A Review by Avery Mathews
I’m not one to read a manga that’s currently ongoing. I like it to be finished, so I don’t have to sit around waiting for the next chapter. It’s one of the reasons why I’m so bad with webcomics; I get impatient waiting for the next page, and keep forgetting to check. I’ve tried reading various manga while they were ongoing when I was younger, and I would end up dropping them because I couldn’t wait for the next volume to come out. That was the case with so many different ones, including manga that ended up becoming really big in later years. However, I’ve found the manga that makes me read it even though it’s ongoing and already at forty-odd chapters: Attack on Titan.
Attack on Titan is a series that has received a well-deserved kick in popularity due to the fact that the anime started running recently, Massive amounts of fans picked up on it and are watching it devotedly. I must admit, I only got into it after it became popular — but rather than watching the anime, which I hear is phenomenal, I started reading the manga, and boy, do I not regret that one bit.
How does one even begin to describe Attack on Titan? One part action-adventure, one part mystery, one part comedy, it’s the amalgamation of these different types of series into one that makes it so utterly amazing, but it’s also got heart on top of it. The relationship between the main character and his adopted sister is enough to make your heart wrench in agony sometimes. Sometimes you don’t know how his sister can deal with him, and then other times it makes perfect sense.
With plot twist upon plot twist, Attack on Titan makes sure to keep you guessing about many things that you don’t even realize are questions. Of course, there are some things about it that get slightly annoying — like, for example, how they go on a Lord of the Rings-like journey through areas infested with these things they call Titans to figure out many of the questions inspired by the surfacing of abnormal Titans. Forty-odd chapters in, they still haven’t reached the place they went out in search of in chapter 20 or so.
Still they add in a few things to keep everything going. The Titans were creatures who forced humanity to wall themselves up in a country divided by three concentric walls — Wall Maria, Wall Rosé, and Wall Sina being the innermost one. The story starts with the outer-most wall, Wall Maria, getting breached by new types of Titans — a Colossal Titan and an Armored Titan, and acts as the call to action for the protagonist, Eren, who is a child at this point. From there, it flashes forward to Eren years later, when he’s joining an elite military group to kill Titans and defend what remains of his home country.
The body count is massive. Don’t get too attached to anyone, because they’ll probably end up dying in the next chapter, but even with such a large cast, you can’t help but grow attached to people, even if you know they’re going to die any moment. Each of them are still perfect in their own ways; even the characters who start out as people you’re supposed to hate, are redeemed, and grow into characters that you can’t help but adore.
At one point, it brings up moral and ethical questions. Questions like, what do you do if your greatest enemy is also your ally. In the middle of the manga, one of the main characters mentions something that brings up such an interesting dilemma for the reader to turn over in their head: “The only thing we’re allowed to do is believe we won’t regret the choice we have made.”
All in all, Attack on Titan has a little something for everyone. It’ll leave you guessing about mysteries while solving questions you didn’t even know were there. Most of all, it gives you such a large cast of characters of such varying personalities and demeanor that it’s impossible not to like everyone — and makes it impossible to stop reading because you just wonder what in the world is going to happen next to these poor souls.
Attack on Titan Book 1
Written by Hajime Isayama
Published by: Kodansha Comics
Format: Trade Paperback
On Sale: June 19, 2012
Diamond Id: MAR121101
Buy it directly from Random House, Amazon, or give the Diamond ID (MAR121101) to your local comics retailer.
Avery Mathews was doomed from birth to be a geek as he descended from geek parents. He hopes to continue to fight the fandom power from the dark recesses of his dorm room as a freshman in college this fall. You can follow his adventures through newly minted adult life on twitter @livingxparadox