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Attack on Titan Vol. #15 Manga Review

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Attack on Titan Vol. #15
Attack on Titan Vol. #15

First against the wall when the revolution comes.

Creative Staff
Story/Art: Hajime Isayama
Translation/Adaptation: Ko Ransom

What They Say
Hange’s interrogation of a Military Police squad has revealed that Krista (a.k.a. Historia Reiss) is the true heir to the  throne. The Corps quickly moves to enthrone her as queen, but a homicidal MP leads a squad that abducts Eren and Krista and throws the Corps into disarray. With Erwin arrested and the Survey Corps on the edge of dissolution, are Levi and Hange finally out of options?

Content: (please note that content portions of a review may contain spoilers):
I expected to rejoin the action right where the last volume of Attack on Titan left off. We were left with the impending threat of the death of yet another main character and everyone fighting for their lives while trying to clear their names. Instead we are taken elsewhere, to a pair of newsmen preparing a story for the broadsheets about the massacre. What transpires in this volume are both strokes of luck and timing, as well as some careful bets and favors being called in which turn the tide of battle for everyone.

Armin has been the weakest member of the corps, physically if not emotionally. He struggles with his decision to pull the trigger on another human being, and Jean realizes that in Armin’s position he may not have been able to make the same split second choice. Later Jean has to throw caution to the wind in order to lure an additional ally to the side of the Survey Corps.

Tough choices and delicate balancing games abound for everyone in this volume. Erwin was playing a dangerous game trusting both his soldiers and associates to make a move to challenge the status quo. We’re informed about halfway through this volume that it will likely be Erwin’s fate to be hung as a traitor. Levi and Hange don’t back down from more torture in order to get the information they need about Eren and Krista’s whereabouts.

When everyone’s backs are against the wall it comes down to trust. Luck is on the Corps side for the first time, and when the dominos start to fall they fall fast. And after all of that building tension it’s so satisfying watching something go right for a change in this series. The two newspapermen end up being lynchpins in getting word out about the setup of the Survey Corps and their innocence. The noble’s own greed and terror lead to their downfall as their true colors are revealed. The military branches that were once firmly in their camp are shown to not have been so trustworthy in their leaders. The tables turn and the coup completes.

The victory for the Survey Corps is short lived though. Erwin starts to wonder if the power vacuum they created will cause unrest in the population. The nobles out in the country will certainly not enjoy their military being in charge. They also are still missing the information about the titans the government might hold. Eren and Krista are still missing and the clues lead Levi and Hange to the old Reiss estate. Secrets about the Reiss family are slowly coming to light, but how Eren’s father was involved is still a mystery. The final few pages dive deep in to Eren’s past with his father and that needle, but it raises more questions than answers. Lucky for us and not him, the position Eren finds himself in is within arms reach of the truth.

One thing I noticed about the art in this volume is that it’s all very dark. There’s a ton of tone being used and gray washes across page after page. The series up until now has had a very stark and blown out look to much of the backgrounds. Since most of this volume takes place at night it gives the story a very different feeling during this stretch, a clandestine battle.

In Summary
This is the tightest volume of Attack on Titan yet, with great payoff for the actions being set up, and also perhaps the single most important volume since we discovered humans could become titans. This also might be my favorite volume is this wildly offbeat series so far. It feels like it’s approaching an end point if not for the story as a whole then for a good portion of it. All of this is accomplished without a single titan eating someone! We are tantalizingly close to discovering the whole truth about Eren and his father’s involvement with the titans, and perhaps the origin of the titans in general. Toss in some character development for Armin and Jean to round it out and all readers should be left satisfied and wanting more.

Content Grade: A –
Art Grade: C +
Packaging Grade: B
Text/Translation Grade: A

Age Rating: 16+
Released By: Kodansha Comics
Release Date: March 17th, 2015
MSRP: $10.99