Friday, May 27, 2016

Attack on Titan, vol. 16 review

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Attack on Titan, vol. 16, Hajime Isayama. Grade: B
Historia finally remembers when Frieda would come to visit her on the farm and take her horseback riding. Rod says that Frieda probably erased those memories for Historia's protection. She asks where Frieda is now, and her father tells her that Eren's father killed her 5 years ago. Eren sees Grisha pleading for help, and Frieda protecting the Reiss family and refusing. Grisha stabs himself in the hand with a scalpel and turns into a big, fat bearded rogue, followed by Frieda shifting into a white-haired hag. They fought, but Beardy won easily and ripped Hag's spine out with his teeth. He continued to kill the rest of the kids, and Rod's wife, while Rod himself ran to safety. The house, rather been damaged in a fire set by a robber, was half-destroyed when Beardy burst of out it to chase Rod. Historia wants to know why Grisha would do such a horrible thing, but Kenny Ackerman comes back and asks them what they're taking so long for. Kill the boy and leave before reinforcements arrive.

(Pieces of memories of Grisha, Frieda and the Reisses.)

Back at the palace, Commander Zackly is torturing one of the nobles. Pixis tells Erwin that the nobles aren't willing to step down, and the peasants aren't backing anyone else. It looks like the war against the King is going to drag on. Erwin tells his Survey crew to mount up - they're going to track down Eren and Historia. Elsewhere, Marlowe and Hitch are asking peasants at a cabin for directions, while Levi warns the others about Kenny. He talks to Mikasa about her family. She says that her parents never really said much about it to her, so she doesn't know about the Ackerman lineage. But, because her father married an Oriental woman, they had to move away from the main family. Levi asks if she ever had an insane burst of killing energy, and Mikasa remembers when she stabbed her kidnapper in the back. Levi says that both he and Kenny have this same ability.

(Beardy rips Hag out by the spine.)

In the cave, Historia looks at Eren with hate at having taken her beloved sister from her, as Rod brings out a syringe, adding that in this way she'll be reunited with Frieda again. Eren sees the vial kit and remembers his father crying and saying "I'm going to inject you with your mother's enemy." Levi's team reaches the church. They find the trapdoor in the floor and get ready for their attack. In the basement, Ackerman's team waits at the top of the pillars scattered around the cave. Armin and Sasha roll a gunpowder keg down the stairs and shoot it with a flaming arrow to create a smoke cloud (Sasha has became the default archer now). The team zips around in the cloud, aided with the additional smoke from the signal flare guns to slowly whittle the enemy down from a starting total of 32 people. They've gotten a lot more hardened to the idea of killing humans. The battle drags on until Hange takes a grappling hook to the shoulder. The enemy runs and Levi gives chase. Back in the main cave, Rod keeps trying to get Historia to inject herself with the serum, saying that their family had maintained the peace for the last 100 years by passing the secret of the rogue giants from generation to generation. Rod's older brother, Wally, had the "power" (i.e. - Coordinate), then when Frieda turned 15 she injected herself with the serum to turn into a rogue, and killed and ate Wally to take Coordinate, and "Sekai no Kioku" for herself. ("Sekai no Kioku" translates to "World's Memories". This power apparently lets the user control other people's memories. It would explain how Frieda made Historia forget about her.) The lines under her eyes were then proof that Frieda had inherited the powers from the First King. Kenny comes into the room to interrupt them again.

(A young Kenny talks to his dying grandfather about the Ackerman legacy.)

Kenny flashes back to when he was much younger and his grandfather was an old man on his deathbed. Kenny mentioned that he'd found his younger sister working in a brothel in the underground, and she apparently had a child from one of her customers. He demands that his grandfather explain why the King's family has such a grudge against the Ackerman line. The old man had considered taking his secrets to the grave with him, but that would be kind of meaningless. He says that he's not sure how things got started, but the Reiss family has the powers of the giants, one of which includes the ability to erase members. To protect mankind from the giants, they had the walls erected, and then erased all memories of what life outside of the walls was like. But, apparently Orientals and members of the Ackerman line are immune to this power. At the time, Kenny thought that having such powers would make things interesting, but now he's older and less happy with the idea of working with Rod Reiss. Listening now to Rod, he's thinking that he's being lied to. He threatens Rod, and Historia stops him. Kenny asks her if she really wants to become a monster and eat Eren, and she says "that's my mission, isn't it?" There's a bit of yelling and threatening, then Rod tells Kenny that he's free of the Reiss family and to go have a long happy life. Kenny thinks that's boring, then goes to the pedestal to remove Eren's gag and cuts his forehead to make things more fair. Rod yells at Historia to use the serum and eat Eren's spine (the only way to get Coordinate's and World's Memories' powers) before Eren turns into Toothy. Eren begs her to do this too, because he never wanted these powers.

(Historia rejects the serum, and her father goes crazy.)

Historia keeps hesitating, remembering her time with Ymir, Frieda and Eren. It's when Rod tells her that having Coordinate and World's Memories would make her a god, that she makes her decision, throwing the syringe to the ground. She realizes that her father is a manipulative coward and she wants out. He goes insane, trying to attack her. Historia throws him to the ground, grabs his carry case and goes to the pedestal to unlock Eren from the chains. He's still telling her that he wants her to eat him, so she slaps him in the face to make him settle down. Rod finally gets the courage to become a giant, and laps up the serum from the floor, turning into a super massive slug monster. This giant is so big that it destroys the pillars in the cave, causing the roof to begin collapsing. Levi's team arrives in time to help Historia unlatch the final chains. But the force and heat emanating from the slug are so great that the team is pushed against the back wall and can't make an escape. Eren sees a vial that fell out of Rod's bag, marked "armor". He bites down on it and turns into Toothy.

Summary: Lots of background information this time, connecting the Ackermans with the Reiss family, and the need to eat the victim's spine in order to obtain Coordinate. Still nothing solid on how the Reiss family makes the serum that turns people into rogue giants, though. But, it looks like Historia and Rod are the last of the Reiss line, and Kenny, Mikasa and Levi may be the last of the Ackermans (that we know of). Additionally, the reason so few people want to leave the walled city is that the Reiss line of kings and queens messed with everyone's memories of what led up to the first giants attacking them before the city was made. You can bet, though, that it involved Carnage.

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