s right. The Yakuza syndicate decides to spare Lucy as they surgically implant her with drugs to take across the country. The beer buddy is shot to death anyway so he couldn’t find a way out in the end. Along the way, the drugs end up breaking out of their bag so Lucy gains super human abilities. She can now manipulate time, has super strength, telepathy, telekinesis, and a bunch of other stuff. She is effectively all powerful now and decides that she will use these abilities to beat people up and find the truth to the universe. Can she do all of this without instantly abusing her powers? Afraid not

The film can’t seem to decide if Lucy is downright evil at times or if she is only evil because she believes that she is above everyone. Regardless, you see her mowing everyone down in some moments and then in others she’ll suddenly become more of a pacifist. She shoots one guy who was having an operation since she claimed that he was going to die someday anyway…but she still murdered that innocent civilian. Then…she decides to spare the main villain. She just stabs him a few times before leaving and this allows him to make a comeback and murder a bunch of cops and hospital workers before the heroes bring him down. Of all the people to let live…she chose the main villain. It does make you wonder.

Also, the problem with the film is that Lucy is too powerful. She can do anything, but still makes the humans run to the front lines. When the mobsters are after her, she sends a few agents to stop them. A lot of these men die in the line of duty while she is busy talking to scientists and making her own computer. She could have just taken them all down with a wave of her hand and then gone back to the computer. Apparently it just wasn’t worth the effort since she is so far above being human now. In case you couldn’t tell, I didn’t like the character. Lucy’s not even sure what her personality is so it switches constantly during the movie. She also lost most of her personality anyway by the end of the film since apparently having all of the powers in the universe gives you a jaded view of the rest of the world. I suppose that’s fair, but it’d be nice if she wasn’t so boring about it.

Aside from that, lets talk about why the film isn’t good. It really all boils down to the fact that the film is super violent. It goes to extreme lengths the whole time which is why the film was quite far away from getting the PG-13 rating. You’ve got a lot of people shot pointblank in the film, surgeries being performed, and naturally some pretty shifty villains who only have pleasure on their minds. It makes for a pretty hard to watch combo as the film never really lets up on this. There are no happy scenes in the entire film. Sure, Hollywood crams in one of the most sudden and irrelevant kisses in all of cinema just so the film could have that element in there, but it’s just a dreary film the whole time. Lucy treats all of the characters like her pawns and she spends most of her screen time dancing around the real questions or waiting to be asked a decent one. The “experts” are pretty annoying since they don’t ask anything meaningful either. It felt like they were extremely slow on the uptake considering that they’re supposed to be the brightest bulbs out there.

The only good scene in the film was probably the montage where we got to see the cops catch all of the kidnapped people at the airport. One of them wisely tried to evade the police, but it was all for naught. That being said, the film didn’t want us to think that it lost its edge so immediately afterwards, the cops decided to leave these people by themselves. Effectively they did that anyway as they left one or two cops, but they were easily taken down by the Yakuza. I don’t know what the plan was there, but it was pretty bad and naturally they were murdered once again in a gruesome fashion.

Lucy’s climax decides to get even more messed up as we find out that she sacrificed all of those lives for a flash drive. I’m not sure if that’s a good deal and I was half expecting the scientists to chuck it in the trash. They’d have some kind of excuse like “Humanity’s not ready for it yet” and then the film would end with the revelation that nothing was accomplished in the film’s duration. Kind of a sobering thought isn’t it? The visuals were pretty nice as Lucy gained dark matter abilities and started to run wild, but it still didn’t really amount to much in the end. It’s a problem that a lot of horror films have as well. If the villain is all powerful and the humans are ordinary mortals…then it’s not going to be very interesting. The sides are so unbalanced that there can be no fights, only massacres. You always want to have a well matched battle or at least one where the opposing side can realistically fight back.

Lucy is all style and no substance. You’ll be hard pressed to find a film more devoid of entertainment than this one. Just keep in mind the fact that there are no happy scenes in the entire film. The whole thing…it’s all extremely serious business as everyone speaks in an emotionless, monotone voice. The cast is super small as well which is probably for the best since more characters wouldn’t necessarily help matters at all. The film would just need a complete re-write to be even semi decent. I’d also say to switch out the main actress since she always seems to play the exact same character and that’s not what Lucy needs. Lucy should have focused on the fact that she got cool powers and came to terms with them to fight an alien invasion. Not getting all powerful in an instant and then getting bored with it all. It’s too much in too short of a time span. The final twist of Lucy actually being an ape was also just a face palm moment.

Overall, Lucy’s not a good film. You’ll know this within the first 10 minutes of the film and it never goes up from there. The visuals can be fun when they aren’t being used for gratuitous violence but that’s hardly enough to keep your interest. Lucy uses her powers in the most inefficient ways possible and she has no empathy for anyone. She may know a lot of things, but that doesn’t mean the data is worth everyone dying for. I’d recommend watching something that has cool action scenes while not getting too dark. Check out Man of Steel. It’s also pretty serious with almost no comedy moments, but it still keeps the atmosphere light enough for you to have some fun with it. It also benefits from having a better cast. After all, Lucy is basically the only real character here. The cop and the scientist do much aside from being around for the facial expressions and “epic” camera zoom-ins.

Overall 1/10