Review: ‘Attack on Titan’ Volume 1 [Manga]

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by Victoria Erica | staff writer

titanPeople have quixotic tastes in pop culture. Vampires, zombies, etc have cornered geek pop culture. However, one of my favorite themes in horror and thriller themed media is survival. Attack on Titan’s overarching theme surrounds humanity’s drive to survive despite inevitable death and doom. The story is in a dystopian world; there are these giants (labeled “Titans”) that have devoured humanity. Humanity now lives in cities enclosed by a wall to keep the Titans from invading. While troops are sent out to discover how to kill off the Titans, it is often unsuccessful.

The first volume opens up on an attack on a city. The story follows Eren Jeager, a young boy that wants to bring down the Titans. Things get personal for little Eren when his mother is killed by a Titan. The manga shows this scene really fast, but the emotion is there. In the recent anime adaptation, it is an emotional rollercoaster that is very hard to watch as his mother accepts her fate. Eren and his friend, Mikasa, escape the city and vow to be on the special forces.

We time skip a few years as Eren and his colleagues in the special forces maneuver a defensive strategy in a recent attack. Without giving too much away, even the secondary characters are very well written and you do feel for them when things happen to them; even if you get to know them for just one chapter.

Hajime Isayama’s art style is pretty good. Lines are drawn harshly and character designs are realistic. The world of Attack on Titan has a sense of realism; attention to detail on homes and character designs to portray non-descript ethnicities. It makes sense for a dystopian world where most of human have been wiped out. The Titans are ferocious and intimidating; however, it takes me a while to take them seriously because a few look like naked versions of Mimaniac from Perfect Blue.

Attack on Titan is something that older anime and manga fans have been waiting for. It thematically discusses the pitfalls and triumphs of human survival, making this a thought provoking series. If you enjoyed The Big O, Akira, Ghost in a Shell, and titles along those lines, Attack on Titan is not one to miss. If you’re slowly graduating from the typical shounen series and want something more, this is one manga to check out. The anime is currently out and licensed by Funimation. The manga is released by Kodansha USA.

You can watch the anime on both Crunchyroll and Funimation.

[NOTE: The opinions expressed here are those of the authors and do not necessarily reflect the opinions of the SPJA.]

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