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|That day, the human race remembered the terror of being dominated by the Titans... and that they were held captive in a birdcage.|
|— The narrator on humanity's predicament|
The Attack on Titan rough draft is the first official version of the story that would become the Attack on Titan manga, written and illustrated by Hajime Isayama. It is 54 pages long and resembles the final manga much more than its predecessor Attack on Titan 0. The rough draft was published in the Attack on Titan: OUTSIDE Osamu guidebook, which would be released in English format in the Attack on Titan Guidebook.
Five years after the arrival of a Colossus Titan at Wall Rose, an instructor of the 104th Training Corps reminds the trainees of the first appearance of the Titans 120 years ago, and how after the loss of Wall Rose, humanity retreated to Wall Maria. The instructor lists the trainees eligible to join the Military Police Brigade: Mikasa Ackerman, Reiner Braun, Bertolt Hoover, Annie Leonhart, Eren Yeager, Jean Kirstein, Marco Bott, Connie Springer, Sasha Blouse, and Krista Lenz. All recruits are given the opportunity to join either the Survey Corps or the Garrison, and the 104th Training Corps is dismissed.
At the disbanding dinner, many recruits discuss which branches of the military they wish to join. Eren overhears Jean's selfish talk and is angered, believing that humanity should fight the Titans and discover their weaknesses rather than running. As Eren and Jean begin to fight, Mikasa carries him outside. She tells Eren that she intends to join the Survey Corps with him for his protection, remembering her childhood when her parents were killed by human traffickers, though she was saved by Eren. Mikasa and Eren are joined outside by Armin Arlert, who also wishes to join the Survey Corps. As they talk, their family friend Hannes arrives, who apologizes for being unable to save Eren's mother five years ago. Hannes wonders what happened to Eren's father, but Eren reminds him that he ate his father.
After awakening from a nightmare of his father injecting him with a syringe, Eren and the other trainees are sent to the top of Wall Maria to make improvements. As other recruits express their desire to join the Survey Corps, the Colossus Titan returns. To Eren's disbelief, the Colossus Titan succeeds in kicking a hole through Wall Maria.
Five years later, an instructor of the 104th Training Corps reminds the recruits of the tragedy that befell humanity those years ago, and of the first appearance of the Titans that nearly wiped out the human race 120 years ago. After the appearance of the Titans, humanity constructed three Walls to defend their territory, and lived in over a hundred years of peace until the Colossus Titan broke a hole in the outermost Wall, Wall Rose. Afterwards, humanity fled to the second Wall, Wall Maria. With the history recounted, the instructor lists off the top ten recruits of the 104th Training Corps who are eligible to join the Military Police Brigade, the main fighting force of the king: Mikasa Ackerman, Reiner Braun, Bertolt Hoover, Annie Leonhart, Eren Yeager, Jean Kirstein, Marco Bott, Connie Springer, Sasha Blouse, and Krista Lenz. The remaining recruits are given the choice of joining the Garrison, who reinforce the Walls, and the Survey Corps, who travel beyond the Walls to take the fight to the Titans. With that, the 104th Training Corps is officially disbanded, and the recruits are dismissed.
At the recruits' dinner, one recruit joins Krista to congratulate her on her high placement. Krista thanks her unenthusiastically, and the recruit urges Krista to enjoy her upcoming life as an MP. Elsewhere, Jean and Marco express their desire to join the Military Police as well. While Marco wishes to serve honorably at the king's side, Jean simply wishes to live a luxurious life in the Interior. The other recruits are somewhat put off with Jean's attitude. Bertolt also wishes to join the MPs as well as Annie, though Annie makes it clear that she is nothing like Jean. Jean's attitude causes Eren to speak up, though Mikasa advises against it. Eren states that it would be best for humanity to learn all they can about the Titans in order to defeat them once and for all. Agreeing with Eren, Reiner says he wishes to join the Survey Corps. Jean becomes angry with Eren's ideas, thinking the Survey Corps is filled with madmen and claiming that Eren only placed above him due to his father's wealth. As a fight breaks out between them, some recruits try to break them up before Mikasa steps in and carries Eren away over he shoulder.
Outside, Mikasa tells Eren that she wishes to join the Survey Corps. Eren says she should apply for the Military Police instead, but Mikasa tells him that she does not want to lose more of her family, remembering what happened to her many years ago.
Mikasa thinks back to her childhood, remembering when her father and mother were killed by human traffickers. Her kidnappers wished to sell her to merchants in the captial's underground market due to her race, who had come to the mountains from a land called "Asia", though Mikasa was not a pure-blooded member of her race. At that time, Eren found the kidnappers' cabin, claiming to have gotten lost in the woods. As a kidnapper came to speak with him, Eren stabbed the man in the chest, and when his accomplice came to his side Eren stabbed him with the knife tied to a broomstick. Eren jumped onto the man's chest, stabbing him repeatedly as he screamed insults. When Eren came to help Mikasa out of her restraints, a third kidnapper arrived and began to choke Eren before he could retaliate. Eren urged Mikasa to fight, and as she took up the knife, a surge of energy rushed through her as she attacked the man. Some time later, Eren's father arrived at the cabin, scolding Eren for not waiting for the Military Police to arrive. Eren apologized and gave Mikasa his scarf for warmth. Eren's father offered to adopt Mikasa into the Yeager family, and the three went home.
Outside of the dinner area, Eren and Mikasa are joined by Armin. Armin says he wants to join the Survey Corps, desiring to study the Titans as Eren had suggested. As they talk, they are joned by Hannes, a family friend in the Garrison, who drunkenly joins the three. After congratulating them, Hannes apologizes for being unable to save Eren's mother five years ago.
Eren recalls the day five years ago when his mother was trapped beneath the rubble of their home due to the destruction caused by the Colossus Titan. At her request, Hannes saved Eren and Mikasa as the Titans closed in on his mother. Hannes explains that he wanted to repay his debt to Dr. Yeager, who saved Hannes' family and the rest of their town from a disease many years ago. Hannes asks where Eren's father is, wondering if it is somehow related to Eren's memories of his father giving him a strange injection. Eren reminds Hannes that some time ago, he ate his own father.
Eren recalls a moment after the death of his mother when his father frantically insisted that Eren must take an injection, demanding that he must hold out his arm. Suddenly, Eren is woken up by his fellow recruits, asking him if he is alright. Eren insists that everything is fine, and they all head outside for the day's duties. Outside, Eren's comrades note the peaceful times provided by the Walls and their new strength. Eren becomes angered at their talk, comparing them to a married couple, but the two recruits insist that their relationship is not as Eren claims.
Some time later, during Wall improvement duties, Connie and Sasha tell Eren that they also want to join the Survey Corps. Armin points out how many people have been moved by Eren's words, and Eren considers telling his friends something important. Suddenly, a large gust of wind comes up over the Wall, and the Colossus Titan appears again. Eren stands by in disbelief, stating that the Walls are seven times stronger than they were five years ago. As Eren watches, the Colossus Titan succeeds in kicking a hole through Wall Maria.
Characters in Order of Appearance
Rough Draft and Manga Differences
- In the rough draft, the story begins with the graduation of the 104th Training Corps, with pieces of certain characters' backstories being made known in brief flashbacks scattered throughout the main storyline. In the manga, the story is told more or less in chronological order, with the exception of the 104th Training Corps arc.
- In the rough draft, it is said that 120 years passed between the first appearance of the Titans and the events of the main storyline. In the manga, this is reduced to 107 years.
- In the rough draft, the outermost Wall is Wall Rose, and the middle Wall is Wall Maria. In the manga, the two names are switched, with Maria being the outer Wall and Rose being the middle Wall.
- In the rough draft, the Colossus Titan appears to be able to breach the Wall in any given area. In the manga, the Colossus Titan is only able to breach the Wall in areas where the gates are located, which seem to not exist in the rough draft.
- No mention is made of the Armored Titan in the rough draft.
- In the rough draft, the Walls are said to be 40 meters in height, whereas in the manga they are roughly 50 meters high. The Titans in the rough draft are said to reach no more than 20 meters in height, while in the manga the tallest average Titans are 15 meters tall.
- Ymir appears during the recruits' dinner after the disbanding of the 104th Training Corps, while in the manga she does not make an appearance until Chapter 5, during the battle of Trost District.
- In the rough draft, Eren expresses his desire to learn more about the Titans in order to discover their weaknesses. In the manga, Eren is more focused on the general desire to take back the territory the Titans stole from humanity.
- In the rough draft, Eren seems much more aware of his past after Grisha injects him with a Titan serum, even telling Hannes that he ate his father. In the manga, Eren's memories of eating his father are nearly all forgotten until they resurface fully in Chapter 62.
- In the rough draft, Eren claims that humanity was able to make the Walls seven times stronger in the five years between the attacks from the Colossus Titan. In the manga, humanity is much more prepared for a Titan attack after the fall of Shiganshina District, but nothing is done to strengthen the Walls themselves.
- At the time of the release of the rough draft in the Attack on Titan: OUTSIDE Osamu guidebook, Grisha Yeager's fate was not yet revealed in the manga. Because of this, Eren's dialogue "I ate my father," was removed from the rough draft in the published guidebook. The missing dialogue would remain a mystery until the release of the Attack on Titan ANSWERS guidebook, which reveals the censored dialogue due to the reveal of Grisha's fate in the manga.