“There are only two forces that unite men – fear and interest.” – Napoleon Bonaparte
Attack on Titan has become a huge phenomenon since it began in 2009: scary, gripping, controversial and popular. The manga is so popular that it was able to break One Piece‘s five-year long record at the top of the manga best-seller list.
A new guidebook to the series has become available, which is actually a combination of two guidebooks into one volume. These were both released in 2013 back in Japan and cover the events in the first 11 volumes. This book contains interviews, character profiles, details of the entire story, craftwork and the original rough draft the entire series. If you are interested in either the manga or the anime, there should be something of interest to you.
Most of this book reads left-to-right, with only the original draft manga being right-to-left. Starting from the left-hand side of the book, the first thing up is “papercraft” section, giving you the parts and instructions to construct your own Colossal Titan head! This is followed by colour illustrations that appeared in the original manga, but have only been available in colour in this country for the first time in this book. This section features short interviews with the Japanese cast who play the roles of Eren, Mikasa and Armin.
Next comes the largest section in the book: the character encyclopaedia, listing the details of every single character that appears in Attack on Titan, major and minor. After this is a guide to the weapons used by the humans, followed by a guide to the Titans. Next is an in-depth examination to the story and tactics, and then analysis of the each of the battles that occurs in the manga.
Perhaps the most interesting feature in the book is a long interview with the creator of Attack on Titan himself, Hajime Isayama. In the interview he talks about his own life, the background to the series, and what has influenced him in the course of his career. This ranges from anime (Nausicaa of the Valley of the Wind), western comics (Watchmen) and big budget films (Jurassic Park).
After this there are some original sketches from the manga, official character sheets from the anime, details of the structure and equipment used by the military, an interview with “Back”, the editor of the manga, and some mock interviews with the characters. This is followed by a list of key quotes and words from the manga.
Finally, we come to the original draft of the manga. The artwork is very rough, more sketches than anything. But in this 54-page work we see Eren’s training, his motivation, the murder of Mikasa’s parents, and the events leading up Trost.
The Attack on Titan Guidebook is best described as a book to dip in and out of. You can’t get all the information by reading it in one go, so it’s advised that you read one passage at a time. Personally I found the most interesting features to be the draft manga and the interview with Isayama.
Of course the best aspect of a book like this is that there will be something for everyone who is a fan. If you are not interested in the analysis of battles, then you can always make your own Titan head. If you want to get either an overview of this series, or just want to read the “personal thoughts” of Levi and Erwin, this is a book to invest in.