Friday, May 6, 2016

Attack on Titan, vol. 10 review

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Attack on Titan, vol. 10, Hajime Isayama. Grade: B
The wild giants approach the castle tower, attacking each other and trying to climb up to the humans at the top. The older fighters do relatively well in taking out some of the giants, but one monster succeeds in smashing open the door at ground level, so the unarmed new recruits are ordered to barricade themselves in the basement. Reiner tries exploring the stairs leading down into a tunnel and discovers the missing 9th giant coming up at him. There's a bit of a scuffle and Reiner panics, thinking he's going to die here. He flashes back to when he and Bertolt had been kids growing up, and they'd been attacked by a troll-looking giant (reminds me of Marilyn Manson), which had eaten one of their friends. He vows to return home, and is rescued by Bertolt. The other recruits find a cannon and roll it down the stairs to crash into the invader. They go up a couple floors, and a different giant ambushes Connie from behind. Reiner saves the boy and himself by jamming his right forearm into the monster's mouth. Connie uses a dagger he'd found to slash the monster's mouth open and Ymir kicks it out a window. They recoup and Christa binds Reiner's wound with the hem of her skirt (Reiner again wishes he could marry her). Christa also uses the last of the high-end alcohol washing out Reiner's arm.

(Reiner finds the missing 9th giant.)

Outside, the older fighters have whittled down the enemy, but the giant simian starts lobbing horses and boulders at them, killing two of the four armed humans. Suddenly, many more wild giants burst from the woods, and the simian roars a cheer. One of the older fighters comments that the simian has just been playing with them up to now. The simian climbs down the outer side of the wall and leaves, as the new enemies not only kill one of the remaining two human fighters, but also tear down enough of the buildings that the grappling hooks now have almost nothing to hold on to for evasive moves. The last fighter is desperate for a drink, and he gets smashed into the castle, where he finds himself surrounded by bottles. That are all empty. He curses whoever took all the alcohol and then gets eaten. Ymir tries to get Christa to save herself, and then suggests that the blonde girl has probably forgotten their earlier conversation, before triggering another flashback.

(When Ymir ate Reiner's friend.)

A few years earlier, Ymir and Christa had been trudging through the snow in the north hills, with Christa dragging a sled holding an injured older man named Daz. Ymir kept suggesting that they ditch Daz and let him freeze to death so they could save themselves, and Christa refused to do that. Ymir guesses that Christa is the runaway daughter of some royal guy's mistress. She'd been hidden in a room when two priests of the Church of the Wall had been talking about her, and saying that killing her would solve all their problems. Christa refuses to give up, and wants to know why Ymir had stayed by her up to this point. Ymir replies that it had just been convenient chance. Ymir then says that there's a light in the darkness, indicating a house at the bottom of the cliffs. They could push the sled off the cliff and climb down, and if Daz is lucky the fall won't kill him and they can continue to the house. Christa complains, so Ymir pushes Christa down the hill and disappears with the sled. Some time later, Christa reaches the village, where Ymir is waiting for her. Daz is inside the house, being treated by a doctor. Christa wants to know how the other girl had gotten down the cliff face with the sled and no ropes, so Ymir offers to show her her secret in exchange for Christa's real name.

(Mikasa gets angry that Reiner wants to take Eren from her.)

At the end of the flashback, Ymir turns into the troll giant and jumps off the tower. Reiner and Bertolt recognize her as the one that had eaten their friend, but don't do anything immediately. Rogue Ymir is a frightening fighter, but she not only targets only giants, but is careful to not damage the tower any further (which would endanger her friends), implying that she's more human than mindless giant. She gets overpowered by the enemy, and Christa yells at her to stop being such a wuss and fight full-out, destroying the tower if necessary. Why would "Ymir" care about anyone else? The rogue goes ballistic and drops the tower on the remaining giants. This slows them down, but doesn't kill them. Ymir takes a lot more damage, then Mikasa and the rest of Eren's team arrive at the castle and finish off the giants. Ymir returns to human form, but she's missing a leg, and her internal organs are scrambled like an egg. She's bundled up in a stretcher, and everyone shouts when they see Hannes ride up (he's the one that saved Eren and Mikasa 5 years before, and is now a garrison squad leader). Hannes has been scouting the wall, and just can't find the breach that the wild giants are supposedly coming in through. With no breach, Zoe Hange and Eren have no reason for sticking around any longer.

(Reiner and Bertolt shape-change into the Doorkicker and Armored giants.)

They get ready to head back to the city, when Reiner and Bertolt call Eren over to talk. Reiner says that he is the armored giant from 5 years ago, and Bertolt is the door kicker. If Eren goes back to their "birthplace" with them, they'll stop killing people. Eren doesn't know how to respond to this, and flashes back to a conversation with Hange the day before. Zoe told the group that in investigating Annie Leonhart, his people discovered that she came from the same town as Reiner and Bertolt. There's a good chance that the three are working together, even though Annie never talked to the other two when they were in the 104th regiment. However, Armin recalls that when the female rogue fought them, she'd de-hardened her hand, letting Reiner to cut himself free from her grasp. Right after that, the female made a beeline to where Eren had been. Armin had told Reiner where Eren was, and Reiner must have given that information to the female rogue. The flashback ends, and Eren tells Reiner "you say you kill people, and then you ask me to go with you? What do you think I'm going to do?" Reiner kicks himself for being naive, and rips the bandage off his arm, using his wound to become the armored rogue. Bertolt panics at this sudden development and hesitates too long. Mikasa senses the threat to Eren and swoops in to cut up Reiner and almost behead Bertolt. Reiner pushes Mikasa off the wall, and shapeshifts, grabbing Eren and jumping off the wall. Bertolt becomes the gate kicker, snatches up Ymir's stretcher and follows his friend. Eren remembers the good times the three of them had had in the barracks, yells "traitors" and turns into Toothy.

Summary: One of the biggest problems I've had with the story so far is that the question of why the rogues are siding with the giants has been left unanswered. But, it's looking like there's a history between Ymir, Reiner and Bertolt, and that maybe the two boys knew something that would turn them against the human race. While we still don't know why the one giant had bowed before what he'd thought was "Ymir-sama," it does turn out that Christa is the daughter of some royal's mistress, and she tells Ymir that her real name is Historia Reiss. Apparently, the Reiss family used to live in Castle Utgard before it was abandoned following all the Carnage.

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