Attack on Titan: Volume 1 (Hajime Isayama)
Manga on the whole is something that I sadly fell out of love with several years ago. I used to be obsessed with the latest ongoing series coming out of Japan. I was even for a time more into manga than traditional American superhero comics. (Shocking I know!) I was well versed on all things Bleach, Naruto, Lupin III, Dragon Ball, Cowboy Bebop, Love Hina, Ghost in the Shell etc. etc. then one day out of the blue it all just became boring. Naruto got too long in the tooth with its endless padding and Bleach while truly entertaining, just got lost on me. Western comic books were starting their big resurgence that would lead into their current dominance of pop culture and box-office receipts while all the manga I read just seemed like variants on the same few story ideas. (Never ending fight stories, harem love stories, not so mysterious mystery stories, etc. along with yet another re-treading of Evangelion because Gainax love profits!) It was like the floor came out from under it all for me. I still loved the classic manga/anime series and films, Akira, Cowboy Bebop, Robotech/Macross and Ghost in the Shell have such a huge impact on how I see the world and come up with my own stories that I will love them forever. But everything else just felt…stale. Like it was trying to re-hash the glory days and never quite managing it. So I stepped away for a short break with the full intention of jumping back in within a year “full a piss an’ vinegar” and a rediscovered love of the art form.
That was five years ago.
Since then I havve hardly touched a manga volume or anime DVD outside of my collection of older things. Sure I dabbled here and there and re-read Akira for the millionth time every year or so but on the whole I was happy to just leave the new stuff to the legions of anime/manga fans both in Japan and the west. Leave them to their feverish love of various characters and franchises. Their shipping and in-jokes. Their other-ness as a collective.
I was done. I was out and nothing could bring me back in.
Then a few months ago I heard a low quiet rumble, almost a whisper. The kind I had not seen or felt in a long while. The kind that signalled something good was being published in Japan. The kind of rumble that causes western focused comic book websites to acknowledge its existence which is a big deal. (Trust me, it’s a big deal when it happens!) The whisper said, “check out Attack on Titan, it’s really cooooooool…..” to which I shrugged and said, “meh” before carrying on with my life. Then this month in my first Loot Crate (go check them out they are really cool) box I received a copy of the first volume of the Attack on Titan manga. So I figured what the heck and decided to give it a go.
Attack on Titan has everything I love about manga in it and more. So while I may be pretty much four years late to party from when the series originally began publication in Japan, the wait has been worth it. I am now “full a piss an’ vinegar” and have rediscovered love of the art form of Japanese Manga. (I’m still on the fence about the anime side of things but give me time!)
So yeah, here is my review of it.