Review: Attack on Titan Ch. 87 and 88

(Kodansha 2009)

Story & Art by Hajime Isayama

Storyline Ongoing

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.

[SPOILER WARNING!!]

Review: Sigh. I don’t mean to sound like a broken record with any of the series I review here on Bag & Bored. It’s not my intention. To some degree I do love the series I’m reviewing on a constant basis or – like we’ve seen with series like Platinum End or Toppu GP – I would just drop them. Talking about Attack on Titan specifically I’ve reviewed so much of the material that has been published about this world, and yet month after month I do nothing but complain about the main storyline.

This used to not be the case. For a very, very long time I enjoyed this series. I still enjoy this series to an extent. I like the characters, I like the world itself and I love the concept of humans backed into a corner, living on scraps of a civilization left behind trying to make it while needing to fend off seemingly indestructible foes that are these Titans. Gigantic forces of nature that people long forgot where they even came from.

page-from-chapter-88But ever since about two, or maybe a little less, years ago when Isayama started rolling out his grand revelations of the history of this world that he’s been building up to a long, gestating history of disappointment was instead left in his wake. Granted a tiny bit of my dislike of these answers was because Isayama was ruining the fantastical mystery of the Titans, but the bigger parts of my dismay were simply because I felt as if Isayama was over-complicating his own explanations to the point of absurdity.

Unfortunately with this last arc where we finally got to see the answers of what was in the basement all this time. The answers to grandest mysteries of them all… and even more over-complicated jargon about the history of this world according to Grisha Yaeger – Eren’s father. And even more so an over-complicated history of the Titans themselves and where they came from.

Chapters 86 & 87 move right along with these plots within plots within plots as Eren continues to dreams his father’s memories and then gives exposition to Armin so that Armin may right these revelations down. We learn how the Titans operate outside the walls on Paradis Island, watching Grisha’s then wife be turned into a Titan. The very same one that ended up eating his second wife. Eren’s mom. Ah, what karma there.

Chapter 87 mostly centers on Grisha coming face-to-fcae once again with the two men that fed his little sister to dogs all those years ago when they were kids, and after one of them monologues is hatred of Grisha and the Eldians the man is then thrown to the Titans to be eaten. And he was thrown to his death by the other man who was responsible for Grisha’s sister’s death.

The man – as we find out in detail in chapter 88 – was the long-secret informant of the Eldian Revolutionists that Grisha led known as the Owl. His name being Eren. This Eren then uses his long-secret Titan power to take down the other soldiers around the area before telling Grisha about why he chose to save him. It’s been 13 years since he inherited the power of one of the 9 most powerful Titans was planning to give that power to Grisha now that his body is starting to reject the power.

page-from-chapter-87Apparently, when you’re given the power of one of the more powerful Titans that a human can control you only then have 13 years live. He explains that he let the girl get killed and chose to groom Grisha from the shadows as a confidant in the hopes that his hatred for the Marley’s would one day grow large enough to overtake them and build a proper revolution.

He then tasks Grisha with going to the cities here on Paradis Island, finding and procuring the original Titan. The one that can control them all. Which funny enough was something Grisha already wanted to do. But okay. This camaraderie is what leads Grisha to the walled cities on the island and then eventually to settle down, have a kid, and leave the future of mankind in his kid’s hands. So great goin’ there Grisha. And if you haven’t noticed yet, this means Eren was named after one of the guy’s that gruesomely killed his aunt. Ouch.

Finally, we learn the name of Eren’s Titan. The one he’s had from nearly the beginning of the series. It’s name is… the Attack Titan. Ah, suddenly the title of the series still makes little sense. But that means the proper names of the Armored Titan, the Colossal Titan, and the Beast Titan are just that. Also I assume the Beast Titan is the original Titan since he controls them all… I guess we’ll see.

But is the Female Titan just simply called the Female Titan…? Hmmm… I kind of hope not.

We also learn that Armin has one of the 9 more powerful Titans. At least it’s assumed, but he probably does. I don’t know how they’d know that since apparently anyone can be given the power of a Titan. There’s just 9 specific Titans that people can control. We’ll find out soon enough I’m sure.

Overall, Attack on Titan is still a mess in my eyes. And I really don’t want it to be. The problem is that Isayama decided to over-complicate everything in his story which has led, in my eyes, to something resembling a mummified plot that at any moment can unravel in a messy way if he doesn’t connect his dots just right.

I can only hope that as this continues to go on he can at least stick the landing. This series deserves at least that.

Final Score: 1.5 Plot-Heavy Dream Revelations 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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