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Attack on Titan: Before the Fall Vol. #07 Manga Review

3 min read
Attack on Titan: Before the Fall Vol. #7
Attack on Titan: Before the Fall Vol. #7

Trial by fire.

Creative Staff
Story: Ryo Suzukaze
Art: Satoshi Shiki
Character Designs: Thores Shibamoto
Translation/Adaptation: Stephen Paul

What They Say
Xavi Inocencio, the man who implicated Kuklo in Dario’s murder (and who also happens to be Sharle’s brother), has joined the Military Police on Captain Gloria’s recommendation. This puts the royal government’s most powerful tools at his disposal in his search for Kuklo and Sharle. Meanwhile, Kuklo leaves Sharle behind in the Industrial City, heading to Shiganshina District to try the temperamental and dangerous “device” against a real Titan…

Content: (please note that content portions of a review may contain spoilers):
Opening this volume of Before the Fall with Xavi gives the author a chance to flesh out his motives before the story dives back into the testing of the device. It’s a bit risky, as Xavi hasn’t been a likable or even deserving antagonist. While he’s not redrawn in a misunderstood light in the opening chapter, his personality and thought process is clearer. He represents the danger that humans pose, but mostly he’s a threat to Sharle’s future with Kuklo.

From there it’s straight to the action back at the wall. Kuklo and Cardina are reintroduced to Jorge’s son Carlo, and to Maria Carlstead who is the best-realized woman in this spinoff so far. (Well, compared to doe-eyed Sharle and riding-crop Gloria she’s a huge improvement.) The survey corps is down to a skeleton crew, and it’s only through the strings pulled by Maria that they can make it up the wall in the dead of night to begin the test.

Artist Satoshi Shiki is, amusingly, a stronger artist than series creator Isayama. It shows strongly in this volume during the nighttime testing. From the climb up with wall to descending down outside the wall it’s some excellent work. The sense of scale and the weight of the situation works extremely well. There are two pages which show a close call that is very impressive, and you can really feel Kuklo getting tossed around by the titans and the imperfect maneuvering gear. The sense of tension is real, which is funny because unlike most of this series we know Kuklo is safe in this situation, yet it still works.

By the end of the experimental test Kuklo is injured and the gear needs more work. He learns about his father yet it doesn’t change anything in regards to Kuklo’s attitude about his past and future self. Frustratingly, it makes me wonder why the Pikales allowed a fellow soldier’s son to be carted off as a sideshow freak only to now snatch him up as a prize fighter.

This volume ends with a side-story about Angel and Maria which works better than the previous side-stories as it gives both a little more depth and isn’t just a throwaway scene.

In Summary
Before the Fall steps away from the past to forge ahead into the future. Xavi also shows that he’s not just bent on revenge but on something more calculated as he starts to pick apart the politics of the world he’s entering. However, the bulk of this volume focuses on the clandestine, dead-of-night testing on the gear against the unknown. It’s a scene wrought with peril and despite knowing that death is not an option the tension still works. Kuklo shows that he’s a character that is at his best when not expounding virtues he really shouldn’t possess due to his past, but out there struggling to fight and win.

Content Grade: B +
Art Grade: B +
Packaging Grade: B
Text/Translation Grade: A –

Age Rating: 13+
Released By: Kodansha Comics
Release Date: April 12th, 206
MSRP: $10.99

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