Attack on Titan, Vol. 15

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

This volume continues to examine the morality of our heroes and the military in general, but doesn’t quite hit all my hot buttons like the last one did, so I enjoyed it more. We start off resolving the cliffhanger from last volume, and Armin’s defense of Jean, which horrifies him so much he’s throwing up. Armin is an interesting character, balancing the ‘innocent’ Survey Corps member side we’ve seen in Jean, Sasha and Connie with his tactical genius side, where he can casually come up with horrible plans and then toss them off with a ‘just kidding’. But he’d never killed anyone before. Levi fares much better here than he did in 14, telling Armin he did what he had to in order to save Jean while also saying that this does not mean getting his hands dirty is a good thing. Sadly, I’m led to believe that Levi is kinder to Armin than to Historia as he values Armin more as a soldier.

(I do sometimes wonder if Levi and Hange have a plan for what to do when/if Eren dies. I have to think step 1 is “Kill Mikasa by any means necessary before she becomes a berserker”.)

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Meanwhile, back in the city, Erwin’s on trial for his life, and everyone still believes the Survey Corps have become terrorists. Indeed, we see two of the MPs, Marlowe and Hitch, looking for Levi and company, and it’s startling how little they know given that they’re supposed to be part of the ‘bad guys’ group. (They were probably my favorite part of the volume – I love everyone talking about how Marlowe’s idealistic dumbness reminds them of Eren, and Hitch’s mourning for Annie, and subsequent horror when she finds out Annie was the Female Titan, is beautifully portrayed, a rare case where I will praise the art.) Hange’s job is to try to convince the little people of the city, those who hide in its slums and those who report on it in the newspapers, to stop doing what the government says out of fear. She offers the Survey Corps’ protection, but more importantly, Flegel Reeves finds his inner badass and becomes someone that a town can rally behind.

Erwin’s trial resolves itself in a fairly cliched way, but the fact that the government falls for the cliche so easily shows off how stupid and corrupt they’ve become. There’s several people who were simply waiting for a good time to make a move, and this isn’t so much ‘doing what’s right’ as ‘getting revenge’. Also, the town is unsurprisingly a bit dubious about the military seizing power, and no one really expects them to ever let it go. I suspect that whatever’s happening with Historia and Eren will put that on the back burner for a while – she’s seemingly been ‘converted’ by her father to their cause, and the Royal Family definitely seem to have SOME power in their bloodline, enough that touching Eren brings back some old and horrible memories.

So next time we finally get an explanation for what’s been going on with Eren’s father, and (I’m hoping) find out that Historia is playing an elaborate double bluff. Till then, I will freely admit Attack on Titan has won me back, and as long as it stops torturing for the greater good or emotionally abusing young women to get what it wants, it can stay there. Recommended.

(As a side note, Sasha is barely in this, but I loved her simply wrapping her entire body around Mikasa’s head in joy when she finds out the Corps has been cleared. And then Hitch’s as well. Sasha may not just be into food is what I’m saying.)

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