Manga Review: Attack on Titan, by Hajime Isayama

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Attack on Titan, by Hajime Isayama

Genres: Shonen, Dystopian, Horror

Volumes: 19

Status: Ongoing

Favorite Characters: Eren Yeager, Captain Levi, Mikasa Ackerman

Rating:

On that day, mankind received a grim reminder. We lived in fear of the Titans and were disgraced to live in these cages we called walls.

For this series, I think that on the inside of Volume One there should be a page that says, “Welcome to Hell.”

Attack on Titan will destroy you. You will agonize endlessly over it, until it completely takes over your life and you can’t think of anything else. That’s exactly what happened to me.

The story begins in the year 845 in a dystopian world where giant humanoids called Titans roam the Earth, preying on humans. They don’t need to eat to survive—it’s later revealed that they don’t have a digestive system—so no one knows why they do this, or why they even exist in the first place. Regardless, what’s left of humanity has retreated inside three circular walls, and they have lived peacefully for over a hundred years.

Eren Yeager is 10 years old at the time. He lives in Shiganshina district with his family and, furious at how humans live because of the Titans, is determined to join the Survey Corps—a military branch that risk their lives to venture outside the walls, hoping to gain information that’ll aid humanity’s fight.

On that day, the Colossus Titan breaks a hole in the wall, and Titans rush in.

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My favorite thing about Attack on Titan is that it keeps me guessing. After Volume 12, the story branches off and becomes less about the Titans and more about corruption inside of the walls. Characters that I thought weren’t important end up hiding shocking secrets that completely change the game. Tons of new questions arise, and though we’re given a few answers, we never know the full truth, which leaves us desperate to find out what it is.

This is the story that sucked me back into the manga/anime fandom. I had been long gone from it for years, and then one boring April day, I decided to open up Crunchyroll and watch something. I had no idea what I was about to do to myself.

I recommend watching the anime first. I don’t usually say this, but if you enjoy the full emotional experience that comes from being sucked inside of a world, watch the anime first. And hang onto something, because you’ll be losing it.

I feel very protective over every character in the 104th Training Corps, as well as those in Squad Levi and the rest of the Survey Corps. Eren is by far my favorite, and it’s because he’s not special. He’s not highly skilled, he can be kind of an idiot at some points, and at others, he’s kind of worthless—but he has a strong will to survive and that motivates others around him to keep going, even if they do think he’s being stupid. *Stares at Jean*. I guess what I really love about him is that though he’s not the strongest, he’ll still get back on his feet and fight.

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Then there’s Captain Levi.

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He is one of the most beloved manga characters in the world right now, and chances are, you’ll love him to. He’s Eren’s opposite: he’s crazy strong and fast, surpassing everyone else in the military, and has been nicknamed ‘Humanity’s Strongest Soldier.’ He’s also extremely short (which I love), cold and ruthless, but he still holds humanity’s survival above everything else and has deep, underlying emotions that start to surface as you read on. Plus, he’s a total clean freak, which has become a sort of inside joke in the fandom.

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The art didn’t impress me at first. I think Volume One was a little rough, but then Hajime Isayama’s skills showed drastic improvement as the story went on—or maybe I grew accustomed to it? I’m not sure. He’s especially skilled at movement; sometimes in a manga, when a character is doing something like, say, throwing a punch, it looks exaggerated or stiff, but Attack on Titan has a lot of action in it and the characters’ movements are very fluid.

I also love the way he draws Eren’s eyes. I’m just saying.

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There are a few translation errors, but that happens. Attack on Titan is at the top of the anime kingdom right now, and with the series coming to a close in Volume 20, a lot of fans are really, really nervous—including me.

To conclude, Attack on Titan is one of my favorite mangas of all time, and I can’t recommend it enough.

You can’t change anything unless you can discard part of yourself too. To surpass monsters, you must be willing to abandon your humanity.

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