Story & Art by Hajime Isayama
Summary: In an alternate telling of the history of the world, mankind has been pushed back behind walls where for the last 100 years they’ve been protected from monsters known as Titans. One day these Titans appeared again and brought one of those walls crashing down – the result almost sent humanity into extinction. This is the story of the last remnants of mankind.
Review: It’s hard to do chapter reviews for a manga once you get caught up with it and there’s nothing but fighting for an entire chapter. As was the case with my previous AoT chapter review and a problem I ran into with Naruto even in those final chapters before the end. However, taking that into consideration it was really nice when I started up this chapter and noticed the titan on titan brawl was over.
Now, don’t get me wrong, the titan fights are pretty cool but when waiting monthly instead of weekly for a chapter and all you get for said month is a single fight the wait can feel long and boring, because there’s not much meat there story wise to keep you excited for what will come next.
That’s not what happens this chapter though. Isayama makes full use of the aftermath of Reiner & Eren’s bout and gives us answers to a mystery that I haven’t even thought about for over a year now. What DID happen to Marco way back during the initial invasion of the Titans that saw Eren becoming a Titan himself?
We get a flashback that sees Reiner and Bertolt talking during the fight, scheming on how they’ll get Eren’s key from him once the fighting is over with. Marco overhears this and confronts the two boys about it. Obviously this leads to some animosity between the three and Reiner tries to strip him of his 3D Maneuvering gear. Annie shows up, confused about the situation and Reiner takes this chance to confront on if she’s with them or with the humans.
The three team up together and leave Marco to die, which he does as we see a Titan come up and eat half his face off. Just like we saw many, many, many chapter ago. Now, why is this relevant to the fight we just witnessed last chapter? Because this scene leads into another scene, another flashback that sees Reiner and Bertolt sitting with Annie’s father- whom I think is the Beast Titan – discussing and hinting at their plans for this world. And it seems the Titans want whatever Eren’s father hid in their basement just as much as the human do.
It also lends some credibility to Reiner and Bertolt’s devotion to this mysterious cause of theirs as the flashbacks come from Bertolt’s perspective as he waits for Reiner’s signal to ambush our heroes. Now, this is where things get interesting.
See, the one thing I haven’t said yet is that the chapter opens with the confirmation that Reiner is dead. Using their new weapons, our heroes bombarded Reiner last chapter with a barrage of spears that ended up breaking his armor, opening up the weak point on his neck and blowing his human head in half.
So Bertolt is waiting for Reiner, having these flashbacks, and what I think would have cool is since Reiner is dead the signal Bertolt is so steadily waiting for never comes. It would have been an interesting twist because, well, he’s dead, he can’t give a signal. But somehow his Titan form comes to life at least just long enough to bellow out this enormous yell that tells Bertolt exactly what he needs to do.
It adds yet another layer of mystery to the Titans that I am not sure is Isayama will bother explaining since it’s sort of a shounen trope at this point that corpse’ will rise from the dead just long enough to finish their mission before collapsing back into suspended animation.
The chapter then ends with Bertolt being flung into the air by the Beast Titan and now the colossal Titan is about to dive-bomb the Scouting Legion.
Alright, so this chapter was basically a big mish-mash of things as we got an end to the fight, a matter of flashbacks that aren’t entirely relevant to the immediate story but kind of there to fill up space. However I think Isayama handled them well enough, and then another shounen trope that admittedly ended with an exciting scene that has me thrilled to see what happens next.
This series is constantly all over the place with what it wants to focus on, and is always introducing more mysteries to the plot that I’m curious if whether Isayama will - or knows how to – answer. But chapters like these that at least know how to center those elements make me feel like there’s hope for the series yet. Bring on the colossal titan!
Final Score: 3 More Mysteries out of 5
Derrick is a born and raised otaku with a love for comics, anime, manga and movies. The full list is pretty long, but that’s just the basics. Stories set in space are his bread and butter.
You can find more of his writing at IndieComix.net