By Hajime Isayama. Released in Japan by Kodansha, serialization ongoing in the magazine Bessatsu Shonen Magazine. Released in North America by Kodansha Comics.
(please continue to avoid spoilers in comments)
We all knew a volume like this was coming. Despite the mass deaths and danger, things had simply been going too well for our heroes recently. There were heartwarming moments, and points where you marveled at the awesomeness of humanity. That clearly cannot last. And so you have Attack on Titan 7, which, yes, also gives you heartwarming and reaffirming love for humanity, but then brutally stomps all over it and tears it to shreds while laughing in your face.
So yeah, it really didn’t bode well that Levi’s team, for all their backstory and character building, never had biographies at the front of the book. Much of this book (and indeed the series in general) is about the mindset of a soldier, and how you can commit to actions that seem stupid or that you may not believe in. I’ll give Special Ops this, they were decisive and trying to stop the Female Titan. And, in the end, they weren’t good enough and were brutally murdered. This doesn’t mean it was a bad decision, or that they didn’t die like heroes. It’s just a function of life in this book, and how horrible the situation is with the Titans. Things are really bad, and sometimes you make a firm decision that leads to an ignoble death.
Speaking of the Female Titan, as Armin has already noted, she’s definitely one of a special group of Titans that are intelligent and crafty, and it shows throughout the entire book. Even when Erwin has her cornered, she’s still able to think of a way out. And her fight with Eren and Mikasa is not only epic but gives us some stunning motivation on what the Titans are trying to achieve; when given an opportunity to kill Eren, she doesn’t, but tries to kidnap him instead. Eren, presumably as he’s also a Titan, is useful to them in some way. Chilling, really.
I do sort of wonder what it will take to get Levi to break, or if he ever will. He’s the most popular character in the series in Japan, and rapidly taking that position over here as well, but there’s only so far stoic can take you. Will he continue to suffer nobly and look off into the middle distance? If nothing else, he makes a very good contrast to hotheads Eren and Mikasa.
But it’s all about the final scene, which simply makes you want to cry. Eren waking up to see everyone re-entering the city. The jeers of the adults, and the cheers of the little children. Petra’s dad, running to Levi, asking him to give her something, and Levi’s stoic non-response. And the final narration, noting that they’re all basically under arrest, Eren’s going to be turned over (presumably to be tortured and executed), and Erwin and company may be in a lot of trouble all around. It’s a horrible place to leave a cliffhanger. And so naturally here is where it is.
But hey, from here things can only get better… right?