Friday, April 22, 2016

Attack on Titan, vol. 6 review

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Attack on Titan, vol. 6, Hajime Isayama. Grade: B
The female rogue, referred to in the story as a "woman-shape kojin," knocks Armin off his horse, causing the hood of his poncho to cover his face. The female rogue gently pulls the hood back, inspects his face, then runs off. Reiner and Jean ride up to help, bringing Armin's horse along with them.

(The books are running cast lists now. Right page, Special Corps: top line, from right: Eren, Levi Oruo. Line 2: Petra, Eld, Gunta. Line 3: Erwin, Hange, and Eren's father. Left page, the 104th Regiment: top line: Mikasa and Armin. Line 2: Reiner, Bertolt, Jean, Connie. Bottom line: Sasha, Christa, Annie and Marco (deceased).)

Armin guesses that the rogue to looking for Eren, and that having their hoods pulled up over their heads may save them from automatic instant death because the rogue will have to slow down to figure out if they're her target or not. The three intercept the rogue and attempt to fight her, but she's too fast, too smart, constantly protects the weak spot at the back of her neck, and can selectively harden her skin so that the soldiers' blades break on her.

(The female rogue inspects Armin.)

At one point, the rogue captures Reiner and it looks like she's squeezed him like a grape, but instead he cuts her fingers off and escapes (the rogue's featureless expression is a clue here). The three escape and the rogue keeps heading to the central squad, where Eren is surrounded by the other Special team members. At this point, they're down to 1 horse, since Armin's was killed and Jean's ran off, so Jean is terrified that Reiner will share a ride with Armin and he's going to be left alone and defenseless. When Christa arrives with Jean's horse, all three guys view her as a savior goddess. Erwin orders all of the forces into one of the bigger forests, with Levi's Special corp advancing deeper into the woods, and everyone else holding the smaller giants off at the perimeter.

(The rogue chases Levi's group, who all insist that Eren just keep running with them.)

The female rogue catches up with the Special group and pursues them through the trees, easily killing anyone that approaches her. Eren starts asking for permission to shapeshift, but the other team members beg him to trust them to protect him and just keep riding on. Levi is ambivalent either way. There's a flashback to a training session with the researcher, Zoe Hange, and Eren's attempts to shapeshift under controlled circumstances.

(The trap.)

He's put at the bottom of a well, just in case, and fails to change. Later, during dinner he reaches down to pick up a spoon, and, having a clear goal in mind (retrieve the spoon), his arm suddenly goes rogue. The rest of the team prepares to kill him at that point and Levi tells them to stand down. When Eren frees himself of the giant arm husk (which is burning hot), the spoon he had been holding is reveled to have shrunk. The assumption is that Eren can only change if he has a conscious reason to do so ("I want to change" isn't sufficient). After the ruckus calms down, the other Special members bite their own hands to experience the pain Eren is feeling, and promise to help him from here on out, if he can trust them to do so.

(Is sprung.)

Return to the present, where Eren is running out of patience as people keep dying. Then, the group reaches a clearing where Erwin has set up log launcher cannons to trap the female rogue. The sharpened logs are attached to cables, and the rogue freezes with both hands protecting the back of her neck. Levi joins Erwin, and they prepare to force the inhabitant within the rogue to come out and show herself.

Summary: To an extent, the artwork is getting better. The action scenes are good, and often the characters look like themselves. Otherwise, the real pull of this manga is in seeing Eren getting closer to learning more about giants, and in discovering the existence of characters that are willing to take the opposite side in the war against humans. The result: Carnage.

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