Hi everyone. It’s Mokugyo, your anime and manga loving writer from MANGA.TOKYO. Did you enjoy watching the second season of Attack on Titan (Shingeki no Kyojin)? It was so exciting, wasn’t it? I can’t wait for the next season which is coming in 2018.
In this concluding part, I’m going to investigate the setting of Attack on Titan. It’s interesting to learn about the author of such a huge manga. He hasn’t disclosed his annual income, though it’s speculated that he earns between 800 million to 1 billion yen (7-8 million USD) annually, because of how much of a hit the manga is. It’s an impressive amount of money, isn’t it?
This article contains spoilers for Attack on Titan. Proceed with caution if you haven’t seen up to the end of Season 2
8. Martial Arts Influence on The Battles between Titans
The battle scenes of Attack on Titan include not only humans versus Titans, but also Titans versus Titans. The battle scene of the Titan Eren and the Armored Titan was truly impressive, wasn’t it? The battle scenes between Titans include hand-to-hand combat and they crush their massive bodies against each other, destroying towns in the process. Isayama has said that he watched martial art matches to study hand-to-hand combat for the depictions of the Titans’ battle scenes. He studied the shapes of muscles and the movements when applying techniques from the videos to create realistic movement in the Titan action scenes. It’s one of the reasons for the popularity of the manga. The author tried to make the imaginary Titans as realistic as possible.
9. Inspiration from his Part-time Job Experience
The Titans in Attack on Titan are creepy and eerie. The fact that they look like human beings but aren’t humans give us a disturbing feeling. Such creepiness, strangeness, and the fear that comes with it were influenced by his own experience when he was working part-time in customer service. When he dealt with a drunken customer, he experienced a fear of people who couldn’t communicate or understand what he was saying. He realized that the fear is stronger because they looked human but he couldn’t feel that they were human beings. He thought the fear was caused by the discord with his expectation of communicating with someone with words and the reality of a total lack of communication even though the person looked just like one of us. The odd creepiness of Titans is derived from his experiences and observation skills.
10. The Mysterious Upside-Down Scripts
The scripts in the world of Attack on Titan are different and can’t be read in just a glance. However, they are actually upside-down Japanese katakana characters. In the second season, Reiner was surprised when he realized that Ymir was able to read the unknown language on the tin. The script says ‘herring’ and is written in upside-down katakana characters.
In fact, there was an incident for which Isayama had to officially apologize in 2014. A dirty joke was written in one of the frames of Attack on Titan in the magazine, which caused a fuss. It was a frame of a random Wanted poster and the words were written with the upside down katakana characters. The dirty joke had no relation to the story.
Some readers noticed the joke and sent in complaints, which forced the creator and the editor to officially apologize as a result. The joke was written by an assistant, who ignored Isayama’s instruction on the frame. Isayama and the editor admitted their error and announced that such a thing wouldn’t be repeated in the future. I understand how they may have missed the joke when proofreading it, as it’s difficult to read immediately.
11. The Ingenious Covers of the Manga Volumes
Each picture on the cover of Attack on Titan volumes (tankobon) always impresses me. They contain Isayama’s clever intentions. These pictures always suggest another story of Attack on Titan. My expectations from the cover picture always fail when I’m reading the actual tankobon, because the story revolves differently from the picture.
For instance, the cover picture of Volume 6 depicts Armin covered with blood and about to fall down. Reiner is beside him and the Female Titan is in the background. There is a scene when Armin encounters the Female Titan who blows away him in manga. However, Armin’s wound in the cover picture looks deeper than in the manga. It also looks like it is Reiner who slashed him.
The cover picture on Volume 9 depicts Eren with the Beast Titan behind him. The manga doesn’t have such a scene. If you watch the second season of the anime, you know that Eren hasn’t encountered the Beast Titan yet in that particular point of the story.
The cover picture on Volume 10 shows Eren and Mikasa joining Crista and the others before the tower of the castle was destroyed, a meeting that didn’t happen in the actual story.
The covers falsely guide readers’ expectations and in the manga, the actual story follows a different path. Meanwhile, some people speculate the pictures on the covers signifies the loop theory of Attack on Titan. The loop theory arose as early as the beginning of the manga. It theorizes that the pictures on the covers depict other versions of the story. We don’t know whether the speculation is correct or not, though it’s interesting to think that Attack on Titan is a time-loop story with multiple routes.
12. Well thought-out storyline
Isayama has meticulously thought out the storyline well into the future. In a recent interview, he said that he already knows what is going to happen all the way to the last chapter. He predicted that the readers would be surprised at Volume 10. It did surprise the readers by revealing the true identities of the Colossal Titan and the Armored Titan. He also predicted that its popularity would go down in Volume 13 because the story went on without the appearances of Titans for a while. He thinks out the framework of the story carefully and painstakingly.
Although the ending of the story is already set out in Isayama’s mind, he stated he might change it near the end of the story, as Attack on Titan became more popular than he originally thought. I’m looking forward to seeing how the story will develop in the end stages.
13. Worries about Eren’s Lack of Human Touch
The protagonist, Eren, has a strong grudge against Titans. It seems natural to have such a grudge since his mother was eaten by one of them. However, Isayama thought Eren didn’t have enough internal struggle. In the beginning of the story, the struggles of Eren weren’t depicted much because the story needed to progress faster to make the story easy to read. Isayama worried whether readers might consider Eren a person who lacks human touch. It’s difficult to decide which aspect should be prioritized. I myself consider Eren as a person with a warm heart.
14. The Large Mouth of the Female Titan is for the Storyline
The appearance of the Female Titan features a large mouth. Her mouth is usually closed but when it opens, it’s quite wide. This is because Isayama already had in his mind the plot of her kidnapping Eren while encasing him in her mouth. Therefore, he designed her face with slits at both ends of her lips. It’s fascinating that he designed a character for the storyline.
I hope you now know more about Isayama, the creator of the massive hit anime Attack on Titan. He is influenced by various manga works and his wealth of ideas and great skills of human observation make the manga enchanting. He has an unexpected side as a fan of cute and popular idols. I hope he continues to create manga with the element of surprise.