|It spoke.... The Titan spoke.|
|— Ilse writes of a Titan that can speak|
Ilse's Notebook (イルゼの手帳 Iruze no Techō?) is a special chapter of the Attack on Titan manga, written and illustrated by Hajime Isayama. It was included at the beginning of the 5th volume before Chapter 19.
A soldier abandons their damaged vertical maneuvering equipment and begins to run away. The soldier then starts writing in a notebook, stating their name is Ilse Langnar and that her brigade was overrun by Titans and all her team mates and horses had been lost, along with her maneuvering equipment breaking. She begins running north and takes down all of her events in the notebook. While running she encounters a Titan that forces her up against a tree, she presumes it is an abnormal Titan as it does not eat her right away. While Ilse is writing down her last words the Titan begins to speak to her saying "a subject of Ymir" and "Lady Ymir...Well met," while bowing. Ilse is shocked and documents all of this in her notebook and asks the Titan what it is, where it came from, and why its kind eat people. When it does not answer she becomes enraged and lashes out at it before it starts tearing off its cheeks. Ilse runs away terrified, only to be caught by the Titan before it puts her head between its teeth and crushes it. Ilse's lost notebook is found a year later in a field by Levi and Hange who identify Ilse's body and her notebook.
A narrator speaks about the Titans, saying that more than a century ago Titans nearly devoured humans to extinction, so humanity erected Walls to live behind in peace. The narrator then states that not everyone was content with living their entire lives isolated behind the Walls and that there are those that venture into the lands swarming with Titans. They are the members of a military division named the Survey Corps.
A soldier is seen removing their vertical maneuvering equipment and abandoning it on the ground as they run away. The soldier then takes a notebook out of their pocket and begins writing. They introduce themselves as Ilse Langnar, a soldier who participated in the 34th expedition beyond the Walls, in charge of the left wing of the second brigade. Ilse states that on their way back her brigade encountered Titans and that all her team mates and horses were lost, and her maneuvering equipment suffered irreparable damage so she had to abandon it. She writes that she is currently running north and that she has lost her horse in Titan controlled lands and it is impossible to outrun a Titan on foot.
As she remembers the horrors of her comrades being eaten, Ilse claims that she is trying to return to the city, but her situation is dire. As she runs through the forest, Ilse writes that she hopes she might be able to make it to the Walls without encountering any Titans, and that falling to her knees and crying in fear is absolutely not an option, even under the current circumstances. She states that ever since she joined the Survey Corps she was prepared for such an event. She then claims that she is a proud member of the Survey Corps, the hope for humanity, and that she is not afraid to die. She writes that even if she has to give up her life she will still fight until the end and that even though she has no weapons, she can still fight. Still running, Ilse states that she will write her situation in this notebook, resolved to do whatever she can with everything she has and that she absolutely will not give up. Ilse writes again that she will not give up, just as she runs in front of a Titan.Ilse stares up at the Titan, horrified, and it smashes down in front of her while she backs up against a tree sitting at the face of the Titan. The Titan takes heavy breaths, as does Ilse, and she begin to cry. She vaguely speaks once more that she will not give up and begins writing again, stating that she has encountered a Titan about 6-meter class and it did not devour her right away. She then questions if it is an Abnormal Titan.
She begins writing her last words, stating her last moments have come and this is it for her. She writes that all she did in life was act selfish and that she had never given anything back to her parents. She calls it disgusting and states that it is all about to end now. While Ilse is writing, the Titan speaks to her the words "a subject of Ymir". Amazed, Ilse looks up from her notebook and asks herself what has just happened. The Titan stares at her and then speaks the words "Lady Ymir...Well met," as it bows its head.
She then writes in her notebook that the Titan is talking, and expresses her amazement that it uttered meaningful words and writes down what it said to her. She asks the Titan what it is and then writes of it in her notebook. It makes moaning sounds, and Ilse takes note that it is not speaking any more and states that she will try to ask it of its place of origin. Ilse asks the question and the Titan continues to groan as Ilse writes down that it again did not answer. She then asks the Titan why they eat people and writes down the action in her notebook. After it continues to groan Ilse quickly boils over in rage and shouts at it. She screams asking why they have to eat people when they would not die even without food. She says that they are senseless, worthless, lumps of flesh and then screams for them to leave this world.
As Ilse finishes screaming, the Titan grabs its cheeks and begins to tear them off. Ilse is shocked and backs up against the tree more, questioning what is going on. She panics and begins to run from the Titan as it continues to tear its cheeks off. The Titan looks her way and sees her running. Ilse continues to run away and as she looks behind her the Titan jumps forward and grabs her legs, holding her upright. Ilse drops her notebook and screams in horror. As the Titan brings her to its mouth, she tries to use her hand to stop it but it grabs her left arm and puts her head between its teeth. Ilse continues to scream in fear until the Titan bites down on her head for a few moments before crushing it and killing her. The Titan groans once more and then bites her head entirely off.
A year later, Captain Levi and Squad Leader Hange are seen in a field. As Levi picks up a notebook, Hange is looking at a corpse and claims that it has the armband of the 34th expedition. Hange then states that it belonged to a soldier who died a year ago by the name of Ilse Langnar. Hange proposes that they only take the jacket back and that staying where they were any longer could be dangerous. Hange then sees Levi looking at something and asks what he is holding in his hands. Levi, reading the notebook, then states that it is what Ilse Langnar died for.
Characters in order of appearance
- In page 3 there is a glimpse to Ilse's notebook. The text is messy Japanese katakana turned upside down and written right to left. While this matches the style of the unknown writing on the herring can found later in Utgard Castle, it is more likely the common Walls writing written in a different style by Hajime Isayama's assistants. The text translates as "encountered a Titan" (ソウグウカンジキョン souguukajikyojin?), which corresponds to the hiragana of Ilse's thoughts written at the left in the same panel: "In command of the left flank of the 2nd brigade. On the way back, encountered a Titan (そうぐうかじきよじん?)."