April 9, 2021 10 min read
This article was translated using AI technologies from our Spanish edition. Errors can occur due to this process. This story originally appeared on Cine Premiere
If you read these lines, you will see the end of a story that has gained popularity and recognition worldwide over the past decade. Today, with the release of episode 139 of the attack on Titan (Shingeki no Kyojin) Manga, eleven years and 34 volumes of surprising turns of phrase, lovable characters and a world that raises metaphors about war, loss and freedom are closed.
For a month, fans filled social networks and their favorite digital hangouts with compilation videos, cosplays, emotional messages, memes, fan merchandise, analyzes and collages from the most epic panels in preparation for saying goodbye. Mexican artist Tatería even dedicated a mural to the series, which went viral online.
To commemorate this milestone, we’re reviewing the origins of Hajime Isayama acclaimed manga and what it says about the success of a work that was included in the list of the most memorable of recent times.
Image: Via Cine Premiere
An effective catch
Much of the appeal of Attack on Titan lies in its story: an identifiable conflict and subplots that enrich the main action, a fantasy world with precise rules and solid cohesion, and an effective approach that starts with the media at the center of the entire argument.
The catch on his debut was simple, but with power and dramatic impact. The remnants of humanity after endangered life live in a walled city that prevents entry of the titans, the man-eating humanoids that appeared out of nowhere. There has been peace for a hundred years, but one morning the thunder shakes heaven and earth. then a titan appears over the wall, taller than anyone else who has ever been seen. This threat shaking their world is a reminder to humanity that they live in fear and that these walls were indeed cages.
“I wanted to create something short, simple, and interesting when someone saw it. Making it complicated would alienate people, “says Hajime Isayama in Attack on Titan Guidebook: Inside & Outside. Thinking about how difficult it was to get people to read his long first chapter, he focused on an event that would grab attention from the start.This is how the iconic image of the colossal titan looming over the wall from a low angle was born.
What are the titans and where do they come from? How can you defend yourself against such a threat? What to do with hatred after falling victim to tragedy? These questions raise the underlying puzzles to continue. They were gradually resolved with new questions before each answer until the twist that revolutionized the conspiracy into one centered on a long-running war between two nations and its impact on the characters’ characters as well as the motivations for their actions.
Image: Via Cine Premiere
An intimate story
Isayama was a diligent writer in his work. Despite his withdrawn personality, he didn’t stop fighting for an opportunity. In 2006, when she was only 20 years old, she came to Tokyo with a dream of becoming a mangaka, although she says she always struggled at the level of drawing, which was one of her greatest hobbies. He believed that his work lacked the necessary quality by the standards of the medium, a self-criticism supported by several publishers.
“I have visited a lot of companies. They liked my story, but they said the quality of the drawing was poor. I wanted to quit because there are a lot of people who want to become manga artists. I didn’t think I could become one of the greats, ”Isayama confessed in an interview with the BBC.
When a Kōdansha editor finally showed interest in Attack on Titan, Isayama had such low self-esteem that he thought, “What’s wrong with this guy?”
The subjects of the work are closely related to his own biography, and perhaps this emotional honesty made it easier to identify with readers. In an interview with NHK, the author revealed that his childhood displayed feelings of inferiority about his environment: so physically due to the mountains surrounding Hita, the city he grew up in, he wondered what was behind them ;; as social as he often lost skills or failed to demonstrate his skills. The desire to change the way he is and how he thinks would motivate him to leave Oita Prefecture: “It wasn’t ambition that drove me. I felt inferior, a certain amount of frustration, ”he recalls.
The first conceptual influence for the manga (via) was Muv Luv Alternative, an adult visual novel about an alien invasion that nearly wiped out humanity. Then there was his bad experience in Tokyo with drunk and angry customers at an internet café where he worked at dawn. Isayama thought how terrible it was to stand in front of someone who was impossible to communicate with, and this idea encouraged the creation of the titans.
In interviews for Kōdansha and Kaboom magazine in 2013, he said that early designs were inspired by a zombie who came out of the painting to portray people in the horror manga cloud, the Master of Hell (Jigoku Sensei Cloud), to eat. Later on, monsters like Godzilla, Mothra and Gamera and Japanese horror cinema would add to their influences.
The grotesque and the unusual are perceived as a nodal point in the attractiveness of work:
“To draw the titans, I choose expressions that cause discomfort. The titans’ expression is not suitable for every situation, for example, if they find one until they kill him, he won’t stop smiling. I did it to make it as uncomfortable as possible, ”he explained.
These visual references, mixed with their experiences, formed a world of detail that the fandom held indebted to the liberation story of Eren, Mikasa, and Armin, outlined with dramatic undertones that heightened its appeal. The care that the author and editor has put into the story is reinforced by the words of Editor Back, who stated in the Attack on Titan Guidebook: “Isayama listens to every opinion before making a decision. There are tons of suggestions and he listens to them all. So it takes a position and builds on everyone’s suggestions. The attack on Titan isn’t just yours, many people have influenced Kōdansha. ”
That was the power of a creative story, balanced between what it showed and what it didn’t show, between depth and spectacular action that pays off for its excitement.
Image: Via Cine Premiere
Japanese pop culture titans
The economic factor also played an important role. When something is successful, it becomes better known by the culture industry, which translates into greater prestige and scope. The manga debuted in September 2009 in Bessatsu Shōnen Magazine. From the start it had a successful reception and was able to sell nearly 3.8 million copies by the end of 2011, as recorded by Oricon. In 2013, Kōdansha saw its first profit increase in 18 years with a peak of nearly 16 million copies sold, ANN reported.
That boost was fueled by the premiere of the anime’s first season on NHK television in April of that year. The adaptation catapulted Attack on Titan as a worldwide phenomenon by making the plot available to an international audience, even those who did not consume anime. Two months later, the Japanese publisher printed a further 8 million copies to meet the demand for the 10 volumes that had been compiled by then.
The franchise expanded to include numerous spin-offs, light novels, video games, live-action films, and merchandise. Although sales have since declined, largely due to increased digital consumption, Bessatsu Shōnen Magazine announced on Twitter in December 2019 that the manga had sold more than 100 million copies worldwide and was among the top 20 best-selling manga sagas heard of all time. His honors include the Kōdansha Award in the Shōnen category in 2011 and nominations for awards such as the Manga Taishō and the Tezuka Osamu Cultural Award.
“There is nothing more valuable than people who can share emotions that, thanks to a story, cannot be expressed in words. It made us happy to feel this way with our readers and partners through Attack on Titan. Even though the series came to an end, those memories will always stay warm in our hearts. Thank you for reading us, ”wrote the editorial staff of Bessatsu Shōnen Magazine about the ending.
Today the end of this story is as successful as it is unforgettable. However, Shingeki no Kyojin will still be alive. On the one hand in the remaining projects, such as the conclusion of the last season of his anime adaptation or in the Hollywood live action film by Warner. On the other hand, and especially in the memory of his followers: those from the beginning, those who have caught up and those who are still missing. Because good stories are known to be timeless.