Home > Manga Reviews, Reviews > Attack on Titan: No Regrets, Vol. 1

Attack on Titan: No Regrets, Vol. 1

Welcome back to Sequential Ink, or just welcome for those visiting for the first time. For those wondering, I’ve spent the last year or so writing Manga in Minutes column for Comics Should Be Good, part of Comic Book Resources. My association with them is now at an end, but my review writing isn’t! With that in mind I’ll be dusting off this blog and posting weekly manga reviews every Wednesday night between 6 and 7 PM EST. As time goes on I may expand a bit and return to mixing in American comic reviews and novel reviews as well, but first things first.

Now that that’s taken care of, let’s take a look at a few news items that caught my eye this past week.

 

 

Speaking of Attack on Titan, with the news out of the way it’s time to take a look at Attack on Titan: No Regrets, Vol. 1!

Attack on Titan: No Regrets, Vol. 1Attack on Titan: No Regrets, Vol. 1
Art by Hikaru Sugura, Story by Gun Snark (Nitroplus)
Kodansha Comics, 192 pp
Rating: Older Teen (16+)

Adapted from a visual novel included with the Japanese Blu-Ray release of Attack on Titan, Jikaru Sugura’s Attack on Titan: No Regrets, Vol. 1 delves into the history of Levi, one of the more popular characters in the series, and promises to show how he met Commander Erwin, joined the Survey Corps and became the character fans know and love.

Two plot lines entwine throughout this volume. The primary story follows Levi and his friends, a pair of criminals, as they’re forcibly recruited into the Survey Corps, though there are hints that it’s not as forced as we’re lead to believe. The secondary plot focuses heavily on Erwin as he navigates a tricky political landscape to get approval and financing for an experimental mission beyond the wall. We jump back and forth between the two characters as their individual story’s interact and spin off of each other. There’s a sense that both Erwin and Levi are caught up in in larger events as pawns for unseen powers and organizations, and that both desire to be free of them. Levi’s backstory is clearly the big draw here, and it’s not quite what I would have expected. He’s brutal, thuggish, but with a strong sense of loyalty to his comrades, but also someone who’s easily given to threatening the lives of anyone for just about anything. His initial encounter with Erwin is far from positive and as a result he spends a large chunk of this first volume claiming that he’ll murder him, despite the fact that it seems like doing so will ultimately screw up whatever job his group seems to be attempting. This really makes it feel like the series will trace his growth from this vicious selfish punk to the vicious team player we see in the main Attack on Titan series. Erwin’s tale suffers a little from this focus on Levi, which is a bit of a shame as it seems like it would be just as interesting. Political situations are set up and resolved completely off camera, with little to no explanation as to what Erwin actually did. Instead, we simply see the results are left to imagine Erwin’s actions.

Sugura’s art is clean and tight. It’s reminiscent of Isayama’s style, but without the thatching, anatomical mishaps, and stiff, awkward poses that often mar his work. Unfortunately Sugura also lacks the wonderful kinetic feel that permeates Isayama’s action scenes. While this sometimes makes them clearer and easier to follow, it also removes one of the great hooks of the original Attack on Titan series. Despite their lack of impact, the few action scenes are perfectly decent and Sugura manages to fit in a rather snazzy Titan takedown. Under Sugura’s hand Levi, Erwin and several other characters from the original series are instantly recognizable, and the new characters blend in nicely, never feeling out of place as they stick with the already established visual style of the franchise.

Unlike Attack on Titan: Before the Fall, Attack on Titan: No Regrets certainly feels more like a prequel series. It offers up the backstory for one of the series most popular characters, and even gives us a glimpse at the development of certain tactics and maneuvers that we see in the main series. As it result it feels far more connected and should hold more interest to fans of the original franchise. It does seem to be delivering the goods as far as Levi is concerned, and I’ll be curious to see how his relationship with Erwin grows and develops into what we see in Isayama’s series. This is definitely the Attack on Titan spin off that fans will probably most enjoy.

Attack on Titan: No Regrets, Vol. 1 will be available June 24th from Kodansha Comics. Review copy provided by the publisher.

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