Attack on Titan (2010)


Volume 1

Attack on Titan - Volume 1 (2010)

Author/Artist: Hajime Isayama
Publisher: KC Magazine

Humanity has been all but wiped out by the Titans and the last remnant has been huddled behind the three great walls for over a hundred years. This century of peace comes to an end when a Titan unlike any other breaches the outer wall and the nightmare begins anew. Three young survivors of the invasion join the military to join in humanity's counterattack.

I saw the Attack on Titan anime first, so that's going to color my perception here and it'll be referred to as a point of reference until I go beyond the range of the first season. The first volume ends on the same cliffhanger as Episode 5 of the series (and what a cliffhanger it is!), but a key difference is that we don't get much of the aftermath of the original attack or time devoted to Eren and the gang's training. This means that the fellow recruits aren't quite as well established before the attack on Trost begins. Nevertheless, this is still the same story that reeled me in on the small screen and I think if I'd picked up this tankoubon when it caught my eye three years ago, I'd still be hooked.

As Attack on Titan is Isayama's first series, it should come as little surprise that the art is still a little rough here in the beginning. I recall Bill Watterson once saying something to the effect of good art making up for a bad story and a good story making up for bad art. I don't mean to say the art is terrible. It's just that I've seen better. (I've also seen worse, from a number of published mangaka who have been at it far longer than Isayama at this point.) I will say that Isayama improves on his craft as the series goes on, so don't let this turn you away. Where he's a bit sketchy on proportions and consistency, he makes up for it in dynamism. (This is a virtue of Kouta Hirano as well, and his art is even more inconsistent.) If you're coming from the polished and standardized anime, this is going to be a little off-putting, but don't let it stop you. This is still compelling stuff.

While there are elements of the adaptation I prefer to the original, this is still good stuff and I highly recommend it to any fans of the franchise or anyone who wants a good story of action, horror and drama.

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