Friday, January 4, 2019

Attack on Titan, vol. 27 comments

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Image used here from Amazon for review purposes only.)

Attack on Titan, vol. 27, Hajime Isayama. Grade: B
Lots of exposition and flashbacks this time. Long story short - everything is falling apart for everyone.

Turns out that Jeek had been secretly plotting against the Marle from the beginning, and had contacted the Azumabito family in Hizuru about 4 years ago regarding his desire to be forcibly extracted to Paradis. A member of the Azumabito family finally decides to come to Paradis for setting up diplomatic relations, and shows a flag that has the same symbol as is tattooed on Mikasa's wrist. There's a bit of talk about the Azumabito wanting Mikasa to return to their fold, but this just leaves her conflicted and confused.

Now that Jeek is in Paradis, it seems that part of his plan is for Historia Reiss to kill and eat him to take over as the Simian Titan. She's apparently been seeing a farm hand she likes, and is currently pregnant with his child. The agreement with Hizuru is that in return for their protection of Paradis, Historia is to give birth to several heirs to continue protecting the country after her. But, no one trusts Jeek, and he's kept isolated from everyone else out in the woods, with Levi as his jail keeper. (To kill the time, Levi keeps asking him about what had been happening outside the walls when Jeek had been terrorizing everyone. Jeek repeatedly says that the Marle military had wanted to test an aerosol version of the titan serum, and they'd sprayed Connie's home town, changing everyone there into mindless titans that Jeek could try to control.) Back in the main city, Gabi and Falco have been locked up in prison, but Gabi tricks the guard into opening the door to her cell, and she kills him with a rock. She and Falco escape out to the countryside, while Gabi remains in a blind murderous panic. She feels betrayed by her idol, Jeek (Falco, too, was in fact betrayed by Erwin) and is now deep in "Demon" country. Eventually, the two kids are discovered by a girl with a crippled leg. The girl offers them a safe place to stay (Falco pretends that he and Gabi are brother and sister, running away from abusive parents) at a farm run by orphans and survivors of the big titan war 4 years earlier. Gabi tries to kill the girl after she reveals that she knows they're from Marle. The girl states that she's the one that had been saved by Sasha, and she wants to grow up to be the same kind of selfless person that the nameless "big sister" was (ironic, since Gabi killed Sasha, but none of them know this connection). Things end in a standoff between the three.

Eren spends the book in a jail cell, while everyone starts assuming the worst about him. Connie had apparently developed a crush on Sasha, and he hates Erwin for laughing when he'd learned that Sasha had been killed. Armin wants to give his former friend the benefit of the doubt, and reminds Connie, Mikasa and Jean of a conversation a couple years before, where Eren had been trying to decide who his successor should be when his time runs up. Eren had a great amount of fondness for all of them, as well as trust. The only thing that can help them understand what's going on is for them to ask Eren their questions directly. Even Mikasa is drifting away from her friend, and a conversation with one of the Marle turncoats causes her to realize how much distance had come between them since they came back from the Marle raid. At the same time, the Paradisans are turning against the Marle turncoats, accusing them of being spies and threats, while stealing their technology and praising their cooking and wine-making skills.

One day, the reporters that Hanji had used to overthrow the old government assault him at the government's gates, asking if it was true that their savior, Eren, was in prison. Hanji refuses to answer and escapes to the building inside the fence. Soon after, he has the turncoat leaders rounded up to find out if they'd leaked Eren's condition to the press (Yelena says that they had, because they think Eren's the one that can save them in the upcoming battle against the Marle forces). Hanji then has the top leaders jailed for sedition. Finally, back in Marle, Reiner pulls out of his coma (he'd thought he'd heard Gabi and Falco calling out to him, and asks where they are). Teo Magot, one of the few surviving commanders, calls a meeting with his forces to discuss what to do next. All they have left are Peek (the Cart Titan) and Reiner (Armored). They've lost War Hammer and Jaws, and it's looking like Jeek (Simian) has defected. Plus, the alliances with the conquered nations are in disarray. Magot suggests putting off the Paradis invasion until they can recover from their wounds. Reiner argues that during the time they try to get stronger, Paradis will be getting stronger as well; they should implement the invasion plan as scheduled.

Finally, Armin and Mikasa are invited to the office of commander-in-chief Darius Zackly. They're told to keep doing their jobs and keep their heads down. He implies that Eren is going to be strapped up in a torture chair in this office, and that whatever happens to him is not their concern. The two are dismissed, and 3 new Survey Corps members enter the office. Armin suspects that one of them is going to be the military's preferred choice for Eren's successor. Armin and Mikasa return to the front gates, and there's a huge explosion from the building - Zackly's smoking, dismembered corpse lands on the ground near them. The crowds outside the fence scream that this is a sign that their only savior is Eren. The group is called together for military council debriefing - Zackly was killed, and there's nothing left of the three new recruits. Suddenly, a guard runs in to yell that Eren had used the War Hammer titan's powers to tunnel out of the jail and escape. Hanji grabs Armin and Mikasa, and the three ride away in a horse-drawn carriage. Outside the walls, Eren meets up with a bunch of Marle turncoats, and they prepare for their next stage.

Summary: I'm paraphrasing a lot of the stuff going on here, largely because you can read the manga in English to see what's going on yourself. But, also, I'm getting tired of all the histrionics. The plot twists and changings of sides are getting confusing. I'm just waiting until the next big set of battles starts. Recommended only if you're a fan of the series.

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