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"Attack on Titan" explores the characters as middle schoolers

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"Attack on Titan: Junior High" Volume 1

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So what would happen if the characters from "Attack on Titan" were in middle school, and went to school with the Titans instead of fighting against them?

You get a manga that is a pretty funny read.

"Attack on Titan: Junior High Vol. 1," released by Kodansha Comics USA, is a parody/spin-off of megahit manga and anime series "Attack on Titan," which imagines the characters as middle schoolers with slightly exaggerated character traits from their counterparts.

In the story, Eren Yeager can't forgive the Titans for what they did to him five years previously, and becomes obsessed with destroying them. (The whole reason for Eren's grudge against the Titans is part of the joke of the series) In this world, Armin is barely a step above a shut in, Mikasa's "crush" on Eren is almost obsessive, and Levi is super serious about his cleaning. The characters find themselves in situations such as observing a Titan classroom, participating in an athletic competition, and trying to beat the Titans in volleyball.

There were several points in this manga I found myself laughing out loud, such as in one chapter when a character asks another one during an intense Rock, Paper, Scissors battle if she was going to "go the backstabby villain route and we can keep fighting for like 45 more volumes" if she didn't reveal her grudge to him.

There were a few dead spots, such as in the chapter where the group is forced to join the Wall Beautification Club, but even in that story there were some good laughs to be had. And even at 16 chapters, it's a quick read.

Admittedly, a lot of the jokes might be missed by those who haven't read "Attack on Titan" or seen the anime (which is making its debut on Adult Swim's Toonami lineup May 3), so a lot of the more specific humor might be lost to those who have never seen the show. But there are also some American pop culture references that many readers will get a kick out of, such as one character describing something as being "worse than a Cameron Diaz movie marathon," while another is asked if he was a Justin Bieber cosplayer. This is one of those instances where you have a feeling the translator had as much fun translating this as writer Saki Nakagawa had writing it.

Overall, "Attack on Titan: Junior High Vol. 1" is a fun read, and is highly recommended for fans of "Attack on Titan" or comedy lovers.

"Attack on Titan: Junior High Vol. 1" ($16.99 retail price) is available from Amazon, Books a Million, and other online retailers that sell mangas.

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