Home > Novel Reviews, Reviews > Attack on Titan: Kuklo Unbound

Attack on Titan: Kuklo Unbound

Attack on Titan: Kuklo UnboundAttack on Titan: Kuklo Unbound
Created by Hajime Isayama, novel by Ryo Suzukaze, art by Thores Shibamoto
Vertical Comics, 300 pgs
Rating: Not Rated

Set some 70 years before the events of Attack on Titan, Attack on Titan: Kuklo Unbound details a turning point in humanity’s struggle against the implacable Titans, a turning point that comes with a most unexpected backstory. Following a rampage by a Titan through Shingangshina district, a lone child emerges from his dead mother’s womb. Dubbed the Titan’s Son, Kuklo, he will go on to create an art that will change the world of Attack on Titan for all time. From Ryo Suzukaze and Thores Shibamoto, comes an untold tale from the history of Hajime Isayama’s Attack on Titan!

If any of the above sounds familiar, that’s probably because it is! Attack on Titan: Kuklo Unbound is the source material for the Attack on Titan: Before the Fall manga, currently being published by Kodanasha. Initially published as two volumes in Japan, Vertical has collected the two part tale from Ryo Suzukaze into a single volume for it’s U.S. release. It serves as a follow up to the Attack on Titan: Before the Fall novel, also by Ryo Suzukaze, and references events and characters from that as well. Thankfully it stands on it’s own pretty well and not once did I feel like I was coming in part way on a series already in progress.

The story follows Kuklo from his tragic birth up, imprisonment, gaining freedom and subsequent enrollment in the beleaguered Survey Corps. Along the way he develops rivals and enemies in the form of Xavi, the son of a wealthy merchant who had bought Kuklo and used him as a training dummy, Sharle, Xavi’s more empathic sister and more. Unfortunately, many of these friends and rivals end up feeling fairly cliche and one note, and not really developed and independent beings of their own. Kuklo manages to avoid this, but just barely, while other characters he meets such as Cardina and Rosa just feel like typical shonen-y stock figures. For Kuklo, his primary drive is to discover more about himself and his connection, if any, to the Titan’s. Is he a Titan’s Son? What does that mean exactly? Such desires are what ultimately lead him into contact with the Survey Corps who present him with the best opportunity to encounter and learn about the Titans. Thankfully his encounter with the Corps is timely, as they happen to be trying to develop and perfect a weapon system which can be used to help humanity battle the Titans, and guess who seems like a prime test pilot for the system?

Since it’s a light novel, everything tends to be fairly straight forward. Kuklo’s birth, subsequent imprisonment and torture at the hands of nearly everyone he comes into contact with, right through to his meeting with Sharle and members of the Survey Corps. all happen in a fairly plain and matter of fact manner. There’s not a whole lot of purple in this prose and even descriptions tend to be sparse. We’re not really privy to the inner thoughts of anyone beyond Kuklo and this results in most of the cast feeling a bit like stock characters rather than flesh out individuals. Attempts at developing Xavi in the second half feel drastically at odds with what we were shown of him in the first half of the book and don’t ring true at all. Sharle suffers as well. She starts off as a prominent and important figure but is virtually absent in the last half of the book.

While Attack on Titan: Kuklo Unbound ends up feeling a little uneven, but it’s also a fairly breezy and quick read. While it’s a little lighter on characterization than I had hoped, it still provided a fairly fun and enjoyable read with a look back into the early days of the Attack on Titan world. In the end, it seems like prime Summer reading material. Got a long car or plane trip coming up and have a hankering for some more Attack on Titan? Then this is the book for you!

Attack on Titan: Kuklo Unbound is available now from Vertical Comics. Review copy provided by the publisher.

  1. No comments yet.
  1. No trackbacks yet.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

%d bloggers like this: