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Attack on Titan, Vol. 13

It’s Wednesday, which means it’s time for another midweek manga review! Today I’ll be taking a look at Attack on Titan, Vol. 13. First though, news!

 

 

 

And now this week’s featured review of Attack on Titan, Vol. 13!

Attack on Titan, Vol. 13Attack on Titan, Vol. 13
By Hajime Isayama
Kodansha Comics, 192 pp.
Rating: Older Teen (16 +)

With Attack on Titan, Vol. 13 Hajime Isamaya takes a break from the non-stop action of the last few volumes, and focuses in on the politics within the Walls. Still reeling from their losses while rescuing Eren, Erwin and the heads of the Survey Corp plot their next move. Unfortunately for them their enemy is a bit harder to detect than 15 meter high man eating Titans, as they soon come to realize that there may be no one within the walls they can trust!

This volume serves not only as a breather, but as reminder and refresher of a lot of the machinations within the government that have only been briefly touched upon before now. While the Survey Corp may be battle hardened veterans when it comes to the Titans, just how they’ll handle the conspiracy and intrigue that they’re faced with remains to be seen. As result, much of Attack on Titan, Vol. 13 consists of talking heads and debates over what moves to make next. We’re also treated to the rather tragic backstory of Krista/Historia in a sequence that raises just as many questions as it answers. That’s something that Isayama has become pretty adept at and something he’s done in the past and as a result it just serves to whet our appetite for more of the intrigue and world building revelations that are sure to come. There’s actually some interesting things done with Krista/Historia in this volume, as Isamaya plays with the idea of Krista being a facade built up to help her survive in the world. Eren comments on this directly, claiming that Krista had always felt false but that Historia comes off as genuine. The problem is that it doesn’t actually feel like that at all while reading it. Instead her shift in personality seems less like a facade being dropped and more like something that’s a result of the emotional stress and losses she suffered over the past few volumes, such as Ymir’s decision to leave her. Perhaps the conversation says more about Eren and what he expects from people then it does of the actual change in Krista/Historia, something that’s reinforced by the slightly hurt look that flashes across her face when the observation is made.

Isayama’s artwork is alright, though it’s clear that talking heads aren’t his strong point. The lack of action sequences and the reliance on slow building tension and emotional conversations and confrontations highlights some of the stiffness and awkwardness in his style. He still does a fantastic job at depicting stress and frayed emotional states on his characters faces though. That’s due in large part to the sketchy, thatchiness of his style. When all those little lines are applied around someone’s eyes, there’s little question of how frayed their emotional state is. This roughness also helps imbue everything within the series with a lived in sense of grit, emphasizing the worn down nature of the world and the characters. This is particularly noticeable when Eren and company return to Trost district. The once bustling frontier city is now a shadow of itself and Isayama’s artwork does a fantastic job at depicting the worn down citizens and the sense of decay in the city.

Attack on Titan, Vol. 13 is a quiet break, setting up the next conflict and building up the internal threat that Eren and his friends must face next. The lack of Titan action might leave some folks feeling a little unsatisfied, but the break from the action is needed and really helps connect several disparate threads which have built up throughout the series up until now.

Attack on Titan, Vol. 13 is available now from Kodansha Comics. Review copy provided by the publisher.

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