Uncertainty in place of comfort, fear in place of freedom, cruelty in place of everything; Shingeki no Kyojin is a story of humanity thrown into a reality filled with terror and uncertainty and how they struggle to survive against gigantic humanoid creatures called Titans who devour humans for seemingly no reason, and against their own inability and fear when faced with such dread.
The story takes place 107 years after these Titans first appeared and inside the walls build a hundred years ago to block off the Titans from the remaining humans. The story centers around the life of Eren Jaegers and Mikasa Ackerman whose lives change forever after the appearance of a colossal Titan.
The designs of the Titans are so uniquely unnerving, I got thrown back by both how dreadful they looked and how wrong my initial perceptions of them were when I actually got to see them up close during the first few chapters. The thoughts, ‘they just look wrong’ will cross your mind but it’s not until you actually see them devouring humans do you get this dreaded and sick feeling rising inside you. At times you can’t help but stop and stare at the scene for a few moments and then avert your eyes and slowly have what you seen sink into something ‘acceptable’, but more often than not, you are left in an unnerved state.
There is a lot of death within Shingeki no Kyojin; the naturally cruel reality humanity finds themselves in isn’t sugar-coated or played down at all, humans die and die in awful and gruesome ways they do, to the point where I can’t help but let out a nonchalant smile whenever I come across those scenes of horror in hopes of shielding myself from all that cruelty.
The mysteries of the Titans and what exactly happened in the past has been kept on the hush-hush side for now, but the little information the readers do know has been incredibly interesting and though-provoking. As each development forces the reader’s mind into wonderment, twists come along and throw all that wonderment further down the hole of wonder, it’s great.
The Three Dimensional Maneuver Gear, this surprised me, I was totally not expecting such a cool and unique way of fighting, but the way this piece of equipment is incorporated into the story of Titans is brilliant. Titans are not only big in Shingeki no Kyojin, they have other more impressive abilities and this forces humans into the realms of three-dimension if they intend to combat these monstrous Titans and survive against them. Some really exhilarating and intense battles are brought about thanks to the Three Dimensional Maneuver Gear.
The characters, they are handled amazingly, the way they are fleshed-out from past events, present actions and future intentions all come together in a believable and satisfying way and this is only from the little we do know about the main and supporting characters. The reasons behind certain character actions may not be known at this point but the way you end up sympathizing and believing them does make for some conflicting and intense situations. And it really does express the story of Shingeki no Kyojin being deeper then what it initially appeared, just what happened in this world?
The artwork, it could be argued that Shingeki no Kyojin doesn’t boast really exceptionally artwork, but I find that it’s the initially perception of the artwork being so different from what the reader if used which causes that thought to crop up in the first place. Initially the artwork felt weird to me; it is different from the artwork of most other manga I read and the dynamic-nature of the art given by the many action scenes does give it a unique look but by the end of volume one I started to get used to the artwork and even begin to fall in love with it (especially that dynamic-nature) and by the end of volume two when I came across the following [volume extra] illustration, I completely fell in love with it:
Shingeki no Kyojin is an insanely addicting and satisfying read, you are quickly drawn into the world it creates and through its bold use of tragedy and horror your heart becomes gripped by the cruelty overhanging the world the characters find themselves in and through the constant stream of dread and humans inability to give up fighting that dread (through epically handled and illustrated battles), you find yourself completely taken. I have loved what I have read so far and am seriously looking forward to seeing where the story of Shingeki no Kyojin is going. For those of you who love manga like Berserk or Claymore, I highly recommend your read Shingeki no Kyojin.
Enjoyment value: 11/10 (I know it’s wrong of me to do this, but I can’t help myself, I love it)