November 9, 2014
Hajime Isayama – Kodansha USA – 2012 – 12+ volumes
So I took a little break from reading manga. I was burned out. To try and get myself back into it, I picked up Attack on Titan. “This is so popular, it must be awesome! It has such a good premise, surely this will draw me back in!”
It does have an awesome premise. A town is built out of three concentric circles, meant to keep behemoths called Titans out. Giant and humanoid, nobody knows where they came from, just that they’ll show up, wreck the village, and eat humans if they aren’t kept out. Scout parties are constantly sent out to research them and to attempt to find weaknesses, but none ever return.
At the beginning of the volume, we meet young Eren and Mikasa. The two live together, and Eren insists that there must be a reason behind the Titans, there must be a way to stop them. Predictably, a mysterious huge Titan that’s larger than the wall shows up, kicks in the outer wall of the fortress city, and lets the smaller Titans in to eat all the humans. Eren and Mikasa’s family is lost in the attack. Jump ahead, Eren and Mikasa ace their cadet training, and are allowed to chose whatever stations they like. The first choice is always palace guard, as that’s the safest position. But Eren so believes that the Titans can be figured out that he joins the scout party, and Mikasa and most of the toughs from their class join them. Then, the giant Titan attacks and Eren begins to have his revenge.
Aside from the plot and characters being pretty vanilla in the first volume (only the mysterious circumstances surrounding Mikasa have me interested), the Titans are fought with a complicated anti-gravity system that is explained in detail and… I just had no interest in whatsoever. The science behind flying through the air to stab huge monsters just wasn’t all that cool, and a lot of time was spent explaining it.
Also, the art isn’t very good for a series this mainstream. I like the Titan designs a lot, but they’re plain, as is everything else… and sometimes the proportions aren’t very good. Somewhere in between we see design choices like the gigantic mouth on the huge Titan that’s full of tiny human-proportion teeth.
The premise is awesome, though. That alone will have me coming back, I just hope that things get more interesting from here on in.