Story/Art: Hajime Isayama
Translation/Adaptation: Sheldon Drzka
What They Say
The last thing Eren remembers before blacking out, a Titan had bitten off his arm and leg and was getting ready to eat him alive. Much to his surprise he wakes up without a scratch on him, with a crowd of angry soldiers screaming for his blood. What strange new power has he awakened, and what will happen when the boy devoted to destroying the Titans becomes one himself?
Content: (please note that content portions of a review may contain spoilers):
Volume three of Attack on Titan opens with a brief recap to catch readers up on what we know of this world and the current events in it. Surprise, surprise, Eren turned into a titan. What is more surprising is that he can change back, and seems to be fully healed if not exhausted after his ordeal of being eaten alive. Much to everyone’s shock, and horror, especially since Eren emerges from his daze with words of bloodlust still on his lips.
This leads to a tense confrontation with the Corps commander in the area and his team, who saw Eren’s transformation back into a man. Eren isn’t quite certain about what exactly happened, or how he could be whole again. Taking a huge chance in the face of his friends dying, he forces a partial transformation to block cannon fire while Armin comes up with a plan to save them. The scene is overlong and starts to drag, but cements Armin as an important member of the team. He’s able to stall for time and convince Commander Pixis that Eren could be humanity’s greatest weapon. Hopefully Armin is now fully over his self esteem problems for the rest of the series.
There are some interesting hints at the true origin of the titans in this volume. The fact that the monsters look like humans and only attack humans points to the uncomfortable idea that they were manmade. Probably as some form of an ultimate weapon that got away from whomever created them. While the world that these character inhabit is decidedly low tech in most respects, the gas-cartridge rigs the fighters use, and the syringe that Eren’s father used on him, point to a far more advanced civilization. Not to mention the hundred story walls surrounding the last nation on earth. There’s also the mystery of what those scattered black comic panels with a numbers in them mean, and if it’s related to whatever was injected into Eren and possibly Mikase.
Not that it all makes perfect sense. The nature of Eren’s transformation is certainly seems more magical than science fiction in origin. Whatever his father did to him clearly was along the same lines as the titan research, and Eren knows it. He also now knows that the answers lie buried under the rubble of childhood home, deep in titan territory, but getting there won’t be easy.
A plan is formulated to take back the town, by having the human fighters draw off the titans while Eren moves a huge rock to block the entrance in the wall where the titans were entering. Just when it looks like the story is about to turn predictable, Eren can’t control his transformation. Lost in a dream of happier times, his titan form rampages stupidly, and his friends can’t break back through to him to to snap him back into control. So much for sticking to a plan.
Attack on Titan takes a brief break from the action as Eren is brought back into the story to take his place as the main character once again. It’s a bit disappointing, but somewhat expected, turn of events. I appreciate that this war is a messy one, in both combat and in art. There are no easy victories or magic bullets here, only despair punctuated with moments of hope that quickly become complicated. The underlying sinister possibility as to the origins of this war keep me more interested in the weird world the author has created than they characters, although I like Mikase’s no nonsense attitude and skill. The artwork is still hit or miss, Armin’s dramatic scene looks particularly off, but hopefully that will improve with time.
Content Grade: B –
Art Grade: C
Packaging Grade: B
Text/Translation Grade: A
Age Rating: 16+
Released By: Kodansha Comics
Release Date: December 4th, 2012