AoT redirects here. For other uses, see AOT.

Attack on Titan
Shingeki

Cover of Attack on Titan tankōbon volume 1, featuring Eren Yeager about to attack the oncoming Colossal Titan

進撃の巨人
(Shingeki no Kyojin)
Genre
Manga
Written byHajime Isayama
Published byKodansha
English publisher
ImprintShōnen Magazine Comics
MagazineBessatsu Shōnen Magazine
DemographicShōnen
Original runSeptember 9, 2009April 9, 2021
Volumes34 (List of volumes)
Anime television series
Live-action
Related media
Wikipe-tan Anime and manga portal

Attack on Titan (Japanese: 進撃の巨人, Hepburn: Shingeki no Kyojin, lit. The Advancing Giants) is a Japanese manga series written and illustrated by Hajime Isayama. It is set in a world where humanity lives inside cities surrounded by three enormous walls that protect them from the gigantic man-eating humanoids referred to as Titans; the story follows Eren Yeager, who vows to exterminate the Titans after a Titan brings about the destruction of his hometown and the death of his mother. Attack on Titan was serialized in Kodanshas monthly shōnen manga magazine Bessatsu Shōnen Magazine from September 2009 to April 2021, with its chapters collected in 34 tankōbon volumes.

An anime television series was produced by Wit Studio (seasons 1–3) and MAPPA (season 4). A 25-episode first season was broadcast from April to September 2013, followed by a 12-episode second season broadcast from April to June 2017. A 22-episode third season was broadcast in two parts, with the first 12 episodes airing from July to October 2018 and the last 10 episodes airing from April to July 2019. A fourth and final season premiered in December 2020, airing 16 episodes in its first part, with the remainder announced to begin airing in January 2022.

Attack on Titan has become a critical and commercial success. As of December 2019, the manga has over 100 million tankōbon copies in print worldwide, making it one of the best-selling manga series of all time. It has won several awards, including the Kodansha Manga Award, the Attilio Micheluzzi Award, and Harvey Award.

Synopsis

Setting

The plot of Attack on Titan centers on a civilization inside three walls, the last location where humans still live. Over one hundred years ago, humanity was driven to the brink of extinction after the emergence of humanoid giants called Titans, who attack and eat humans on sight. The last remnants of humanity retreated behind three concentric walls and enjoyed nearly a century of peace. To combat Titans, the countrys military employs Vertical Maneuvering Equipment, a set of waist-mounted grappling hooks and gas-powered propulsion enabling immense mobility in three dimensions.

Plot

The story revolves Eren Yeager, a boy who lives in the town of Shiganshina, located on the outermost of three circular walls protecting humanity from Titans. In the year 845, the wall is breached by two new types of Titans, named the Colossus Titan and the Armored Titan. During the incident, Erens mother is eaten by a Titan while Eren escapes. He swears revenge on all Titans and enlists in the military along with his childhood friends, Mikasa Ackerman and Armin Arlert. He intends to join the Survey Corps, the expeditionary force that seeks to eradicate the Titans from the walls.

Five years after Shiganshinas fall, Trost is attacked once more by the Colossal Titan. The Survey Corps and regs rush to defend the city from rampaging Titans, and Eren learns that he has the mysterious ability to turn himself into a sentient Titan. This draws the attention of the Survey Corps, who intends to use his newfound power to reclaim Wall Maria. After a successful test run where Eren gains a semblance of control over his Titan form and fixes Wall Rose, the Military Police and government all hope at taking ownership over Eren and using his powers for their good. Eren is handed over to Captain Levi and Hange Zoe of the Special Operations Squad in the Survey Corps, where they test his limits and loyalty. Eren realizes that that he has to give himself pain and have a clear directive if he is to use his Titan form properly. Survey Corps commander Erwin Smith leads their troops into a daring expedition into the forest between the walls, where they encounter a sentient Female Titan killing their numbers. Levis squad is killed in the ensuing battle, and Eren fails to use his Titan form properly in his rage. After regrouping and distancing themselves further from the Military Polices corruption, Eren and his companions deduce that their fellow military reg Annie Leonhart is the Female Titan. Eren and Annie fight, destroying property and killing many townsfolk before Annie crystallizes herself. Eren is jailed, being deemed too unstable but Levi and Erwin secure his protection.

Several days afterwards, Titans mysterious appear within the walls with no evidence of how they got in. The Survey Corps is sent to investigate, but one of their top squad leaders is killed when he encounters the Beast Titan, an ape-like giant who can speak. Several members are cornered by Titans, which leads Ymir, one of the new Survey Corps graduates, to reveal that she can transform into a Titan herself after being exiled from a distant land. Christa Lenz tells them that her true name is Historia Reiss and that she is a member of the islands royal bloodline. Reiner Braun and Bertholt Hoover betray their team by transforming into the Armored Titan and Colossal Titan respectively after they are unable to convince Eren to return to their homeland with them. They proceed to take Eren hostage while the rest of the Survey Corps recuperate from the slew of revelations. Erwin leads a successful charge to rescue Eren, wherein Eren uses a mysterious power called the coordinate to control Titans; Reiner, Bertolt, and Ymir escape to their homeland. The Titans are revealed to be transformed humans and the ones they fought were actually the villagers of Ragako Village, including graduate Connie Springers family.

Eren and his friends officially join Levi Squad while the Survey Corps is targeted by the Military Police. Erwin pleads before the government while Levi Squad and Hange are pursued by corrupt police led by Levis uncle, Kenny Ackerman. They also discover that by transforming into a Pure Titan and eating another Titan, a person can gain its abilities. The islands ruler, King Fritz, is shown to be a puppet controlled by government officials. Historia and her father, Rod Reiss, are the only surviving members of the royal bloodline. Reiss takes Eren hostage because Eren is in possession of the Founding Titan after his father Grisha ate Frieda Reiss, the Titans previous owner. The Survey Corps arrive as Reiss transforms into a monstrous Pure Titan and heads to Orvud District, and with theirs and Erens help they subdue him; Historia kills her father, declaring herself Queen. Later, the Survey Corps lead an expedition to fix Wall Maria and recover Shiganshina. The combined powers of the Beast, Colossal, and Armored lead to much of the Survey Corps being killed in the ensuing war; Armin gains ownership of the Colossal Titan by eating Bertolt, and Erwin dies in a suicide run against the Beast Titan. Eren and his companions return to his home and the cellar below, where discover the truth of their world: that they are actually Eldians, sworn enemies of the conquering Marleyans who were enclosed within the walls after King Fritz fled from the war. They are not the last humans as they were told, but rather an enclosed sect of Eldians on an isolated island called Paradis. Because they are Subjects of Ymir who can be turned into Titans by being injected with spinal fluid, the Eldians continue to be oppressed by Marley. The Survey Corps kill all the remaining Titans in the walls and finally reach the shoreline, where Eren ponders whether they will truly be free if they win against all their enemies.

Three years later, Marley struggles to keep their dominance when other nations invent anti-Titan weaponry, removing their only advantage. Warriors-in-training Gabi Braun and Falco Grice are thrown firsthand into the war when the Survey Corps infiltrate and attack Marleys capital, Liberio. Eren kills Willy Tybur, who had been controlling Marley from the shadows and gains ownership of the Warhammer Titan after eating its previous owner, Tyburs sister. Armins Colossal Titan uses a nuclear bomb to destroy their entire naval fleet. They escape and head back to Paradis after their victory, though they suffer many losses of their own. Gabi and Falco board the ship and kill Sasha Braus but are detained. Erens half-brother Zeke, owner of the Beast Titan, and his devout follower Yelena work with Paradis, believing they can form a New Eldian Empire. Eren is imprisoned for violent treachery against the Survey Corps, but he escapes along with a faction of extremist Paradis followers called the Yeagerists. Eren betrays his friends and loses Armin and Mikasas trust when he calls her a slave. Levi is grievously injured when caught in a Thunder Spear explosion. Yelena and her followers take control over Paradis government, holding important officials hostage by having them unknowingly ingest spinal fluid. Zekes plan is to use Erens Founding Titan to euthanize the Subjects of Ymir. Marleys air fleet arrives in Paradis and war breaks out. Eren is seemingly killed when Gabi shoots and decapitates him. Porco Galliard, owner of the Jaw Titan, saves a Pure Titan Falco by being eaten.

Meanwhile, Eren survived and meets Zeke in the Paths, an interconnecting series of gateways connecting all Subjects of Ymir. There he is able to manipulate the past using his Attack Titan and convince Grisha in the past to kill the Reiss family. He also meets the consciousness of Ymir Fritz, the original Titan, whose tortured past has led to her imprisonment within the Paths for thousands of years. Eren uses her power to unleash the Rumbling, unshackling thousands of Colossal Titans kept within Paradis walls and leading them on a genocidal march of killing everyone outside of the walls. With the help of the Marleyan Titan shifters, the Survey Corps stop the Rumbling, which has already wiped out eighty percent of humanity. Eren reveals to Armin, who is now the commander of the Survey Corps, that he became humanitys enemy in order to give Paradis an advantage in the war. Mikasa kills Eren, ending the power of the Titans permanently and giving the Survey Corps a good light in the eyes of the Marleyans. Three years later, Levi lives retired in Liberio with Gabi and Falco while the world prepares for war between the islands inhabitants and the remaining countries, but Armin and his allies have hope that peace negotiations led by Queen Historia will be successful. Many generations afterwards, Paradis is bombed from above by other states and destroyed. A boy who survived the war approaches a tree that has grown in the center of the rubble, which resembles the tree that granted Ymir the source of the titan power.

Production

Hajime Isayama created a 65-page one-shot version of Attack on Titan in 2006.[5] 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.[6] 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 of Hita, Ōita, which is surrounded by mountains.[7]

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 cant communicate with, which is the feeling that he conveys through the Titans.[8] When designing the appearances of the Titans, he uses several models such as martial artist Yushin Okami for Eren Yeagers Titan form[9] as well as Brock Lesnar for the Armored Titan.[10] George Wada, the animes producer, stated that the Wall of Fear was influenced by the isolated and enclosed nature of Japanese culture.[11] He also said that the inner feelings of every individual is one of the series main themes.[11] Isayama later would confirm that Attack on Titan was inspired in part by Muv-Luv Alternative, the second visual novel in the Muv-Luv visual novel series.[12]

Isayama estimated his basic monthly timeline as one week to storyboard and three weeks to actually draw the chapter. The story was planned out in advance, even marking down in which collected volumes a specific truth would be revealed.[9] In September 2013, he stated that he was aiming to end the series in 20 collected volumes.[13] Originally, Isayama planned to give the series a tragic conclusion similar to that of the film adaptation of Stephen Kings The Mist, where every character dies. However, positive response to the manga and anime caused the author to consider changing the ending due to the impact it could have on fans.[14][15]

In November 2018, the Japanese documentary program Jōnetsu Tairiku aired an episode about Isayamas struggles to complete the manga, in which he confirmed that Attack on Titan has entered its final story arc.[16] In December 2019, Isayama said he was planning to end the manga in 2020.[17] In June 2020, Isayama stated that there was only 5% of the manga left, and he expected to end it in the upcoming year, closing off the original story line of the series by finally bringing the plot to its conclusion.[18] In November 2020, Isayama stated that the manga was 1% to 2% away from completion, and stated that he planned to end it the same year.[19][20] In January 2021, it was announced that the series would be finished after an eleven-year publication run on April 9, 2021.[21][22]

Media

Manga

Attack on Titan is written and illustrated by Hajime Isayama. The series began in the first-ever issue of Kodanshas monthly publication Bessatsu Shōnen Magazine, released on September 9, 2009.[23] The manga was finished after an eleven-year publication run with the release of its 139th chapter on April 9, 2021.[21] On November 8, 2020, it was announced that the manga would get a full color serialization.[24] Kodansha collected its chapters in thirty-four volumes, released from March 17, 2010 to June 9, 2021.[25][21]

In North America, the series is published in English by Kodansha USA. The first volume was published on June 19, 2012.[26]

Spin-offs

A chibi parody spin-off based on 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 Magazines May 2012 issue. It follows the main characters as they battle the Titans while in junior high school.[27] Another manga series based on the prequel light novels Attack on Titan: Before the Fall started running in Kodanshas Monthly Shōnen Sirius from August 2013, drawn by Satoshi Shiki.[28] 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 was written by Gun Snark and illustrated by Hikaru Suruga. It focuses on the origins of Captain Levi, one of the most prominent characters in the main series.[29] A yonkoma spin-off, called Spoof on Titan (寸劇の巨人, Sungeki no Kyojin, Titan Short Skits) and drawn by Hounori, was released on Kodanshas Manga Box smartphone and tablet application from December 2013 to December 30, 2014, in both Japanese and English.[30][31] A manga adaptation of Hiroshi Sekos Attack on Titan: Lost Girls novel, written and illustrated by Ryōsuke Fuji, began publication in Bessatsu Shōnen Magazine on August 9, 2015.[32]

The first three spin-off manga were also licensed by Kodansha USA, who published the first volume of each between March and June 2014.[33][34] The publisher announced at New York Comic Con in October 2015 that it had licensed Spoof on Titan,[35] and in March 2016 it announced the licensing of Lost Girls.[36]

Novels

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 was published by Kodansha in three volumes. While the first tells the story of Angel, the blacksmith who develops the first prototypes of the Vertical Maneuvering Equipment, and 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, was published between August 1, 2014, and May 1, 2015. Vertical released the novels in North America in 2014[37][38][39] and 2015. A novel titled Attack on Titan: Lost Girls (進撃の巨人 Lost Girls),[40] written by Hiroshi Seko, was published on December 9, 2014.[41] It comprises three short stories featuring Mikasa and Annie Leonhart, titled Lost in the cruel world, Wall Sina, Goodbye, and Lost Girls.[42] It was also released in English by Vertical, in 2016.[43] Garrison Girl: An Attack on Titan Novel, a novel created by American writer Rachel Aaron was published by Quirk Books on August 7, 2018.[44] It is centered on Rosalie Dumarque, who defies her family to join military garrison.

Anime

An anime series based on the manga is currently being aired in Japan. Produced by Wit Studio and directed by Tetsurō Araki, a first season aired between April 7, 2013, and September 29, 2013, originally on Mainichi Broadcasting System (MBS).[45] The second and the third season, directed by Masashi Koizuka, first aired from April 1, 2017, to June 17, 2017, and between July 23, 2018, and July 1, 2019, respectively on MBS and NHK General TV.[46][47] Upon the airing of the final episode of the third season on July 1, 2019, it was announced that the fourth and final season of the anime series is scheduled for release in Fall 2020 on NHK General.[48] On September 23, 2020, NHK listed the final season on their broadcasting schedule and began on December 7, 2020.[49] The final season was announced to have changed studios, with production being taken over by MAPPA.[50][49] Producer Toshihiro Maeda said that Wit Studio refused to produce the final season due to scheduling” issues.[51] The final seasons main staff includes directors Yuichiro Hayashi and Jun Shishido (chief), character designer Tomohiro Kishi, art director Kazuo Ogura, 3D CG Director Takahiro Uezono, scriptwriter Hiroshi Seko, and music composers Hiroyuki Sawano and Kohta Yamamoto.[49] For the final season, former 3DCG Director Shuuhei Yabuta was the only returning staff member from Wit Studio.[51] The first 16 episodes of season 4 aired until March 29, 2021, and a second part was announced to be in development with an expected release in the Winter 2022 airing season.[52]

Other Attack on Titan-related manga or light novels were also adapted into anime. Two OVA episodes, based on the Attack on Titan: No Regrets prequel manga, were bundled with the 15th and 16th volumes of the main series, released on December 9, 2014, and April 9, 2015, respectively.[53] An anime television adaptation of Attack on Titan: Junior High began airing in October 2015. The series was directed by Yoshihide Ibata at Production I.G.[54] A three part OVA of Attack on Titan: Lost Girls was released in 2017 and 2018 with the limited editions of volumes 24, 25, and 26.[55]

Video games

  • There have been four video game adaptations of Attack on Titan developed by Nitroplus staffers in collaboration with Production I.G.[56] Nitroplus clarified that the studio as a company was 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. Isayama supervised the development of the games.[57]
  • The third Blu-ray volume was released on September 18 with Sekos Lost in the Cruel World visual novel about Mikasa, and a preview of Gun Snarks No Regrets (悔いなき選択, Kuinaki Sentaku, lit. A Choice with No Regrets).[58] The sixth Blu-ray volume was released on December 18 with the full version of No Regrets about Levi and Erwins past, Jin Haganeyas visual novel In the Forest of the Night, Burning Bright about Eren and Levi, and Sekos Wall Sina, Goodbye visual novel about Annie.[58]
  • 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 Europe on July 2, 2015.[59][60][61]
  • 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.[62]
  • A set of Attack on Titan costumes was added to Dead or Alive 5 Last Round in July 2016, alongside a playable arena based on Wall Rose during an attack by the Colossal Titan.[63]
  • Attack on Titan gameplay and merchandise has been featured in a crossover event with Nexon MMORPG MapleStory in its Japanese and GMS versions.[64]
  • Another game, Attack on Titan, for PlayStation 4, PlayStation 3, and PlayStation Vita, published by Koei Tecmo and developed by Omega Force, was announced at Gamescom 2015.[65][66] It was released on February 18, 2016, in Japan.[67][68] Later was confirmed to be released worldwide along with PC and Xbox One versions.[69]
  • Capcom announced that they were developing an Attack on Titan arcade game named Shingeki no Kyojin: Team Battle,[70] but the game was cancelled in 2018.
  • Attack on Titan: Escape from Certain Death was announced to be in development for the Nintendo 3DS in Famitsu magazine in October 2016. The game was initially supposed to be launched on March 30, 2017, but was later postponed to May 11, 2017.[71]
  • Attack on Titan 2: Future Coordinates was released on November 30, 2017, in Japan.[72][73]
  • A sequel game to Koei Tecmos Attack on Titan, Attack on Titan 2, was announced in August 2017 and released in March 2018.[74]
  • An expansion for Attack on Titan 2, Attack on Titan 2: Final Battle was released in Japan on July 4, 2019, and in North America and Europe on July 5, and is available on PlayStation 4, Nintendo Switch, Xbox One (with Xbox One X support), and on PC through Steam.[75]
  • An Attack on Titan mobile game was announced for release on iOS and Android devices at the end of 2016 but was later delayed. In May 2018, it was announced that the mobile game has been titled Attack on Titan: Assault. The game was released on June 16, 2019, developed by GameSamba.[76]
  • Attack on Titan: Tactics was announced on April 18, 2019, and released on September 19, 2019, on Android and iOS. The game is developed by DeNA.
  • Attack on Titan characters appeared in the mobile video game Symphogear XD Unlimited in 2020.[77]

Live-action

A live-action film was announced to be in production in October 2011.[78] In December 2012, it was reported that Tetsuya Nakashima left his position as director. According to film distributor Toho, Nakashima had considerable creative differences on the scriptwriting and other matters.[79][80][81] In December 2013, Shinji Higuchi was revealed to be directing, and would also be responsible with the special effects. Writer Yūsuke Watanabe and critic/subculture expert Tomohiro Machiyama were announced to be scripting the movie with series creator Isayama.[82][83] In July 2014, it was revealed that two films would be released in the summer of 2015. It was also revealed that some major characters would be cut from the line up, most noticeably Levi Ackerman and Erwin Smith. A teaser trailer for the first live-action film was released in March 2015.[84] The following month, Toho released the second trailer for the first film, and announced the second installment would be called Attack on Titan: End of the World.[85] In June 2015, a third trailer for the first film was released, revealing the Three-Dimensional Maneuvering Gear, as well as confirming the film would be released in IMAX theaters in Japan.[86]

A live-action miniseries, titled Shingeki no Kyojin: Hangeki no Noroshi (進撃の巨人 反撃の狼煙, Attack on Titan: Counter Rockets) and utilizing the same actors as the films, started streaming on NTT DoCoMos online-video service dTV on August 15, 2015. The three-episode series focuses on Zoë Hange and her research of the Titans, as well as how the Vertical Maneuvering Equipment was created.[87]

Deadline Hollywood reported on January 17, 2017, that Warner Bros. was in negotiations to secure the film rights to the Attack on Titan franchise. Harry Potter and Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them producer David Heyman would be on board to produce a proposed two-film project that would remake the 2015 Japanese live-action film adaptations.[88] A day later, however, Kodansha representatives said there were no negotiations with Warner Bros.[89] However, on October 29, 2018, it was revealed that Warner Bros. and Kodansha finalized a deal to produce a live-action adaptation with It director Andy Muschietti signing on to direct the film.[90]

A stage play titled Live Impact was announced on the wraparound jacket band on Volume 21.[91] It was scheduled to run from July 28 to September 3, 2017.[92] The stage play was cancelled after one of the staff members was involved in an accident.[93][94]

A Warner Bros. live-action adaptation is in development with Andy Muschietti set to direct.[95]

Other media

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.[96][97] They were combined into one and released in North America on September 16, 2014, by Kodansha USA.[98]

A 16-minute drama CD was created with the animes staff and included in the January 2014 issue of Bessatsu Shōnen Magazine.[99]

On November 3, 2014, American writer C. B. Cebulski revealed that a crossover between Attack on Titan and Marvel Comics was in the works.[100] Cebulski scripted the scenario written by the mangas author 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.[101] During Free Comic Book Day 2015, Marvels Secret Wars preview included an 8-page presentation Attack on Avengers by creator Hajime Isayama with art by Gerardo Sandoval.[102] It was announced at the 2015 New York Comic-Con that an American comic book titled Attack on Titan Anthology would be published.[103]

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.[104] From May 31 to August 25, 2019, Universal Studios Japan is again set to host attractions for Attack on Titan as part of the Cool Japan program, including immersive effects on a grand scale according to editor Shintaro Kawakubo.[105] On July 3, 2019, the NHK BS Premium television station program series Fuka Yomi Dokushokai (Reading Too Much Into the Series Book Club) featured a discussion of the Attack on Titan manga series. Attack on Titan is the first manga ever featured on the program.[106]

Reception

Sales

The mangas publisher, Kodansha, credits Attack on Titan for the companys first revenue increase in eighteen years.[107] The Attack on Titan anime adaptation is noted to have helped in boosting the manga series sales while Mainichi Shimbun called it a once-in-a-decade hit.[108] In April 2014, Oricon reported that 30 million volumes of the series have been sold.[109] By November 2014, the manga had 45 million copies in print.[110] By December 2019, the number had increased to 100 million.[111][112][113]

The series twelfth collected volume was given a first printing of 2.2 million copies, making Attack on Titan one of only three manga series ever to get an initial print surpassing 2 million, the others being One Piece and Demon Slayer: Kimetsu no Yaiba.[1][114] Volume 13 has the highest initial first print of the series so far, with 2,750,000 copies. It is also the first print run record for its publisher, Kodansha.[115] Attack on Titan was the second highest selling manga series of 2013, with 15,933,801 copies sold in a single year.[116] In the first half of 2014 it topped the chart, ending One Pieces five-year reign as the highest selling series in that period, with Isayama surprised about it and thanking the readers.[117] By the end of the year, it was the second best selling manga with 11,728,368 copies sold.[118] In 2015, the series sold 8,778,048 copies ranking third for the year,[119] and 6,544,081 in 2016 for the fourth rank.[120] Attack on Titan was the second best-selling manga of 2017 with sales of 6,622,781 copies, behind only One Piece.[121] Attack on Titan was the fourth best-selling manga series in the first half of 2021 (period between November 2020 and May 2021), behind Demon Slayer: Kimetsu no Yaiba, Jujutsu Kaisen and Tokyo Revengers, with over 4 million copies sold,[122] while its thirty-third volume was the 22nd best-selling manga volume.[123]

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,[124] and volume one was on the list for 81 weeks straight.[125] In June 2015, the first volume clocked in at its 100th week on the top 10 chart,[126] having sold 2.5 million copies.[127][128] It also currently holds the title of appearing on the list for a volume with 121 weeks.[129] Volume one was also number one on Nielsen BookScans list of top 20 graphic novels in American bookstores for October 2013,[130] and for the month of September, the series had more volumes on the list than any other series.[131]

Critical response

Many have analyzed Attack on Titan as representing the hopelessness felt by young people in todays society.[2] 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 said 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.[2] In a short review, Jason Thompson noted how the characters conveniently receive power-ups to create plot twists, but concluded that these plot twists and the mangas post-apocalyptic world are too good to miss.[132]

Attack on Titan has gained a strong popularity not only in Japan, but also throughout the world.[133] 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 in mainland China and Taiwan.[134] 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 Shinzo Abes political leanings,[135] while the series also resonated with Hong Kong youths who saw the invading Titans as a metaphor for mainland China.[134] Hong Kong media commentator Wong Yeung-tat praised Isayamas style and the versatility of Attack on Titans setting, which opens itself to readers various interpretations.[136]

In 2013, 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, whose war record included atrocities during Japanese occupation of Korea and China such as allowing the Port Arthur massacre to occur. An Internet flame war about the general and his influence on the character ensued on Isayamas blog and included death threats to the author. As many of the threats written in Japanese had grammatical errors, Japanese media outlets claimed that they were written by non-native speakers of Japanese.[137] In 2015, the Chinese Ministry of Culture listed Attack on Titan as one of the 38 anime/manga titles banned in China.[138] Similarities have also been identified between the character Erwin Smith and Nazi Germany General Erwin Rommel.[139]

At the 14th International Graduate Conference in Political Science, International Relations, and Public Policy at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem held on December 12–13, 2018, Inbar Pincu compared the three walls in Attack on Titan in context to the Great Wall of China, the Berlin Wall and the Israeli West Bank barrier, and concluded by claiming that walls of any kind do not create secure environments, but only a false sense of security that could crumble at any given moment.[140]

Critical interpretations of Attack on Titan highlight characteristics shared by the race of Eldians and the Jewish people, noting their persecution by Marleyans as similar to the Jewish persecution by Nazi Germany. This has led to accusations and theories of antisemitism and fascism apology against the series and its author, Isayama,[141] including claims that Isayama is promoting nationalism and the theory of Jewish global domination. However, opposing arguments have claimed that, while the Eldians mirror the Jewish people, they are intended for readers to sympathize with rather than to be portrayed as villains.[142][143] In 2020, Shaan Amin, writing for The New Republic, identified Attack on Titan as a favorite of alt-right and white nationalist internet communities, while also pointing out that people tend to sift through stories to find the messages they expect.[139]

Accolades

Attack on Titan won the Kodansha Manga Award in the shōnen category in 2011[144][145] and was nominated for the 4th Manga Taishō Award as well as the 16th and 18th annual Tezuka Osamu Cultural Prize.[146][147][148] The 2011 edition of Kono Manga ga Sugoi!, which surveys professionals in the manga and publishing industry, named Attack on Titan the best manga series for male readers.[149] The 2012 edition named it the eighth best,[150] while the 2014 edition named it the sixth best.[151] Attack on Titan was the top favorite manga for Yomiuri Shimbuns Sugoi Japan Awards in 2015.[152] On TV Asahis Manga Sōsenkyo 2021 poll, in which 150.000 people voted for their top 100 manga series, Attack on Titan ranked #6.[153]

The Young Adult Library Services Association in the United States named the series one of its Great Graphic Novels for Teens in 2013.[154] Kodansha USAs English release won the 2014 Harvey Award for Best American Edition of Foreign Material.[155][156] Attack on Titan was the only manga to be nominated for the 2015 Goodreads Choice Award for Best Graphic Novel/Comic.[157] In 2021, the Attack on Titan for Giants large-scale volume broke the Guinness World Record for the largest comic book published, previously held by Turma da Mônica.[158][159]

The Italian edition of the manga won the 2014 Attilio Micheluzzi Award for Best Foreign Series.[160]

Popular culture

The Attack on Titan series has been represented in mainstream pop culture, including commercial advertisements for Subaru[181] Snickers,[182] and Wonda Coffee.[183] Its characters have been referenced in the animated series The Simpsons[184] and The Amazing World of Gumball,[185] the Korean drama Surplus Princess,[186] and Japanese rock star Yoshikis fashion brand Yoshikimono.[187]

Before the start of the San Diego Padres and the Los Angeles Dodgers game held on July 5, 2019, the Colossal Titan mascot made an appearance and performed the ceremonial first pitch before taking a photo-op with Dodgers pitcher Kenta Maeda who sported the Colossal Titan baseball glove.[188]

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