The first Shingeki no Kyojin OVA, Ilse no Techou, is adapted from a side-story in the 5th volume of the Shingeki no Kyojin manga. The second, Totsuzen no Raihousha, is an original story that utilizes the comedic previews found at the end of the manga's volumes. The third is an anime-original story.
Ilse no Techou was scheduled to be bundled with the 11th limited-edition manga volume on August 9, but the disc was delayed 4 months. The 11th special-edition manga volume bundled a sticker and 3D card instead of the OVA.
In a land ravaged by Titans - monstrosity that have desolated humanity and left them on the brink of constant fear at every day, every hour, every minute exists warriors that fights for what they believe in. It is freedom and to liberate themselves from fear and destruction of this apocalyptic land at the dawn of the hour, these warriors have vowed to bring the war against Titans. But just exactly who are these mysterious Titans that suddenly popped out of from the earth? Why do they eat humans when they suffer no hunger themselves? Exactly what is a ‘Titan’?
These are questions you might have
in mind if you decide to give this OVA a shot. Shingeki no Kyojin: llse no Techou is an OVA based off popular manga, Shingeki no Kyojin (Attack on Titan) written by Hajime Isayama. The anime series that debuted in the Spring of 2013 have been an international hit and achieved numerous praise and attention. As a standalone OVA, this little of piece of work composed of a mere 23 minutes takes us back to a time where we visit another character and the journey that she went through. It’s a tough life though with blood spilled everywhere, bones mangled, and atmosphere shrouded with fear.
The OVA itself takes place in the same setting that revolves around the Titans, man-beasts and the primary antagonists of the franchise. In such a time, there are no moments of serendipity but humanity is bestowed with fear. One such character among humanity is named Ilse Langnar, a young woman from the 34th Expedition of the Scouting Legion. Being a member of the Scouting Legion means putting your life constantly at risk as they are on the front lines against the Titans. For Ilse however, she discovers more than just fear. From a startling event, Ilse discovers an astonishing factor that may have changed her life forever. There’s a clear certainty of confusion with what she found and in this OVA will reveal something you might have missed from its parent series.
However, discoveries aren’t just the only phenomenon that plays a role in this OVA.
For a certain character with the style of a scientist, she hopes to capture one alive and really dissect the knowledge from the Titans. Returning to this OVA is Hanji, a squad leader from the survey corps. Unlike most people who lives in fear of the Titans, she embraces its identity and wishes to discover more than what she can. Throughout the OVA, her ebullient personality and irrational behavior almost puts her own life as well as others at risk. Thankfully, we have others like Levi and his corps to save the day.
The OVA itself doesn’t focus much on characters but rather more on discoveries, or rather the mysteries relating to the Titans. There are so many questions that needs answers yet no one really knows the truth. Ilse’s journal details part of what she learned although it seemed to be obscured. In one sense, the OVA present itself to viewers as a way to open up our minds to what we may think relates to the Titans. Thoughts, theories, and ideas might be evoked as we try to pierce the puzzle together similar to what Hanji is doing. It also helps that the OVA recollects some of the events from the past with a short recap to refresh viewers what they remembered before. One thing, it’s definitely not pretty and Titans are detestable towards the human race.
Similar to its parent franchise, the OVA performs with action in the typical shounen style. There’s the quick movements from various squad members including the prominent clean freak, Levi. Hanji herself rides into danger although her combat phases are limited because of her ambition to capture titans rather than obliterating them. But realistically, the SnK franchise plays more on the dark fantasy genre. It focuses on portraying the desolation of humanity and presents it in a gruesome way with graphic violence. In a way, it works but sometimes lacks new features. And speaking of features, main characters from the original series such as Eren, Mikasa, and Armin are absent. The trio aren’t interested in discoveries especially with Eren being the hothead so the path of knowledge falls upon more to other characters.
Artistic wise, the OVA maintains its posture well in terms of presentation. The setting reflects on a sense of hopelessness for humanity. The Titans are designed in a way that consists of human features but possesses the brutality of an animal. Most of the characters in this OVA doesn't go any significant change. Ilse on the other hand is designed to look frailer, as in a fragile woman struggling to stay alive. We don’t find out much about her combat abilities either so it’s unknown her true capabilities as a soldier.
The soundtrack deserves praise similar to its predecessor. Even as a standalone OVA, the soundtrack focuses on intense choreography coordinated to desired scenes. Whether these might be brutal, sarcastic, or calm, the music department once again does its job. Ilse’s voice shows her as a woman of concern but also frustration once she comes head to head with questions. The tone of her voice during one specific scene reveals the unsettling nature of how humanity is suffering mentally because of the Titans.
Overall, this OVA is definitely worth the try especially if you’re curious to see what goes on with other characters. Ilse might not be a prominent character from the main series but her discovery might be an important key to unlock the mystery of the Titans. As far as mysteries go though, the OVA doesn’t give much answers so you’ll have to dig answers elsewhere. The way the episode does handles itself though is to flourish out the grim reality of the SnK world. It’s living every day in fear in such a land realizing you’re not at the top of the food chain.
The OVAs takes place around the time skip in the series near episodes 3 and 4 in the regular anime. Moving away from just the usual trio of protagonists and their training to become professional titan slayers, the story also focuses on Hanji, Levi and his squad, and several others. This OVA adds a little more background into some of the elder and younger characters of the story as well as some more mysteries to the strange titans. The first episode is the only one adapted from the manga while the other two episodes are original material.
Episode 1: Hanji has become determined to capture a
titan as the Survey Corps heads out on yet another difficult mission into titan territory. Being Hanji, she is obsessed with titans to the point where she blatantly disobeys the leader, Erwin, and goes off in search of some titans for her experimenting pleasures. She comes across a 6 meter titan and runs around asking it questions while it attempts to knock her off her high horse and swallow her whole. Eventually after some strange behavior from the titan, Hanji and Levi come across a diary written by a deceased member of the Survey Corps named Ilse Langnar. Her story details her encounter with the titan that chased Hanji and basically just adds even more mysteries about titans without really any startling discovers aside from some curious dialogue.
Episode 2: This episode is an overly-serious yet humorous joke about Jean and his teenage angst, and it even features a Jean-centered version of the first opening theme. Jean doesn't get along with his overly-caring mother and just wants to go out into the world and get away from her, but even then she continues to embarrass him. This was my least favorite episode of the three as it just seemed stupid with it's poor attempt at comedy for the most part.
Episode 3: This episode finally returns to the 104th division with a training exercise that helps unite them. What seems like a long and boring exercise turns into a mission to get back at thieves who stole the group's 3DMG and Christa. The tactics and characters in this episode are very much like the real series (unlike episode 2).
The animation is just as good as it is in the regular anime and the soundtrack is also pretty similar (just without the songs that specifically go along with some of the main characters). The small amount of action looks great. While there is much less beautifully animated gore, there are still plenty of beautiful scenery shots. Some of the animation during the overly-serious comedic moments in episode 2 do not fit very well though considering most of this show is not comedic in the least.
As for the characters, Hanji is still the most adorable, psychotic 40 year old in anime and Levi has to take of everyone. Ilse's voice actor does an excellent job of speaking in a rapid, panicked voice during the flashback and portrays her perfectly. Eren, Jean, Armin, Mikasa, and everyone else are back to how they were in the beginning with Eren and Jean bickering about everything, Armin trying to keep the peace, and Mikasa just being Mikasa.
I enjoyed these OVAs (aside from the second) about as much as I did any normal episode from the anime. Since they take place around episode 3 and 4 for the most part, I wouldn't recommend this to people who have not watched the beginning of the anime yet, as it does have the usual recap at the beginning of the first OVA which would spoil the first few episodes. To anyone who has seen past episode 3, I recommend watching this. It's just more of the same Attack on Titan stuff as before just with much, much less gore.
Out of the 3 OVA released so far, the first is the standout. It focus's on interesting characters that i wanted to see more of in the main anime so that's a plus. Zoë is a character with a very...unique personality, which is both interesting and entertaining since she's very unconventional. Levi and his squad are the supporting characters and it's nice to see them because i personally enjoy their characters and i wish they were around more in the anime. I'm not sure whether or not to consider this one filler, since it did seem story focus'd but vaguely. The episode talks about the
Titans and shows something about them that we haven't seen before so it's cool to speculate what it's about. Overall the story on this one was fun to watch unfold and interesting.
The second was just fine, it worked as a typical filler. I like how it focus'd on one of the show's strongpoints - the characters. Jean and Sasha were the main characters for this one, with Armin, Reiner and some others acting as the support including General Pixis. The story is very odd, focusing on a cook-off. Though this doesn't mean i wasn't entertained, especially towards the end the episode took a wacky turn which was actually pretty funny. It also characterized Jean and gave him a bit more back story showing he's a very kind hearted person in short. It was also nice to see more of Sasha as well since she's on of my favorite characters
The third was good as well, i don't really know who the focus is on this one, it told a story about a training exercise gone wrong. It followed Eren, marco, Jean, and the rest of Eren's squad prior to the second Titan attack in the second wall. The story wasn't that intense since we already know all the characters survive via seeing them in the main story that takes place after this episode does. The antagonists didn't really feel so threatening either, but watching the cadets fight them was pretty entertaining as well as seeing the interplay and chemistry between the characters. There were some funny moments and it was mildly entertaining so I don't have any big gripes with it. Overall it was good.
The OVA are nothing amazing like i said, but they're very entertaining nonetheless and i enjoyed watching it. The first episode is the standout of course so i recommend watching that one at least. If you're a fan of the show the other two are fun to watch as well but if you don't like fillers then it's not your thing. Personally i didn't mind the filler story and i enjoyed it so i gave it a 7.
"Seid ihr das Essen? Ja, wir sind die Jägerschnitzel!"
What happens when you have a HUGELY popular series, but you can only make a new season every 3 years and people are all begging for more? Obviously, you HAVE to give them something, otherwise too many people will abandon ship. Especially since most fans of the anime don't actually read the manga. To solve this dilemma, Attack on Titan created this OVA. However, they really didn't want to create filler material that might accidentally contradict something later on in the manga. The only way to ASSURE that this contradiction doesn't happen, is to make an
OVA where absolutely NOTHING of any importance or substance happens.
I appreciate the massive handicap that the director of this OVA faced! However, there was a much better approach the OVA could have taken. The OVA should have focused on actual character building and interesting conversations between the characters to perhaps flesh out some of the minor characters or let us look deeper into the minds and motivations of our leads. What did we get instead? I'll explain.
I can't really "spoil" anything because nothing happens!
OVA 1: The OVA starts strong by making the correct marketing decision and choosing fan favorite Levi as the main character. He and his team must capture a Titan alive in order to study it. They discover the lost diary of a deceased scout. The diary gives us a name and basically just acts as a teaser for people who have already read the manga. If you haven't read ahead in the manga, you don't actually learn jack shit. Yeah, they capture a Titan, but we don't learn ANYTHING new about the Titans! Where they came from, why they eat humans, etc. I DO know all of those answers as of 4/29/2015 because I've read the manga, but watching this OVA won't get you any closer to that knowledge. Do we learn anything new about Levi? Nope. Do we get to see how his team dynamics work in a much clearer picture? nope. Did this episode have a freaking point besides saying "go read the manga?" Nope
Ova 2: We get a cooking contest between "Potato Girl" and Jean. Seriously. That's what happens! We also get a sexy training montage of Mikasa practicing boxing for some reason in a white push-up bra. Is she trying to be Tifa Lockhart? Obvious fanservice is obvious
OVA 3: They travel to what looks like the "old West" AKA Southwest United States and end up fighting outlaws. Wait...didn't this series take place in Germany? How the fuck did they get to the Southwest US? DAMN IT OVA, YOU HAD ONE JOB!!!
If you aren't a huge fan of Attack on Titan, this OVA is a colossal, titanic waste of time! If you ARE a huge Attack on Titan fan...ditto. Basically, this OVA sucks. That's it folks. I don't have positive things to say here. Besides keeping the same high quality music and good animation, it freaking sucks!