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Attack on Titan Vol. #16 Manga Review

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Attack on Titan Vol. #16
Attack on Titan Vol. #16

One girl will decide that the story of humanity versus the titans isn’t over yet.

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

What They Say
Captured by Rod Reiss, the rightful king, Krista and Eren finally have their memories back. What exactly happened to Eren, and what was the crime his father committed? Meanwhile, the Survey Corps desperately hunts for Eren, while at the same time seeking to legitimize their military coup. As the situation inside the walls comes to a head, the mysteries of the world of the Titans seem on the cusp of being solved at last!

Content: (please note that content portions of this review will contain spoilers):
Volume 16* of Attack on Titan could be considered a major turning point for the series. Some important information gets dropped during the events of this volume which should clear up plenty of questions the reader had, but it also doesn’t bring the kids any closer to saving humanity.

The gravity of the situation that everyone launches into at the beginning of this volume is completely diminished by two poorly timed attempts at humor. One is a flippant comment made by Kenny, which is also one of the worst attempts at misdirection I’ve ever seen. The other is that the guy Erwin’s crew handed the king over to is a complete lunatic who starts performing some torture that is like something out of Human Centipede on the former ruler of all of humankind as the story knows it. Let’s face it, Attack on Titan is a B horror movie, accept that and move on.

The actual serious events of this volume play out better than the weird attempts at levity. We last left Eren in the hands of the Reiss patriarch, who fully discloses his daughter’s murky past to her and tells Krista (who’s been going by her real name, the too on the point Historia) what her destiny as the heir of the Reiss family. Simply put, the Reiss family is the inheritor’s of the true history of humankind and are the only ones capable of controlling the titans. They are the true descendants of the ruler who locked humanity behind the walls. We don’t know why they did that, but if Historia goes through with the process she will!

The problem is that process means devouring Eren. It also means inheriting the will of that first ruler, who believed humanity needed to be ruled by the titans. Watching Historia learn all of this, remember her dead sister, and slowly come to the realization that Eren’s father was the one who stole the inheritance from the family and what all of that meant is a fun rollercoaster ride. We’re left guessing as to what Historia will end up deciding.

Speaking of Eren and his father, Eren once again spends this volume riddled with guilt and believing that Historia should devour him. He doesn’t seem to grasp what Krista quickly does, that her eating him won’t solve anything if she ends up with the same mentality the rest of her family did. The most satisfying moment of this volume comes when Historia smacks him in the head and tells him off for his ideas and woe is me attitude. Krista for the new main protagonist, please.

That leaves Kenny Ackerman’s relationship to Mikase to explain, and yes they are related. That’s not all, we get an explanation about the memory loss and the genetic makeup of the population. I hope this results in Kenny making an about face to work on the side of the kids, but I doubt it will happen. The dude is just too off the walls crazy. This information does make Mikase a very important person in that she is clearly immune from something we don’t quite understand.

None of these revelations are pointing the way to a solution to the titan problem. To make matters worse, everyone ends up trapped in a space with a swiftly growing titan with no way out. The volume ends with Eren doing something rash, like always, but what he did isn’t particularly clear.

So… uh… I guess we don’t need to go find that basement anymore right?

* Note: There was a special edition of this volume release which came with a deck of playing cards. This is a review of the normal single volume release.

In Summary
There are plenty of long-awaited answers in this volume of Attack on Titan. What Eren’s father did, what Historia’s role in everything was meant to be, and how the population could be so in the dark about events from only a hundred years before are explained. However none of these revelations are going to be the core group any closer to saving humanity from the titan menace, at least not yet. Somehow history will have to be uncovered, and a way to control the titans that doesn’t involve fanaticism and blood sacrifices will have to be found. Hate it or love it, at least the story is getting somewhere. Now, if only the author could dial back his bizarre torture fetish just a touch…

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

Age Rating: 13+
Released By: Kodansha Comics USA
Release Date: August 25th, 2015
MSRP: $10.99