Chris (The Genre Fiend)'s Reviews > Attack on Titan: Before the Fall, Vol. 1

Attack on Titan by Hajime Isayama
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really liked it

Do not come into this expecting Attack on Titan. That may seem disingenuous given the thumping great title on the cover, but this is not Attack on Titan per se.

In contrast to the mothership series being a big, high concept battle between outlandish giants and dudes with bungee cords strapped to their backs, Before the Fall is a much smaller, more intimate tale (once you get past the opening chapter, of course) concerning a young man and a naive girl. The young man just happens to have been caesareaned from his mother's womb inside a ball of Titan puke, and the naive girl just happens to be part of the aristocratic family that's imprisoned the young man and beaten him senseless for two of the fifteen years of his life he didn't spend imprisoned in a slave market.

Ok, so maybe it's a bit high concept.

Despite the tonal difference (not to mention artist and writer), Before the Fall is still an interesting story. A wise choice is veering the narrative and characters - at least for the moment - almost completely away from anything connected to the main thrusts of vanilla Attack on Titan. We're in Wall Sheena with a closer look at the city's hedonistic society than ever before, and all the characters appear to be of their own creation rather than relatives of ones we know in the original story. Of course, now I've mentioned that second point I'm sure we'll later discover that young man protagonist Kuklo is actually Levi's great-grandfather, thereby explaining the ease with which the latter slays Titans in the present day using the boiling Titan-born blood in his veins as he utilises Titanshout to send them to Sovngarde-

Sorry, got a bit muddled for a second there.

The first volume is short, all considered. Chapters are longer but there's fewer of them, and the whole book feels more like an extended prologue to the series proper than an actual text in and of itself the way Attack on Titan Volume 1 was. Despite that, there's enough interesting narrative choices here to make me want more. Depending on writer Ryo Suzukaze's choices, the story about Kuklo and naive girl deuteragonist Sharle having an extended meet-cute could end up tiredly predictable. Since this guy's been brought on to run a series by Hajime Isayama though (and I have to believe the latter would have some kind of oversight on the spin-offs that bear the name of his magnum opus), I'm pretty confident we'll see something different.

tl;dr - Definitely worthy of a read.
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Reading Progress

March 7, 2014 – Shelved
March 7, 2014 – Shelved as: to-read
March 17, 2014 – Started Reading
March 17, 2014 – Finished Reading

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