Review: Attack on Titan: Before the Fall Vol. 4

(Kodansha 2013)

(Chapters 11-13 and Sidestory)

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.

[SPOILER WARNING!!]

Review: At long last! It’s been what, like a year since we covered this series? And even then we only covered the first 10 chapters. Finally Before the Fall is back as we covered the next few chapters in the series with a full on review of volume 4.

Now, since the original review I wrote on the story I’ve become somewhat disillusioned with Attack on Titan and its world in general. It’s really hard to call myself as big a fan as I once was but I tried not to let that hurt BoF when I finally returned to it.

In all honesty though BoF doesn’t need its parent series to make it shine less. It kind of does that on its own with chapters 11-13 taking up an entire mini arc that sees the aftermath of Kuklo being taken in by the Military Police. The arc itself really isn’t that exciting however.

It sounds exciting when I tell you what happens: Kuklo meets Cardino, Sharle’s old fiance within the cells. Cardino was arrested for rebellious actions and the two are sentenced to exile beyond the walls of the city. Into Titan territory. From there they are attacked by and single-handedly survive against a horde of  Titans. With Kuklo dealing the most damage just by his own person and a dagger. Until they’re saved by a man who has taken up quite the interest in Kuklo as the ‘Titan’s Child.’

AoT BtF Chapter 11 PageDoesn’t sound exciting? However with all the troubles are heroes over in the main series are having with Titans just by swinging around on the 3D Maneuvering Gear it’s really hard to see it as exciting when Kuklo is standing his own against Titans with just his bare hands. They should not be this easy to fight off for anyone. Not even Kuklo. Unless we find out later that he has some sort of super-power to him.

However I doubt that will happen the finale of this volume pretty spells out what this series is really about and how it will will effect Kuklo and the rest of the series from this point on. Before the Fall is really just an origin story for the 3D Maneuvering Gear – only in this series where I’m at it’s just called “The Device” – and Kuklo becoming the first person to actually master it and show others how to use it to fight off Titans.

I very much find that interesting but the journey to get to this point has been rocky to say the least. The mysterious man is Jorge the Hero, who once used a prototype of 3D Maneuvering Gear – currently called ‘The Device – to be the first person to ever take down a Titan. Jorge the Hero as he is called.

It’s really not a bad volume all together. Kuklo is still an interesting character. However I just find him to be a little overpowered for his own good right now. If he can face down a Titan with just a tiny dagger and come away unscathed just what kind of OP havoc will he wreak once he gets ‘The Device’? It’s all just going to be rather interesting.

We also get to see Sharle talk the captain of the Survey Corp into helping rescue Kuklo from his doom. There’s talk of a trial and that Sharle will have to testify against her brother in order to keep Kuklo out of death’s door. But considering we see him being fed to the Titan’s in the very next chapter I assume the trial didn’t go well?

Oh precious information we are not made privy to when we need it.

The side story at the back is just a few pages long and tales of a small little yarn of when Sharle and  Kuklo first moved to Shiganshina District. Kuklo takes to a cat as a friend and the two compete to be the first to kill some mice. It’s fun but has no overbearing on the rest of the story.

I’m very interested to see what comes next. But this volume on its own is just alright. Not great, not terrible, like it’s parent series it’s really just kind of lingering in the middle. Sad as it is to say.

I will definitely be continuing this series after all this time.

Final Score: 3 Tiny Titans out of 5

DERRICK-imageDerrick 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

@KazekunForever

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