I think I just had a seizure over that cliff-hanger for chapter 48. Oh, please next chapter, come out soon!
For me, this series is pure magic. The more I read, the deeper I am dragged into the world and the more curious I become. I stumbled across "Attack on Titan" in August when I saw it had been airing on Crunchyroll. I like to keep up with the anime that come out during the seasons and had been missing it something fierce when I lived in Poland and had no internet access to speak of at the house. I kept seeing this ad saying, "We're bring you the hottest anime of the season..." but it wouldn't say which anime!
Finally, from comparing the artwork, I figured out it was this particular one and I decided to watch it. Man, I loved it the first episode, but it was the ending of episode 4 that really hooked me. Because it is a continuing anime and a new episode only comes out once a week, I decided to read the manga to see what is happening.
I have to be honest... had I not seen the anime first, I would have never read this manga.
And, I might not have enjoyed it without some sort of base for what was happening. As it stands, I started reading the manga when I was on episode 17 of the anime and could follow what was happening easily.
The artwork in the manga is not beautiful - whereas the anime is absolutely gorgeous, and has a bit of an "old style" to it with its thick lines - but Isayama thought of everything
. I have not been able to find any plot holes, he gives ample hints as to what is actually going on (I hate it when things just "happen" that the reader is never given the opportunity to guess) and he has really spent a lot of time creating this world. For a manga, this is really amazing. Maybe I just haven't seen or read the right anime, but this is the first of its kind, for me, that dives this deep into the world its presenting.
The set up for the manga can be a bit disconcerting at times and a little confusing, but after a while, it's easy to figure out what's happening. It does have a pretty large cast, which I've seen some people dislike, but I really love that. I really love that each character has their own personality and when you put all of them together it creates this amazing team. As well as having an interesting plot, it is the characters that really make this manga gold.
I don't like Eren, the main protagonist. I think he's this annoying twerp who has so many typical shounen characteristics to be really interesting. Even though he's a flop, he surrounds himself with two very interesting people: Armin and Mikasa. The side characters don't take a back seat either. The reader doesn't have to sit through longwinded back stories about each character -- they are shown in their actions and in their words. Their past is not always important. What's important is how they interact together and the bonds they form.
There is a lot of philosophy in this manga, too. Take Jean, my favorite character, for example. He perfectly encompasses the human condition. He's this brat that joins the army in hopes of saving his hide and living a comfortable life, but when he's faced with a challenge and terror, he braves up and becomes a leader. He then makes the very courageous choice to join the Scouting Legion instead of the Military Police, an act that will always put him in danger, but he can't turn back after the horror he has seen. This, to me, was exactly what humanity is: scared at first, but when faced with a challenge, they rise up. I couldn't help but think that this was exactly what Isayama intended.
Also, it is notable to say that I have never read such a gender neutral manga before. Props for Isayama for creating characters that are so vastly different that I never had the annoying thought of, "Oh, that girl is a 'strong female character'." Instead, I always think, "Wow, she's/he's this-and-this-and-this... and this, too!" None of the characters, not even Levi and Mikasa, are based solely on their strength.
There is so much to each of them, so many relatable flaws, that you can't help falling in love.