Every now and then, each year, a certain manga suddenly appears in the spotlight and becomes popular. Not just that, but so popular everyone seems to know and talk about it. The question then, for everyone, is whether said manga is actually worth reading and lives up to the hype it has caused – something which is quite uncommon considering how this typically works for series. The popularity of Attack on Titan (Shingeki no Kyojin) is undisputable, but worth the read? I certainly think so, as I will explain below.
Written by Hajime Isayama, Attack on Titan is one of those series which against all odds, presents an original concept and makes it work. Its story is simple: a threat has befell humanity as ‘Titans’ appeared out of nowhere and drove humans to near extinction after they began devouring one person after another. In order to avoid total annihilation and rebuild society, humans have been forced to live in a small section of the world where three walls defend them from the Titans devouring them.
The manga focuses around this premise, along with how the humans fight against the menace that the Titans suppose. The story of Attack on Titan develops beautifully. Not only it is an original concept, which hasn’t been seen a lot in this media, but it also plays and develops it well. Despite the concept behind the story having been played down in the past by other similar apocalyptic series, this doesn’t apply to it. It not only focuses on the sheer horror that the human-devouring Titans present, but also on the very real human society which still exists and attempts to rebuild itself. Attack on Titan succeeds in not leaving any of these elements behind, and paints a clear picture of its world as a whole via its story. It leaves no elements behind, and doesn’t let its complexity bring it down. The story of this series is amongst the greatest that I have seen, and a real pleasure to follow.
One of the elements which I like the most of Attack on Titan, however, is its art. Not only is it beautiful, but it manages to convey exactly the sheer horror the Titans present. Though it appears strange at times, this only makes it all the better, as it represents fantastically all which the story represents. Not only the emotions of the characters; but also glory, courage, sadness, happiness, and finally horror precisely when it is required to do so. It completely memorable, and probably amongst the best that I have had the pleasure to read in the last years. It mixes with all of the elements of the story perfectly, and instead carries them forward.
The character cast is wide, well-developed, and complex. They all have motivations and are truly products of their world. They are incredibly human, not only the main protagonists (Eren, Mikasa, and Armin), but also the other secondary ones. None seem to fall into the typical stereotypes one might imagine, something welcome. But best of all, is how the author treats the characters as the plot develops. There are no qualms about what happens to them, or how events affect them. Whether characters live or die, they do so in a way which is not only completely natural to the story in the manga, but also in a way in which a reader is immediately marked by. There is no ignoring any certain character, or little events. Everything is relevant, and the author certainly succeeds in conveying this.
These elements make Attack on Titan an incredibly enjoyable read. Not only is the story original, but the way it is drawn just makes it even greater. Hajime Isayama presents everything in the most realistic and human way, whether horrifying or courageous, and it is something which made reading Attack on Titan a truly enjoyable experience from the very start. There was no point at which I was bored, and instead I could only continue reading it.
Attack on Titan certainly lives up to the hype behind it – a rare occurrence considering how this usually is not the case – and does not disappoint. The way in which all its elements converge make it a truly enjoyable experience, which I recommend for anyone who is interested in manga or good fiction at all. It works perfectly, and I can’t wait to see how Hajime Isayama will continue to deveop it in the future. Attack on Titan is in every way, awesometacular, and fully deserves a rating of 5/5 and a complete recommendation. To not read it would be to miss a truly great work of fiction.