Attack On Titan’s First Animated Movie Fixes A Big Problem

Attack On Titan’s First Animated Movie Fixes A Big Problem

This past weekend saw the release of the first Attack on Titan compilation movie — Attack on Titan: The Crimson Bow and Arrow. And while viewers of the anime will have seen everything in this film before, the movie does manage to address the series’ largest flaw: the pacing.

Good — Ups the Quality

To start, there is a clear improvement of visuals in The Crimson Bow and Arrow when compared to the TV series. While many of the shots are taken directly from the anime, they have obviously been retouched to be cleaner and more detailed. Moreover, some of the dynamic scenes of Eren and the others swinging through the city of Trost are new to this film, making what was already the coolest-looking part of the anime even cooler. Simply put, Attack on Titan has never looked better.

Good — Trims the Fat

The Crimson Bow and Arrow covers the first story arc of Attack on Titan, namely the prologue and the battle for Trost. In the TV anime, this arc takes 13 episodes — around 4 hours and 45 minutes. The movie, in contrast, tells the whole story in a mere 2 hours. To accomplish this, a large amount has been cut. The movie begins just as the series does, showing the fall of Wall Maria. The film then jumps directly to Eren’s graduation ceremony before going into the battle proper which takes up the rest of its runtime.

These cuts serve to vastly improve the pace of the film. Gone are the lengthy exposition and the conversations designed to do little more than fill out an episode’s runtime. Thus, everything is much more focused and to the point. Scenes never go on for too long, and there is a good back and forth of action and drama scenes throughout.

Mixed — Less Development

Of course there are also downsides that come from cuts — especially as it relates to the supporting cast. The Crimson Bow and Arrow skips the entirety of Eren’s training. Thus the supporting characters who were all introduced in this section of the story lack their backstories in the film. And without backstories — i.e., knowing where they have come from and what their personalities were originally like — they aren’t able to develop as characters either.

This is also a problem for the main leads as well — specifically Eren and Mikasa — though to a lesser extent. While the prologue is nearly unchanged from the series, Eren and Mikasa’s first encounter is abridged to a series of short flashbacks that total about ten seconds each.

However, in an odd twist, The Crimson Bow and Arrow feels more like an ensemble story than does the series from which it is cut. Despite there being less overall development of the supporting cast, they get a far greater proportion of the screen time when compared to that of the series. In other words, while Leon’s backstory has been cut, all his scenes in Trost remain intact, making him feel like a much more important character because of how often we see him. The same is true for various other supporting characters.

Bad — A Climax With Less Impact

For the most part, the soundtrack in the film is identical to that of the series — except in one glaring case. In the series, the climax of the Battle of Trost (when Eren attempts to carry a huge boulder while Mikasa, Armin, and the others protect him) is set to a powerful and triumphant rock ballad. It fits the climax well and makes the scene feel even more important than usual, thanks to the unique score. However, the film replaces it with more generic background music — the same as the other music heard constantly throughout both the TV show and film. It robs the scene of much of its impact and, comparatively, makes the climax a bit of a letdown.

Final Thoughts

As far as anime compilation films go, Attack on Titan: The Crimson Bow and Arrow is a darn good one. It tells the core story well, hitting the most important emotional and dramatic moments of the plot. It also makes the story flow more smoothly as it never gets bogged down in lengthy exposition for too long — though character development in general does suffer as a result. If you enjoyed the series but thought that it often dragged or you want to know what Attack on Titan is all about but don’t have time for the series, Attack on Titan: The Crimson Bow and Arrow is for you.

Attack on Titan: The Crimson Bow and Arrow was released in Japanese theatres on November 22, 2014.


  • So people are paying perfectly good yen to see a movie based on an anime they already own on bluray? Man I hate AoT even more now and the fans so much more so.

    • Not like AoT is the first to do this. I do agree though. People who have seen and in many cases own the series’ these compilation movies are based on just dont deserve the money they are throwing away….

    • Perhaps its aimed at people who havent watched the series before? It would be a good to be introduced to a show, then go watch all the tv episodes for more ‘story paddibg’ and extra small details

      And also hardcore fans who want anything and everything to do with it

    • I think your missing the whole point.
      It would be aimed at those who haven’t seen the show so they can catch up quickly in time for the second season.
      Also it could be aimed at those who have seen it but haven;t watched it in a while and want a recap.

      • The only ones that are going to flock to this are the hardcore fans, who know the anime and manga pretty much front to back and in reverse

    • Evangelion, Hellsing, Tepen Toppa Gurren Lagann, Dragonball Z, Sailor Moon.

      All of those series have had OVAs or even full blown series reboots that retell the same story with all the filler removed for better pacing. Shingeki is far from the first to do it.

      • With the exception of DBZ, Sailor Moon & Hellsing, I’m in 100% agreement. However, recapping a series in a movie is very lazy from a writing POV.

    • It also will be an excellent way off recapping before the next season which will come around only in almost 2 years.

    • hipster dbag is a hipster dbag. Knocking off things you dont like but havent experienced is a sure sign of the less intelligent

      • Haven’t experienced? I sat through the series, riding the hype train like everyone else. By the end of the ride I felt like I wasted a lot of time to that series.

    • So…. You hate creative content because the creators release something that they know people will pay money for. And you hate fans for being fans. Ah, makes a lot of sense

  • Dude. Have you rewatched a movie you enjoy before? Have you then rewatched it on the big screen? It’s a lot better than watching it on your shitty little laptop. Or even your wide screen TV. I did it with Halloween, Star Wars, Jaws, Blues Brothers. Do I not deserve to have the money I spent on those movies either?

  • Hi actually alot of the soundtrack was removed or swapped for generic music, robbing scenes of their impact!

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