3.5 stars. Nearly a century before the start of this story, humanity is attacked by a group of humanoid beings dubbedCrossposted at The BiblioSanctum.
3.5 stars. Nearly a century before the start of this story, humanity is attacked by a group of humanoid beings dubbed "titans" who push them almost to the brink of extinction. Titans are much larger than their human counterparts (with most standing between 3 to 15 meters) and immensely strong. They seem to possess no intellect as they can't communicate and show no signs of understanding. Even though they look characteristically male or female, they lack reproductive organs, making many question their origins.
They mindlessly graze on human beings, ignoring all other forms of life in favor of only devouring people. Titans have lived 100 years without feeding on people which seems to indicate that they don't feed on humans to satisfy hunger. Many believe their goal is to exterminate humankind, but the reasoning for that is a mystery. In response to the threat, three 50 meter walls were built, which effectively keep the titans out while keeping the people inside. Talk of the outside world is considered taboo and information about the outside world has been outlawed and destroyed.
Our story begins with Eren Jäeger, Mikasa Ackerman, and Armin Arlert. Eren dreams of joining the scouting team and seeing the outside world. The scouting team's primary goal is to find whatever information they can about the titans with the hope of learning their origins and how they can be eradicated for good. Eren hopes to contribute to that effort. He equates the people within the wall to "cattle" waiting for the slaughter and becomes increasingly disillusioned with the complacency of everyone inside the wall--especially after Armin shows him a book that talks about the outside world and all the beauty humans have had to relinquish.
Mikasa, Eren's adopted sister and one of the most awesome people in the manga and anime, feels she owes Eren a great deal, and she's resolved to be by his side to protect him even if it costs her own life in the process. Even though she doesn't agree with Eren's decision to join the scouting team, she's willing to travel that road with him when that time comes.
After 100 years of relative safety, the walls are breached by an aberrant titan--aberrant because it exhibits behavior unusual for a titan and because it's huge--standing more than 50 meters in height. In the beginning, before the breach, the world that these people live in isn't exactly bleak inside the walls. They seem to live relatively normal lives, but they're happily corralled and confident as long as their walls are up. They know the titans are out there and there's fear of them in the back of their minds, but it doesn't seem to truly touch the illusion of safety they have behind the wall. The only time the mood shifts is when the scouting team, who always suffers losses when scouting, returns to remind them just how dangerous things are beyond their walls.
With the breach of the wall comes the all too shocking realization of how fragile their safety is in this new world they live in (a world they have largely ignored for the past century), how much arrogance has been placed on those walls to keep the titans out. The situation becomes dire quickly since they have nothing that is truly effective against the titans. After a hundred years, they still know very little about them. The titans, and how nigh unstoppable they are, quickly add apprehension to the story, making readers wonder how the people in this book will ever hope to survive. Making the titans themselves more human-like in appearance rather than some fantastic monsters makes the story even more unsettling and grim. It feels hopeless, and the powerlessness of the characters in that situation is very tangible to the readers. However, as human nature goes, you want them to fight and win.
I'm not sure if this was Isayama's intent, but this manga (and its anime) seem to be an extreme reflection on life now and how those who live in relative comfort sometimes choose to ignore the monsters outside that threaten their comfort until that comfort is actually attacked.
Now, I do like the manga, but I am partial to the anime a bit more because it adds a bit more detail to some of the scenes. Some of the art is sort of awkward in places and distracted me from the story a little bit. Eren is obviously the most important of the three main characters we've encountered, but he can grate on your nerves, especially with how hotheaded he can be. I try to chalk this up to him initially having a very black and white view of life. Things are either good or they're either evil to him. Evil things must be eliminated no matter the cost in his eyes, and he's very passionate about that. He's now having to adjust to gray areas in his life, and it's leaving him a bit off balance right now.
If you're not a fan of violence, you probably don't want to read this. If bleak situations where sudden, violent death is the norm rather than the exception, you probably don't want to read this. The situation is depressing, but you have to hope that, despite whatever frailties and foibles humans possess, their indomitable will to survive will prevail....more
I think this has been my favorite book so far in the series. Unlike volume 1 and volume 2, this one pretty much captured my interest from the beginninI think this has been my favorite book so far in the series. Unlike volume 1 and volume 2, this one pretty much captured my interest from the beginning rather than getting more intriguing as I got deeper into the story.
We finally find out Yō’s full reasoning behind his actions at Deadman Wonderland--his sister, Minatsuki, who also happens to be a deadman (supposedly unbeknowst to Yō). Minatsuki gives Ganta a sob story about why she’s there, saying that she’d accidentally killed her abusive father. Ganta falls for it and decides that’s going to help her escape, only to be thwarted. He learns that Minatsuki is his next opponent in the carnival where we learn that Minastuki is a big ol’ lying freak who gets off on seeing other people sad or concerned.
In short: Yō is reunited with his sister and finds out what kind of monster she is while she uses him as a human shield. Crow starts giving calling Ganta’s projectiles the “Ganta Gun.” And, of course, Ganta wins the fight despite it all.
After the fight, Ganta meets another group of deadmen who want him to join their organization to take down Wonderland. To prove that he can trust them, they rig the event the loser (Minatsuki) has to go through so that she only loses some hair. They’re confronted by some overpowered Rock Monk that Shiro pretty much obliterates.
And the best thing happened. Ganta remembered his friendship with Shiro, and it was like the sweetest thing because Ganta seemed so genuinely happy as he remembered all the times Shiro saved/protected him not unlike she’d done when he first arrived Wonderland, even though Yō is terrified to death of her and calls her the real monster (in his mind). Which he may be right? As it seems that Shiro is the Red Man who killed all Ganta’s friends. We’ll see.
I think showing these different relationships is what really made this one for me. Even after Yō learns the truth, he continues to care about his sister. Now, they could’ve shunned Minatsuki, but both Ganta and Yō seem to be concerned with her well-being. Or at least, Ganta didn't want to see her maimed in any event. And it’ll be interesting to see how this new faction in Wonderland pans out. ...more
Spoilers. This manga. This is the second time in a row where this manga started a little slow for me but picked up right before I decided to read someSpoilers. This manga. This is the second time in a row where this manga started a little slow for me but picked up right before I decided to read something else and come back to it later. It wasn't that I thought the beginning was boring, but I had other books that were starting to get really interesting that I was reading at the same time. And then, they introduce Crow, the Corpse Carnival, and Ganta's new friends in the G ward.
Ganta is still trying to survive in Wonderland when he hears that the Red Man (the being who killed all his friends) was right under his nose living in block G. However, that block isn't on any of the maps, but it does exist. And Ganta, Shiro, and Yo manage to find it. They meet Senji "Crow" Kiyomasa who Ganta believes is the Red Man, only to learn that there are many "branches of sin" (people who can manipulate their blood). Ganta is still in the dark about his powers and how they work, and Crow wants to test Ganta's powers in a skirmish. But they're all subdued by the guards before a fight can break out.
Later, Ganta learns he has to fight Crow, and Crow is undefeated. His captors tell him that even if he loses, he'll still be of some use to them. During his fight with Crow, he learns some important things. He learns it is better to thin out the blood and using it at melee range rather than using it as a ranged projectile due to blood loss. Crow mentions during the fight that Ganta was reaching his limits because of this, but Ganta manages to overcome his limit, which Crow has never witnessed before--or even thought possible. Ganta wins the fight in the end, of course.
After the fight, Ganta meets the other misfits of G ward, people who are presumably like him, and he learns the cost of losing a fight when he watches a doctor take one of Crow's eyes.
Yō continues to be a hinderance disguised as help in this one, and I’m really interested to see where this is going with him. I loved the scene where he thought that he’d gotten rid of Shiro and saved his own life only to see Shiro emerge from carnage. I would say unscathed. She did look okay, but parts of her bodysuit, which pretty much covers every inch of her except her face, was damaged and we see strange scars/stitches that looked similar to another mysterious character who was just introduced into the story with this volume. And Yō is completely baffled by all this strange stuff that has entered his life since Ganta’s appearance.
Still enjoying this. I’m enjoying how things are being gradually revealed to the readers in small chunks. As a reader, I feel just as anxious as Ganta to find out what the hell is going on.They give me just enough to have me completely hanging on to this story and then they pull back a little ensuring that I keep coming back to Wonderland. ...more
The story starts with a devastating earthquake hitting Japan, leaving most of Tokyo underwater. Ten years late**spoiler alert** Slight spoilers ahead.
The story starts with a devastating earthquake hitting Japan, leaving most of Tokyo underwater. Ten years later, 14-year-old Igarashi Ganta is joking around with his friends in class when a mysterious “Red Man” appears and kills everyone in Ganta’s class--except him. Ganta passes out in the classroom, but later regains consciousness to find out that he is the sole suspect in his classmates’ murders, which he is convicted of and sentenced to death.
Ganta is sent to Deadman Wonderland, a privately owned prison that uses its inmates to entertain the public. It’s purpose is to gain money to rebuild Tokyo. Supposedly. Ganta is placed in a collar (that he later learns emits poison that can only be counteracted by “candy”) and finds himself thrust in this bizarre prison life where inmates are mutilated and killed for the enjoyment of others. The public, however, believes that these “games” are staged.
This volume basically chronicles Ganta’s “introduction” into the system. There isn’t a lot of time spent on his life, his trial, or his classmates’ death. The readers are pretty much thrust into the beginning of his new life at Deadman Wonderland. You learn a little about the rules in his new home. Even though there is a “rule book,” you only learn pieces of the “rules” as Ganta learns the rules (of course he hasn’t read the rule book, silly) instead of having everything spelled out for the readers.
At first, I thought I would only give this three stars. I was enjoying the story, for sure, but I wasn’t bowled over. Around the middle of the story, though, I was trying to hurry through so I could find out what happened next. The pace picked up considerably as more characters and variables were introduced and as Ganta struggled with finding some way to make his prison stay bearable, which he at first decides will be done by following the rules of the prison--until he finds out there are too many conflicting rules in that place.
Two of the characters introduced in the story fascinated me--Shiro and Yō.
I really enjoyed Shiro. Shiro is very childlike and loyal. She’s quick and dexterous, seeming to view the prison as a playground more than a punishment. I love how protective she is of Ganta, even going as far as trying to ensure that he won the game they were in together. They seem to have a history together that Ganta can’t quite remember which dates back to the Tokyo earthquake. Ganta has blocked out the event, but Shiro remembers.
Then, there’s Yō. When we first meet Yō, he seems mostly innocent. He appears very friendly and somewhat shy, but as the story progresses, we’re given hints that something sinister is going on behind Yō’s mask. Even later in the story, we find out that the man overseeing the facility is using Yō to spy on Ganta and giving him large sums of the prison currency in exchange for information. I’m looking forward to finding out more about Yō and his motivations.
There’s a supernatural/sci-fi element that is hinted at throughout the story, also, but never fully explored, but I’m guessing, given the way this ended, that we’re about to find out so much about that part of the story and this “branches of sin” thing. Will definitely be reading the next volume soon. And I hope they start answering some of the questions I have like where are Ganta’s parents? Did they die in the earthquake? Great read overall, though...more
Finally finished. I enjoyed this, but the ending was rather sudden. I have my ideas about it, but I still have questions. Maybe that was the point, toFinally finished. I enjoyed this, but the ending was rather sudden. I have my ideas about it, but I still have questions. Maybe that was the point, to leave readers with a few questions. Now, I want to watch the movie....more
Basically, this is a violent retelling of Alice in Wonderland. Alice Liddell isn’t sure if she’s dreaming or not, but she’sI don’t even know anymore.
Basically, this is a violent retelling of Alice in Wonderland. Alice Liddell isn’t sure if she’s dreaming or not, but she’s in a strange world where the inhabitants of Wonderland are locked in civil war and just about everyone she meets loves her with a few exceptions. She believes this world is a product of her loneliness. This is a wholly ridiculous story, but I like it for some reason. I think it has everything to do with the characters and how cheerfully violent most of them are.
Favorite character so far is the punked-out Cheshire cat, Boris Airay, who is basically the opposite of a catgirl and dons many piercings and a skirt over his pants. There’s also the gleefully violent Peter White (the White Rabbit) who is a rabbit-boy who is completely obsessed with Alice—whom he kidnapped—and the perpetually pissed off Elliot March (the March Hare). Vivaldi (the Red Queen) was introduced as a woman who refers to herself as “we” and seems very detached from everything even though she is cordial toward Alice.
There’s Ace (Knave of Hearts) who’s directionally challenged and too oblivious to realize that Elliot really is trying to kill him, but he’s an awesome fighter. Elliot and Ace’s interactions are GOLD just because they are total opposites, and Ace seems unable to genuinely not understand that Elliot hates his guts. He seems to sincerely like Elliot much to Elliot's dismay and even went as far as to tell Elliot’s boss—who I am getting to—that he wasn’t offended by Elliot shooting at him.
Blood Dupre (the Mad Hatter and Elliot’s boss) is a boredom disliking Mafia boss who is the thorn in Gowland’s (a gender-swapped Duchess) because he’s told the whole country that Gowland’s first name is “Mary,” which sends Gowland into a rage. There’s the bloody twins Dee and Dum who Elliot also hates because they’re always calling him a “newb” hare and goofing off. And last we have Nightmare Gottschalk (the Caterpillar) and Julius Monrey (an original character, I think, but seems to be a representation of “time”) who seem a bit immune to “loving” Alice and seem to know more about why she’s there but are very cryptic about it.
While this is obviously shojo (manga marketed toward females), it’s ultra-violent which isn’t typical of shojo. I don’t think it is anyway, but I tend to read more shounen than shojo. I can’t say the story is very strong at this point, but it has done a bang up job on reimagining these characters and giving Wonderland a harder, satirical existence. At first I thought I was going to take issue with most people loving Alice, even Vivaldi hints toward loving her, but looking at it as a woman who’s created this world because of her own loneliness and betrayal, it makes sense and works. ...more