Attack on Titan
|Attack on Titan|
Cover of Attack on Titan volume 1
(Shingeki no Kyojin)
|Genre||Dark fantasy, Post-apocalyptic|
|Written by||Hajime Isayama|
|Imprint||Shōnen Magazine Comics|
|Magazine||Bessatsu Shōnen Magazine|
|Original run||September 9, 2009 – ongoing|
|Written by||Saki Nakagawa|
|Imprint||Shōnen Magazine Comics|
|Magazine||Bessatsu Shōnen Magazine|
|Original run||April 9, 2012 – ongoing|
|Anime television series|
|Directed by||Tetsurō Araki|
|Produced by||Tetsuya Kinoshita
|Written by||Yasuko Kobayashi|
|Music by||Hiroyuki Sawano|
Production I.G (Production cooperation)
|Network||MBS, Tokyo MX, FBS, TOS, HTB, TVA, BS11|
|Original run||April 6, 2013[a] – September 28, 2013|
|Episodes||25 + 5 OVA|
|Before the Fall|
|Written by||Ryō Suzukaze|
|Illustrated by||Satoshi Shiki|
|Magazine||Monthly Shōnen Sirius|
|Original run||August 26, 2013 – ongoing|
|Written by||Gun Snark|
|Illustrated by||Hikaru Suruga|
|Original run||September 28, 2013 – June 28, 2014|
|Sungeki no Kyojin|
|Original run||December 2013 – December 30, 2014|
|Live action films|
Attack on Titan (進撃の巨人 Shingeki no Kyojin?, lit. "Advancing Giants") is a Japanese dark fantasy manga series written and illustrated by Hajime Isayama. The series began in Kodansha's Bessatsu Shōnen Magazine on September 9, 2009, and has been collected into 15 tankōbon volumes as of March 17, 2015. It is set in a world where humanity lives inside cities surrounded by enormous walls as a defense against the Titans, gigantic humanoid creatures that eat humans seemingly without reason. The story initially centers on Eren Yeager, his adopted sister Mikasa Ackerman and childhood friend Armin Arlert, who joins the military to fight the Titans after their home town is invaded and Eren's mother is eaten. However, as the story progresses and the truths about the Titans are slowly revealed to the reader, the main narrative shifts to center more around Historia Reiss, one of the top soldiers from the Survey Corps.
A spin-off light novel series began in December 2011, and has received a manga adaptation. An additional light novel series and three additional spin-off manga series are also being serialized. A television anime adaptation produced by Wit Studio and Production I.G aired in Japan on MBS between April and September 2013 and a second season is confirmed to be released in 2016. Four video game adaptations developed by Nitroplus staffers in collaboration with Production I.G were announced to be released as bonus content for the third and sixth volumes of the Blu-ray Disc release of the anime, with another game developed by Spike Chunsoft for the Nintendo 3DS. A two-part live action film adaptation, Attack on Titan and Attack on Titan: End of the World, is also in production and set to premiere in 2015. Attack on Titan and three spin-off manga are published in North America by Kodansha Comics USA, while the novels are published by Vertical. The anime has been licensed by Funimation Entertainment for North America, by Manga Entertainment for the United Kingdom, and by Madman Entertainment for Australasia.
Attack on Titan has become a commercial success, with 45 million volumes in print as of November 2014. The release of the anime also saw a boost in the series' popularity, with it having received critical acclaim for its atmosphere and story. Although it also gained fame in neighboring Asian countries, the series' themes have been a subject of controversy.
Over one hundred years prior to the beginning of the story, giant humanoid creatures called Titans (巨人 Kyojin) suddenly appeared and nearly wiped out humanity, devouring them without remorse or reason. What remains of humanity now resides within three enormous concentric walls: the outermost is Wall Maria (ウォール・マリア Wōru Maria); the middle wall is Wall Rose (ウォール・ローゼ Wōru Rōze, pronounced like rosé) and the innermost is Wall Sina (ウォール・シーナ Wōru Shīna, alt. "Wall Sina"). Inside these walls, humanity has lived in peace for one hundred years; many people growing up without ever having seen a Titan. This all changes when one day, a giant 60-meter (200 ft)-tall Titan mysteriously appears after a strike of lightning and breaches the outer wall of the Shiganshina district, a town at Wall Maria, allowing the smaller Titans to invade the district. An Armored Titan smashes clean through Wall Maria, forcing mankind to abandon the land between Wall Maria and Wall Rose, evacuating the remaining population into the inner districts. The sudden influx of population causes turmoil and famine.
The Titans are giant humanoid figures about 3–15 meters (10–50 ft) tall and are usually masculine in body structure but lack reproductive organs. Although they do not appear to need food, they instinctively attack and eat humans on sight; it is mentioned that they derive their energy from sunlight. In addition the Titans also do not have a proper digestive tract; once they have eaten their fill of human prey, titans will vomit their meal into large, slimy balls, derisively referred to as "hairballs". Finally, their skin is tough and difficult to penetrate, and they regenerate quickly from injuries, save for a weak spot at the nape of their neck.
Combating the Titans is the military, which is divided into three branches. Foremost in the story is the Survey Corps (調査兵団 Chōsa Heidan), which goes out into Titan territory to try to reclaim the land. The Survey Corps are heavily derided in society because of their high casualty rate and little sense of progress. Another branch is the Garrison Regiment (駐屯兵団 Chūton Heidan), which guards the walls and the civilian populace. The third branch is the Military Police Brigade (憲兵団 Kenpeidan), who guards the royal family and live relatively relaxed lives. The soldiers use a tethering system called Three-Dimensional Maneuvering Gear (立体機動装置 Rittai Kidō Sōchi) acting as a grappling system, allowing them to jump onto (and swing from) walls, trees, or nearby buildings to attack Titans. However, despite it being the soldiers' primary line of defense against the Titans, its calculated design flaw, which one could quickly surmise, lies within its total uselessness in open and flat terrain.
The story of Attack on Titan centers around the adventures of Eren Yeager, his foster sister, Mikasa Ackerman, and their childhood friend, Armin Arlert. After the wall which protects their hometown of Shinganshina is breached by Titans, Eren watches in horror as one of them eats his mother. Vowing to kill all the Titans, Eren enlists in the military, along with his friends.
Five years later, the three cadet graduates are positioned in Trost District, one of the border towns jutting out of Wall Rose, when the Titans attack again. In the ensuing battle, Eren is eaten by one of the Titans before Armin's eyes. A Titan later appears and begins fighting the other Titans while ignoring humans; the Titan is revealed to be Eren, who has developed the ability to transform into one. Though he is seen as a threat by some, he helps the military take back Trost District. After being placed on trial for being a danger to the humans, he is taken in by the Survey Corps' Special Operations Squad, led by Captain Levi.
In an expedition to Shinganshina, the Scouts are attacked by a Female Titan who attempts to capture Eren. Although the Scouts are able to briefly capture the Female Titan, she breaks free and devastates Levi's squad, forcing the expedition to retreat. Armin determines that the Female Titan is Annie, one of the cadets who taught Eren to fight, and devises a plan to capture her at Stohess. During this operation, collateral damage revealed that there are Titans hidden inside the walls surrounding the human settlements.
Some of Eren's friends are also discovered to be able to transform into Titans, with most of them sent as spies by an unknown party who seeks for what they refer to as "The Coordinate". It is later confirmed that the Coordinate is actually the power to control other Titans at will, and that it is actually in Eren's possession. This results in both the royal family and the Military Police tracking after Eren because of this fact, while also intending to capture his friend Krista Lenz, who is really named Historia Reiss and is next in line to the throne after the real king, her father Rod Reiss, with the official king being just a figurehead.
The Survey Corps, losing all will to follow the current government, stage a successful rebellion to overthrow the monarchy, culminating with the death of Rod by the hands of his own daughter, who becomes the new queen. It is then revealed that the Reiss Family was responsible for the creation of the walls 100 years ago using the Coordinate, which was stolen by Eren's father Grinsha. Grinsha then transferred it to Eren's body by turning him into a Titan before allowing his son to devour him. Eren also obtains a new power that allows him to create massive and permanent structures that the Survey Corps intend to use in order to seal the breach in Shinganshina and reclaim Wall Maria.
Hajime Isayama first wrote a 65-page one-shot version of Attack on Titan in 2006. Originally, he also offered his work to the Weekly Shōnen Jump department at Shueisha, where he was advised to modify his style and story to be more suitable for Jump. He declined and instead, decided to take it to the Weekly Shōnen Magazine department at Kodansha. Before serialization began in 2009, he had already thought of ideas for twists, although they are fleshed out as the series progresses. The author initially based the scenery in the manga on that of his hometown, which is surrounded by mountains. While working at an internet cafe, Isayama encountered a customer who grabbed him by the collar. It was this incident that showed him "the fear of meeting a person I can't communicate with," which is the feeling that he conveys through the Titans. When designing their appearances, he uses several models such as martial artist Yushin Okami for Eren Yeager's Titan form as well as Brock Lesnar for the Armored Titan. George Wada, the anime's producer, stated that the "Wall of Fear" was influenced by the isolated and enclosed nature of Japanese culture. He also said that the inner feelings of every individual is one of the series' main influences.
Isayama estimated his basic monthly timeline as one week to storyboard and two weeks to actually draw the chapter. The story is planned out in advance, even marking down in which collected volumes a specific "truth" will be revealed. In September 2013, he stated that he is aiming to end the series in 20 collected volumes. Originally, Isayama planned to give the series a tragic conclusion similar to that of the film adaptation of Stephen King's The Mist, where every character dies. However, positive response to the manga and anime has caused the author to contemplate changing the ending due to the impact it could have on fans.
Written and illustrated by Hajime Isayama, Attack on Titan began serialization in Kodansha's monthly publication Bessatsu Shōnen Magazine in its September 2009 issue. The chapters are collected and published into tankōbon volumes by Kodansha, with the first released on March 17, 2010. The most recent, volume fifteen, was released on December 9, 2014. As of November 2014, the manga had 45 million copies in print. The series' twelfth collected volume was given a first printing of 2.2 million copies, making Attack on Titan one of only two manga series ever to get an initial print surpassing 2 million, the other being One Piece.
A comedic spin-off of the series, titled Attack on Titan: Junior High (進撃！巨人中学校 Shingeki! Kyojin Chūgakkō) and written by Saki Nakagawa, began serialization in Bessatsu Shōnen Magazine's May 2012 issue. It follows the main characters as they battle the Titans while in junior high school. Another manga series based on the prequel light novels Attack on Titan: Before the Fall started running in Kodansha's Monthly Shōnen Sirius from August 2013, drawn by Satoshi Shiki. An additional spin-off based on the No Regrets visual novel was serialized in the shōjo manga magazine Aria, titled Attack on Titan: No Regrets (進撃の巨人 悔いなき選択 Shingeki no Kyojin: Kuinaki Sentaku). It is written by Gun Snark and illustrated by Hikaru Suruga. It focuses on the origins of Levi, one of the most prominent characters in the main series. Kodansha increased Aria 's print count by roughly 500% because of the demand for the prologue chapter, which was published before the manga's serialization began in the November 28, 2013 issue. A yonkoma spin-off, called Sungeki no Kyojin (寸劇の巨人, "Titan Short Skits") and drawn by hounori, was released on Kodansha's Manga Box smartphone and tablet application from December 2013 to December 30, 2014 in both Japanese and English.
In North America, the series is published in English by Kodansha Comics USA. They published the first volume on June 19, 2012, with the fifteenth set to be released on April 7, 2015. In January 2014, the manga reached the mark of 660,000 copies in North America. The first three spin-off manga have also been licensed by Kodansha Comics USA, who published the first volume of each between March and June 2014.
A light novel series titled Attack on Titan: Before the Fall (進撃の巨人 Before the fall), written by Ryō Suzukaze and illustrated by Thores Shibamoto, began on April 1, 2011. Its story is set before the events of the manga and it is published by Kodansha. Three volumes have been published so far. While the first tells the story of Angel, the blacksmith who develops the first prototypes of the Vertical Maneuvering Equipment, the following two follow a young man who was found as a baby in the stomach of a Titan. A second light novel series called Attack on Titan: Harsh Mistress of the City (進撃の巨人 隔絶都市の女王 Shingeki no Kyojin Kakuzetsu Toshi no Joō), written by Ryō Kawakami and illustrated by Range Murata, began on August 1, 2014. Vertical began releasing the novels in North America in the summer of 2014.
An anime television series adaptation produced by Wit Studio (a subsidiary of IG Port) aired on MBS between April 6, 2013 and September 28, 2013, directed by Tetsurō Araki (Death Note) with Yūki Kaji starring as Eren, Yui Ishikawa voicing Mikasa and Marina Inoue as Armin. Both Funimation and Crunchyroll simulcast the series on their respective websites, and Funimation began releasing the series on North American home video in 2014. The anime has been licensed in the UK and Australasia by Manga Entertainment. An OVA version of the "Ilse's Notebook" special chapter from tankōbon volume 5 was originally scheduled to be released on August 9, 2013, bundled with the volume 11 limited edition, but was postponed and included with a limited edition of volume 12, released on December 9, 2013, instead. A second OVA was released on April 9, 2014, bundled with the 13th volume of the series, this one focused on the members of the 104th Training Corps. The anime previously aired on Adult Swim's Toonami block.  In Australia, the anime currently airs on SBS 2 on Tuesdays, in Japanese with English subtitles, with the first episode having aired on September 30.
For the first thirteen episodes, the opening theme is "Guren no Yumiya" (紅蓮の弓矢, lit. "Crimson Bow and Arrow", styled in German as "Feuerroter Pfeil und Bogen") by Linked Horizon, and the ending theme is "Utsukushiki Zankoku na Sekai" (美しき残酷な世界, lit. "This Beautiful Cruel World") by Yōko Hikasa. For episodes 14–25, the opening theme is "Jiyū no Tsubasa" (自由の翼, lit. "Wings of Freedom", styled in German as "Die Flügel der Freiheit") by Linked Horizon, and the ending theme is "great escape" by Cinema Staff. Both "Guren no Yumiya" and "Jiyū no Tsubasa" were released as part of the single "Jiyū e no Shingeki" on July 10, 2013.
The anime will be compiled into two animated theatrical films with new voice acting from the same cast. The first film Attack on Titan Part 1: Crimson Bow and Arrow (「進撃の巨人」前編～紅蓮の弓矢～ Shingeki no Kyojin Zenpen ~Guren no Yumiya~) covers the first 13 episodes and was released on November 22, 2014, while the second film Attack on Titan Part 2: Wings of Freedom (「進撃の巨人」後編～自由の翼～ Shingeki no Kyojin Kōhen ~Jiyū no Tsubasa~) adapts the remaining episodes and it was released on June 27, 2015.
In August 2014, a new OVA series adapting the prequel manga Attack on Titan: No Regrets was announced. It consist of two episodes, bundled with the 15th and 16th volumes of the main series, released on December 9, 2014 and April 9, 2015, respectively. Just like the original anime series, it is produced by Wit Studio with direction by Tetsurō Araki.
A second season of the anime series was announced on the opening day of the first theatrical film. It is set to be released in 2016.
There have been four video game adaptations of Attack on Titan developed by Nitroplus staffers in collaboration with Production I.G. Nitroplus clarified that the studio as a company is not involved in the Attack on Titan Blu-ray Disc games, while individual staffers are. The games are visual novels and were included in the first copies of the third and sixth Blu-ray Disc volumes of the anime. The games cover spin-off stories about the characters of Attack on Titan. Hajime Isayama himself is supervising the development of the games.
The third Blu-ray volume was released on September 18 with Seko's Lost in the Cruel World visual novel about Mikasa, and a preview of Gan Saaku's No Regrets (悔いなき選択 Kuinaki Sentaku, lit. "A Choice With No Regrets"). The sixth Blu-ray volume was released on December 18 with the full version of No Regrets about Levi and Erwin's past, Jin Haganeya's visual novel In the Forest of the Night, Burning Bright about Eren and Levi, and Seko's Wall Sina, Goodbye visual novel about Annie.
An action game, titled Attack on Titan: Humanity in Chains (進撃の巨人 ～反撃の翼～ Shingeki no Kyojin ~Hangeki no Tsubasa~, subtitle lit. "Wings of Counterattack"), was developed by Spike Chunsoft for the Nintendo 3DS and released in Japan on December 5, 2013, North America on May 12, 2015 and it will be released in Europe sometime later in 2015.
A smartphone social game, titled Attack on Titan: Howl Toward Freedom (Shingeki no Kyojin ~Jiyū e no Hōkō~) is in development by Mobage for iOS and Android platforms. In the game, players play as a character who has been exiled from Wall Rose. Players must build and fortify a town outside the wall and expand it by manufacturing items as well as using Titans and exploiting resources from other players.
A live-action film was announced to be in production in October 2011. In December 2012, it was reported that Tetsuya Nakashima has left his position as director of the live-action film. According to film distributor Toho, Nakashima had considerable creative differences on the scriptwriting and other matters. In December 2013 Shinji Higuchi was revealed to be directing, and would also be responsible for special effects. Yūsuke Watanabe (live action Gantz, 20th Century Boys and Dragon Ball Z: Battle of Gods) and critic/subculture expert Tomohiro Machiyama will be scripting the movie with series creator Isayama. In July 2014, it was revealed that two films will be released in summer 2015. A teaser trailer for the live-action film was released in March 2015. The following month, Toho released the second trailer for the first film, and announced the second installment will be called Attack on Titan: End of the World. In June 2015, a third trailer for the first film was released, revealing the Three-Dimensional Maneuvering Gear, as well as confirming the film will be released in IMAX theaters in Japan.
Two guidebooks to the manga titled Inside and Outside were released on April 9 and September 9, 2013, featuring concept art, character profiles and interviews. They were combined into one and released in North America on September 16, 2014 by Kodansha USA.
On November 3, 2014, American writer C. B. Cebulski revealed that a crossover between Attack on Titan and Marvel Comics was in the works. Cebulski scripts the scenario written by the original author Hajime Isayama. The one-shot crossover featured Spider-Man, the Avengers and the Guardians of the Galaxy facing off against several Titans, including the Colossal Titan, the Armored Titan, and the Female Titan on the streets of New York City. During Free Comic Book Day 2015, Marvel's Secret Wars preview included an 8-page presentation "Attack on Avengers" by creator Hajime Isayama with art by Gerardo Sandova.
From January 23 to May 10, 2015, Universal Studios Japan hosted attractions based on Attack on Titan. “The Real” Attack on Titan Experience features a life-size 15 meter tall Eren titan engaging a 14 meter tall female titan in combat. Other attractions include a ground level titan, which visitors can pose with.
Attack on Titan won the Kodansha Manga Award in the shōnen category in 2011, was nominated for the 4th Manga Taishō Award and both the 16th and 18th annual Tezuka Osamu Cultural Prize. The 2012 edition of Kono Manga ga Sugoi!, which surveys people in the manga and publishing industry, named Attack on Titan the eighth best manga series for male readers, while the 2014 edition named it the sixth best. Attack on Titan was the second highest selling manga series of 2013, with 15,933,801 copies sold in a single year. In April 2014, Oricon reported that 30 million volumes of the series have been sold. In the first half of 2014 it topped the chart, ending One Piece's five-year reign as the highest selling series in that period, with Isayama surprised about it and thanking the readers. The manga's publisher, Kodansha, credits Attack on Titan for the company's first revenue increase in eighteen years. The anime is noted to have helped in boosting the series' sales while Mainichi Shimbun called it a "once-in-a-decade hit."
Six of the seven English volumes published in North America at the time charted on The New York Times Manga Best Seller list for the week of October 13, 2013, and volume one was on the list for 81 weeks straight. Volume one was also number one on Nielsen BookScan's list of top 20 graphic novels in American bookstores for October 2013, and for the month of September, the series had more volumes on the list than any other series. The Young Adult Library Services Association in the United States named the series one of its "Great Graphic Novels for Teens". Kodansha USA's English release won the 2014 Harvey Award for Best American Edition of Foreign Material.
Many have analyzed Attack on Titan as representing "the hopelessness felt by young people in today's society." while writer Mao Yamawaki called it a "coming-of-age story of the boys and girls at its core," with a new mystery every episode. It is these mysteries that critic Tomofusa Kure says amplifies readers' expectations. The artwork of the manga has been criticized as crude by some reviewers, with Isayama himself admitting his drawings are "amateurish." However, those same critics stated that after years of serialization, the art has been improving, and Kure believes that had the illustrations been "refined", it would not have conveyed the "eeriness" that is a key characteristic of the work. In a short review, Jason Thompson noted how the characters conveniently receive "power-ups" to create plot twists, but concluded that these said plot twists and the manga's post-apocalyptic world are "too good to miss."
The anime adaptation won multiple prizes during the 3rd Newtype Anime Awards, including Best Director, Best Script, Best Soundtrack, Best Theme Song, Top Female Character and Title of the Year. It received the award for Best TV Animation at the 2013 Animation Kobe Awards. Carl Kimlinger from Anime News Network was sharply critical of the first two episodes of the anime adaptation. He did praise the show for "[bringing] back the terror of the fee-fi-fo-fum set", but then said that it "does not a good show make". Kimlinger criticized Araki's direction, saying he "clearly intends it to be powerful and unsettling, but it's just crude and unpleasant." On the other hand, other critics from Anime News Network praised much of the series. Rebecca Silverman said it "is both gorgeous and appalling in its visuals", and "an excellent mix of what 18th century Gothic novelist Ann Radcliffe defined as horror versus terror: the one is physical, making you want to look away, and the other is intellectual, making you want to know what's going to happen next." Though there are several apocalyptic action shows, Carlo Santos noted that "few get as close to perfection as Attack on Titan does". Santos described it as "a masterpiece of death and destruction" even if he only watched the first episode. Theron Martin praised the musical score and the "intense, impactful first episode" despite his feeling that it has "limited animation". Martin also compared Attack on Titan's vibe and visual aesthetic to Claymore.
The series has also gained popularity in neighboring Asian countries. For instance, coverage of the anime appeared on the front page of the Hong Kong free newspaper am730 on May 27, 2013, concerning its popularity within Hong Kong as well as China and Taiwan. However, the series also attracted criticism: the South Korean Electronic Times magazine accused Attack on Titan of having a militaristic message that serves Japanese Prime Minister Shinzō Abe's political leanings; while the series also resonated with Hong Kong youths who saw the invading Titans as a metaphor for Mainland China. Hong Kong media commentator Wong Yeung-tat praised Hajime Isayama's style and the versatility of Attack on Titan 's setting, which opens itself to readers' various interpretations. In 2013, after media linked to a 2010 blog post by Isayama indicating that the design of the character Dot Pixis was based on the Imperial Japanese General Akiyama Yoshifuru, an Internet flame war about the general's war record ensued on his blog and included death threats to the author. Because many of the threats written in Japanese had grammatical errors, it is believed that they were written by natives of other Asian countries.
- As Attack on Titan aired in MBS's Saturday 25:58 (Sunday 1:58 am JST) time slot, the premiere technically occurred on Sunday, April 7, 2013.
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- Official manga website (Japanese)
- Official anime website (Japanese)
- Attack on Titan at Funimation
- Attack on Titan (manga) at Anime News Network's encyclopedia