Home > Manga Reviews, Reviews > Attack on Titan: Special Edition, Vols. 16 + 17

Attack on Titan: Special Edition, Vols. 16 + 17

Attack on Titan, Vol. 17Attack on Titan: Special Edition Vols. 16 + 17
by Hajime Isayama
Kodansha Comics
Rating: Teen (16 +)

After years of teasing, slowly dropped hints, vague suggestions and fan theories, revelations regarding the history of the world, the nature of the Titans and more abound in Hajime Isayama’s Attack on Titan: Special Edition, Vols. 16 + 17! There’s so much going on within these two volumes that they’re almost exhausting to read. Long held suspicions are confirmed while the Survey Corps have their showdown with Kenny the Ripper’s special Anti-Maneuvering Gear squad. Meanwhile Eren and Krista are confronted with revelations about their families and a choice that could leave one of them dead.

Attack on Titan, Vols. 16 + 17 do a fantastic job at highlighting the best things about the series. These two volumes are full of amazing twists, turns and other plot insanity that’s been a big draw for the series since it’s get go. Isayama does a fantastic job at handling the revelations and imbues them with a strong sense of emotional weight and meaning for the characters, not to mention the world of the series in general. They’re clearly going to have lengthy reverberations for the rest of the series and they truly feel momentous and help enforce the idea that we’ve reached a major turning point for Attack on Titan.

The action sequences are lovely to behold and, much like the story revelations, also carry weight to them. Not just because the results could affect the plot in a major way, but because of how they affect the individual characters. Up until the last few volumes, Eren and the rest of the Survey Corps members have primarily been battling the inhuman Titans, but with the introduction of Kenny and his Anti-Maneuvering Gear Squad, they’re fighting other humans. This forces them to cross lines they’ve never considered before, namely taking the life of another human and all that entails. On a more exciting note, it also means that Isayama gets to stretch his muscles a bit and create an exciting, large scale aerial battle which is pretty fantastic! A page from Attack on Titan, Vol. 17

Unfortunately it’s not all roses. Eren’s always had something of a martyr complex, but in these two volumes he’s a little too eager to get up on his cross. His moments of self doubt, desire for atonement and to do the right thing bounce between emotionally powerful to distractingly goofy, sometimes in a matter of pages.

The Special Editions of both volumes come with several nifty extras. Volume 16 includes a slip cover by American comic artist and co-creator of the Walking Dead, Tony Moore, and a deck of playing cards with colored art from the manga. Meanwhile, volume 17 comes with a 30 minute anime adaption of the manga chapter, “Ilse’s Notebook.” These Special Editions look like they’ll be regular features for the U.S. edition of Attack on Titan going forward, and Kodansha Comics have already announced that volumes 18 and 19 will include anime adaption of the Levi side story manga, Attack on Titan: No Regrets.

Attack on Titan, Vols. 16 + 17 feel like they’re fit to burst with important plot and character moments. It’s easy to see that these are two rather important pieces in the length saga Hajime Isayama has planned. Throwing out major reveals like this can be tricky and often end up feeling unsatisfying and can leave readers feeling like they’ve wasted their time. Isayama’s managed to avoid this with these volumes. He may have not solved every every mystery in the series, but he’s provided enough answers to satisfy readers while ensuring they’ll come back for the rest.

Attack on Titan, Vols. 16 + 17 is available now from Kodansha Comics. Review copy of Attack on Titan: Special Edition, Vol. 17 provided by the publisher.

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