To take on a titan is to first take on the most hellish bootcamp you can imagine.
Story/Art: Hajime Isayama
Translation/Adaptation: Sheldon Drzka
What They Say
HUMANITY PUSHES BACK!
The Survey Corps develop a risky gambit – have Eren in Titan form attempt to repair Wall Rose, reclaiming human territory from the monsters for the first time in a century. But Titan-Eren’s self-control is far from perfect, and when he goes on a rampage, not even Armin can stop him! With the survival of humanity on his massive shoulders, will Eren be able to return to his senses, or will he lose himself forever?
Content: (please note that content portions of a review may contain spoilers):
The opening of this volume of Attack on Titan resolves the lingering question of if Eren was going to loose himself in battle. Not so surprisingly he snaps back, with a little help from Armin, and is able to carry out the plan to close the gap in the wall. Of course, the risky operation causes even more trainees to loose their lives in a sequence of horrible carnage.
I’d forgotten that Eren and the rest of the kids were still just trainees after all of what’s happened in the last few volumes. Stepping back, the story goes into a flashback for the majority of the volume to show off the training that the recruits had to go through. Eren, Mikasa, Armin, and the rest had to literally learn the ropes, along with all sorts of other skills during their time in boot camp. Many of the kids were only there so that they might be able to win a position in the military police, far away from actual danger. Only Eren wants to join the high risk survey corps from the get go.
The flashback also serves to lighten the mood after the intensely gory and dark events that have made up the bulk of the action. Although humor in Attack on Titan often falls into the strange and absurd rather than sillyness. Isayama’s art is so strange and grotesque that even mundane training takes on a weird, uneasy feeling. Their commanding officer walks about with a perpetual death glare, lurking like a titan in the shadows and tormenting the trainees. It’s also a chance to develop some of the other trainees that we’ve seen in action. We find out their strengths and weaknesses, and when the story snaps back to the present we discover who made it out of the terrible battle alive.
The glimpse of the clean-up that we’re given is a horror show, and the recruits look appropriately shellshocked and haunted after having to identify the pieces left of their comrades. Eren misses out on the aftermath, awaking later to find himself chained up under guard, even if he’s in hospital bed. The corpse still doesn’t know what to make of him, but after interrogating Armin and Mikasa they find out about the house key and the promise of answers within. After some consideration they decide to allow Eren into the survey corps, with plans to take back Eren’s hometown.
Attack on Titan pauses to fill in the blanks of the life of a trainee. We learn more about the science behind the equipment the titan hunters use, and how the kids learned how to use it. Despite the bootcamp atmosphere of their training, the recruits were certainly not prepared emotionally to do battle. Now that they’ve all seen their fare share of the horrors of their war I expect the next engagement will take on a very different tone. Eren’s power and abilities are still a dangerous mystery, and his gambit to take back the town is almost a disaster. I’m eager to see who else makes the cut into the survey corps, and to see if Eren will be the weapon mankind needs to take back their overrun world.
Content Grade: B
Art Grade: C
Packaging Grade: B
Text/Translation Grade: A
Age Rating: 16+
Released By: Kodansha Comics
Release Date: March 26th, 2013