[Manga Review] Attack On Titan: Before The Fall Vol. 2

Nothing like taking your life into your own hands only to toss it away.

What They Say

As “the Titan’s son.” Kuklo had spent his entire life in cages, despised and feared He then met Sharle Inocencio, a young girl who defied her father and brother to look after and prepare the abused boy in secret — and plot his escape from the dungeon, and her escape from her betrothal. But the nighttime they’ve dreamed of brings new horrors with it, and Kuklo becomes obsessed with demonstrating that he isn’t the creature everyone has always assumed him to be. That means meeting with a Titan in person…, for himself!

At the end of the first volume of Before the Autumn the stage was set for the ‘son of the titan,’ the sadly named Kuklo, to escape from his chains. I don’t know where the two naive children believed they could escape to in their own fish bowl of a nation,.

Fortunately for them their escape becomes far easier when the estate is stormed by titan idolizing fanatics and kill everyone except Kuklo, Sharle, and Sharle’s deranged brother. He discovers himself on the receiving end of her brothers sword, loosened an eye in the procedure when Kuklo hurries to Sharle’s rescue. Sharle needs nothing to do with the creature her brother is, and after knocking his assaulter out the two head for Shiganshina.

The two somehow make it without difficulties to the city. After there Sharle finds that the family she was assumed to be wed into has fallen into disgrace for reasons that are totally unrelated, leaving her challenging her fate and her choice to discard her old life. There’s no going back with her dad dead anyhow.

Kuklo can just sit by and cure while Sharle makes them accommodations and food. In a hilarious move Kuklo’s hair cuts on, leaving him looking like the bastard child of Tetsuo and Courage. It’s quite suitable for a child whose about to embark on a suicide mission. Leaving Sharle behind he plots to sneak aboard the Survey Corps supply wagon to get up close and personal with a titan. No one notices the stowaway until it’s much too late consuming the supplies.

The Survey Corps themselves are newly reformed under the order of Carlo, who is the son of a former hero of the corps. Carlo is the soldier we met in volume one, and he’s mature and wiser here but under extreme pressure to show the worth of the corps. He’s also the one who found Kuklo as a baby, and wonders what might have happened to the son to where that whole mess happened fifteen years ago upon returning.

The lad in question ends up picking up one of the guns in the storage wagon and firing it by accident. It alerts a titan to the corps existence and the battle is on. Kuklo turns himself in and demands to see the commander, who thinks the stowaway is simply a fanatic or a punk.

The battle is a confusing mixture of speed lines and body blows, likely hindered by the fact that you could just really reveal a little portion of a titan at a time because of scale. Kuklo plots to blow up the titan (Sharle explained to him what explosives are? Confidentacceptable…) and appears to have little fear while the men around him go insane. He’s so decided to establish that he’s a human that he discounts the fact he can perish like one too.

The volume ends on a cliffhanger with Kuklo literally dangling inches from the titan’s mouth and somehow stabbing the titan in the eye. Kuklo may not be bright, but he has the tenacity of a cockroach.

In Summary
Before the Fall brings us more titan fighting action, and only the lowest number of empathy for it’s lead. Kuklo’s single minded want to prove to himself that he isn’t a monster is commendable, but his execution is flawed. It’s like they say, there’s a fine line between bravery and stupidity. To date the story has been moving at a slow pace, and I anticipate when this is assumed to show us exactly how Kuklo becomes a great champion it’s going to have to speed things up. After all, the Corps doesn’t have it’s fighting equipment yet and they calvary has already been revealed to be worthless in a fight.

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