Attack on Titan: No Regrets: The Complete Colour Edition (進撃の巨人 悔いなき選択) is written by Gun Snark and illustrated by Hikaru Suruga. It is based off of the Attack on Titan manga serial originally created by Hajime Isayama. The manga is the complete collection of the two-volume shōnen, dark fantasy, adventure series and tells the story of Levi Ackerman’s life prior to him joining up with the Survey Corps. It was originally released in 2013 and since then has gone on to become a world-wide sensation, akin to its predecessor.
I bought the two single volumes of No Regrets when they first released in English in my corner of the world. When I discovered that it was being released in full colour editions, I knew that I absolutely had to get my hands on it. Levi is one of my favourite anime characters of all-time, for both superficial and serious reasons, so in all honesty, getting this collection was a complete no-brainer for me. While my review is for the series, I will be also focusing on elements specific to this edition of the manga.
Manga Narrative Review:
No Regrets is a marvellous addition to the Attack on Titan series, and it sheds light on one of the most popular characters from the franchise. The narrative consists of a gritty plot with a dismal veil shrouding it from beginning to end. As soon as I was introduced to Levi and his familiars, I could tell that something ominous would occur. The progression towards that/those thing(s) is achingly intense and gradual, holding me at the edge of my seat with anxious anticipation. It was deeply engrossing, but also slightly frightening, more so when I started to develop a connection with a lot of the newer faces. It also never seems to slow down or take forever in getting to the point. It started fast, stays fast, and swung me on through to the finale before I could realise I had consumed the whole contents. I appreciated this on a personal level, as someone who has a shit ton of stuff to read as well as a manga lover who gets frustrated with the unnecessary way manga tends to go on and on without rhyme or reason; it has a purpose, fulfils it and finds its finale.
The backstory doesn’t feel like it’s forced or riding on the curtails of success to milk it of additional moolah. Instead, it shines an intimate life into a darker part of Levi’s past that really helped me understand him better as a person, including some of his charming personality quirks, such as his obsession for cleanliness. Due to the environment in which he was raised, filth and ilk were his bedfellows. Couple this with constant bullying or harassment and as being equated to his overall “worth” as a person, it’s only natural for him to develop an aggressive distaste for anything that would resemble that environment, to any degree. Of course, this is simply a singular example of many.
Even with all of the good qualities, No Regrets can be a difficult series to read through. Once you read a detailed synopsis of it, even spoiler-free ones, it isn’t too challenging to figure out the basics of what will happen. The overarching conflict is immensely weak and clichéd. I wished that it had utilised a far less common trope and brought us something original, as Attack on Titan is quite an original series to begin with. The inherent reasoning behind what moves everything into motion was so bland and contributed to making the sequence of events wholly predictable, leaving that inevitable finale unsatisfying and uninspired.
Coloured Edition Review:
When I read that the pages had been enlarged to much larger pages than the standard manga-volume ones, I was a bit sceptical about its quality. I have read editions of other serials that did this in a reprint of a popular series only to discover the artwork to lose a big chunk of its overall quality, usually due to terrible pixelization from the poor adjustment of quality ratio. Yet, that doesn’t happen with No Regrets: CCE.
The artwork is gorgeous. There isn’t a single ounce of pixelization at all. All of the character designs, settings, and landscapes are beautifully true to Isayama’s original work. There are minute alterations to Levi’s facial expressions, but that is due to the fact that he is far younger in No Regrets than Attack on Titan. The compensation for that time difference is expressed beautifully.
All of the pages are glossy and super similar to trade paperbacks for Western comics (Saga, Monstress, etc.), making them easy to flip through (as well as to get a paper cut or two, ouch!). The colours are rich and vibrant, bringing everything to life, analogous to that of watching an anime. The gory, violent parts are further shocking; with the brightness of the blood splatter there is an added complement to the emotional intensity of the deaths displayed. The hardback cover is smooth with a slightly matte finish and the spine is tight and of remarkable quality, so you can spread open the book without fear of things ripping or falling apart on you.
All in all, I recommend Attack on Titan: No Regrets to people who have read the manga and/or seen the anime to its current season, enjoy tragic narratives that inspire greatness, and are fans of the character Levi Ackerman. I also recommend you read this coloured edition because it is supremely lovely and makes-up for all of the shortcomings the mini-serial has.
Subjective review: 5 slashes outta 5! (I’m a sucker for Levi, as mentioned earlier)
Objective review: 4 bruises outta 5!