Attack on Titan: Season Three, Part Two. Trailer Thoughts.

When the second part of Attack on Titan season three was delayed for six months, I was not happy about it.
I found the lack of communication surrounding this information to be quite unprofessional.
Still, this does not change the fact that I am incredibly excited for the second half, and the recently released trailer has only served to increase my excitement.
I have read the manga since the first part of season three ended so I know where a lot of the shots in the trailer are from and what they mean.
I will not spoil these things but I will say that all of the shots look like they are from the first couple of episodes, just like the trailer for the Uprising Arc.
This makes me even more excited for this arc because of the excellent ways the panels of the manga have been adapted to the anime, which can be seen just by looking at this trailer.
Shots like Eren using his O.D.M Gear to rise above Shiganshina and bite his hand are amazing expansions of manga events, and look absolutely beautiful animation-wise.
We even get a few shots that I do not think were in the manga, like the one where Levi draws his swords while standing on his advancing horse.
This makes me interested in what other additions and changes will be made for the anime.
However, I know that not all of these changes will be for the better, based on the trailer.
This is clear from the shot where Levi stabs Reiner in the neck.
In the manga, the depiction of this scene is brutal and bloody, but in the trailer a sword blocks our view of this violence.
Reading the manga version of the Uprising Arc, it is easy to see how the series has been censored in the anime version and, unfortunately, this censorship looks set to continue in the Shiganshina Arc.
Granted, censorship will not completely destroy the impact of these scenes but it will certainly lessen them.
Although, if there is one thing that has not lessened in this trailer, it is, without a doubt, Attack on Titan’s excellent soundtrack.
Accompanying the trailer is a new variation of the song “Attack on Titan”, which was prevalent in season one and one of my favourite OSTs of the series.
I am very excited to hear its return and look forward to what new songs we will hear in this part of the season.
Overall, this trailer only added to my excitement levels for this arc.
In my opinion, The Shiganshina Arc is the greatest arc of Attack on Titan so far and I cannot wait to see how it is adapted.

Attack on Titan Chapters 111 to 113 Review: Zeke’s Grand Master Plan.

Chapter 111: Children of the Forest.

4 and a half stars
Chapter 111’s title, “Children of the Forest”, is one of my favourites in all of Attack on Titan.
It goes incredibly well with the events of the chapter, tying into a fantastic speech given by Sasha’s father, after he learns it was Gabi who killed his daughter.
In this tense scene, Sasha’s father explains how he sent Sasha out of the forest only for her to end up in a bigger one where it was kill or be killed.
He finishes by stating they have to stop sending their children into the forest or the bloodshed will never end,
These lines brilliantly tie into the chapter’s title and, hopefully, move towards establishing Gabi’s first step into realizing how she was brainwashed and not all those on Paradis are evil.
Not everyone is so forgiving of her though, with both Nicolo and Kaya attempting to kill Gabi upon learning the truth.
Both of these moments were heartbreaking, especially Nicolo’s because Kaya tells Gabi and Falco she believes he and Sasha were in love, which adds another layer of tragedy to Sasha’s death.
This and Gabi’s boasting about killing Sasha (unaware of Nicolo’s involvement with her) made Nicolo’s attack on her pretty satisfying.
Sadly, Falco also got caught up in this attack, leading to the shocking cliffhanger of this chapter, which we will get to later.
As for Kaya’s attack on Gabi, this is also incredibly sad because we see someone who trusted Gabi, (for some reason) and wanted to be friends with her, turn on her in an instant after learning the truth.
Again, hopefully the combination of Sasha’s father’s forgiveness and Kaya’s condemnation will lead Gabi down the right path.
Thankfully, the 104th scouts look set to carry her along that path since they arrive at the restaurant to talk to Nicolo in the chapter.
Their story began in a military meeting to discuss Eren’s faction of rogue soldiers, now dubbed the Yeagerists.
Many of the Military Police, including an incredibly unlikable one named Rouge, suspect that some of the scouts may secretly be Yeagerists.
Pyxis arrives to break up the argument and begins planning to use Armin as their main line of defense against Eren and his faction.
Even though it would be tragic to see these close friends become enemies on the battlefield I would still love to see a fight between them.
Pyxis also has a very funny moment when Armin asks if he has a plan and Pyxis just states they should surrender because the Yeagerists have them beat.
While funny, Pyxis’ abrupt declaration that they should let Eren do his thing also makes a lot of sense since they are now number one on Marley’s hit list after the invasion.
More fighting will just lead to less of a chance of them succeeding and, thus, surviving so Pyxis has the right of this.
He is one of the smartest leaders in the series and I hope he is given the chance to step up further.
After this, we have Kyomi telling Mikasa she should prepare to leave with them if things go bad but Mikasa wants to stay and protect her home.
Mikasa also comes to the realization that if Paradis loses then Kyomi’s family is finished, giving her more reason not to rely on her.
However, Kyomi seems devoted to protecting her nonetheless.
Only time will tell if Kyomi really does have Mikasa’s best interests at heart.
Then we have the big cliffhanger of “Children of the Forest”, which sees Nicolo admit that all the wine given to the military higher ups has been contaminated with Zeke’s spinal fluid.
This means Nile, Rogue, Pyxis, many other members of the Military Police, and even Falco will turn into Titans if Zeke so much as screams in their vicinity.
The twist blew my mind when I heard Nicolo reveal it and, as the chapters have gone on, it all adds up to show how smart Zeke is, with this grand master plan of his being played out for years.
It is only now that all the pieces are coming together and Zeke is acting.
He is the smartest character of Attack on Titan, along with Hange and I would love to see the two of them fight in a battle of brains.
“Children of the Forest” was a fantastic chapter for Attack on Titan.
It advanced Gabi’s character development, dealt with other’s characters’ grief over Sasha’s death, and delivers one of the most mind blowing twists of the manga.

Chapter 112: Ignorance.

4 stars
After the shocking cliffhanger of the previous chapter, “Ignorance” brings Zeke’s grand master plan together for another shocking ending.
Before this though, we get the aftermath of  Nicolo revealing the wine has been poisoned with Zeke’s spinal fluid.
He goes on to explain that the wine was brought on the first ships to Paradis and Yelena has been instructing him to feed it to the higher ups in the military.
Connie points out that anyone who consumes Zeke’s spinal fluid freezes up but Hange counter this by stating Zeke could have easily lied.
She also states the magnitude of the impact this lie has, which, again, is proven at the end of the chapter.
However, before anything can be done who should enter?
None other than Eren and his Yeagerists, here to capture his friends so they can led him to Zeke, while dropping a few bombshells along the way.
This is the chapter that essentially destroys the friendship Mikasa and Armin had with Eren.
We have seen the cracks in their friendship grow in more recent chapters but Eren’s actions in “Ignorance” take them past the point of no return.
After threatening Armin and Mikasa with his bloody hand, he tells them he is free and whatever decision he makes it is of his own free will.
In a disheartening turn of events, he then turns on Armin and Mikasa.
First, he berates Armin, saying he is being controlled by Bertholdt’s memories, which have made him gain feelings for Annie, so he is useless.
This not only confirms the theory of Armin’s feelings for Annie being motivated by Bertholdt but it also opens up intriguing questions about how other Titan Shifters are being influenced by their predecessors.
For example, maybe part of the reason Ymir went to save Reiner and Bertholdt was because she was partially influenced by Marcel’s memories.
However, while this did potentially open up many storylines for the future, it also made Eren look like a massive hypocrite.
He tells Armin he is being controlled by his predecessors’ memories, yet he has the memories of three past Titan Shifters in his head and still has the audacity to claim he is free.
If what Eren says about Armin is true, which I think to a certain extent it is, then Eren needs to take a good long look in the mirror.
The biggest bombshell Eren drops, however, is the one where he reveals that the Ackermans were created to protect someone who they recognized as a host to their fullest extent.
So, the only reason Mikasa has protected Eren is because she recognized him as a host when he rescued her from her kidnappers.
Eren goes as far to say that Mikasa is basically a slave and that he has always hated her.
The real question here, though, is whether Eren is telling the truth of not?
Well, the answer is both yes and no, I think.
Eren is almost certainly telling the truth about Mikasa protecting him because of her Ackerman bloodline.
This is supported by Mikasa subconsciously protecting Eren when Armin lunges at him and the symptoms Eren mentions, which includes headaches.
We have seen Mikasa experience these headaches when doubting Eren only a few chapters earlier and have even seen it all the way back in the Clash of the Titans Arc.
However, even so, I still believe Mikasa does care for him, despite her Ackerman programming.
Either way, I think Hajime Isayama needs to be very careful about how he plays this because he is at serious risk of undermining everything Mikasa has done for Eren.
It is not close to Historia levels of undermining character development but it could easily change depending of where Isayama takes this.
I will just have to see where this new plot point goes before I decide if I like it.
As for Eren saying he has always hated Mikasa, I am certain this is a lie.
Eren has been shown to care for her numerous times, most notably when he protect her from Dina, which is the only time he has used his Coordinate ability.
But if so, why is Eren lying?
I think it is to protect Mikasa with Eren maybe trying to use this as motivation for her to flee with Kyomi when things get bad.
And they certainly will because it appears Eren and the Yeagerists have been working with Zeke and Yelena because Floch knows about the poisoned wine.
This is also supported by Eren’s desire to find his brother, which he states after beating up Armin in another great moment.
Watching Armin attempt to attack Eren after he says he hates Mikasa, only to be brutally pummeled by Eren, shows the destruction of their friendship.
This also leads to Armin accusing Eren of being a slave, gaining the only reaction out of him in the entire chapter.
After all this, we get the next big shocking cliffhanger with Zeke using his screaming ability to turn all of Levi’s comrades into Titans after they drunk the contaminated wine.
The build up to this scene is excellent with Levi deciding to put an end to Zeke, orders be damned.
We then get an interesting look into Levi’s thoughts, which seems to suggest that, like Mikasa, he has also identified Eren as a host to protect.
During this time we see Zeke over Levi’s shoulder, taking a big yawn, preparing.
Levi then promises to finally fulfill his promise to Erwin by killing Zeke… only to turn around to see Zeke running away, full sprint, unleashing his deadly scream.
The chapter ends with Levi’s comrades transforming, in terrifying panels, before crashing to the ground, surrounding Levi.
However, even though Levi is surrounded at the end, I came out of “Ignorance” not particularly concerned for him.
This is because it did not feel like it would be the right time for him to die, narratively speaking, and Levi has got out of worse situations than this.
Not to mention his rabid fans who would probably riot if he died here.
If Levi is going to die before Attack on Titan ends, it will be in a much more fitting moment than this.
Chapter 112, “Ignorance” is another good chapter of Attack on Titan. 
I am concerned where some of the plot points started by this chapter may go but, overall, it is still a good read.
Watching Eren, Mikasa and Armin’s friendship fall apart is a tragic highlight.

Chapter 113: Violence.

4 stars
About a week before Chapter 113, “Violence”, came out, I heard a spoiler that Levi would kill Zeke.
After reading this chapter, I can say that I have never been more happy for a spoiler to be wrong.
Hajime Isayama killing Zeke off at this point would be terrible storytelling because we do not know Zeke’s true motives yet and we have barely got any interaction between him and Eren.
Thankfully, instead of Levi killing Zeke, he only captures him… after completely
eviscerating him that is.
Seriously, I have no idea how Zeke survived Levi shooting those thunder spears at him because his guts were hanging out and he was severely burned.
Still, I am glad he did survive and the fight between him and Levi is great.
I said in my review of Chapter 112 that I was not concerned for Levi when Zeke turned all of his comrades into Titans and, while this continues with this chapter, I did like the level of intensity Isayama brought to the fight.
The Titans here are a lot faster because of Zeke’s spinal fluid and Levi is also hesitant to kill his former comrades.
So, even though I knew Levi was not going to die, it made the battle have a lot more impact, especially when Levi caught up with Zeke.
Zeke kills the remaining Titan and throws it at Levi, again showing his brains by killing the only Titan Levi can feed him to and then using it as a weapon.
His desperate tactics do not save him though, with Levi capturing him and making it impossible for him to escape on his own.
He does by sticking the thunder spear into Zeke’s stomach and then placing the wire to its detonator around his neck so, if Zeke moves in the slightest, he will be blown to bits.
I have heard a few people wondering why Levi did not just feed Zeke to one of the Titans to stop the threat but I think there is an answer to this in the chapter.
It is possible that Levi intended to feed Zeke to the last Titan standing but Zeke killed it before he could do so.
Whatever the case, there is the question of where Levi is now taking Zeke.
In my opinion, the place that would make the most sense it to Historia, where she can inherit Zeke’s powers.
However, there is a problem with this.
It has been stated multiple times that Historia turning into a Titan could kill her unborn child so this could be a real dilemma about what will happen with the baby.
Personally, I am just hopeful that we will we get to see some kind of explanation about what all the foreshadowing with this baby means?
Is Eren the father, or is the baby fake, or, god forbid, is everything as it seems and Historia has gone completely against her character?
I need to know!
Answers for this, however, will probably not come in the next chapter because, based on the cliffhanger, it looks like the focus of that one will be a flashback that finally explains Zeke’s true motivations.
The cliffhanger itself shows Zeke as a child, playing baseball with a mysterious man, who was seen all the way back in Grisha’s flashbacks comforting Zeke.
His name is Xaver but we do not know anything else about him.
A lot of people are speculating he is the previous Beast Titan, which would be very interesting.
He obviously holds some importance to Zeke because he is shown to be wearing the glasses Zeke now wears (or wore because they were most likely obliterated by Levi in this chapter).
All of this set-up has me very excited for the next chapter but not everything about “Violence” is good.
There is one scene that feels out of touch with the rest of the chapter and this is when Floch goes to recruit some fresh cadets to the Yeagerist cause, with Hange in attendance.
This scene did not make much sense to me because Floch appears to have been sent by Eren to find Zeke, which, based on how dire the situation is, is of the utmost importance.
So why is Floch going to recruit soldiers when he has a much more crucial role to play?
Could he have not got someone else to do this?
On top of this, there is a joke that really flats for me and that is when Keith Shadis is beaten up by the cadets who decide to join Floch.
This joke is very similar to an earlier one where Annie beats up Reiner but, this time, the joke just does not mesh with the chapter’s darker moments.
The scene just felt very unnecessary and, unless these cadets that got recruited play some sort of vital role in the future, it will probably not change.
Other than this though, the rest of “Violence” is really good.
It does a fantastic job of setting up the endgame for the series, with Zeke mentioning how the world’s forces will soon be converging on Paradis.
It will be interesting to see how Hajime Isayama will wrap up the series with this final arc.

 

On another note, I have now caught up with the entirety of the Attack on Titan manga so will now be reviewing each individual chapter as they come out. 

Attack on Titan Volume 27 Review: Bad Beginning but Fantastic Ending.

Chapter 107: Visitor.

two-and-a-half-stars
I have a bone to pick with this chapter.
Ever since I started reviewing the Attack on Titan volumes from Chapter 73 I have never given a chapter a bad review.
Sure, there were things I had problems with but even at their weakest I still found these chapters decent.
This all changes with Chapter 107, “Visitor” and the reason for this mostly comes down to how Hajime Isayama handles Historia’s character.
In “Visitor” Kyomi Azumbito is confirmed to be working with Paradis and proposes a plan to help them defeat Marley.
Threaten them into submission by demonstrating the power of the rumbling and then wait 50 years for their technology to catch up before attacking.
However, in order to maintain the threat of the rumbling for these 50 years, they will need a Beast Titan with royal blood and since Zeke only has one year left the role falls to Historia and her descendants.
Unfortunately, to achieve this, Historia would have to sacrifice her life and that of her children’s by carrying on the Beast Titan through the generations.
The chapter concludes by showing that Historia is following through with this plan as she is now pregnant.
I have massive issues with this storyline.
First, let me say I understand what Isayama is going for.
He is trying to create a tragic arc for Historia where she is forced to continue the cycle of abuse her family committed to save humanity.
However, the problem with this is that it undermines all of the fantastic character development Historia had in the Uprising Arc.
The main centerpiece of this arc was Historia learning to live for herself and not fall into self-martyrdom but now Historia is going against what she learned.
All of the inspirational growth she went through has been completely undone and now feels pointless.
Even worse is how this goes completely against her character as well.
After Historia became queen she dedicated herself to helping orphans throughout Paradis.
She cared for these children and gave them happy lives so the idea that she would sacrifice her own children is quite frankly ridiculous.
It is clear that Historia’s pregnancy is incredibly important to the story but Isayama should have found a way to do it that does not contradict her entire character arc.
Sadly, this is not the only issue I had with this chapter.
It is also revealed in “Visitor” that Mikasa is actually the descendant of a lost lord from Hizuru and is thus very important.
While I did like how well this had been set up, with the big hint for the twist coming during Mikasa’s backstory in the first arc, it is starting to make the story of Attack on Titan seem far too coincidental.
I mean five of the nine Titan Shifters, the heir to the throne and an Ackerman who is also the descendant of a lost lord somehow all ended up in the same training regiment.
Historia herself seems to joke about this by comparing how she and Mikasa both have important birthrights.
This leads to Historia saying she is happy, which only serves to drive the knife in deeper when we see how depressed she is at the end of the chapter.
However, even though I did have massive problems with “Volunteer” the chapter did not completely fail.
We got some pretty good character development from Hange this chapter, the reveal of Zeke’s motives as a “true Eldia Restorationist” and a nice scene with Nicolo and Sasha’s family that continued to show the impact of her death.
Then there is Gabi and Falco who escape from their prison to grow some more character wise.
There are good moments in “Visitor” but they are heavily weighed down by how coincidental the story appears and, most of all, with Historia’s character breaking new storyline.
This is one my least favorite chapters of Attack on Titan. 

Chapter 108: A Sound Argument

3 and a half stars
I thought the reveal of who the father of Historia’s baby is would make me feel better about the whole situation but I was wrong.
In Chapter 108, “A Sound Argument,” it is revealed by Nile that the father is someone who bullied and threw rocks at Historia when they were children because he liked her.
A character bullying someone because they like them is one of the worst romance cliche’s out there but it is made worse when you consider how terrible Historia’s childhood was.
With the exception of Freida, everyone treated Historia terribly when she was child, which led to he wanting to die at the beginning of the series.
She was actively trying to kill herself, while looking like a hero to add meaning to her life, before Ymir knocked some sense into her.
So the father being someone who contributed to Historia wanting to kill herself feels like an insult to her character.
I know I have been hating on the Historia pregnancy storyline a lot but I will say I do think there is a chance for it to get better.
We oddly have yet to hear Historia’s thoughts on her pregnancy and there seems to be a few things in this chapter that hints at something more going on.
This leads me to believe there may be a twist coming surrounding Historia’s pregnancy.
Honestly, I am just hoping for anything that makes this storyline seem better to me.
Until this twist happens though, Historia’s pregnancy will remain one of my least favourite storylines of the series.
Back to the chapter review, the reveal of the baby’s father is only a small part of “A Sound Argument” and the rest of it more than makes up for the problem I have with the reveal.
My favourite scene in the entire chapter is the one where Eren’s friends talk about the implications of his recent actions and how much he has changed, leading to a fantastic flashback.
In this flashback we get to see the close connection between Eren and his friends from the 104th cadet corps.
One by one Mikasa, Jean, Connie and Sasha all offer to inherit the Founding Titan from Eren when his thirteen years are up but Eren refuses saying they are important to him and he wants them to all live long lives.
This is one of the most heartwarming scenes we have had in Attack on Titan in a long time and makes for a sad contrast to the present scene where Eren’s friends are questioning his motives.
While Mikasa and Armin are desperate to believe Eren is still on their side, Connie seems to slowly be coming around to the idea that Eren has betrayed them.
As evidence he states how Eren laughed when Sasha died, not knowing this is how Eren grieves.
However, I can understand how Connie is unable to trust Eren given that a lot of people think he is working with Zeke who turned Connie’s entire family into Titans.
I hope we get a pay off to this with Connie facing Zeke because that has been set up for a while.
Another thing I hope to see is a flashback showing Eren and Zeke meeting in Marley because Jean confirms they did talk.
Speaking of setting up scenes, this chapter appears to be setting up a new arc for Gabi, with her and Falco encountering the girl who Sasha saved in the Clash of the Titans arc, named Kaya.
Before they encounter her, the two get into a fight about Gabi refusing to remove her Eldian arm band.
Watching Gabi hysterically cry that she is “a good Eldian” as she desperately tries to snatch back the arm band from Falco serves as another scene that shows just how brainwashed Gabi is.
Their fight is interrupted by Kaya though, who tells brings them to her place after they lie, stating they have run away from home.
In their actual home, however, Reiner wakes up and plans are being made to invade Paradis as retaliation for Eren and the Scouts’ attack.
The Marleyan forces have also figured out that Zeke has betrayed them, which leads to the chapter ending with Reiner advocating for an immediate attack on Paradis to stay ahead of him.
I think Reiner did this so they can rescue Falco and Gabi, who are his sole reason for living, quicker rather than an actual desire for vengeance.
Still, the implications of this cliffhanger are felt at the end of the volume and seem to set the stage for the Warrior’s counterattack in the future.
“A Sound Argument” was a decent chapter.
I did not like the reveal of the father of Historia’s baby but everything else was solid and potentially set up a lot of events to come.

Chapter 109: Guides

4 stars
“Guides” is the callback chapter to end all callback chapters.
So many old characters return to the story from Flegel, to the journalists, to even the little girl who Mikasa saved all the way back in the battle of Trost.
These returning characters all serve a point in the chapter and help to show the consequences of our main characters’ actions.
The character who does this the most is undoubtedly Louise, the girl Mikasa saved.
Louise is revealed to have been so inspired by Mikasa that she helped Floch and other renegade Scouts leak information about Eren’s imprisonment to the press.
This leads to the return of the journalists and Flegel who, along with a mob, all demand an explanation out of Hange about why Eren is locked, up creating new tensions between the people and the government.
These returning characters all show the impact our main characters’ choices have had, which may be leading them to a point of no return again.
It has got so bad that Hange is even starting to doubt her position, with her remembering Sannes telling her to “break a leg” before declaring she is tired.
Hange has been going through a lot of development through her insecurities as Commander, which I believe may pay off in a big way soon.
Hopefully not with her dying though.
In comparison to Hange’s uncertainty, Floch, on the other hand, is much more certain in his goals of freeing Eren believing he is the only one who can save Eldia, which matches up with what Floch said when he and the Scouts attacked Marley.
However, while Floch is dedicated, it is almost certain that he is being manipulated by Yelena, as Pyxis points out in his discussion with her.
Pyxis points out on numerous occasions during their conversation that she has been in close proximity to both Eren and Floch, giving her the opportunity to manipulate them.
Watching Pyxis and Yelena’s discussions in this volume establishes her as one the most interesting characters right now as her true motivations, much like Zeke, remain a mystery.
However, the main focus of this chapter is not Yelena, Hange, or the returning characters but Gabi and Falco who are taken by Kaya to the home of Sasha’s family.
This can only end badly when they all learn who one another are, considering Gabi killed Sasha.
For a moment I thought it had ended badly when I saw a shot of what appeared to be Gabi stabbing Sasha’s father to death.
However, my shock about this was brief when it was thankfully revealed it was just Mikasa remembering Eren stabbing her kidnapper to death.
Still, this does not mean the situation will not end with someone getting stabbed.
As for Gabi, I know she is brainwashed but Isayama is making it a bit hard to like her at times, which is especially apparent in this chapter.
First Gabi tries to blame Kaya and the other orphans for not accepting their sins, then she tries to murder Kaya when she reveals she knows they are from Marley, and finally she says Falco should not have apologized to Kaya about her mother’s death.
This all makes Gabi fairly unlikable in this chapter, which I think should have been downplayed.
The moment when Gabi asks why Falco would apologize made her seem very callous and probably should have been removed.
That said, Gabi’s interactions with Kaya and Falco in this chapter will hopefully go on to change her world view that all Eldians on Paradis are evil.
Kaya’s kind actions may be the starting point for this because the chapter ends with her promising to help them get back to Marley since she wants to help people just like Sasha.
This ending is another fantastic way that Isayama shows the importance of characters after their deaths and may change Gabi’s point of view when she learns Sasha was the person she killed.
Overall, “Guides” is a good chapter that brings back many familiar faces and sets up a lot of development for Gabi.

Chapter 110: Counterfeit.

5 stars
Volume 27 may have started badly but it ends amazingly with its final chapter “Counterfeit.”
The chapter kicks off with Zeke finally explaining what happened in Connie’s village back in the Clash of the Titans Arc.
Zeke’s spinal fluid was transformed into gas and used as chemical warfare, blown into Ragako Village, which knocked all of its inhabitants unconscious who were then turned into Titans with Zeke’s scream.
It was good to finally get the information about what really happened in Ragako and it led to an interesting conversation between Levi and Zeke.
Watching these two mortal enemies stand off in a conversation was very intriguing.
Levi does not keep his contempt for Zeke hidden, accusing him of feeling no remorse for his actions, while Zeke seems to come across as more reasonable, although is almost certainly hiding his anger towards Levi.
While it is cool to see these two interact somewhat peacefully, it is practically guaranteed to not last long, especially with what happens at the end of the chapter.
Eren manages to escape captivity with his Warhammer Titan powers and meets up with Floch and the rest of his followers to track down Zeke.
The events leading up to this moment are nothing short of shocking and left me genuinely wondering who I should route for because it is clear now that Eren and the Scouts are on opposing sides.
This can be seen with the death of Darius Zachary who was killed by some of Eren’s followers because he was planning to have him sacrificed and his Founding Titan power given to someone else.
I did not particularly like Zachary as a character but it was still shocking to see him die in such a gruesome way.
That said, it was oddly fitting and funny that he was most likely killed because of a bomb attached to his excrement torture device first seen in the Uprising Arc.
Speaking of the Uprising Arc, it looks like the past is repeating itself because the masses are once again turning against the government, only this time the government is a side we are routing for, which makes the whole situation complicated.
I do not know whose side to take here, Eren or the Scouts.
We do not even fully know Eren’s motivations for turning against the Scouts and even Mikasa and Armin seem to be questioning him by the end of the chapter.
Attack on Titan started with these three as the closet of friends but as it has gone on Eren has moved further and further away from the two.
I love how Isayama continues to shape these three characters friendship, especially with Armin and Mikasa now wondering how much they can trust Eren.
The fact that Pieck is shown to be in Paradis at the end of the chapter makes the situation even worse.
Along with all this, there are numerous other interesting scenes.
We got another conversation between Pyxis and Yelena where she admits she did meet with Eren but only to help him shape his ideology.
She really came across as a crazed fan girl here but Pyxis points out how he knows she is lying because she did not incorporate any truth into what she said.
So what is Yelena, a crazy fan girl or an attempted manipulator with her own motives?
Either way it will be interesting what her role to play in this story is.
Another intriguing scene in “Counterfeit” saw Armin visiting Annie again, only this time he appears a lot more intimate with because he reaches out to touch the crystal.
He is then caught by Hitch who he desperately tries to explain himself to but I am unsure whether she bought it or not.
I, for one, certainly do not buy it because it seems apparent that Armin has gained some feelings for Annie over the years.
I think this has to do with him inheriting Bertholdt’s memories after he became the Colossal Titan.
If this is true it will be interesting to see in what other ways Bertholdt’s memories have affected him.
“Counterfeit” was a fantastic way to end Volume 27 because it redeemed a lot of the bad stuff that came before in the first few chapters.
The consequences of this chapter will most likely be felt across the series because Eren now seems to have fully embraced his dark side, moving towards an unforeseen goal that may have even more dire consequences.

 

Attack on Titan Volume 26: Most Heartbreaking Death Yet?

Chapter 103: Assault.

4 stars
Continuing the action started in Chapter 100 of the Scouts’ attack on Marley, Chapter 103 opens with the spectacular full page image of the battle, seen above.
It is artwork like this that shows just how far Hajime Isayama has come from when he first started the series.
In those early days his artwork often looked a little stiff and, at worst, unnatural.
Now, however, I find problems like this in Isayama’s artwork to be very few.
The shot of Falco watching the battle as Zeke, Galliard and Pieck engage the scouts is a testament to this.
Speaking of Falco, the conformation of him and Reiner’s survival at the beginning of the chapter was a relief to me.
While I was almost certain Falco would survive, I was concerned about Reiner so to see him alive, although injured, was reassuring.
That said, the chapter continues to show how broken Reiner has become, with his wish to die keeping him from healing properly.
It will be interesting to see if Reiner can overcome these feelings and redeem himself in the future of the story.
The rest of “Assault” is pure action with the scouts taking on the Titans and pretty much wiping the floor with them.
Both Zeke and Pieck fall in this chapter and, upon reading, I took issue with both of these events.
At first I was angered that Zeke was defeated so easily but, after reading the rest of the volume and seeing what happens, my opinion changed.
For Pieck, however, my opinion did not change.
I felt the way the chapter ended with Jean about to kill her, only for Falco to get in the way, ending the chapter on a cliffhanger almost killed the tension completely.
It reminded me a lot of the ending to season two episode seven, “Close Combat”, where the episode’s tension was killed when it abruptly ended before Bertholdt could fall on Eren and Reiner.
All of this said, I did enjoy the action sequences that came before this with Sasha once again showing how great of a sharpshooter she is both with a bow and a gun.
Then there is Jean and the other scouts destroying Pieck’s Cart Titan with their thunder spears so badly that it is a miracle she survived.
Even Galliard surprisingly got a moment to shine when he swats a Scout out of the sky to protect Pieck.
This was just a small hint of how cool a character Galliard would become in the next chapters.
The best moment of “Assault” though came with the long-awaited return of Armin who, in one of his coolest moments, destroyed the entire fleet of battleships sent in to help with his nuclear Colossal Titan transformation.
It was great to see Armin again after his long absence and the way he appeared left me eager to see what would happen with him next.
Overall, “Assault” was a good start to Volume 26 with great action, even if the ending was abrupt.

Chapter 104: Victors.

5 stars
“Victors” is not just a fantastic chapter of Attack on Titan but one that gives the Scouts probably their most successful victory to date… before it is rudely snatched away by the events of the next chapter.
However, even knowing this event was coming did not make the Scouts’ victory any less sweeter when Eren succeeded in consuming the Warhammer Titan.
While I will admit I was once again disappointed by the user of the Warhammer Titan (with her only appearing for a short time before dying without us knowing her name) it will be interesting to see what Eren does with this new Titan power he has gained.
The way Eren achieves gaining this power is also one of the most ingenious character moments of Attack on Titan.
After seeing how powerful the Jaw Titan’s claws and jaws are, Eren grabs Galliard with the help of Mikasa and forces him to crush the Warhammer Titan so Eren can eat the remains.
This was a very shocking moment that shows how much smarter Eren has become over the years.
The standout of this chapter for me, however, was surprisingly Galliard with how amazingly strong his Titan turned out to be.
Without Mikasa taking him by surprise, it seemed to me that Galliard would have been a very difficult foe for Eren to defeat.
As Mikasa easily points out in the chapter, Galliard’s Jaw Titan is very different from Ymir’s.
However, while I liked Galliard’s skills as a Titan Shifter this chapter I still have yet to warm up to his character.
That said, “Victors” does look to be building up some actual character development for him that may make me like him more.
In a powerful scene for Reiner, he temporarily overcomes his wish to die and, after transforming into a weakened version of his Armoured Titan, rushes in to save Galliard from Eren.
Galliard has been shown to extremely dislike Reiner because of how he caused his brother’s death so this could remove the wedge between them and create some actual development for Galliard.
Another point to mention is Galliard’s Jaw Titan’s possibly being used to help Marley in the future, rather than how it was used unwillingly against Marley in this chapter.
If Galliard could crush the Warhammer Titan’s crystal then it is also possible for him to do the same for Annie, hopefully without killing her this time.
All of this is great set up if it does end up being what happens.
If not though, the rest of this chapter is still fantastic with numerous standout scenes.
We get out first look at Armin’s Colossal Titan, which is much skinnier than Bertholdt’s because of Armin’s physique.
Armin also seems to realise for the first time what it was like for Bertholdt destroying Wall Maria’s gate at the beginning of the series.
We also get the continuation of the abrupt ending to the previous chapter, which added a nice layer of character development for Jean.
Before he can shoot his thunder spear at Falco and Pieck, the smoke from her Titan as she emerges from it blocks his view causing him to miss.
However, Jean does wonder if he missed intentionally not wanting to harm a child, which shows how honorable Jean is, despite being on the attacking side this time around.
The scouts are also revealed to have a zeppelin of their own this chapter, with Hange and new character Onyankopon flying it.
After picking up Armin, Hange and him have a touching moment when Hange wonders if he was possessed by Erwin’s ghost, showing the burden both share as Erwin’s successors.
Hange as his literal one, being the new Commander of the Survey Corps, and Armin the figurative one, having been chose to inherit the Colossal Titan over Erwin.
“Victors” is a fantastic chapter.
It has plenty of amazing action and character moments that will be very exciting to witness when season four is animated in a couple of years.

Chapter 105: Assassins Bullet.

5 stars
This chapter hurt.
I was spoiled about Sasha’s death days after this chapter came out but my prior knowledge did not make the chapter any less painful to read.
As the series got closer and closer to chapter 105 I wondered just Isayama would kill her off.
Given how this chapter is called “Assassins Bullet” and how Gabi was last seen in the previous chapter racing after the Scouts’ zeppelin with a gun hoping to avenge the death of her friends, I was pretty confident she was the one who would do the deed.
Sadly, my suspicions were correct because, after sneaking on board the zeppelin with Falco, Gabi shot Sasha in the stomach fatally wounding her.
This was a very sad scene to read especially with the other characters’ reaction to it.
In a rare moment we actually got to see Mikasa crying, which is surprising as well as touching because she only seemed to care about Eren and Armin before now.
Eren’s reaction is also was very gripping, with him laughing and crying, just like he did when Hannes was killed all the way back in Chapter 50.
Then there is Sasha herself, whose death is incredibly sad to see, with her last words of “meat” speaking both to her characteristics as a primarily comic-relief character and the manga’s theme of freedom.
Sasha has come a long way since she first appeared in the manga and I am glad that Isayama decided to let her live longer than he originally planned because it gave her a lot of great moments to shine before her death.
As for Gabi, this chapter made me understand why so many fans hate her because of how she murdered Sasha.
That said, I do not blame her for Sasha’s death because this chapter makes it very clear that she has been brainwashed and, from her perspective, Sasha and the others are the bad guys.
Both of these factors are shown in the conversation between Gabi and Falco before she kills Sasha.
While Falco points out how those on Paradis were attacked first, Gabi states she can never forgive the Eldians for killing her friends and all her life has wanted to prove to Marley that there are good Eldians but their attackers may have stopped this.
She makes a good point here because if Attack on Titan had started from Chapter 90 instead of Chapter One then a lot of readers would be on Gab’s side.
Still, this makes for a brilliant contrast between Falco and Gabi.
Falco does not blindly accept Marley’s brainwashing and is able to understand Eren’s point of view, which is contrasted by Gabi’s blind loyalty to Marley because of the brainwashing.
However, Sasha’s tragic death and Gabi’s side of the story are not the only highlights of “Assassins Bullet.”
One particularly explosive reveal confirmed the theory myself and many others had about Zeke, that he was secretly working with Eren the entire time.
It is revealed in this chapter that Zeke deliberately avoided killing the Scouts when fighting and was purposefully captured by Levi so he could help those on Paradis.
While this is an interesting reveal, it is clear to me that Zeke cannot be trusted.
This is the man who who cheered upon killing almost every scout that ran at him in Erwin’s suicide charge.
Whatever his true ambitions are, he is merely siding with the Scouts to achieve them.
The moment they become useless to Zeke he will turn on them in an instant.
This seems to be made very clear by Isayama with the final panel of Zeke having his eyes obscured by the light reflecting off his glasses, hiding both his gaze and true motivations.
Another interesting point is the official introduction of Yelena, a follower of Zeke who was the one who temporarily captured Pieck and Galliard.
However, as Jean points out, it was her fault they escaped, which is another point against Zeke and her truly wishing to help Paradis.
Maybe Yelena purposefully allowed Pieck and Galliard to escape as a part of Zeke’s grand plan but if this is true it has yet to be revealed.
Anyway, I am very excited about Zeke temporarily coming over to Eren’s side because we may finally get the conversation between the two brothers that I have been waiting to see since their family connection was first revealed.
Speaking of Eren, another surprising moment came for his character this chapter when it was revealed he actually went rogue to attack Marley, forcing the Scouts to come and rescue him.
The impact of this will surely be felt in the future as Hange perfectly states, “you put your trust is us… and we’ve lost our trust in you”
The divisions caused by Eren going rogue can even be seen between him, Armin and Mikasa as the chapter opens with them reuniting.
However, rather than this being a happy moment, it is clearly somber with the side by side panels of each individual characters’ face showing just how distant the three have become.
They have certainly come a long way from their first time reaching the ocean but not for the better.
The standout moment of the chapter though is still the tragic death of our beloved potato girl Sasha.
Her death is one of the saddest the series has ever had and, with the manga supposedly about to enter its final arc, we are certain to get a lot more

Chapter 106: Volunteers.

4 stars
After the tragic death of Sasha in “Assassin’s Bullet,” Chapter 106, “Volunteers,” serves to make her death all the more painful with a big flashback to in between the four year time jump in which she is present.
Every time I saw her in this chapter it just dug the knife in deeper, especially when the scene transitioned from Eren, Mikasa and Armin at a shooting range to Sasha getting shot in the stomach.
Still, I did enjoy how even though Sasha is dead she is not forgotten.
A lot of other series would have mentioned her only briefly after her death but when characters in Attack on Titan die they are still relevant to the story, either through flashbacks or through their actions having an impact long after they are gone.
Along with all this, the big flashback in this chapter also went on to explain how Yelena, Onyankopon and the rest of Zeke’s followers came to join the Scouts in their efforts.
Upon arriving in Paradis, Yelena shot her superior officer and her soldiers took those who were untrustworthy captive to show their loyalty to Eren and the others.
However, once Zeke was mentioned it caused a whole lot of difficulty for them in gaining those on Paradis’ trust.
In a surprising moment though, Eren spoke up for them, wanting to go through with Zeke’s plan to use his royal blood and Eren’s Founding Titan to initiate the rumbling with the many Colossal Titans inside the wall.
This also seems to be where the first layer of trust between Eren and the scouts was broken, when he reveals he hid the fact that someone with royal blood could be used to initiate the rumbling to protect Historia.
From here though, we see relations between the Marleyan volunteers and the Eldians on Paradis growing.
We see Sasha get attached to a Marleyan named Nicolo because of his cooking and we even get to briefly see the progression of a Marleyan as he went from hating to trusting the Eldians over time.
Another interesting scene came when Sasha asked Onyankopon why his skin is black.
This came across as natural since everyone on Paradis is Eldian, with the exception of Mikasa, so the other characters would never have seen a black person before.
The scene also added another layer to the story of Ymir Fritz, when Onyankopon states that God made various people different races and also was probably the one to give Ymir her Titan powers.
This adds another version of the tale to her myth and how she is perceived and I wonder if we will ever get a solid explanation for how Ymir became the first Titan.
The standout moment of the chapter though, would have to be the return of Annie, who Armin is revealed to be talking to and who is still stuck in that goddamn crystal!
Seriously, she has been in there for 73 chapters, when is she going to come out?
Hopefully, with the reveal that Galliard can crush these crystals Annie can return soon.
Still, it was great to see her again, and not in flashback form, after all this time.
“Volunteers” even gifted us with some great callback moments like with Armin’s seashell, Eren picking up the Marleyan warship just like Kruger did in his first appearance, and Mikasa and Eren once again repeating the common “fight” line seen in the series.
This final moment was the ending scene of the chapter and saw Mikasa supposedly at Sasha’s funeral, Gabi and Falco imprisoned, and Eren also imprisoned in a different area.
Eren’s imprisonment goes to show how he is no longer trusted by the Scouts.
All of this said, the chapter did have a few iffy moments like when Yelena and Onyankopon talk about why Marley has not launched an all out invasion yet.
The biggest reasons are that many countries were inspired by their efforts and went to war with Marley and because Marley was afraid of the Titans still on Paradis, unaware that the Scouts had killed them all.
During this conversation we got a panel of these Titans, which looked pretty goofy because they looked to be dancing.
Overall though, “Volunteers” was still a good chapter to end Volume 26 on.
We got a good explanation of what had happened during the four year time skip and finally got to see Annie again… if only she would wake up already!

Attack on Titan Volume 24 Review: The Devolution of Reiner.

Chapter 95: Liar.

4 stars
Hajime Isayama’s goal for the Marley Arc so far seems to be to bring Reiner to his lowest possible point.
This started in the previous chapter, and the first one of Volume 24, “Liar,” is the continuation of this, with it going even deeper into Reiner’s backstory.
We see the rejection he experienced from his Marleyan father, which lead him to dedicate his remaining resolve to his mission and become a hero.
It does not even matter to him when Marcel reveals he badmouthed Porco so he would not become a Titan to protect him and this is the only reason Reiner became a warrior.
This once again breaks down my prior perceptions of Reiner as always being a natural born leader, with his inner thoughts at this revelation distracting him long enough for Ymir to sneak up on him, leading to Marcel sacrificing himself.
If anything, Marcel seemed to fit my original ideas about Reiner more than the man himself.
This further development of an important character and a long dead one was great and gave me a better understanding of both characters.
The flashback also delivers some Titan action, showing the Warriors training to attack Paradis with a display of all their abilities.
Among these, we get our first (and probably last) look at Marcel’s Jaw Titan, which looks very similar to his brother’s.
This seems to confirm that either their family has a special connection to this Titan or it has been enhanced, unlike with Ymir.
The rest of the chapter also delivers a few interesting reveals.
Most importantly we get the name drop of the final Titan Shifter and the family that possesses it.
This being the Warhammer Titan under the procession of the Tyber family.
According to the Warriors they are a family of Eldians who have being living the high life as honorary Marleyans but are now stepping in due to the severity of the situation.
I am interested to see what this latest Titan will be like and just how it will play into the story.
There are also a few lighter moments to go along with this as, right before this scene, Porco stumbles upon Pieck crawling on the floor because it feels “more natural” for her after spending so much time in her Titan.
This was a genuinely funny moment, made even more so by a later panel of Pieck lying on the couch like a cat.
She is definitely one of my favourites characters introduced in this arc.
Chapter 95 was an interesting one that built on Reiner’s character development and made me interested for what was to come.

Chapter 96: The Door of Hope.

4 stars
Attack on Titan 
came full circle this chapter with the flashback revealing what really happened when Reiner, Annie and Bertholdt breached the walls and in its aftermath.
This goes to show how fantastic of a writer Hajime Isayama is because of how he has changed perceptions of these characters as the manga has gone on.
When Reiner, Annie and Bertholdt were revealed as the Titans who breached the walls it made them instantly unlikable for causing so much death and destruction.
However, as the series has gone, Isayama has slowly shown us more and more of their perspective, until now we are getting the full story.
This allows us to not only understand Reiner but Annie and Bertholdt as well, and to make these characters, who we initially thought of as evil, sympathetic is a real achievement.
The three all had moments that made me sympathize with them in this chapter.
From Reiner trying to be Marcel so he can achieve his mission, to Annie crying out that she is only doing this so she can go home, to Bertholdt hilariously trying to compliment Annie and failing spectacularly.
All of these moments served to make these characters more sympathetic and relatable, something I could not imagine being done 50 chapter earlier.
Another thing I enjoyed about “The Door of Hope” was how it served to explain so much about the three’s actions inside the walls, which until now was a complete mystery.
For example, the story Bertholdt tells when he first meets Eren and Armin, about how Titans destroyed their village, is actually taken from a man who told them his story before hanging himself.
Any other writer would have just had Bertholdt make up this story but Isayama is smart enough to actually think up of explanations to things that did not need to have them yet are all the better for it.
However, while I did like a lot of the connections Isayama made to earlier points in the story, his writing did still suffer in some areas.
This was most apparent with the cliffhanger where Reiner is being yelled at by Keith Sadies on the first day of training.
This is a continuity issue because Sadies did not yell at Reiner because the look in his eyes showed he had already been hardened.
So to see Sadies yell at him in a clear breaking of continuity was a bit jarring.
Still, this was just a small moment and the rest of the chapter is great.
I especially liked the scene where the three Warriors broke the wall because it gave us their perspective as opposed to our heroes.
It brought the story full circle, right back to where it all began.

Chapter 97: From One Hand to Another.

4 and a half stars
I said in my review of Chapter 95 that Isayama’s goal with the Marley Arc was to bring Reiner down to his lowest point.
Well, Chapter 97, “From One Hand to Another” was the culmination of all this because Reiner is more broken than he has ever been this chapter.
The continuous flashback panels of Reiner’s struggles ending with the haunting image of him with a gun in his mouth, seconds away from pulling the trigger, is something that I will remember for a while.
Reiner has gone through so much amazing growth in the Marley Arc that, in just seven chapters, he has become one of my favourite characters.
He is a character that perfectly represents the impact that war and trauma can have on a person’s life, especially when it happens at such a young age.
Thankfully, Reiner’s story is not over because, in a chance of fate, Falco unknowingly manages to distract Reiner long enough to stop him from pulling the trigger.
Reiner then decides not to kill himself while he still has those kids to protect, which may hopefully lead to him finding some peace.
But, this is Attack on Titan so Reiner is probably going to suffer some more.
This seems to be confirmed with the surprise return of Eren in this chapter, who is posing as and injured war vet to infiltrate Marley.
He talks with Falco and I realised it was him pretty early into their conversation but it was still a nice reveal.
Then there was Eren’s new look with him having long hair and a faint mustache, which I enjoyed because it actually makes him look a lot like Grisha.
I am also hopeful we will get to see the other main characters and what they have been up to in the four year time skip soon because Eren has Falco deliver a letter for him.
The attempted suicide of Reiner and Eren’s return are not the only interesting things about the chapter though.
We were officially introduced to the Tyber family this chapter, including its head, Willy Tyber, who looks to be an interesting character.
Willy is revealed to actually be the secret ruler of the country, which is intriguing because he and his family are Eldians and they are ruling a country that is oppressing their own race.
The reasoning behind this will hopefully be revealed soon.
We also got a very interesting moment at the beginning of the chapter where Annie was revealed to have briefly fought Kenny during her time in the 104th Cadet Corps.
This does not really have an impact on anything but it is still interesting seeing the ways Isayama can bring long dead characters back into the story.
Overall, “From One Hand to Another” was my favourite chapter of this volume with its numerous reveals and heartbreaking scene with Reiner.

Chapter 98: Good to See.

4 and a half stars
What a way to end Volume 24 .
Chapter 98, “Good to See” is full of emotional scenes and what I believe to be numerous hints at future reveals.
What stands above all these features though is the amazing cliffhanger that has me eager to read the next volume.
After Eren was revealed to be in Marley in the previous chapter, he begins to initiate his plan, culminating in him manipulating Falco to arrange a surprise meeting between him and Reiner.
The final panels of this chapter were just fantastic because they perfectly expressed what both characters were feeling upon being reunited.
For Reiner it was shock and horror but for Eren it seemed to oddly be some degree of happiness based off his statement, “good to see you made it back home.”
The reason for Eren’s supposed happiness will hopefully be revealed in the next chapter.
Either way, this was a great way to end the volume and the scenes leading up to this moment were likewise fantastic.
Watching Eren slowly manipulate Falco was interesting, especially when it lead to him meeting his grandfather for the first time.
This was a very heartfelt scene where Eren’s grandfather reminisced on the loss of his son and daughter before suffering a mental breakdown and having to be dragged away by doctors.
However, the scene goes from heartfelt to sinister when, in the scene’s final moments, Eren picks up a baseball he told Falco was from his family and tosses it into the air.
On the surface this moment may seem insignificant but, based off things that came earlier in the chapter and the series, I believe this to be very important.
This is because at the beginning of the chapter Zeke played baseball with Colt and during the Shiganshina Arc Zeke made a reference to it when he wiped out most of the scouts.
Also, there is the fact that Eren tells Falco the baseball came from his family, which all seem to hint at Eren and Zeke having meet in secret.
If this is the case, I wonder what their meeting could have been about since both appear to be on opposite sides?
Personally, I would really like to see a scene where the two talk because we have not seen a full conversation about their family connection between the two yet.
Another hint at upcoming storylines appears to be the new character who was introduced, an Asian woman said to be from the land of Hizuru.
Given how Mikasa was the only Asian character in the story up to this point, I think there could be a possible connection, with her mother possibly coming from this land.
The woman also does seem to be on the side of the Eldians, given that she protects Udo from punishment when he accidentally spills wine on her kimono.
I also enjoyed the political commentary used with Willy in this chapter when he explains the burden of ruling his country to be like turning a wheel.
This felt very Game of Thrones inspired, which would make sense because I have heard Isayama has taken some inspiration from it.
“Good to See” was an overall great way to end Volume 24 with numerous possible hints at future reveals and a few emotional moments.
The cliffhanger alone has me excited for the next volume and was the perfect conclusion to Reiner’s arc this volume.
 

Attack on Titan Volume 22 Review: Possibly Marks the end of Season Three.

Chapter 87: Borderline.

5 stars
“Borderline” came right after my favourite chapter of Attack on Titan, “That Day” so it had some huge shoes to fill if it wanted to compete with it.
The chapter sure did come close though, with more mind blowing reveals that I cannot wait to see animated.
Picking up from the previous chapter where Grisha and Dina were turned in by Zeke to the Marleyan Authorities, the two are taken to Paradis to be turned into Titans where we get some huge twists.
It turns out that many of the Eldia Restorationists are actually Titans we have seen before in the series.
The majority of them are the ones who attacked Eren during the battle of Trost where he was eaten.
Most shocking of all, Dina is revealed to be the Smiling Titan who ate Eren’s mother.
While, this was a huge shock to read, at the time I did wonder what purposed this served to the story other than it being a random twist but the true point is revealed later in the volume.
Accompanying this shocking twist was a fantastic panel, which showed half of Grisha and Eren’s face as they both reacted to Dina becoming the Smiling Titan in the past and present.
After this, The final twist of the volume reveals Kruger to be the Owl, which I had my suspicions about, and he kills the cruel Marleyan soldier Gross before turning into a Titan and going on a rampage.
The death of Gross is in my opinion one of the most satisfying moments of the entire series.
This is surprising, considering he was only around for two chapters but when you take into account what he did it explains this satisfaction.
I know a lot of people say there are no evil characters in Attack on Titan but Gross is the exception to this.
Evil is the only word to describe a person who feeds a little girl to dogs and feels no guilt about it whatsoever.
However, Gross’ reasoning for this did lead to another interesting revelation.
Gross reveals that only Eldians can turn into Titans and describes this as their “true form.”
On top of all these reveals the chapter also provides emotional growth for Grisha when he thinks about what a terrible father he was to Zeke and how he made the same mistakes as his father by pushing his views on him.
“Borderline” was another fantastic chapter for Attack on Titan in a long line of them.

Chapter 88: The Attack Titan.

4 and a half stars
Just when I thought there could not be anymore explosive reveals after the previous two chapters multitude of them, Chapter 88 “The Attack Titan” delivered even more.
First it is revealed that Kruger’s first name is Eren, with our Eren actually being named after him, and then it is revealed that all Titan Shifters die 13 years after they get their powers from what is known as Ymir’s Curse.
The second reveal is by far the most impactful because it sets time limits for all of its characters with Titan Shifting abilities.
Eren, for example, only has eight years to live while Armin, who recently took the Colossal Titan power, has 13.
This adds a new layer of tension to all of the Titan Shifter characters because this means, unless Isayama delivers a twist where the curse can be prevented, all of them will die by the end of the series.
However, even though this does add tension, it raises a pretty significant plot hole.
In “Bystander” Keith Sadies said that Grisha arrived 20 years ago.
However, going by the rules of Ymir’s Curse this is cannot be right.
Grisha came inside the walls after inheriting Eren Kruger’s Titan so he would have lived behind the walls for 13 years before passing on his power to Eren and five years have passed in the current story since then.
This would mean Grisha must have lived there for 18 years so there are two years unaccounted for.
This is a plot hole but, then again, it could be set-up for a plot twist by Isayama.
You never know with him.
There were also a few extra reveals to prevent any plot holes, like when Eren states that if a Titan Shifter dies of Ymir’s Curse then their power immediately goes to a random Eldian baby.
Apart from all the reveals, the other great feature this chapter had was all the great character development, from Mikasa’s reaction to Ymir’s Curse, to Eren Kruger’s backstory.
It is revealed he had to watch his family burn alive, which motivated him to spy on Marley from the inside, forcing him to commit many atrocious crimes towards innocent people to keep the act going.
From what we have seen of him, Kruger is a very interesting character and it is a shame we will probably not see more of him because he is eaten by Grisha off screen.
Kruger also presents some very interesting information about Ymir Fritz, which may be of importance, including mentioning a theory that she got her powers from “the source of all organic material”, whatever that means.
He also states what is already one of my favourite quotes from the series, ““anyone can become a god or a devil. All it takes is for someone to claim that to be the truth.”
The chapter ends with the name of the Titan Grisha inherits and then later passes down to Eren being revealed as the Attack Titan.
I cannot be sure but I am pretty certain this is a reference to the title of the series Attack on Titan, which is a nice addition.
Overall, “The Attack Titan” was another great chapter that filled in the backstory and added real stakes, even if it also introduced a plot hole.

Chapter 89: Meeting.

4 stars
This chapter was an interesting one when it comes to chronology because it was here that Ymir(the second one, not the one who created the Titans)’s backstory was finally revealed in the manga.
Her backstory was actually revealed earlier in season two of the anime in the episode “Children”, which is one of my favourite episodes.
However, in comparison, the way the manga reveals Ymir’s backstory is nowhere near as impactful as it is in the anime.
Sure, it does make more sense for it to be revealed in a letter to Historia rather than her own inner reflection but in the manga this backstory feels more like a way for Isayama to tie up loose ends rather than to add to Ymir’s character development.
The artwork during this sequence was still solid though, especially when Ymir woke up, but it did not have the sense of empowerment and character growth that it did in the anime.
In short, the backstory reveal in the manga is not bad and I still liked it but the anime greatly improved on it.
The letter itself was still very emotional with Ymir saying goodbye to Historia and declaring her love for her.
What I did find disappointing about the letter though was that Ymir confirms she will be dead by the time Historia reads this.
If Ymir really does die it will feel like a missed opportunity to me because I have always felt like she is the series’ most underused character (next to Annie who I barely care about anymore).
If she does die, I hope it is in a meaningful way that ties up her arc nicely.
On the other hand, one thing I enjoyed about this moment was Historia’s reaction to Ymir’s letter.
In a single panel, barely noticeable, we see a tear slowly go down Historia’s cheek, which she tries to cover up when her friends arrive, showing just so close she is to falling apart at the news of Ymir’s potential death.
The rest of “Meeting” was also great, especially with the meeting where everyone discussed what they had learned from Eren’s basement.
Eren realizing he could use the Founding Titan’s briefly because he came into contact with Dina, who had royal blood, was a great reveal.
Before this I was concerned that Dina being the Smiling Titan was just for shock value so I am glad Isayama made this play a role in the story.
It also led to the funny scene where Eren tries to underplay his reaction to this as because of puberty, which was a bit of a recurring joke.
However, what is not funny is the implications this has for Historia because she is also of royal blood.
This seems to set up Eren eating Historia in the future to use the Founding Titan’s abilities, which would be devastating.
However, Eren seems dedicated to protecting Historia so hopefully he will manage to do so.
Then there is the final moments of the chapter, which is without a doubt the biggest WTF moment of the series and is either a really good thing or a really bad thing.
In a flashback, Kruger talks to Grisha about Mikasa and Armin who had not been born yet.
This appears to be heavily implying that Titan Shifters can see into the future as well as the past, which, depending on how it plays into the story, could be a fantastic twist or a jump the shark moment.
I am hoping for the first one.

Chapter 90: To the Other Side of the Wall.

5 stars
After 90 chapters of build-up the ocean was finally reached by Eren, Armin and the others.
This looks to be where the second-half of season three will end, due to the multiple cases of foreshadowing towards the ocean.
Personally, I think this will be a brilliant way to end the season based on the reveal of it in this chapter.
The ocean has always been a symbol of hope for Eren and Mikasa, and especially Armin but, as Eren expertly points out at the end of the chapter, this hope is false because on the other side of the ocean everyone wants them dead.
This results in the final few powerful panels where Eren wonders if they will finally be free after they defeat their enemies and a sea shell is shown in Armin’s hand symbolizing this small hope.
It is a beautiful scene that I cannot wait to see in the anime.
The rest of the chapter is just as solid, presenting this same feeling of hope and dread throughout.
As those inside the walls celebrate retaking Wall Maria and discovering the truth of what is out there, multiple things point to this celebration being short lived.
Floch questions why Armin was chosen to take on the Colossal Titan instead of Erwin, Eren experiences a memory from Grisha of Fay’s mutilated body, and, when kissing Historia’ hand in a ceremony, he experiences the moment right before his father killed her family.
All of this hints towards the cruelty of the world they live in, despite the celebrations and signs of hope that are present.
The constant clashing of the themes of hope and cruelty in this chapter all point towards the greater themes of the story so far and make for another fantastic chapter, especially with the ocean reveal.

 

Attack on Titan Volume 21 Review: The Basement Reveal Delivers the Best Chapter so far.

Chapter 83: Falling Axe.

4 stars
The follow-up chapter to Armin’s heroic sacrifice, Chapter 83, “Falling Axe” is set-up for the three brilliant chapters to follow in this volume.
Much like the previous chapter, it starts off great showing how Eren and Armin first met, with Eren encountering Armin after he had been beaten up by bullies.
Armin’s words about how he did not really lose because he did not run away and then Eren asking his name made for a fantastic transition into the current timeline where Eren is trying to cope with Armin’s charred body.
Before he can do anything, however, he is interrupted by Zeke (and the other Titan) who confront each other in their first meeting.
While I did like the scene between the two, after reading the rest of the volume I felt like the twist to who Zeke is probably should have been revealed here because we do not see Eren’s reaction to this.
However, it still is an interesting scene and if I had not already been spoiled on who Zeke was it would have been very intriguing build-up.
I especially liked how Zeke told Eren he would rescue him some day because it shows that Zeke thinks he is in the right.
However, their meeting is interrupted by Levi who naturally killed all the Titans Zeke sent after him, which prompts Zeke to go rescue Reiner.
But, before he is rescued, Hange and the others manage to retrieve a letter from Ymir to Historia that was in his possession.
Unfortunately, this adds to my increasing fears that Ymir is already dead, which I hope is not true because she is one of my favourite characters and I feel she could add a lot to the story given more screen time.
The chapter ends with the surviving soldier from Erwin’s suicide run at Zeke arriving with a badly injured Erwin leaving Levi to decide who should get the Titan Serum and eat Bertholdt, Erwin or Armin.
Once again, I had been spoiled on who would eat Bertholdt so this did not leave much investment for me by the end.
However, this does not change the fact that “Falling Axe” is still great build-up.
It might have its minor problems but it delivers quite a few great scenes like the first meeting between Eren and Zeke.

Chapter 84. Midnight Sun.

5 stars
As I said, I had already been spoiled on who would eat Bertholdt and become the Colossal Titan so I figured this chapter would not be very investing but, oh, how wrong I was.
“Midnight Sun” is an incredible chapter of Attack on Titan that delivers so much emotion.
I really wish I had not been spoiled on what would happen because this was just amazing to read.
First of all, I now know what that great mid-credits scene at the end of episode twelves of season three was all about.
The reason Levi is fighting with Eren and Mikasa is because he wants to give the Serum to Erwin while they want to give it to Armin.
However, before Mikasa can do anything crazy, Hange and the others show up and calm everyone down.
Both sides give good justifications for who should be chosen to eat Bertholdt, including the new character Floch, who compares Erwin to the devil, saying only he can save humanity.
Eren tries to get Levi to choose Armin by bringing up his dream to see the ocean.
This moment was so powerful it left me tearing up, which was a huge surprise because I already knew how it would end, showing just how amazing this chapter was at drawing out emotions.
In the end though, Levi chooses to save Armin and finally let Erwin rest.
The reveal that Armin was the one chosen was expertly handled and the death of Bertholdt that followed left me feeling sorry for him, despite everything he had done.
Then there was the death of Erwin.
Erwin is in my top five favourite characters of the series so I was sad to see him go but I personally believe he was killed off in a great way that tied off his character arc brilliantly.
I was also glad that I had not been spoiled on at least one major character death.
I knew coming in that Erwin would probably die because I had been spoiled Armin would become the Colossal Titan but I still had my reservations because I had not been spoiled.
So, it was nice to see a major character death I did not know for a certainty would be happening.
Speaking of character deaths, we also got confirmation this chapter that Moblit died saving Hange.
I feel like his death will probably be overlooked compared to Erwin and Bertholdt’s but he was still a great side character with a heroic death and I will miss him.
Overall, Midnight Sun was a perfect chapter that delivered a great emotional gut punch, even though I knew what was coming.

Chapter 85: Basement.

4 and a half stars
After 84 chapters of build-up, we finally got the reveal of what was inside the basement in Chapter 85 and it did not disappoint.
I was so glad I did not get spoiled about what was in there because what is revealed in this chapter and the next one open up the world of Attack on Titan in so many amazing ways.
We see at the end of the chapter that what Grisha left for Eren in his basement was a book that explains everything, along with a photo, writing that outside the walls humanity is not extinct.
This was a fantastic cliffhanger that led into the next chapter amazingly.
Not only this, but the cliffhanger also built on the recently departed Erwin’s legacy because we get a flashback to Nile telling the other military leaders that Erwin’s theory was that there were still humans outside the walls.
Well, his theory is confirmed with the ending cliffhanger, which  not only adds to his legacy but it makes his death all the more tragic because he could not see that he was right all along.
The rest of the chapter is just as great, starting off with Armin waking up after eating Bertholdt.
The panel where he hallucinates(?) the crying face of Bertholdt’s Colossal Titan with half of its face a skull is very striking.
Eren’s reaction to Armin waking up was also very touching and Levi’s pep-talk with Armin about saying there should be “no regrets” was a fantastic reference to his OVA with the same title.
After this, we get another great panel with a before and after shot of Mikasa and Armin arriving at their old home in the present and when they went to save Carla after Bertholdt breached the wall.
This leads to the scene in the basement where, originally, I though Hajime Isayama was going to pull something where it turned out that there was actually noting in the basement.
This fear was caused by Eren’s key not fitting the basement door and the group initially not finding anything in there.
Thankfully, this fear was unjustified because they later discovered Grisha’s book, leading to the fantastic cliffhanger.
I am so glad Isayama actually revealed there was something in the basement because if he had pulled a fast one then I would have hated it.
The final cliffhanger in “Basement” is the standout of the chapter and leads brilliantly into the next chapter, the incredible “That Day.”

 

Chapter 86: That Day.

5 stars
Coming into this chapter, I was expecting the full explanation of the world of Attack on Titan.
I not only got that but also my favourite chapter of the entire manga so far.
“That Day” is an absolutely incredible chapter and I cannot wait to see it animated when the second half of the season three anime airs in April.
This chapter has one of the best cases of world building I have ever seen, with Grisha’s notes revealing who is actually behind everything in the series.
It is revealed that over a thousand years ago a woman named Ymir Fritz supposedly made a deal with the devil and became the first Titan Shifter.
After she died, her powers were transferred into nine people, creating the nine Titan Shifters who built the empire of Eldia.
Centuries later, Eldia was overthrown by the nation of Marley who oppressed the remaining Eldians as punishment for years of genocide under them.
Some Eldians fled to the island of Paradis, under King Fritz, where the walls were created with the Founding Titan power and everyone’s memories were wiped.
It is also stated the reason Marley sent its Warriors to attack Paradis was because of the large amount of fossil fuels there and to retake the Founding Titan.
This one piece of exposition takes the previously small world of Attack on Titan and expands it exponentially.
It opens up so many interesting opportunities and questions.
Did Ymir really make a deal with the devil, how is she connected to the Ymir we know, along with Marley are there any other countries and cultures out there?
These are all interesting questions and I cannot wait for them to be answered.
It is also brilliant with how Grisha’s backstory ties into the explanation, with the persecution he faces at the hands of Marley being very similar to the ways the Nazis treated Jewish people before the Holocaust, a comparison Isayama is obviously trying to make.
Watching Grisha be motivated to begin his stand against Marley because of the violent death of his sister and the completely brainwashed fear his father presents was amazing for him character development wise, and all of this in one chapter.
This led to Grisha joining the Eldia Restorationists where he met Dina Fritz, a descendant of the royal family.
They eventually married and, in a brilliant twist, are revealed to have had a son who is Zeke, which makes him and Eren half-brothers.
Still, while this was a great twist, I do wish it had been revealed earlier when Eren and Zeke first met in Chapter 83 because we do not get a reaction from Eren to them having the same father.
That said, I still like the twist and the one that follows it when Zeke betrays his parents to the Marley government after Grisha tries to turn him into one of Marley’s warriors as a double agent.
This adds new meaning to Zeke’s first meeting with Eren when he tells him Grisha has brainwashed him, likely believing his father tried to do the same thing to him.
The chapter can end before more details about Grisha’s past can be revealed but what we got and how this tied into the explanation of what was outside the walls was nothing short of brilliant.
I had fears that the reveal of what was outside the walls would not live up to expectations but those fears were baseless because this reveal was everything I hoped for and more.
It had fantastic world building, fit in with the themes, and had great character development for Grisha to go along with this.
Chapter 86 “That Day” is my favourite chapter of Attack on Titan so far.

Attack on Titan Volume 20 Review: The Best Chapters of the Entire Arc so Far.

Chapter 79: Perfect Game.

4 stars
Setting up the amazing battle between the Scouts and the Colossal and Beast Titan in later chapters, Chapter 79 “Perfect Game” is another great addition to the Shiganshina arc.
Picking up with a fantastic panel of the Colossal Titan’s face as he destroys Shiganshina, the chapter immediately sets up the threat he poses, with even Armin having no idea how to beat him.
This causes him to hand over leadership to Jean and, in a last ditch effort, Eren tries to tackle Bertholdt at the end of the chapter… only to be kicked to the top of the wall.
On the other side of the wall the Beast Titan finally takes part in the action by throwing numerous rocks at the Scouts, killing many of them, all the while referencing Baseball.
While, this was darkly comedic, it is also interesting because it shows that wherever Zeke, the Beast Titan, is from they have baseball.
I wonder if we will get a twist like from The Village where it is modern day outside the walls but I think that would be jumping the shark.
Zeke referencing Baseball was not the only funny moment of the chapter though because Connie seems to become hysterical over how they cannot possibly beat Bertholdt, causing Sasha to slap him.
This is another thing I love about Attack on Titan because it manages to make you feel horrified one moment and laugh the next.
Overall, Chapter 79 was another good chapter that set up the epic next three chapters.

Chapter 80: The Nameless Soldier.

4 and a half stars
The first of the final epic three chapters of Volume 20, “The Nameless Soldier” was a fantastic chapter that really highlighted why I love Erwin so much as a character.
After watching the Clash of the Titans arc, I thought Erwin’s main goal was saving humanity no matter the cost but, with the Uprising Arc and this one, it has quickly become apparent that this is not the case.
Erwin actually does value his own life over others because he wants to see his father’s dream to the end, and all his talk about saving humanity has been him acting as “a conman” as he puts it.
This makes Erwin a much deeper character and when Levi decides to make the decision for Erwin, telling him to go and die for them while promising he will kill the Beast Titan, it was a powerful moment for both of them.
Unfortunately, this does not seemed to have ended well for Erwin because his suicide run ends with him getting hit in the stomach from the Beast Titan’s rocks.
Still, this development saw Erwin put aside his dreams for the good of humanity and was some excellent character development for him.
He also gave what I feel was the best speech of the series so far when he told the recruits it was up to them to give meaning to the deaths of the Scouts who had died before them and it would be up to whoever replaced them to giving meaning to their deaths.
It was also not just through Erwin that we saw the stakes of this fight because Mikasa got badly injured as well when she attempted to use the Thunder Spears on Bertholdt, only for his steam attack to launch them back at her and explode.
“The Nameless Soldier” was a great Attack on Titan chapter where Erwin truly shined with some fantastic development and where the stakes of this battle were truly shown.


Chapter 81: Promise

5 stars
What an amazing chapter this was.
We got the potential death of Erwin, the surprisingly impactful death of Marlo, and the best fight of the entire series so far between Levi and Zeke.
To start off, it looks like Erwin is dead, having been hit through the gut by Zeke’s projectiles.
If he really did die then this was an epic way for him to go out but I do wish we had got some final moments with him.
The death of Marlo also really surprised me this chapter.
Not because he died but because of how impactful I found his death to be.
Marlo is a minor character so I never felt like I would feel emotional at his death, but seeing how he thought of Hitch and sleeping as he rode straight towards his death, only to get cut off as Zeke’s boulder blasted part of his head off was very impactful.
Then we have Zeke himself, who makes an interesting comment this chapter about his father.
I have been spoiled about who Zeke really is but it is interesting to see the groundwork being laid out and I wonder how the reveal will be handled?
After all of this, we not only get the best moment of the chapter but the best fight in the entire manga so far when Levi battles and absolutely destroys Zeke.
This was accompanied by some truly magnificent artwork from Hajime Isayama, who is really improving his style, as we see Levi hack Zeke’s Beast Titan apart in all its gory glory.
It gets even more disgusting when Zeke emerges from the Titan, only to get stabbed through the mouth by Levi.
This was so brutal and I hope it does not get censored in the anime, like some of the violence in the Uprising Arc was.
Unfortunately, before Levi could feed Zeke to someone by using the serum, the goofy Titan Shifter appeared and rescued him.
Then came the moment when Zeke yelled at all of his Titans to, “kill him!”
This sent shivers down my spine, even though I know Levi will probably be fine.
The chapter ends with Armin having regained his confidence as he and Eren prepare to face down Bertholdt’s Colossal Titan in what I knew was going to be an epic fight while Mikasa and the others went to fight Reiner.
Chapter 81, “Promise” was a brilliant chapter full of meaningful and impactful deaths, and had the best fight of the manga so far.
It is the perfect chapter.


Chapter 82: Hero

5 stars
And I thought the last chapter was amazing.
Chapter 82 of Attack on Titan “Hero” is another brilliant chapter in the Shiganshina arc that really got the emotions flowing, featuring what may be another major character death.
The chapter starts off amazing, setting up the stakes by showing what Eren and Armin are fighting for as they are about to battle the Colossal Titan, with Historia, Hitch and Nile being seen elsewhere, showing all of their lives depend of this battle.
What follows are two amazing action sequences between Mikasa and the others scouts against Reiner, and also Eren and Armin against Bertholdt.
I really enjoyed the prelude to these battles as well, with Mikasa not giving in to her desire to help Eren and Armin so she can focus on her mission, showing character development.
Starting with the fight with Reiner, I will say this was a nail biting scene with a lot intensity because even Sasha got injured.
All looked hopeless until thankfully, Hange arrived to save the day, giving Mikasa the chance to finish off Reiner in a scene that felt very reminiscent of when she told Annie to fall.
I am so happy Hange is still alive but Moblit is nowhere in sight.
I hope he is not dead because he is a very likeable side character.
Then we get the fight between Eren, Armin and Bertholdt, which delivered on an emotional level as well as an intense one.
At first it looks like Eren falls of the wall by accident putting him out of commission.
This leads to Armin latching onto Bertholdt’s teeth with his ODM Gear and attempting to
withstand his steam attack, leaving him horrifically burned.
However, this is revealed to be all part of Armin’s brilliant plan because Eren uses this as a distraction to get behind Bertholdt and cut him out of the Colossal Titan, hacking off his limbs.
The chapter ends with him landing on a rooftop with Bertholdt, beside Armin’s burnt body and declaring Armin was always the bravest of them all.
This was an incredibly emotional scene that made me realise what the burned body was on the rooftop in that mid-credits scene of season three episode twelve.
Unfortunately, I have been spoiled about how this ends so I do not know if there will be all that much intensity since I already know what is going to happen, but I am still looking forward to seeing it.
“Hero” was a fantastic way to end Volume 20, delivering another five star chapter that makes me even more excited for what is to come.

Attack on Titan Live-Action Movie Gets Third Attempt.

It seems only yesterday it was announced that one of my favourite TV shows of all time, Avatar: The Last Airbender, was getting another shot at a live-action adaptation.
Now, my favourite anime, Attack on Titan, created by Hajime Isayama, is also getting the same treatment, with Andy Muschietti directing under Warner Bros.
This is the third time such an attempt will be made as there have already been two live-action adaptations before (three if you count the miniseries but I would rather forget that atrocity).
Both of these adaptations did a very poor job at adapting the anime with terrible acting, baffling story changes and often laughably atrocious special effects.
So, do I think the third time will be the charm and a successful Attack on Titan movie may actually get made?
Well, based on the track record of American live-action adaptations of other anime, you would think not.
Just looking at Dragonball: Evolution should be enough to show why a live-action anime movie should never be attempted.
However, just like with the Avatar: The Last Airbender Netflix adaptation, there are some things that give me hope for this movie.
The most obvious is the director, Andy Muschietti, who directed IT one of my favourite films of 2017.
There, Muschietti showed he was very capable of sticking to and adapting the original source material, while making some necessary changes.
This would point towards him being capable of adapting Attack on Titan, but it is too soon to say whether he will be able to actually do it.
There are also a few things standing in the films way.
First and foremost, the movie’s runtime will obviously constrain the story somewhat, making it only possible to do the Trost arc in the first film.
Then there is actually adapting it, which may prove problematic because of certain elements in the anime.
A prime example of this is the Omni-Directional Mobility Gear, which looked absolutely ridiculous in the Japanese films and, I feel, would be hard to take seriously in live-action, even with a bigger budget.
Speaking of a bigger budget though, this is another thing that may work in the film’s favor.
As I stated, the special effects of the Japanese live-action films were laughable atrocious but a studio like Warner Bros. should have the money to make the Titans look real enough.
Overall, there are both good and bad things to consider about this new Attack on Titan live-action film.
Do I think it will come close to the original anime series even if everything goes right?
No.
Am I excited for it regardless?
Yes.

Attack on Titan Volume 19 Review: Colossal Events Unfold.

Chapter 75: War on Two Fronts.

3 and a half stars
Serving as the chapter that builds up the second confrontation between Eren and Reiner, chapter 75 is another decent one from this arc.
It gives us various interesting concepts for the series as well, with a new Titan Shifter being introduced.
I will say though that this new Shifter does look goofy to me but I guess I will just have to see what it can really do before I form a proper opinion on it.
Along with this, it seems like all those Titans that transformed last chapter are actually just normal ones under the control of the Beast Titan.
This is both confusing and has interesting implications because it could mean multiple things.
I think what is happening here is there were multiple people who injected themselves with Titan Serum, dooming themselves to be mindless Titans forever, just to take part in the battle.
If I am right about this then I wonder what could motivate people to do this?
Other than the interesting questions the chapter presents, the rest of it is fairly standard with it being made clear that the warriors are trying to kill the horses to prevent the Scouts from escaping and Eren preparing to fight Reiner.
There were a few great panels here and there though, with one depicting the Beast Titan’s forces and the scouts on opposite sides of the battlefield and another showing that when Reiner transformed he still had Levi’s sword in his neck.
Overall though, “War on Two Fronts” was a standard Attack on Titan chapter that clearly builds towards future events and revelations.

 

Chapter 76: The Thunder Spears.

4 stars
Coming into Chapter 76, “The Thunder Speaks”, I was concerned that the second battle between Eren and Reiner would just turn out to be a replica of the first.
However, while the battle between the two this chapter was not as good as that first one, it was still well crafted and unique enough to provide entertainment value.
Eren used his recently gained hardening ability to attack Reiner and Reiner, in turn, lifted him by the foot to slam him into the ground.
It is very entertaining to look at.
On top of this, we also got to see the Scouts going against Reiner, not just Eren, which was great.
Especially, with the new weapons that were presented, the thunder spears, which the chapter is named after.
Watching the scouts use these new weapons to defeat Reiner was very exciting, although it did lead to a moment from Reiner that made it difficult to care for him because of the hypocrisy he presented.
The best scene of the chapter came when Erwin reflected on all the soldiers who had died on his orders.
This leads to a brilliant moment where he imagines himself standing on a literal mountain of corpses where we see the bodies of dead Scouts like Miche, Gelgar and Nanaba.
There were plenty of other great moments seen throughout the chapter, a personal favourite of mine coming when Levi shouted at his troops, “I forbid you to die!”
Chapter 76 was an action packed chapter that presented some very good character growth.

 

Chapter 77: The World They Saw.

5 stars
Wow, this was a fantastic chapter.
Chapter 77, “The World They Saw”, is the best of this volume and the best in the Shiganshina Arc so far.
It primarily features a flashback from Bertholdt that reveals plenty of things.
First there is the reveal of how Marco really died in Trost District, with him overhearing Reiner and Bertholdt talking, forcing the Warriors to steal his gear and leave him to die.
While I had already guessed that something along these lines had happened from what was shown in season two of the anime, the full reveal in this chapter was still engaging through how it happened.
It helped to humanize the warriors by showing they really did not want to hurt Marco, through how Reiner forced Annie to remove his gear so she could prove herself, and this being revealed to be what caused Reiner’s split personality.
Then there is the revelation Marco had before his death about how when Reiner said, “if we do it, we wait until they gather”, he was sneakily talking about destroying the walls.
This is what I love about Attack on Titan.
There are so many small moments that seem meaningless at first but, when you go back and read them again many chapters later, they take on a new meaning.
Along with this we also got a more recent scene between Reiner, Bertholdt and the Beast Titan who is revealed to be named Zeke.
I know who Zeke is thanks to a troll spoiling me but I am still very interested to see how this will be revealed.
Zeke himself looks to be a very interesting character, being both threatening, yet oddly human.
There is a great moment here when he drinks some tea only to flinch at how hot it is, showing that, despite being a huge threat, he is still a human being.
Finally, there is the conversation between Reiner and Bertholdt at Shiganshina during the flashback.
I liked the interaction between these two but there was one thing that worried me.
Reiner said that he made a promise to Ymir to protect Christa and it sounded like he was talking about her in the past tense.
I really hope Ymir is not dead because she is such a great character and really underused so far in the story.
From here the chapter went to the current timeline, during the battle for Shiganshina.
Reiner was revealed to have had his entire head blown off from the thunder spears but was somehow still alive.
I have no idea how this is even possible and it felt like an extreme case of plot armor.
I did, however, like the reaction from Jean, Connie and Sasha when they thought they had killed Reiner.
It showed that even, after all he has done, they still considered Reiner their friend.
Then there was the cliffhanger, which was absolutely brilliant.
Bertholdt was revealed to not be inside the wall but in a barrel on the back of the new Titan Shifter, which the Beast Titan then throws over the wall for Bertholdt to transform.
I was on the edge of my seat when I read this and just had to read the next chapter after I finished it.
“The World They Saw” was a fantastic chapter of Attack on Titan that produced many shocking and edge of your seat moments.

 

Chapter 78: Descent.

4 stars
Bertholdt was again the star of this chapter where, after abandoning his transformation to save Reiner, he had a very revealing conversation with Armin.
I loved the interaction between these two as their dialogue was perfect and really reflected how great of a writer Hajime Isayama is.
This also led to a very interesting revelation from Armin as he seemed to have deduced that whoever is ordering the warriors around wants them dead because they are “descendants of devils”, whatever that means.
Bertholdt, however, said he does not believe this but stated they all have to die anyway.
While I did like the dialogue that came from this, I will say that I personally did not like how quick this character change felt for Bertholdt.
When we last saw him in the Clash of the Titans Arc, Bertholdt was very remorseful for what he had done but, in this chapter, he seemed to be lacking in any of that remorse.
Maybe it had to do with Armin threatening Annie but it still felt like a very abrupt change.
Another thing I did not like was the reveal of how Reiner survived, which felt very contrived.
The reason Reiner survived getting his head cut off was because he transferred his consciousness to other parts of his body and I do not know if this is even possible.
However, the chapter quickly gets better with its final moments when Bertholdt transforms, creating an explosion like a nuclear bomb that had to have killed at least half of the Survey Corps’ forces.
This may even include Hange and Moblit, but I doubt Isayama would kill Hange like this because it would be disappointing.
On a final note, I was very impressed with a few of the panels in this chapter.
The shot of Bertholdt shouting at Armin with his eyes obscured by shadow gave great insight into his character and inner thoughts.
This was another good chapter that set up what will probably be an epic fight with the Colossal Titan next chapter.