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Attack on Titan, vol. 14, Hajime Isayama. Grade: B
Erwin and Pixis are discussing Erwin's plans for overthrowing the king. The current king is a weak old man, and his cabinet of advisers are fat, greedy men that are only concerned about maintaining the status quo and protecting themselves. Pixis is afraid that anything Erwin has in mind will throw the city into civil war with the civilians taking the brunt of the damage. Erwin states that he wants to relate a story from when he was a kid. His father was a teacher, and one day the old man had to cover the history of mankind for the last 100 years that they'd been behind the walls. Erwin had questions that weren't answered by the text (sound familiar?) and he asked about them in the class. His father ignored them, then waited until they got home to say that, yes, the government-sponsored books were lying to them. Erwin then started asking the military police in the city for answers, but got no replies. That evening, his father didn't come home. The next day, Erwin was told his father was killed in an accident, and he blamed himself for what had happened. The government had punished a teacher that questioned their supremacy, and now Erwin wants to do a house cleaning. His assistant enters the room with a note.
(Erwin asks about gaps in the textbooks, then attends his father's funeral.)
A few hours earlier, Hange and Levi had dealt out the same damage to Djel Sanes as he and his partner had given to the Wall Priest, Nick. Hange apologizes that he's not as good at this as Sanes is, and asks for his forgiveness. They begin questioning Sanes in earnest, but the guy won't betray his king. Meanwhile, Eren recalls the instructions Erwin had given them earlier, and which had been burned afterward, saying that the group was going to commit a coup d'etat, and in the best case, they'll all be treated as traitors to mankind. Sanes tells Hange that he was just doing his job putting out fires that threatened the city's peace - eliminating careless teachers, craftsmen that make unauthorized weapons, lovers trying to escape the city in a hot air balloon, and mistresses of the city's elite (proving that Histeria's mother was executed by the king's men with the permission of her father, Rod Reiss). Levi wants to know who the Reiss family is, if they're related to the Wall Priests and the presence of giants within the wall, and why the king would let Reiss do that. Sanes is slow with the answers, so Hange yanks out one of his teeth with a pliers. He and Levi decide to take a break, then they force Sanes' partner, Raluf to read from a prepared script, saying that he is going to tell them everything they want to know. When Hange returns to the room, Sanes cracks and answers all their questions. When he's returned to his cell, he tries to kill Raluf as a traitor, and is shattered at learning how he'd been tricked. He wishes Hange good luck in building this new, better world he claims to want to make. The truth is that Rod Reiss was the true king, but he abdicated when the current advisers threatened to kill him. This means that Historia Reiss (AKA: Christa) has a claim to the throne.
(After giving to Sanes the same beating Sanes had given to Nick, Hange and Levi ask him who the Reiss family is.)
Eren has a recurring dream, but this time he finally remembers to write down what he'd seen, and gives the notes to Hange. It's the conversation Bertolt and Ymir had when Reiner had knocked him unconscious. Hange rushes to see Erwin, and Levi continues with his part of the plan, which is to give Eren and Histeria to the merchant, Dimo Reeves, and his son, Flegel. Flegel's not interested in any of this, but his father drags him along anyway. Levi adds that from what they know now, Histeria is the daughter of the true king, and she panics under the pressure. Levi asks if she'd be willing to take up the crown if necessary, and she can't answer. He picks her up by the collar and says that she's going to have to make the choice, and it might as well be now. She answers "yes, I can do that". The rest of the team is unhappy with his strong arm tactics, though.
Time passes, and Dimo prepares to hand Eren and Histeria to the king's military police. The merchant, Flegel and a couple other assistants are in an old mine, and Dimo has the "captives" tied up and smeared with mud in preparation (he also gives them little knife blades for cutting their ropes and/or turning giant). Flegel says he has to take a piss, and while he's gone, the guy that had killed Histeria's mother shows up as the king's representative. The guy and Dimo go outside, and he asks if Dimo knows of Levi Ackerman. Dimo is surprised to hear Levi's full name, but otherwise just says that everyone knows the leader of the Special Forces team. The guy says that Levi is his "pride", but this is his work. He kills Dimo by slitting his throat, and his henchmen kill Dimo's assistants. Flegel is left alive, cowering behind a tree. (One of the knife man's followers calls him "Captain Ackerman".) Histeria and Eren are bound and gagged, all the little blades are discovered and confiscated, and the two hostages are taken away.
(Ackerman kills Dimo as Flegel cowers.)
Hange reaches Erwin's lodgings and says that the King's plan is for someone to eat Eren. The boy had written in his note that he'd heard Ymir say that in becoming a rogue giant she'd eaten a human, and then spent 60 years outside the walls in what seemed like a bad dream. Based on what he's learned, Hange guesses that the ability to control giants is gained by eating whoever currently has that ability (there can be only one.) That may be why Reiner and Bertolt had kidnapped Eren the first time, and why the King wants him now. Erwin pulls out his own report, and says that based on what he's learned from the Wall Priests, and what Nick knew, it looks like Hange is right, but adds that Historia is involved with all this as well, as the true descendant of the Reiss bloodline. A guard comes in and reports that the King's police have declared the merchant Dimo Reeves dead, and that Levi's Special Forces team are the murderers. There's a bounty out for them, and the city folk accept the news without question. Erwin steps down as the leader of the Survey team, which now makes Hange the new leader. Erwin is arrested and carted off.
(Captain Ackerman's squad attempts to kill Levi, who escapes into a tavern.)
Hange spots Flegel lurking in the shadows, following his father's body as it is returned to his home town, and snatches him up to the roof of one building. Flegel says that he didn't sell out his father, he just was in the wrong place at the wrong time. Hange tries to get Flegel to help him, and the boy is too terrified to be useful. But, their shouting attracts the attentions of the police in the street below. Fliers circulate around town, identifying Levi as a murderer, and the rest of his team skulk around as outlaws. Levi and an assistant watch a cart being loaded with two coffins, and speculate that they contain the bodies of Histeria and Eren. Levi says he thinks he knows who is behind all this - a serial killer named "Kenny the Knife". At this point, Captain Ackerman gets up on the roof and starts shooting. The assistant dies, and Levi escapes, only to be chased by a handful of the King's police force, who also have their own grappling hook systems, and big guns. Captain Ackerman turns out to be "Kenny the Knife", who is very familiar with Levi's fighting style (expected since Levi's last name apparently is "Ackerman," too). There's a lot of shooting and racing over the streets of the town before Levi takes refuge in a tavern, with the intent of grabbing the shotgun inevitably stored by the bartender under the bar. Levi shoots Kenny in the chest, which doesn't kill him, then eliminates some of the police on his way to the meeting point with Connie, Sasha, Jean and Mikasa. They try to escape in a horse-drawn wagon, but their pursuers catch up to them. One woman gets the drop on Jean, and he's unwilling to shoot a fellow human. The woman doesn't have such a constraint and it looks like she's shot Jean in the head. Elsewhere, Kenny opens the two coffins, revealing Eren and Histeria. They see Rod Reiss, who embraces Histeria and says that he's sorry for everything she's gone through.
(The death of Jean?)
Summary: Lots of information now about giants, the Reiss family line, and Erwin's plans to overthrow the current King to replace him with Histeria. The existence of Rod Reiss complicates things, and the fact that Kenny Ackerman is working for him is just confusing. Especially since Kenny claims that Levi shares his family name. There's also the issue of Coordinate, which gives Eren his powers over other giants. If you have to eat the previous possessor of Coordinate to get its powers, how did Eren get it? Carnage must have been involved.
As a side note, the character guide at the beginning of the volumes is now listing Reiner as the Armor Titan, Bertolt as the Extremely Big Titan, and Annie as the "female-type". There's no such tag for either Eren, or Ymir all the way up to volume 19. I assume that in the one chapter the Survey team talks about the "fighting type rogue", they mean Ymir.