Manga Review: Attack on Titan Volume Eight

Attack on Titan is set in an alternative middle-ages world that has been attacked by giant humanoid creatures called Titans. The remains of civilization are protected by three concentric walls that are about 50 meters tall. After building these walls, humanity has remained safe for 100 years and has basically become complacent. While there are people who want to go outside of the walls and explore the world, many are discouraged from doing so.

Eren Yeager and his friends Mikasa and Armin end up enlisting in the military forces after Unusual Titans attacked their city. Five years after that attack, Eren and his friends have to fight more Titans. At the end of Volume One, Armin sees Eren being devoured by a Titan. But it’s revealed during Volume Two that Eren possesses an ability to transform into a Titan at will.

Attack on Titan Volume Eight
Written by: Hajime Isayama
Publisher: Kodansha
English Publisher: Kodansha Comics
Release Date: October 29, 2013

Volume Eight sees Eren being taken to the military police since they will be taking custody of him after the failure of the Survey Corps’ mission in Volume Seven. We get to see the military police brigade in the Stohess District, who are assigned to escort the Survey Corps party as they come through this particular town. This brigade includes Annie Leonhart amongst its ranks. She had been in the 104th Training Corps with Eren, Mikasa, and Armin.

Eren, Mikasa, and Armin launch a plan to help Eren escape at this point in their travels. Armin finds Annie and asks for her help so Eren can make his getaway. After being convinced, Annie joins them. But it’s during this bid for escape that the identity of the Female Titan is revealed. I have to say that it turns out that I was wrong in my guess as to who the Female Titan was, and that I’m glad I was wrong. Because I was wrong, the revelation not only caught me off-guard, it also made this less predictable.

The Female Titan attacks and Eren is having a hard time transforming himself into a Titan due to being hesitant to fight with someone that he has a connection to. But Mikasa ultimately has to convince him with her words that he needs to fight. This time, Eren succeeds and takes on the Female Titan. Once Eren transforms and he meets face-to-face with the Female Titan, an exciting and action-packed fight takes place here. While this made for great reading, it wasn’t so great for the villagers in the town, since a lot of damage is inflicted upon their homes.

Mikasa is the one who brings the battle to an end, and the person inside the Female Titan encases herself in a hard, crystalline substance. Unfortunately, in the process of taking down the Female Titan, Mikasa and the others make a surprising discovery about what’s inside the walls and the connection the religious group that worships the walls has with this discovery. This particular revelation was also very surprising to me because I definitely hadn’t seen it coming. This revelation could have major impacts for the characters in this world, especially in their view of how this world works. But somehow I knew the leaders of this religious group couldn’t be trusted!

And right at the end of the volume, Wall Rose is breached by a horde of Titans. I suspect that Volume Nine will be picking up right at this point and focusing on the battle that appears to be on the horizon.

Volume Eight ended up including a couple of very important revelations, both of which were unexpected to me. I have to applaud Isayama for not writing a predictable story for Attack on Titan. And at this point in the story, I feel I’ve truly become interested and invested in this story and want to know more. In fact, I actually find myself looking forward to being able to read Volume Nine. While I thought an interesting idea was being presented back in Volume One, I have to admit that I wasn’t sure if the series would truly grab me and keep my interest in the long run. So I’m pleasantly surprised that Attack on Titan is a series that I’m genuinely coming to enjoy.

When it comes to the art, the highlight in this volume was definitely the battle between Eren in his Titan form and the Female Titan. Even though these characters are pretty much constantly in motion, Isayama still made attempts to try to include details in his drawings during the fight instead of trying to cut corners and focus more on the speed lines in the action-oriented panels of the fight.

If you’ve been reading Attack on Titan and have enjoyed the previous seven volumes of the series, I believe that you’ll enjoy reading Volume Eight just as much, if not more than, the previous volumes.

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