Shingeki no Kyojin | Attack on Titan

Shingeki no Kyojin cannibalism

The above spread caught my attention. How terrifying! How grotesque! How… curious! The apparent cannibalistic giants devour helpless humans in a terrific scene of violence and ugliness. These are typical of Shingeki no Kyojin.

Shingeki no Kyojin colossal titan

The premise of this manga is simple. In a post-apocalyptic world, humans have been driven to the brink of extinction by titans, mysterious humanoid beings of incredible size, stamina, and appetite for human lives. The remaining small populations of humans now hole up in medieval-styled settlements. Their only defenses are fortified walls reminiscent of the middle ages and elite soldiers armed with limited, but effective steam-punk ropes, hooks, and swords. With these, humans have managed to survive  through time, until one day, a special titan appears and breaches the defenses. The ensuing slaughter motivates Eren to join the elite forces. Together with his friends, Mikasa and Armin, the three fight against titans, and in the process, unravel the mystery behind these entities and themselves.

Shingeki no Kyojin Misaka

Shingeki no Kyojin does something very impressive. It manages to keep the setting small, but the story large. In this Evangelion-like world, all the actions happen within a contained region. Yet, the implications extend beyond the mere characters, beyond the setting, to all of humanity. The juxtaposition of this scope creates a fascinating drama. The readers are forced to focus on only a few things—the little castle, the characters, their seemingly insignificant emotion—but these minutia never become tiresome, simply because every little passing detail have far broader consequences. Yes, this is a magnificent manga of the grandest scale that follows three friends in a small town.

Shingeki no Kyojin titans giants

Adding to this majestic feeling are the the titans. The colossal beings have a grotesque enormity to their appearance and size. They are terrifying and so awe-inspiring to behold. The aesthetics of Shingeki no Kyojin are by no means beautiful. However, there is just something so fascinating about its ugliness. The Dali-esque distortions to these titans, along with the ferocity and pace of the action, make this manga an intense, compelling read. There is never a dull moment nor a boring panel. I found myself catching up to the latest chapter in one read.

As my dinosaur friend Baka-Raptor may say, “Shit gets real.”


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51 Responses to Shingeki no Kyojin | Attack on Titan

  1. Zemog Ramo says:

    OH here, still having issues with Akysmet. Anyway, so this is where the idea behind Kusaregedo came from. Neat. Looks like an epic post apocalyptic series but I don’t read any manga other than yuri (call it a personal instinct) so too bad for me I guess.

    • Zemog Ramo says:

      I meant to say OG. Stupid keyboard.

    • Yi says:

      Hi OG. ^ ^ (Commenting with your FB account today I see. Akismet has been terrible lately, and I’ve gotten some emails from people who can’t comment. It’s quite a shame. I apologize for the inconvenience. :()

      Nice note on Kusaregedo. The resemblance is there, although I think these titans are a little more humanoid and diverse than the demon youkai; and I’m not sure which came first. In any case, the aesthetics are wonderful.

      I’d recommend giving non-yuri manga a try. You might find some pleasant surprises. ^ ^

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  3. Nopy says:

    It certainly sounds Evangelion-like. Are the characters well-designed though? It would be disappointing if they were standard archetypes.

    • Baka-Raptor says:

      The main character has a mild shounen flavor to him. Not that it’s bad, but the archetype is there: strong-willed, never gives up, wants to save people, etc. I’d say everyone else is fairly unique.

    • Yi says:

      There are quite a few characters that stand out a lot to me, and the notable giants themselves have a distinct flavor. The protagonists are slightly bland in appearance, but there are things that make them more than stand out in personality and traits. I don’t think you will be disappointed. ^ ^

  4. Smithy says:

    While it doesn’t sound like the style of story I’d read or type or art I like, if you’re that positive about it I might give it a try. ^^

    • Yi says:

      This isn’t my favorite art style either, but there’s just something so grabbing about its aesthetics. I marvel at its grotesqueness, kind of like how I feel about Junji Ito or BLAME! So while I personally prefer more delicate, softer styles, for this type of story, this “ugliness” works wonders.

      Anyway, I hope you enjoy it. ^ ^

  5. Rei says:

    “There is never a dull moment nor a boring panel. I found myself catching up to the latest chapter in one read.”

    Same here. I love this manga. It’s one of my personal favorites and it would probably remain that way for a very long. Although the art isn’t as great, the story is simply brilliant and well paced. The mangaka covers all factors wonderfully. Characters are fleshed out, how everyone lived in fear, precautions taken against Titans, humanity’s struggle, and reasons to fight. Things NEVER happen the way you expect it to and that makes this manga such an exciting read. This manga truly gives an impression that “No one is safe”. It’s a must-read. Unless, you don’t like dark stories that is..

    • Yi says:

      Yea, I found the characters to be super engaging, and their developments fascinating. The plot twists, along with the pace, are spot-on as well. Most impressive is the world building. For how small and contained the story is, this titan versus human world is surprisingly well-detailed and feels the right kind of large. And yes, the suspense never drops. The mangaka does not give the characters or the readers a break in this action-jammed series.

      Thanks for the comment! And I’m really glad you felt the same way about this. ^ ^

  6. darkandchoco says:

    Wow.. that is.. grotesque.. yet quite interesting. =3

  7. necrocosmos says:

    I really enjoy reading this manga. Dark ambient atmosphere is just awesome. Kinda got to caught up with latest chapters, thou i enjoy reading few at a time. Kinda didnt expect post on it here:D. Thou its not to see some other genree here, except fashion in which i am super noob;D(except hairstyle cos i got long ones as well, and enjoy well kept hairs.

  8. Aya says:

    I also reading this grotesque manga very interesting It was weird at first but I get through the story as more and more mysteries come, almost similar how Berserk hook me up

    • Yi says:

      Yea, it starts out as just this weird, dark story, but things definitely unravel into something much larger. It’s a wonderful visceral experience. Love it!

  9. saijou says:

    Les photos sont vraiment dérangeantes mais je vais essayer de comprendre et de lire des mangas grotesques.

  10. Avid says:

    Thanks for introducing this hidden gem to me! I can’t help but wonder what kind of message the author is trying to send! I hope they explore the world more!

    • Yi says:

      Glad you’re enjoying this!
      I wonder about the author’s message as well. Whatever it is, I hope it’s a hopeful one in a not-so-hopeful world. ^ ^

  11. Kai says:

    Leave it to Yi to read some unconventional yet awesome manga out of the blue. A very nice find! I’m one for dark atmospheric stuffs like these and it sure does looks intriguing for me to give it a try, lol. Funny that I saw a link on Saya no Uta above too as the manga reminds me of Nitro+ as well.

    • Yi says:

      I’ll defer credit for finding this lovely manga to Baka-Raptor. It was on his recommendation that I read this. The dark atmosphere really is super gripping. I love my occasional heart wrench intensity.

      Thanks for the comment, Kai!

  12. jreding says:

    Call me surpised – this is maximum contrast to the other manga/ anime you discussed recently, like Girl Friends or Usagi Drop, no? As I understood it is Baka-Raptor’s fave but you liked it as well, no? Your range of interest is wider than I thought, Yi!

    I do enjoy the occasional gory and postapocalyptic stuff myself, though. E.g. I love Evangelion and I also like recent Blood-C (although animation quality was poor). From what you describe this manga seems to depict the development of mankind as exemplified by one settlement. Probably comparable to the apes at the start of Kubric’s 2001? In most franchises of this kind I’m more interested in the emotional development of the characters than in the grander scheme of things. But it certainly looks interesting and I might give it a try one day.

    Your last picture is great, in any case! Dali-esque seems a fitting description for the bizarre mix of proportions. I recall a similar-looking childrens book which gave me nightmares many years ago. I also like how the faces of these guys look basically like your average person and not like some monster as in the second pic. If the manga has many such pics it certainly piques my interest. Btw, are the titans humans? If not, I wonder if them eating humans can still be considered cannibalism?

    Oh, and for lack of comment opportunities: Naturally I supported you in the aniblog tourney (@ Baka-Raptor: No offence!) and I hope you’re ok w/ the outcome. I quite enjoy your personal posts b/c your choice of pictures is always super sweet!

    • Yi says:

      Haha jreding. I suppose it is a bit of a departure from my usual fluffy, iyashi-kei tendencies. Actually, in a comment above, I pointed out that I’ve always had this inclination in my tastes. And, here is something maybe interesting. About two years ago, I actually considered starting a little column alongside this blog that focuses on darker anime, and more specifically, guro (with the help of another writer, who’s now getting his MD). Ultimately, it didn’t come through. I still consider doing so though, and it seems like this post had fairly good responses. Also, if you follow my twitter, I occasionally tweet about some pretty… wild and kinky things. In fact, a few months ago, I was totally fascinated by Kage Shintarou, whose works touch uses some seriously perverted, dark humor. I loved it.

      Anyways, on Shingeki no Kyojin. I found the character development, specifically the emotional development, to be sublime. This is what I was most impressed by, and what I noted in the discussion about size. The manga is able to make characterization a priority, but still not lose the grand scheme. I think if that’s what you enjoy, this will not be a let down. (In some ways, it feels very much like Gantz in the recent alien invasion arc.)

      “From what you describe this manga seems to depict the development of mankind as exemplified by one settlement.”

      A note. I don’t think it’s so much the development of mankind shown by one settlement. Rather, this is the last settlement of mankind. Development has mostly come to a complete halt, and humanity is just barely hanging on to existing, degrading technology and information.

      The aesthetics are definitely one of the big draws of Shingeki no Kyojin. It is really the stuff of nightmares. I still find those titans to be so… magnificently horrible. The manga is littered with spreads like these, as well as much more violence. It’s a very ugly manga. Good ugly.

      ” Btw, are the titans humans? If not, I wonder if them eating humans can still be considered cannibalism?”

      I suppose not. Cannibalism is not the right term. But the word that popped into my head upon first impressions.

      Anyways, now that the tourney is over, it feels like a bit of a relief. I am ecstatic at the outcome. Making it to quarterfinals is quite satisfying, and I thank you all. ^ ^

      p.s. I’m glad you enjoy the personal posts. Sometimes I worry that my personal life is too irrelevant, and not the stuff that anyone wants to see, especially after weeks of hiatus.
      p.p.s. Thanks for the comment, as always, darling! Love!

      • jreding says:

        Thank you for this extensive reply, Yi, I feel truly honored!
        I do follow your twitter since awhile but alas I do not always follow the links you post as they tend to be nsfw… But I looked up Kage Shinatou just now. Some of his works look like the stuff popular on these obscure tumblr I follow loosely which posts masses of bizarre and gory pics but where one can find gold as well. Most of it hasn’t been my taste yet, though, but I’m always trying to expand it (maybe I should expand it in a more conventional direction? :-).
        Do you happen to have read Tokyo Akazukin? It’s one of my favourite mangas as it combines gore w/ a cool heroine. But admittedly it might be a tad more to the cute side than the guro stuff you like.
        As far as I can tell w/ my limited experience the more kinky type of guro seems largely to be confined to manga, probably due to its limited audience. I’d appreciate if you’d blog about darker shows, too. It doesn’t have much gore but if you like an addictive show w/ dark and expressive show w/ awesome fashion and style I’d recommend Gilgamesh. Most underrated series imho.

        • Yi says:

          Oh haha yes. My twitter feed (and my blog at times) can be very nsfw. Bizarre is a pretty good descriptor for Kage Shintarou’s shorts. What I like about them though is that in taking some things to the extreme, it becomes a pretty good parody of society.

          “maybe I should expand it in a more conventional direction? :)”

          Haha, maybe I should too. I sometimes feel like I’m going off the deep, dark end. loll.

          I have not read Tokyo Akazukin yet, but yea definitely. It sounds like a blast, especially if it has a cool heroine. I am craving manga lately, so yea, I’ll give it a look. Thanks!

          Anyways, on guro, the weird, the bizarre, the odd, and the dark, I think one good place to start might be Franken Fran. Most people I’ve talked to have had good experiences with it. It’s dark, but not in the sense that this is dark. More just disturbing.

          As for darker shows, sure! I’ll try to blog more of them as I watch them. (Although, like you, my anime binges tend to be much softer.) It’s in manga that I explore my kinkiness I guess.

          Dark, fashion… Gilgamesh. I’m interested. ♥

  13. Duqs says:

    I’ve been following this manga, and I really like the mystery that surrounds these giants. It’s hard to see any glimpse of hope in the story since they’ve only had ONE victory so far. It doesn’t help that humanity is literally pushed up the wall here =P

    • Yi says:

      Yea, the mystery aspect is another really big part of Shingeki no Kyojin, and adds to the fearsome nature of these titans. That we have no idea why they are attacking humans only make them that much more scary. Hopeless. Terrible. Awesome!

      “It doesn’t help that humanity is literally pushed up the wall here =P”
      Loll. Yep. ^ ^

  14. John Sato says:

    Such a great series. I’m not sure why, but I always get Break Blade vibes when reading it. Thanks for getting me to read it, Yi!

    • Yi says:

      I’m not too familiar with Break Blade, but if it has a similar vibe, I might enjoy it too!

      Anyway, I’m glad you like this manga! ^ ^

  15. glothelegend says:

    Picked this up a while ago and it’s fucking awesome. Amazing. Outstanding. I had to stop reading it when I got to a fair stopping point, because if I ever get to a chapter that happens to be that last released chapter, then I will explode in a furious rage.

    So good.

    • Yi says:

      I’m at that point that happens to be that last released chapter, and I feel terrible about not being able to keep reading… 😦

      It’s that fucking good!

  16. 2DT says:

    Fi fi fo fum, I smell the blood of an Englishman!

    The scenario strikes me as an elevated version of what scares people about zombies. Being devoured alive is one thing; being picked up and eaten the way one eats a chicken drumstick– that’s pure! That’s fear.

    I normally dislike post-apocalyptic scenarios, but I’ll give this one a shot. Cheers. 🙂

    • Yi says:

      Oh 2DT, you always have such a way with words. ^ ^

      Pure fear indeed. Yum!

      I hope you enjoy this as much as I did.

      p.s. Thank you~

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  19. nyaataku says:

    Love this manga. Seriously, it’s just…….I can’t even put it into words.
    I love how the author is always unraveling the truth about the titans, and to utter shock!!

    Where they humans before? What happened? Why are they eating humans? I constantly seem to be coming up with questions each time I read a chapter.
    And, needless to say, Mikasa is one bad-ass heroine!!

    I think the anime is going to be released either the next month or pretty soon. The PV looked amazing! I’m glad they showed the animation effects on the gears.

    • Yi says:

      Oh yes! I feel the same way. I was blown away already when I wrote this post before the recent chapters, and as things progressed, Shingeki no Kyojin just gets more mysterious, more fearsome, and more impressive. I really can’t wait to see how it all unravels and what exactly happened to the human race. Shocking indeed!

      Of course, the anime looks promising. I must have seen that trailer dozens of times. Here it is for once more (and for other readers of this blog):

      p.s. I don’t think I’ve seen you around here before, nyaataku. Welcome! It’s very nice to meet you. ^ ^

      • nyaataku says:

        The story is very unique and the artwork is superb. When I see it I could just imagine how hard it must be to live a life with all those weird gigantic humanoids around!! O_O
        I agree, it just keeps getting better an better! Can’t wait for more.

        Omg…I don’t know how many times I watched the PV either. It’s just….awesome….Yay for the link!!

        Nice to meet you too! Thank you so much!! I’ve only started 2 week ago and I’m trying to get used to running a blog >__<
        I'm so glad I stumbled across your blog though!! Your reviews are amazing!! I can't wait to read your next works! You have my total respect 😀

        • Yi says:

          Thanks for the kind words, nyaataku. Unfortunately, you may have found this blog at an odd time, as my posting rate these days are quite abysmal, and updates are slower than ever. Nevertheless, I’m glad you enjoyed the content that is here! Thanks for visiting. ^ ^

        • NyaaTaku says:

          =.= oh goodness!! At least it’s better than me! I’ve been gone for over 3 months!! T^T

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  21. ippotsk says:

    I was expecting to see that same breakfast.jpg image here. I would’ve laughed my ass off. :’))

    That being said, this manga/anime is pure epic. Just watched the first ep a few days ago, and I got hooked. I started reading, and before I knew it, I found myself begging for the next chapter, like a titan on the walls. It was confusing where it left off, but I’m still dang excited.

    I crave dark and unforgiving series, so Shingeki no Kyojin is pretty much like a glorious banquet for me.
    Nice review, couldn’t have said it better. ^^

    • ippotsk says:

      Wait, that picture is there… Dangit, it didn’t load the first time. Sorry. :’D

    • Yi says:

      Of course! That breakfast.jpg image is what first attracted me to this manga. It’s just so grotesque and scary!!

      Indeed. Epic is a good way to describe this manga. The story and the conflict are both so magnanimous; it’s hard not to be awed! And with each mystery revealed, the anticipation and intensity only grows. I feel like I’m always waiting for new chapters.

      Anyways, with summer now here, I think I’ll watch the anime as well.

      Thanks for the comment and the visit, ippotsk! ^ ^

  22. kumaichigo says:

    Last week anime has been started. Sugoi.
    Opening movie:

  23. i like Mikasa shes a badass. You can visit my humble blog and let me know in any way how i can improve it.

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