Attack on Titan (ongoing)
Writer/artist: Hajime Isayama
IF you are a regular manga and anime fan, there is a good chance that you would have heard of Attack On Titan – after all, it’s only the second most popular manga in the world right now, surpassed only by One Piece.
Written and illustrated by Hajime Isayama, the series has garnered a massive fan following and has already spawned a 25-episode anime, videogames and three spin-off series to date.
It is set in a world where humanity is under threat from gigantic humanoid creatures known as Titans who devour humans. Faced with the threat of extinction, humans have taken refuge behind massive walled cities that have kept the Titans at bay for over a hundred years.
However, the peace is soon broken with the sudden appearance of a gigantic 60m-tall Colossal Titan. Without warning, the massive Titan breaches the outermost wall, thus allowing smaller Titans to enter the city and devour its populace.
Much of the story revolves around three main protagonists: Eren Yeager, his adopted sister Mikasa Ackerman, and friend Armin Arlert, whose lives are forever changed with the destruction of their hometown. Vowing revenge on the Titans, the three join the military to fight the Titans and reclaim their homeland.
Much of the first volume is focused on world building and establishing the central cast of characters as they go through basic training in the military. There is a general sense of hopelessness throughout the book, with the characters facing insurmountable odds against foes that are 10 times their size.
Titans are notoriously hard to kill and that’s not just because of their massive size. Though they are shown to eat humans regularly, they do not require food for sustenance and, worst of all, they possess regenerative capabilities that allow them re-grow limbs and even heads!
The only way to kill a Titan is to make a deep cut at the base of its neck. To do this, humans use complex gas-powered body harnesses called Vertical Manoeuvre Gear, which grant users great mobility on the battlefield against the Titans.
Humans using complex gas-powered body harnesses called Vertical Manoeuvre Gear which grants users
great mobility on the battlefield against the Titans.
The book successfully manages to grab your attention from the start with a sense of mystery surrounding the existence of the Titans coupled with fast, intense action sequences as the characters desperately fight for their lives.
The danger posed by the Titans is felt throughout the book – every single character is agonisingly mortal, and stands as much chance of being eaten as the generic “cannon fodder” (owing to the graphic nature of the Titans’ eating habits – many of their victims are still alive when devoured – this book is definitely not for younger readers). It is this sense of dread that compels you to keep reading to find out what happens next.
That being said, Attack On Titan isn’t the most visually appealing manga on the market. Often times, the human characters are not exactly well drawn, though the battle scenes are nicely executed, with fast-moving action that will have you on the edge of your seat (the characters in the anime look way better than their manga counterparts, to be honest).
The first volume of the manga features a lot of story and character development that eases you into the world of Attack On Titan, and by the end of the book, you will be completely hooked; the cliffhanger ending will definitely leave you craving more.
With later chapters expanding on the mythology and history of the human-Titan conflict, and exploring the military aspects of the human resistance before revealing more of the Titans’ secrets, Attack On Titan looks set to continue its colossal assault on One Piece’s title of the world’s number one manga.