Attack on Titan, Vol. 8

By Hajime Isayama. Released in Japan by Kodansha, serialization ongoing in the magazine Bessatsu Shonen Magazine. Released in North America by Kodansha Comics.

This review has spoilers for the big reveal that everyone on the internet already knows.

The eighth volume of Attack on Titan begins in a very interesting place, as we start off with a day in the life of Annie and her fellow military police. As you can imagine, they’re just as quirky a squad as our heroes, in their own way, but their bosses are no Erwin Smith – you sense a certain uncaring laziness to them. Annie gets into an interesting philosophical discussion on the nature of idealism and power, and I certainly get her point that at times it can be terrifying to have a true believer in charge of things. All this is upended, however, when she runs into Armin, freshly returned from the outside. Eren is about to be captured/dissected, and he has a plan…


Of course, all this is a ruse, as Armin has merely figured out what the rest of us suspected two volumes ago: Annie is the female titan. From the moment that we saw Eren could become a Titan, we wondered if it was something unique to him (likely due to his father), or if other titans had similar secret identities. There’s a rather amusing joke here where Armin describes the various subtle clues he discovered that led him to think Annie was the culprit, and then Mikasa chimes in “plus they look alike”. (Speaking of Mikasa, there’s an undertone of jealousy in her conversations about Annie I didn’t really like. I know she and Eren are close, but I really don’t want to see their relationship go down a romantic road.)

So there’s a big, city-destroying battle between Eren-Titan and Annie-Titan that ends with Annie encasing herself in amber in order to avoid getting captured and tortured. More importantly, we know certain Titans now have motivation beyond “kill and eat”. Certainly Annie, as a Titan, took delight in killing, particularly with Levi’s team members. But she also seems to have a troubled past with her own father (more similarities to Eren), and a deeper reason exists here. As for everyone else, the rest of the 104th squad are quickly quarantined in case, y’know, Titanism is contagious, but they all seem to be OK.

Then there’s the other big reveal in this episode (which is right about where the anime ended, if you want to start reading from that point on). In the fight with Annie, Mikasa destroyed a chunk of the outer wall. Inside… is a Titan, in suspended animation. A Colossal Titan. The revelation that the walls are full of Titans sort of waiting patiently for something is rather mind-boggling, and I wonder if the obviousness of the Annie reveal was to make this plot twist more impressive. It also finally ties in with the religious leaders who have popped up occasionally throughout this series, and who were clearly aware of the secret of the walls. Bringing devout believers into a series like this is unnerving – on purpose – but not quite as unnerving as seeing the formerly eccentric and happy Hange almost murder a man in cold blood. War does things to people,’s psyches, and war secrets do not help all that much.

The cliffhanger announces that Wall Rose has now been breached by Titans, so I presume Vol. 9 will have a lot more action. There’s many places this story could go from here, a pivotal volume in the series.

(Also, go look for the “Annie Are You OK” video on Youtube, and you will never get Smooth Criminal out of your head while reading this.)

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  1. I wonder if we were all supposed to have the same facial reaction that Mikasa had when the Titan in the wall was revealed. :D

    • I know I did, which is interesting since I already knew what would happen thanks to the anime. Except…the anime changed it wayyyyy more than I thought :|

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