(Kodansha Comics 2013)
Story by Ryou Suzukaze & Art by Satoshi Shiki
Summary: Taking place 57 years before the beginning of the original series by Hajime Isayama, we see a fledgling new Scouting Legion learning the reigns for the first time in a time where even less was known about the Titans than we know now. We’re also introduced to a young boy who is known as the son of a Titan, and his journey as he discovers exactly who or what he is.
Review: Before the Fall’s biggest appeal is that it allows us to glimpse into what the world was like before the Colossal Titan wrecked Wall Maria and brought humankind closer to the brink of extinction. In a time where the Titans feel even more like wild animals that roam the world hunting humans, the way I prefer them, we also get to see the Scouting Legion basically starting up and learning the ropes, and we get a baby who was born out of a Titan (through vomit) who is our driving narrative. What’s not to love?
Even more so, this fledgling Survey Corps is bound to using good old-fashioned swords to fight the Titans because the 3D Maneuvering Gear hasn’t been invented yet. I love it.
And with the Prologue and the first half of the first 10 chapters the story starts out really strong, showing off Kuklo as a prisoner to a rich family, and who acts incredibly feral because it is all he knows. His very presence brings fright and uneasiness to the household until one night a thief/murderer appears and Kuklo stands as the only one that can save this family from being decimated. He begins a romance with the daughter of the household, Sharle, and to be honest they make a cute match.
She helps him learn how to be a working member of society as they remain on the run from the government, and I think it’s actually a lot of fun and creates some well-needed expense. No one wants a child born from a Titan running around what’s left of humankind.
It’s in the second half of these first 10 chapters though that story slows to a crawl when the Scouting Legion and a stowaway Kuklo – who just wants to know where he comes from – are attacked by a Titan and completely decimated having no idea how to fight it. Kuklo deals the first blow, but his strike is in vein as many comrades are killed in the process.
I’m curious how they’ll handle Kuklo as he’s now back in custody of the government, but while I felt the first half of these chapters were really rather strong and interesting, the actual battle with the Titan oddly enough was not. This series right now is experience an opposite effect of how I’m currently feeling about the main title.
However, knowing we’re still technically not very far in the series I’ll give it a pass as I’m interested to see what happens next.
I also really like the art style in this series, it’s a lot more polished than Isayama’s style – which is more indie – and I think it fits this story. The Titans look great, as to the battle sequences, and the characters look really nice. However, Kuklo’s orginal in chains look so far is my favorite with the wild hair. When he goes on the run he gets incredibly awful makeover and it just hurts to look at, at least in my opinion.
I’m enjoying Before the Fall, but its pacing is atrocious so far. And that’s its biggest flaw at the moment. I hope this doesn’t continue, but we’ll just have to see. I’m not sure how far this prequel will take itself, but I’ll stick with it all the way through.
Final Score: 3 Fledgling Survey Corps Members out of 5
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