Friday, June 3, 2016

Attack on Titan, vol. 18 review

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Attack on Titan, vol. 18, Hajime Isayama. Grade: B
It turns out that Keith Shadis had been in a different branch of the military 5 years ago when Eren first saw him, and he changed a lot before becoming the feared drill instructor the team had trained under 3 years later. He did know Eren's parents, but wasn't friends with them. He'd found Grisha outside the main wall, lost and suffering from amnesia. Keith brought Grisha into the city, where the other man encountered Kalura working as a server at the cafeteria. Grisha remembered enough of his past to know that he was a doctor, and he started up a hospital clinic. At one point, there was a bout of illness, and Keith brought Kalura in for treatment to save her. Later, Keith had to go outside the wall with the rest of the Survey team, and couldn't return to the city for some time. When he did get back, he was stunned to find that Kalura and Grisha were getting married (he stayed at the back of the congregation during the ceremony). Keith worked his way up the ranks, while Kalura and Grisha started their family with Eren. Then, Wall Maria was breached, and Grisha came up to Keith to demand he look for Kalura. Keith couldn't find her, so he returned to Grisha, who had located Eren. The boy reported that a giant had eaten her, so Grisha led him to the forest, saying that Eren is special and is going to get special treatment, unlike Keith. They leave Keith behind and disappear into the trees. Later, there's a flash of light from a hillside. Keith goes to investigate, and finds Eren lying unconscious on the ground, but still smoldering. He brought the boy back to the city and left him in the commons dorm. Hange gets upset with the discussion, but Eren tells him to step down. He agrees with Keith that he's nothing special, but he is the son of a very special person, which accounts for a lot. Keith probably tampered with the training harness rig to prevent Eren from joining the Survey team, then changed his mind.

(Grisha and Keith talk, and Grisha meets Kalura.)

Later, Hange, Erwin and a few others hold a discussion regarding Grisha. The consensus is that the doctor came from outside the walls, maybe from the same region as Annie, Reiner and Bertolt. He went to the Reiss house to get Coordinate after Wall Maria fell, knowing that his 10-year-old son wanted to join the military to fight giants. They're not sure what's in the basement of the cabin, but it may be World's Memory. The group decides to go after the cabin, and try to seal the breach in Wall Maria once and for all. However, Levi hangs back as the others leave. He's noticed that Erwin's body is messed up and that if he travels with the Survey group he'll just end up as giant food. Levi wants Erwin to stay behind and let Hange lead the expedition, but Erwin refuses to do that. That night, Sasha goes crazy over the pot roast on the table and tries to eat all of it. She's knocked out and tied up to a pole as everyone else eats. Jean and Eren get into a war of words that turns into a punching match, then they start praying that someone will stop them before they kill themselves (Levi happily bodyblows both of them). The troops return to their quarters, forgetting to untie Sasha, while Eren, Armin and Mikasa reminisce over what's happened to them in the last 5 years, then debate what they'll find far out in the outside world (maybe fabled stuff like "the ocean"). They agree to get ready for the next day and then go to bed, while Levi remains hidden on the other side of a building wall, having listened to the entire conversation. The next day, the Survey team is on the top of the wall, about to be lowered to the other side, and a number of townsfolk have gathered to see them off, including Flegel. Farther out, Bertolt and Reiner are camped at the top of Wall Maria, and they watch the sun rise.

(Sasha is thwarted in her attempt to eat the entire pot roast.)

Night falls, and there's a bit of a recap of the events of the past 5 years. The team is walking their horses through the woods, and they pass a sleeping giant that doesn't notice them. Hange says that there are apparently two different groups, "sun titans" and "moon titans", each one getting energy from different sources. Eren starts trembling, then claims to be ok when both Armin and Mikasa notice it. They talk a bit, and Eren says he's remembered the day when he first met Armin. The other boy loved reading, and it was the first time he'd seen a book. Armin kept talking about wanting to go see the outside world, and that night Eren discovered that he himself had no ambitions at all. Eventually, the trembling stops and the group keeps walking. Then Mikasa recognizes the area they're in as where she used to gather firewood. They're close to her family's old cabin. Soon, they're in the city again and racing to Wall Maria. Just before reaching the breach, most of the troops jetpack to the top of the wall to survey the ruins. Surprisingly, there are no giants in the vicinity at all. But, Armin notices the remains of a campfire nearby and is sure that Reiner and Bertolt can't be that far away.

(Letting sleeping giants lay.)

As Eren prepares to seal the hole in the wall, Reiner and Bertolt are shown hiding somewhere, looking out through spy holes. Eren uses his grappling hooks to shoot out from the outside of the wall and then swing through the breach, biting his hand to trigger the shapechange. He passes through the hole and successfully plugs it with a hardened giant husk. Mikasa brings him back to the top of the wall, and covers him with a hood so that none of the giants will be able to tell him apart from all the other hooded members. Armin checks the grass near the wall below the remnants of the campfire and finds 3 metal coffee cups that are still warm, so the enemy can't be more than 5 minutes away. On the other hand, they only know of Reiner and Bertolt, and they can't imagine who the third person would be. The team starts searching the nearby houses, when Armin gets a suspicion that the enemy might be hiding in a hollow spot in the wall. The team starts knocking on the wall, and one unlucky guy discovers the right spot; Reiner leaps out and kills him before targeting Armin. However, Levi is directly above him and he runs his sword through Reiner's neck. Reiner falls, hits the ground and then disappears, with the sword still in his neck, and a second wound in his chest. Levi was hoping for one more attack, which would have severed Reiner's spine. Reiner shapeshifts into Armor, and the healing begins.

(Eren seals the breach in the wall.)

Erwin is about to signal the attack on Armor when there's a loud rumbling behind him. Between the wall and the forest, a long line of giants springs up, with the Simian rogue standing up in the middle. It picks up a massive boulder and launches it into the air. The boulder hits the wall and creates a new hole for the wild giants to come it through.

(Erwin says it's time to see who wins, and who loses. The humans, or the giants.)

Erwin orders his forces forward while he is to stay on the wall. This is going to be the battle that decides the fate of the humans and the giants.

Summary: Not a whole lot more to add. If Eren's father came from outside, as did Annie, Reiner and Bertolt, his lack of memory may have been the result of eating someone to turn rogue (which Ymir and Reiner say is a common side effect). If so, then he's always known he's a rogue, and he just didn't use his powers until trying to get Coordinate from Frieda Reiss. In fact, he may have had the same motivations that Reiner, Bertolt and Annie had for entering the city, it's just that he got to Coordinate first. I think there's a resemblance between Grisha and the simian human, so maybe they're brothers. This promises more Carnage in the future.

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