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Attack on Titan Manga Chapter 112 Review

Video Version: (YouTube)

 

Let’s not fuck around here: Eren definitely hates Mikasa! There are very few instances throughout the series of them interacting on an emotional level. In emotional scenes they share Eren is usually talking to Armin about the outside world or their grander goals and Mikasa’s just sitting there on the side with nothing to add because she isn’t interesting enough. There other interactions are all Mikasa babying Eren and Eren rightfully getting pissed off, remember that time she attempted that and he literally headbutted her. Now we as an audience may have collectively let out a nervous laugh but this wasn’t a scene played for comedy, he just headbutted her out of frustration. In the one scene everyone points to at the end of Season 2 he literally turns away from her clear inclination to kiss him. Eren has never shown favourability platonically or romantically to Mikasa, she’s just annoyed him and that’s why his words ring so true in this chapter. It turns out that the whole time the hair wasn’t the only similarity between Rei Ayanami and Mikasa they both had inherit servitude to the men they admire most, but in the end, Rei had the balls to kill Gendo, and Mikasa again rolls over for Eren this chapter by stopping Armin from attacking him.  Clearly, I have inherent bias here, I hate Mikasa, she’s always been boring and annoying, and I also have always hated Armin, so this scene was a vicarious thrill ride for me. Additionally, this is my favourite and the most interesting version of Eren we have seen in the story and moving forward I can’t wait to see how he develops.

Meanwhile, Gabbi has continued to be the most interesting and well-written character in this series. Don’t forget and don’t underestimate the importance of Gabbi’s presence at this meeting. She has now witnessed what she will become if she continues down this path, if she continues to be manipulated and repress the truth she will end up like the monster she sees in front of her. Eren represents to Gabbi, everything she ever believed about the devils on Paradise island. Everything she once hated was sitting in front of her and she did nothing, because she’s beginning to grow. The Gabbi of five or six chapters ago would have mindlessly jumped at Eren attempting to kill him, but in this chapter she clearly internally conflicted. The supposed devils on Paradise just saved her life and in the conversation with Armin and Mikasa before Eren barged in out of nowhere, they reinforced this by stating they had no intentions or want to kill anyone. Additionally, in that conversation she prioritised Falco’s life over her own and ask them to kill her and only imprison Falco, that’s something I don’t think she would have done previously. Gabbi has been showed the duality of the people of Paradise Island. She seen the good in the scouts and Sasha’s father who forgave her and the bad in Kia and Eren who wish to seek further vengeance on her and on Marley. And for anyone who has missed the tell-tale signs that Gabbi is a parallel to a younger Eren, Armin even mentions that her attitude reminds him of someone right as Eren wonders in frame. Eventually, when Gabbi saves everyone, I’ll remember all of you that doubted her.

From what I’ve garnered from this chapter and the few previous chapters is that the Yeager Brothers are being used as a narrative device to ultimately unify the world, or at the very least Eldia and Marley, against them. They together are the ultimate evil and danger at the moment, they have the potential to flatten the entire globe and through Gabbi I believe the two sides with unite to defeat the common threat. Which is interestingly similar to the beginning of the series when humanity within the walls united against the titans as a common enemy. But in this chapter both Yeager Brothers dropped some insightful information. Eren explained the power of the Ackerman clan in a massive exposition dump and Zeke got things rolling with his patterned scream. Eren explained that the Ackerman’s can’t think for themselves and are reliant on special hosts that influence their behaviour, he even not so nicely refers to them as slaves. This explanation seems to fit all the Ackerman’s we have grown to know throughout the series; Mikasa to Eren, Kenny to Uri and Levi to Erwin. Levi seemingly proves his continued dependence on Erwin in this chapter when he talks about his regret to have not yet killed Zeke as he had promised to Erwin before his death. He also has a similar moment of reflection like Erwin did right before his death, all the dead scout members looking back. Many are calling a death flag on Levi now and especially after Zeke rained titans from the sky, its looking like Levi might be in some trouble. This is upsetting because Levi is one of the characters in Attack on Titan that I care about and I hope he continues to be infallible and destroys these 30 titans like it’s nothing, but Zeke has undoubtedly gotten away now because of this performance.

A massive element I think everyone is ignoring right now is Peick, she’s still on Paradise Island and she hasn’t made her move yet. If she hears the scream and the subsequent transformations I’m sure she will jump in on the action and it will be interesting to see what she does and who she helps. Additionally, has Falco transformed into a mindless titan? Or does Zeke’s scream have to be heard by those who have been marked? Maybe Falco wasn’t marked to begin with and will be fine. No matter what I doubt Falco is gone from the story, even if he is transformed into a titan I guarantee that he will eat a shifter to transform back; his character arc is not complete yet and the narrative demands his survival. I don’t know if he’ll eat a local titan shifter or if they’ll capture him, so he can eat one later. All in all, this marks five or six great chapters in a row and I can’t wait for chapter 113 so we can learn the fate of Levi and hopefully witness Peick’s plan whatever it could be.

 

 

 

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Attack on Titan Manga Chapter 110 Review

Attack on Titan manga chapter 110 overflowed with interesting twist and turns this month, that culminated in one of the best chapters this year:

 

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110 opens with a possibly unnecessary flashback to the day of Zeke’s initial attack on Ragako village. We, as the audience, already understood that all this occurred and the only possible justification for the inclusion of this scene is that it introduces the gas weaponry. We will see this is the future and it needed to be established so Isayama incorporated it here. Also, in this scene Pieck distinctly has her eye on Zeke. This is seemingly subtle indication that Pieck was always suspicious of Zeke and never entirely trusted him. Pieck has demonstrated very observant behaviour in the past, she quickly caught onto the plot on Marley and escaped the trap, so she’s clearly incredibly insightful. Additionally, the framing and artwork in that panel is excellent, it truly emphasises the suspicion from Pieck and the arrogance from Zeke. (Who said Isayama can’t draw?) Zeke in his explanation to Levi, has an interesting line, “The power of the titans will be sent to them,” this referring to the transformation from human to a mindless titan. This still implies that someone or something is sending the ‘power of the titans’ to these coordinates, they are sending the mass or the titan body. I always assumed the legends about Ymir were just fictional anecdotal myths not something to be taken literally, so this phrasing was peculiar. Bolstering this point, Isayama doesn’t seem to be fond of religion, so I always doubted the Ymir legend as an explanation for the origin of titans and shifters. Ultimately, I’m unsure who or where ‘power of the titans’ is summoned from, but I don’t think it’s a literal deity called Ymir.

 

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Levi further demonstrates his absolute humanitarian ideology by correcting and reminding Zeke that the name of the village he massacred was ‘Ragako.’ Levi may come across as cold sometimes, but it’s important to remember that a key characteristic of his is absolute sympathy for human beings, even when someone is a complete fuck-up like the soldier that went to retakes his dead friends body and ended up getting another scouts killer in episode 22 of season 1. Even in that situation instead of scolding that soldier, who clearly fucked up, Levi comforted him. That’s where the fundamental disagreement between these two lies, because Zeke views that incident as necessary for the betterment of Eldia, whereas Levi views it as the unnecessary murder of a village. Zeke follows this up bizarrely by commenting that Levi mustn’t be popular with woman; (alright old cancer-ridden man…) which sort of undermines the gravity of the scene. I’ve seen this line, or something like this line, in many anime/manga properties and it has grown into a pet peeve of mine. Additionally, nobody talks like that, that’s not a line ever uttered by a serious human being, its unnatural dialogue, something this series seriously struggles with. The point trying to be communicated by this line was that Levi couldn’t begin to understand Zeke or his motivations in this war. Zeke then stresses that he wants to start the experiments with Eren and warns Levi that if they (paradise), believe that they have time to waste they are sorely mistaken, to which Levi agrees and the scene ends.

 

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We cut to Pyxis’ ongoing interrogation disguised as a conversation with Yelena who admits to meeting with Eren ‘that day.’ She throughout this scene explains her supposed motivations for all her shady actions, but an indication that all this is a fabrication is that we only get her explanation we never get a contextual flashback to her meeting with Eren or her careful manipulation of Flock, which I think we will inevitably get one when actual the truth is revealed. Consequently, Pyxis throughout this portion of the chapter is completely justified in distrusting her recount of events. She mirrors Zeke’s sentiment that paradise doesn’t have time to be messing around and says that Eren understood this sense of urgency and that’s why they were so agreeable upon their meeting. Pyxis inferences that Zeke must have promised something concrete to Eren for them to be so agreeable that tentatively. He then accuses her and Zeke of manipulating Eren, in response to this Yelena has an emotional outburst, aggressively jumping to her feet stating that all she wanted was for Eren to recognise her efforts and respect her. This outburst doesn’t paint Yelena well at all in the eyes of the view, in this situation for which there are only two possibilities; either she’s telling the truth and she’s an insane fanatic who can’t be trusted or she’s just a liar, double agent that can’t be trusted. After the outburst everyone soaks in the awkwardness and Yelena resigns saying that Eren gave her and all the volunteer soldiers hope that Marley could be toppled, just like Zeke once did. She also says Eren did a wonderful thing in Marley, and that her and Pyxis were watching history being written; “I just wish to witness it by their side.” Ultimately, she’s an insane and loyal individual that lusts for glory and purpose, weirdly just like Erwin. Pyxis summarises her story by concluding that she is saying that it was all for curiosity, but it’s clear that he doesn’t buy her story. She says that yes it was, and that Flock acted as the intermediary between her and Eren, claiming that all the goings-on were her fault only. Basically, she breaks it down to all being for the greater good of Eldia and that only she is to be blamed. Pyxis tells her outright that he doesn’t believe her and that she’s a bad liar for not injecting some truth into her story and the scene ends as he asks her again to recount the entire story.

 

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We cut to a conversation between Hange and Onyankopon, who is explaining that he’s disappointed in the Eldian government’s doubt of the volunteer soldiers. He cites everything they have accomplished together as reason for her to not distrust them. Notably in this opening panel Onyankopon is shuffling a deck of cards, possibly indicating symbolically or subconsciously to the audience that he is not to be trusted and that he is the manipulator in this situation. Unlike Yelena his culpability in this mess is unclear, and I’m unsure whether he is trustworthy after many re-reads of the chapter. He states that he refuses to believe that Zeke could be a double agent for Marley. At this point of the conversation the guarding officer of Onyankopon’s house arrest is shown. Notably he is of the Garrison regiment meaning he likely reports back to Pyxis and may be gathering covert information for whatever Pyxis is planning. Also, he looks to be having the time of his life with an apple and an alcoholic beverage in hand each hand, maybe Hange gave them to him so he was distracted as the conversation went on. Onyankopon then criticises Hange dividing the military at an inopportune time and announces his further distaste for all the volunteer’s soldiers being held hostage. All Hange has to say in response is to advise him to just hang in there a little longer while they figure things out. Hange then explain to Onyankopon, who was seemingly unaware of the situation, that Yelena conducted a secret meeting with Eren. He seems shocked upon hearing this and through his body language and expression allows Hange to gleam that Onyankopon believes Yelena may be capable of doing something like that. Hange asks for Onyankopon to tell her everything he knows about Elena…

 

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This panel shows Elena’s brutality and her willingness to do anything for her goal, or Zeke’s goals. As well as indicating that she is Zeke’s second in command or at least more informed than all her other comrades. Additionally, Onyankopon explains that he didn’t know anything about why/how they arranged and pulled-off a secret meeting and that all the other volunteer soldiers just followed her example. They also notice that her behaviour and demeanour towards different groups alters to support the oppressed or less-privileged group in a given situation. Examples are given of her mercilessly mowing down Marlian soldiers who came to learn the truth about they’re operation on the journey to Paradise Island, and her then juxtaposing behaviour, pleading for their human rights once they arrived on the Island, in front of the Paradise officials. Onyankopon concludes that she’s trying to retroactively atone for her sins against each group depending on the circumstance. Hange who now implicitly trusts Onyankopon grabs him and storms off, releasing him from his house arrest while he maintains his confusion. Hange must have had an epiphany of some sort and immediately understood that she needed Onyankopon because then the scene ends.

 

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We cut to Armin weirdly touching up on Annie’s crystallised body, until he’s interrupted and caught read-handed by Hitch. The clear attraction Armin has to Annie in this scene is interesting because it’s questionable if Armin always had these feelings for Annie or maybe that Bertolt’s memories are shaping him more than we initially believed. Either explanation is plausible with the limited information we have, and we have seen that Armin’s view of Bertolt has changed since he ate him, he seems much more sympathetic. If we can divert for a second: Hitch’s post time-skip redesign is fantastic, look at her go! She notifies Armin that touching the crystal is strictly off limits. It seems she has been put in charge of guarding Annie’s crystal contemporaneously. Armin freaks out like an absolute weirdo and I hate him, this was an uncharacteristic outburst comparable to Yelena’s from earlier in the chapter. No one overreacts like that; this outburst is completely unnatural and breaks immersion. Hitch then playfully feeds into this overreaction and explains that she wouldn’t ban Armin from coming to see Annie because then she would have to listen to Hitch inclusively day in and day out. This lets the audience know that Armin is the only one that comes to see Annie in her crystallised form, and the only one to have contact with her besides Hitch. Then to cap off the scene in Annie’s underground holding cell, Hitch delivers the most meta line in Attack on Titan history, “Seriously, why are so popular, even though all you do is sleep.”

 

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We cut to Armin and Hitch walking outside the cell at the Eldian military headquarters. Hitch reads the media headlines to Armin wherein they bash the establishment for imprisoning Eren without explanation. A common motif in this chapter is a demonstration of the institutions and ideas that the scout regiment pioneered coming back to bite them in the ass, our first example of this is the freedom of the press. Hange ushered in a new philosophy of journalism and freedom into the Paradise press, and now using the very freedom she granted them, they are criticising her, and she can’t do anything about it because then she would become the ultimate hypocrite. Hitch says the military should have given the media some sort of satisfying information to quell the rampant speculation and distrust. Armin argues that providing satisfying information may have been impossible. He says (rightfully) that the rumbling ability must be kept top secret and that the Eren situation is so convoluted that it would have been impossible to give a satisfying answer. Armin concludes saying that they must figure out this Eren situation quickly. Urgency is another reoccurring theme throughout this chapter. He plans to do this, as we would later come to find out, by attempting to reason with Eren by talking to him with Mikasa.

 

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Their conversation is interrupted by the overwhelming commotion at the front gate of headquarters, where a protest mob has gathered and are screaming for Eren’s immediate realise. Just as the freedom of the press example was used previously in the chapter, now the patriotism and nationalism the scouts once prided themselves upon, is being bastardised and used against them. This creates for some incredibly compelling television. Hitch is asked to assist with the quelling of the crowd by her fellow military police officers and separates from Armin who immediately and conveniently runs into Mikasa. Hitch demonstrates her maintained aversion to work by complaining about having to do this. This portion of the chapter served as a neat re-introduction to Hitch as a character which was needed, plus to show off her fantastic knew redesign. While Mikasa and Armin are heading inside they notice some suspicious looking recruits roaming in the area who will be important later in the chapter. Mikasa tells are that they haven’t got much time and they need to hurry. (Urgency)

 

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We cut to their meeting with Zackery who is acting as the authority figurehead of the military on Paradise. (Not sure if that was mentioned in previous chapters or if I had just forgotten) Zackery’s favourite chair is shown to be present at the meeting and this is another instance of the incredible coordination between the Attack on Titan manga and anime units. I talked all about this is a previous article, but Isayama has planned the realise schedule of his manga to correlate with the anime unlike anything I’ve ever seen before. An element that would have gone completely unremembered by the manga audience is reintroduced in a recent anime episode and then Isayama brings that element back up and resolves it with the element still fresh in the minds of his manga audience. He used this strategy with Ymir’s backstory and with the reveal of the Beast Titans abilities last year, and now he’s done it with Zackery’s weird sex/torture chair. Perfect execution (pun intended) and timing on his part. Armin thanks Zackery for taking the time to see them, and Zackery apologises that it’s on a day like today. This line is accompanied by a great shot of Zackery overlooking the mob protest assembled outside of headquarter through his window. (See Below.) He notably refers to Mikasa and Armin as heroes of Shinganshina, which is interesting and shows the weight of what was accomplished by the scouts when they defeated Bertolt, Reiner and Zeke, it Mikasa and Armin’s legacy. They comment on Hange’s recent developments with Onyankopon showing the linearity of the chapter. However, Zackery ultimately doesn’t permit the two of them to meet with Eren. He believes that its too risky for them to see him with the current situation, but we know this is all sophistry to disguise that Zackery has already given up on Eren and wants one of his people to inherit the Founding Titan. He does drop the line, “We believe Eren is being controlled by Zeke,” which is highly unlikely due to Erne’s motives and that throughout the chapter Isayama is clearly trying to portray this possibility, but I believe it’s a red-hearing. Mikasa showing her true motivation just asks what will happen to Eren going forward; no one in the room answers her and then she inadvertently changes the subject to the chair. Zackery avoids the question about the chair and exposits that some ‘new recruits’ helped him move it up here. It is implied that he had them do this, so he could use it on Eren, with the intent to break his silence. Armin attempts to argue that Eren may open up to him and Mikasa because of their established history, Zackery ignores him and ends the meeting.

 

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Hard cut to Armin and Mikasa standing outside Zackery’s office with the doors closed. Armin concludes the military higher ups (Zackery, Pyxis, Nile and Hange) have already abandoned Eren and chosen a successor to the Founding and Warhammer Titan. That is if Eren truly has the latter and didn’t inadvertently give it to the Jaw Titan. Mikasa says she’ll go listen in on the conversation between Zackery and some suspicious looking military police officers that’s ongoing to gather information. Armin argues against it and implores her not to break military law. She ignores him and once again explains that she’ll do anything to protect Ere… EXPLOSION! A bomb that was planted in Zackery chair by the new recruits successfully detonates and kills Zackery and the 3 supposed candidates for the inheritance of Eren’s powers. This was a shock to me the first read-through, it was a great twist that I certainly didn’t see coming. It seems all the new recruits for the Scouts regiment have successfully been indoctrinated by Zeke and Eren’s agenda, which means they must have systematic people in place to spread their ideology in the training system. Consequently, Zackery was assassinated and is now dead and there’s a lot of surrounding intrigue.

 

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We cut to the ground floor of the explosion to see the aftermath. Armin, Mikasa and Hitch are all shown alive and are clearly overwhelmed by the entire situation. The image of Zackery half blown off body is brutal and is asking to be censored by the anime. As the trio regroups they notice the fanatical mob outside the gates are roaring in victory. They begin to realise the stupidity and brutality of mob justice; no thought or logic has gone into their parade. Mikasa and Armin finally realise that the tribalism mindset has taken over Paradise. This demonstrates to the audience that if something massive doesn’t change then the cycle of oppression and hatred is going to continue between these ethnic groups.

 

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We cut to a military meeting called in response to the attack with a variety of characters present, including Hange, Onyankopon, Nile, Mikasa and Armin. It’s exposited that explosion was planted in the chair and that a total of four military officials were killed. They state that the motives and the culprit are unknown currently, Hange then points out that Onyankopon was with her all day, and that all other volunteer soldiers were under house arrest, giving them all an alibi. Armin tells the group that Zackery said that new recruits from the scout regiment had moved the chair earlier in the day, placing the blame on them. Nile begins to respond saying that the survey corps must have been infiltrated and are leaking information when he is interrupted by a soldier who lets them know that Eren has escaped. He goes onto explain that Eren used his titan abilities to break out and everyone looks shocked at this, how did they not expect him to break free immediately? Why didn’t Eren break out immediately? This prison business isn’t making too much sense. To end the scene Mikasa asks Armin what the hell is going on…

 

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We cut to a shirtless Eren walking towards a group of his comrades who are seemingly stationed in the middle of nowhere. How did they know where he was going to be? How did he know where they were going to be? Eren comments that there is a lot of new people in the group, including the newly introduced characters from last month’s chapter. Flock who seems to be coordinating all these people explains that they are even more of them and that they have some (as Nile excepted) double agents on the inside. Flock then claims responsibility for blowing up Zackery, something Eren seemingly wasn’t aware of. But nonetheless Eren has no reaction to Zackery’s murder or any of that information. Flock explains that they did it because Zackery wanted someone else to inherit the founding titan, while they believe that Eren must be the one to topple the Marlian Empire. Eren responds to none of this and only says that he will locate Zeke. I believe Isayama’s intentions with this scene were two-fold; to mislead the audience into believing that maybe Eren is currently being controlled by Zeke and to tease a possible Levi vs Eren fight in next month’s chapter. The latter is extremely exciting, if Eren locates Zeke, Levi will be forced to intervene.

 

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We cut to Hange, Onyankopon, Armin and Mikasa riding in the back of a chariot. They all seem to believe they can convince Eren if they are able to talk to him. Plus, Zackery isn’t around anymore to deny them the privilege. Then the camera wonders and we get the most interesting twist in this entire chapter. To close the chapter out Peick is shown to have infiltrated the walls and is gathering information as she is reading the newspapers. This is a clear parallel to what Eren did in Marley and it’ll be incredibly interesting to see what exactly she has planned. Is she alone, or are other shifters or soldiers with her? The closing statement from Isayama ending the chapter is, “Internal conflict, and a visit from a foreign invader.”

 

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Ultimately, this was great chapter of Attack on Titan, we got satisfying progression for a patient month’s wait, and we got a whole lot of intrigue moving forward. If Eren and Zeke team up can they subjugate Levi? I would love to think Levi destroys them both immediately and continues being infallible, but even I doubt him in that situation. Gabbi and Falco were absent from this chapter, what have they been up to? Is Peick planning to attack Paradise in a similar way to how Eren attacked Marley? Once again Isayama has teased Annie’s return to us, will it happen next month? Whose side will she be on when she emerges? Has she had a secret mission the whole time? So many questions and so long to wait, Isayama you’re killing me with these month-long waits, this chapter was great.

 

 

 

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Attack on Titan… Underrated? (Manga Spoilers!)

Attack on Titan has achieved astronomical success since it 2013 anime adaptation, so the claim that it is somehow underrated would seem dismissible but, I believe Attack on Titan is not given the recognition for its best elements. Attack on Titan is at its core a mystery series, disguised as a flesh-mech action, political thriller. The mystery elements and the nuance in its execution and the thoroughness of the authors attention to detail isn’t discussed as prevalently as it should be. Hajime Isayama has laid this story out phenomenally, I am constantly caught off guard by the call backs and intricate details that I only notice as a hardcore fan. The real strengths of the show go unrecognised and the not so great parts are overblown and overrate the show, because people are hyped up idiots.

 

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Attack on Titan is widely praised for elements like frequent deaths and heart-stopping action, but what it truly excels at is its set-up, mystery, call-backs and subversion of reveals. For instance: that random girl that Mikasa saves in episode 6 that was animated in 2013 and written even further back than that was reintroduced into the story last month (September 2018). That’s insane and the pay-off for me, someone who pays this series my absolute attention, was enormous, I was rewarded for my nearly obsessive interest in the series and shows that Isayama cares about his audience’s intelligence. There are countless other examples of definitive background characters that are reintroduced and given incredibly important roles. Historia is the most obvious example, a character that was virtually non-existent in Season 1 but is now a focal main character in Season 3. That random girl that Sasha saves from Connie fathers titan (another idiosyncratic recently revealed piece of information) is now a fully-fledge important character contemporarily in the manga. This coordination requires insane forethought and careful planning on Isayama’s part.

 

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Isayama’s ability to reference his most early material and reward his audience’s attention is only personified further with the handling of the reveals. Attack on Titan has no dramatic reveals, intentionally. Instead of bombastic expositional dumps, Isayama (usually) subtly drip-feeds information to his audience and allows them to slowly put it together. By the time Annie is revealed as the Female Titan, the audience likely has already connected the dots, the same for the Armoured and Colossal Titan. The subtle reveal that they were indeed the shifters was communicated through the background, its simple juxtaposition but also fits the thematic elements of Isayama’s leading strategies. Even the reveal in the basement was assumed by most fans before the big reveal; the Beast Titan was making references to baseball calls and Reiner and Berthold had to come from some other community, but these reveals are always satisfying. Isayama isn’t insulting his audience so the ‘grand’ reveals feel like natural extension of the story he’s crafted.

 

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These lesser praised aspects of Attack on Titan are what’s underrated by the wider community, while the less impressive elements are overpraised because people are stupid and don’t delve past the window dressing. Ultimately, I hope to see wider discussion about the truly impressive elements of Isayama’s mystery writing and call-back rather than the anime’s action. That’s why Attack on Titan is underrated.

 

 

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Attack on Titan’s Misleading Reputation with Character Deaths: (Manga Spoilers)

Sasha recently died in the Attack on Titan manga, and had a moment of reflection… No one ever dies in Attack on Titan! The internet narrative and reputation surrounding this series is that death is a series constant. Attack on Titan is commonly compared to Game of Thrones (Spoilers for Game of Thrones) in terms of quantity of deaths. Let’s run through the major character deaths in Game of Thrones, Ned Stark, Rob Stark, Catlin Stark, Tywin Lannister, Joffrey Lannister, Robert Baratheon, Stannis Baratheon, Magarey Tyrell among others. All these held significant value to the plot and died shockingly and seemingly out of nowhere. Attack on Titan’s major character deaths include, Sasha Blouse, Erwin Smith, Berthold Hoover, Kenny Ackerman, Hannes and Ymir; that’s it. Every other character death is of a nameless background character or is someone the audience never really cared about and had little impact on the plot. Marco’s death has relevance to the characters in the story, but the audience didn’t remember Marco when Jean found him. (Don’t lie)

 

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This reputation Attack on Titan has is misleading, but it isn’t necessarily a bad thing. Attack on Titan isn’t afraid to pull the trigger on a meaningful character death when necessary and Isayama doesn’t go over-board with his itchy trigger-figure. Every character death feels earned and occurs tastefully, unless you’re a useless background character, in that case you brutally chomped on by a hideous titan. The purpose of this write-up is to share my absolute frustration whenever I hear this talking point online. No Attack on Titan doesn’t kill characters like Game of Thrones, stop being an idiot.

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Attack on Titan Manga Chapter 109 Proves Attack on Titan’s Superiority

Attack on Titan’s immaculate attention to detail perplexes me, even contemporarily, but it shouldn’t. Isayama has demonstrated time and time again that he doesn’t forget any details, no matter how inconsequential they may seem initially, everything in the story is relevant and he doesn’t forget anything. Chapter 109 demonstrates this attention to detail better than any other single chapter in recent memory. The dumb kid with one line of dialogue from Episode 6 of Season 1 is now a legitimate call-back character, that’s insane! And it shows appreciation for those of us that pay attention to the intricacies of the manga, perhaps more than we should. Another example is the child that Sasha saved in Season 2 is now a real character, with motivations and a personality, it’s unbelievable and Isayama should be properly praised for this outstanding achievement.

But even further than that is how seemingly impossibly perfect coordination between the anime production and Isayama is. Zackery has been a prevalent force in the recent episodes of the anime and therefore Isayama reintroduces this refamiliarized character into the manga storyline. This isn’t the first instance of this, Nile was reintroduced last month when his influence of the anime was increased, and his character was being highlighted. Season 2 was no different, right after the Beast Titan initially appeared in the anime, Isayama finally explained how the whole incident occurred by explaining that the Zeke could control and create certain mindless Titans, in that month manga realise. But the most effective example of this strategy and coordination was with the reveal of Ymir’s backstory. The anime reintroduced us to Ymir and reexplained why we originally cared about her and then in the accompanying manga realise that month we got an explanation of Ymir’s backstory through a note she had passed from Reiner to Historia. If the anime hadn’t refamiliarized the audience with Ymir I doubt the emotional resonance of that scene would have been as effective.

 

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The preplanning and coordination that goes into Attack on Titan is outstanding and whatever critics may say about Isayama’s illustrations and the anime bombastic presentation, credit must be given to the hustle of these fine boys and their dedication to the series. Isayama has given us a reason to comb over all past, present and future seemingly insignificant details for clues about upcoming events and characters. I have the greatest respect for Isayama and his rewarding narrative style and am glad I’m along for the ride.

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Monthly Manga Releases are Poison

Manga is excruciatingly strenuous to draw (newsflash for those of you unaware in the audience) and the life of a full-time manga artist is painstakingly difficult. Stories of Mangaka succumbing to illness and nearly dying due to the harshness of their deadlines, are ubiquitous now. Uniform examples include the minds behind High School of the Dead and Hunter X Hunter, among others, who have been unable to continue due to the strenuous mangaka life. This is due to the demands of publishers because they believe that’s what their readership requires to maintain any interest in their magazines. This output works with the readership for weekly magazines because the output of reduced content (lower average page count), in comparison with their monthly magazine counterparts whose chapters usually contain more pages. But unfortunately, the monthly output of this content is ultimately poisons the enjoyment of the audience.

I understand that Naruto isn’t a Monthly Manga – This is just a depiction of a Mangaka working…

A month is a considerable amount of time, and it’s a long time to wait for the next sliver of content for your favourite manga. Monthly publications like Attack on Titan suffer from this trickle of content that only propagates once a month. I caught up on Attack on Titan in 2014; during this time the manga was covering the people vs people arc (that is conveniently being covered contemporaneously in Season 3 of its anime), and the slow pace of that arc paired with the less action-packed more intelligent storyline proved for some significant backlash. The saying, “I signed up for ‘Attack on Titan’ not ‘Attack on Human’,” was popularised during this time and the arc was largely received poorly.

Image result for uprising arc manga attack on titan

But early this year in preparation for the upcoming adaptation I went back to re-read the notoriously tedious arc and concluded that the problem with this arc wasn’t the content itself but the realise schedule of the manga. The content of the arc is on the same level as all the other arcs in the series, but the progression in each chapter is harder to comprehend when there’s a month gap between realises. The wait can cause the readership to forget certain extraneous details to the plot, that are always relevant in Attack on Titan a series notorious for not hand-holding its audience with its weird expositional techniques. Forgetting things isn’t the only problem with the monthly release schedule, people have lives and can lose track of releases and quickly fall behind. With Attack on Titan I have fallen behind or fallen off 2 or 3 times just because of busy months in my life, and sometimes people who lose interest temporarily might never come back. But this comfortable separation wouldn’t be an issue if Attack on Titan realised content quicker.

However, most annoying of this situation is that there is no discernible solution to this systematic issue. Attack on Titan can’t become weekly series, I wouldn’t wish that work load and stress on my worst enemy, but evidently this monthly realise schedule isn’t working either. I truly don’t know what the ideal solution to this issue is. The monthly manga realise schedule is currently an incurable poison within the manga industry.

Attack on Titan Manga Chapter 95 Review

The Attack on Titan Manga returned this month with an outing not as great as last month but was still worth the months wait. This episode had a vibe like the calm before a storm, this was more set-up to whatever is coming. The sense of unknowing we as a community have right now regarding the direction of the story is very similar to the beginning of Isayama’s narrative and that’s incredible. It’s evident that we are nearing the end of this series, Isayama predicted that the series would end around 100 chapters, however, seeing were everything stands at this point, (chapter 95) it is looking more like the run will last until around 120 chapters. I would love to see a grand finale and a worthwhile resolution that stretched to 150 overall chapters, but I trust Isayama’s judgement and that would take another 5 years. This month’s chapter itself contain a heavy amount of information including the anticipated reveal of the 9th and final titan shifter, insight in Reiner’s character, motivations and history, a tiny bit more insight into Annie’s possible true motivations (not really), possible insight into the intentions of Zeke moving forward and the beginnings of the Gabi and Falco rivalry.

Tybur Family

The most talked about aspect following this month’s chapter was the reveal of the 9th titan shifter. We have learnt the name of this titan: The Warhammer Titan, and the family that is in control of its power. The name itself indicates that this titan will cause, mass amounts of destruction. This titan is held by a previously unmentioned tribe of respected Eldians called Tybur. This tribe of Eldians are respected and left alone by the Marlian government because they were the first Eldians to turn against King Fritz back in the day, and assisted the Marlian people to topple the Eldian empire. Because the Marley Government left them alone they have remained and uninvolved third party until this point in the story. I doubt that these two parties, the Marlian Government and the Tybur tribe have been completely unaffected by each other. The probability that both are spying on each other is immense, especially the Marlian party because of their spying tactics in this very chapter. I can see their relationship, as well as their exploits to undermine each other being explored in future chapters. We are still yet to see the Warhammer Titan, so it is possibly that at some point the Tybur family lost their titan shifting abilities and are exclaiming that they still possess it, to prove their worth to the Marley government and to keep their status. We also don’t know of their motivations in wanting to finally now assist the Marley forces in their attempt to destroy Paradise. The questions Isayama answers seem to always be replace with other questions.

Shifter Conversation

A key aspect of this month’s chapter was the conversation that was held between all the remaining Marlian titan shifters. A panel in this scene has caused some prevalent confusion amongst some readers. The panel in question is the one which depicts Reiner seemingly uncovering the fact that the higher-ups within the Marlian Military were listening in on their conversation. Some readers mistakenly thought that Reiner was recording the conversation for some unknown personal reason. However, this is evidentially not true since a scene following this one depicts Marlian higher-ups discussing what they just heard. The fact that they were pleased with how the titan shifters talked about them in private and proving the trust, they have in them, could be a set up for an eventual unforeseen betrayal from the side of the Titan Shifters. If they had all realised that they were being recorded and are planning something else, they could be using these recorded meeting to give misinformation to the Marlian Military. Additionally, some readers have theorised that Zeke may have an anti-Marley plan in works, with some claiming that Reiner is assisting him as well as the other Marlian titan shifters. This would have to be because of their interactions with the people of Paradise and would rely them significantly changing as characters off-screen. This is unless we explore Reiner’s change of heart in the next couple of chapters by continuing to see the first few chapters of this series through the perspective of the undercover titan shifters. Both Reiner and Zeke have done detrimental things in favour of Marley so an allegiance alteration for either of them would be huge. They would both have major regrets about selling out their parents and destroying walls. A plan like this could explain why Reiner is desperately trying to motivate Falco to inherit the Armoured Titan, he is evidently far less radicalised than Gabi and could be more helpful in assisting an anti-Marley plan.

Gabi vs Falco

Another ongoing dynamic explored in this chapter surrounded Falco, beginning his attempt in outshining Gabi, with the intent to inherit the Armoured Titan from Reiner. These initial stages of this attempt are proving to be unsuccessful, but I imagine through his training he will eventually make himself her equal. In a prior scene to this we saw a conversation between Reiner and Gabi, which displayed how much these characters clearly care for each other and is probably, the most likeable Gabi has come across since her introduction. But the conversation highlighted how similar Gabi is to the Reiner depicted in the flashback of this episode. Both have been brainwashed in the same military system, but the real question is if Reiner understands that all of that was a complete fabrication. A possible explanation for why Reiner has been looking so depressed in previous chapters is that he no longer is passionate about the Marlian cause because he has realised that a majority of what he was taught was a complete fabrication. The other possibility is that he is depressed that Gabi is largely a carbon copy of himself before he left to attack the walls and he is in a position where he is unable to do anything.  There is so much more intrigue currently revolving around Reiner than there ever has been for Eren.

Additionally, it was also revealed that Reiner was originally not worthy of the shifting abilities he inherited. It was reveal that Marcel tampered with the results and arranged it so that his brother as the unworthy one. This was done to save him from the hell they were about to endure, in the operation to attack Paradise. This weirdly creates a parcel between Historia and Reiner and more sensibly, a parallel, between Marcel and Ymir. Ymir admitted to tampering with the training corps’ results that determined the ‘Top 10’ recruits. Historia and Reiner haven’t got the most in common, the only link I can draw between them is they are both extremely respected in their camps and they both were rejected by their fathers. But the most obvious parallel between Marcel and Ymir is that they both had the shifting ability of the Dancing Titan. Interestingly, Reiner placed the highest amongst the titan shifters and 2nd overall in the ‘Top 10’ even though he was the lowest ranked shifter before training, evidently, he must have grown a lot in that time. However, this could have been due to other factors, Annie not trying her best and Bertolt being too interested in Annie, to score higher results than Reiner.

Annie Titan Form Chapter 95

We also saw Annie in this chapter in a variety of scenes, and got absolutely no further insight into her possible motivations and intentions. In every panel, she appeared in, she had little to no expression on her face, this is corroborated by the scene in which the 4 attacking titan shifters are leaving for Paradise and everyone else is happy or at least a little amused and she was stone-faced and took no enjoyment form it. We saw her in titan form for a panel and nothing could be gleamed by that either. My heavily foreshadowed theory article about Annie and what I believe her possible motivations and explanations could be, will be out soon. (I promise!) Other than that, there are clear indicators that her story is yet to be concluded and I hope that she re-enters the story soon.

Original Plan

Looking forward the most discussed aspect of the manga is whose point of view we will see the story from. This chapter, in many readers minds, seemingly concludes the arc we have spent with the Marlian titan shifters and many are itching to get back with our main cast. I believe however, not only that we will have more time with Reiner and the main character I see a massive opportunity for Reiner to be the main protagonist for the rest of the series. As mentioned previously Reiner is far more interesting than all remaining character from Paradise with maybe the exception of Levi and Jean. Plus, there are still so many unanswered questions. We could still get insight into Reiner, Annie and Bertolt whilst the mount there attack on the walls and how they react after Marcel is eaten and when the expected Founding Titan doesn’t appear. Do they return to the ships awaiting them after Marcel is eaten and get issued a new mission of infiltration, or does this occur after the Founding Titan doesn’t appear? What is there relationship like when they first enter the walls as well as while they’re training? This is all just possibilities if we follow the flashback into more detail, there are many over directions the story could go in the present day. We could see their battle preparations and how they mount their attack and we could see all the other characters like Levi, Mikasa and Jean from the Marlian perspective. I think it would be insane seeing Levi from an antagonist perspective and see just how terrifying his skill truly is. I also think them arriving to find Annie escaped and transformed waiting for them only to turn on them as foreshadowed in previous chapter would be beyond awesome. I think this narrative choice would be unique and polarising and would truly set this series apart from all the rest.

7Ultimately Attack on Titan Manga Chapter 95 gets a 7. The chapter revealed some new interesting information, but as previously mentioned, it felt more like set-up than plot progression. I’m still incredibly intrigued to see how Isayama will write the story going forward and will be waiting with baited breath for next months realise.