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Many times in Attack on Titan, the various soldiers mention something called "three-dimensional maneuvering", which appears to be an effective strategy for the battles with the Titans. At the end of chapter 3, there is a "rough explanation" about it:

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However, it doesn't really explain what three-dimensional maneuvering is, and the manga doesn't seem to show very well what the soldiers are doing when they perform these maneuvers. Logic would dictate that a three-dimensional maneuver can be any maneuver since movement in the real world is in three dimensions. However, this term seems to mean something specific.

What is a "three-dimensional maneuver", and how is it special or effective against the Titans?

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    it's like being Spiderman! – кяαzєя Apr 23 '13 at 19:05
  • See also: How does the 3D maneuver gear work? – unor Sep 15 '13 at 20:27
  • Yeah, it would be more accurate to call it a three-axis attack, as they are attacking on the X-Y-Z axis of movement, as opposed to height/width/depth. Now, if only one could explain these 4D rides....as the 4th dimension is time........and they are quite short >.< – NZKshatriya Dec 4 '16 at 8:09
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According to what is shown in Episode 3, Three-Dimensional Maneuvering is indeed being able to move in all three axes. We, normally, are able to move two-dimensionally, meaning that we move along a horizontal plane. The gear introduces a vertical axis, making it possible for humans to move to a desired height as well.

As to the advantages it might provide in fighting Titans, besides the ones Rinzwind says in his answer (avoid falling rubble and the like; and also, to make people move a lot faster), I guess the most evident one would be the fact that people do not need to fight at a height that only reaches a Titan's feet or legs and being able to rise enough to be able to attack them where it might do some actual damage. From the Attacks on Titan episodes I've seen so far (3 episodes), humans always go for the neck, meaning that this gear allows them to strike on more (presumably) vulnerable spots.

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  • Forward-backward is 1 dimension (line)
  • Left-right is 2 dimensions (square)
  • Up-down is 3 dimensions (cube)

From what I remember in the 1st episode of the anime (I have not read the manga, sorry): several soldiers jumped from their horses into the trees using cables. That would be 3 dimensions. Since staying on the horse would have been 2 dimensional.

About effectiveness: it might be a bit early to answer but throwing in a few cents... I would guess that since Titans are so large they probably are tough but not quick. So Titans can easily destroy walls, houses, or trees as seen in episode 1 and the soldiers would need to run around these, making attacking less effective (and more dangerous) since most of the time they would be avoiding rubble and falling objects.

So getting into the air might be a lot more effective. I imagine they would use those cables to try and pin a Titan down and make it fall down.

  • Soooooooo episode 2 proves me wrong: slow they are not :D :D – Rinzwind Apr 16 '13 at 14:59
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    Yeah, though I think you're right. Based on the equipment and all, I think three-dimensional maneuvering is ascension. Titans have to be killed in a specific way which requires climbing them, so this makes sense. – Killua Apr 18 '13 at 22:14
  • @Rinzwind, And that's not even fast, there are much faster ones. – Pacerier Jul 3 '14 at 21:40

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