It is rare for an anime series to reach the level of mainstream popularity that Attack on Titan has achieved in only a few short years. Usually, when an anime becomes a household name it is one that is aimed at children or young teens, such as Dragon Ball Z or Pokémon. You should never show Attack on Titan to young children, as it features some of the most horrific violence ever depicted in a cartoon series. The show is set in a world where humanity has almost been wiped out by a race of carnivorous giants, who lay siege to the last city in order to eat its inhabitants.
So how did a show with such a dark premise become so popular? Attack on Titan has unforgettable visuals, an interesting cast of characters, and several mysteries that have engaged the readers, much like Lost did all those years ago.
We are here today to look into the meteoric rise of one of the strangest and most unforgettable series of our time.
From the time the Titans battled the Avengers and the Guardians of the Galaxy, to the original ending of the series that would likely have caused the biggest outcry in the history of the Internet, here are the 15 Things You Didn’t Know About Attack On Titan.
15. It Has Crossed Over With The Avengers & The Guardians Of The Galaxy
Crossovers are a common occurrence in American comics. The teams within Marvel and DC will often encounter each other, and some events will include several characters from across each company. There have even been occasions when characters from different companies will join together with heroes from Marvel, DC, Dark Horse, Image, and 2000 AD.
The manga/anime world has crossovers as well, but these are a much rarer occurrence. What is even rarer is an anime crossing over with a non-Japanese series. This happened in 2014, when the Titans from Attack on Titan battled the Avengers and the Guardians of the Galaxy.
Marvel Comics made a deal with Kodansha to release Attack on Avengers in 2014. This was an eight-page comic that showed the Titans attacking Manhattan. The Avengers rush to the rescue and engage the Titans in combat. At the end of the comic, the Colossal Titan threatens to crush the city, when the Guardians of the Galaxy arrive to stop it.
14. The Series Was Inspired By An Altercation At An Internet Cafe
The author of Attack on Titan is Hajime Isayama. He is considered to be a polarizing figure to some, due to the inconsistent quality of his artwork in the manga. The Titan’s look amazing, but everything else lacks the same polish. Indeed, this is why it took so long for Attack on Titan to be published.
Isayama took the series to Weekly Shonen Jump magazine in 2006, which is the biggest manga publication in Japan. It was rejected due to the quality of its art. Weekly Shonen Jump are likely kicking themselves now, though, as Attack on Titan was picked up by one of their competitors, and grew to become a worldwide hit.
Hajime Isayama was inspired to create Attack on Titan during a time when he worked at an Internet cafe. He once faced an irate customer, who grabbed him by the collar of his shirt. Isayama was terrified of the man and felt that nothing he said was getting through to him. This gave Isayama the idea to create a series where the enemy was something that could not be communicated with.
13. The Series Is Banned In China
Those who follow film news will likely be aware of the rising importance of China when it comes to making money with movies. This is due to the fact that the Chinese government has relaxed its stance on censorship and what kinds of international media they allow to be shown in their country.
The growth of the Chinese middle class, in comparison to the economic decline in markets like the USA, has reshaped how movies are made, as Hollywood now looks to Chinese sensibilities when it comes to creating their films.
China hasn’t become totally relaxed, however, especially when it comes to some Japanese media. In 2015, the Chinese government banned series like Attack on Titan and Death Note from appearing on Internet streaming sites. This is due to the high amount of graphic violence that appears in Attack on Titan. The ban led to numerous websites being shut down and others being fined.
12. It Is The Youngest Series To Become One Of The Best Selling Mangas Of All Time
The first series of the Attack on Titan anime is what helped propel the series to mainstream status. We would never have seen an Attack on Titan anime series if it weren’t for the success of the original manga.
When Attack on Titan debuted in Bessatsu Shōnen Magazine in 2009, it quickly made a name for itself, due to its horrifying antagonists, interesting setting, and an overarching mystery plot that hooked readers in from the very first issue. Due to its global success, Attack on Titan is the newest series to enter the best-selling manga of all time list. Attack on Titan debuted in 2009 and has sold 66 million copies to date. Its closest rival in terms of debut time is Fairy Tail, which first appeared in 2006 and has sold 60 million copies.
Attack on Titan consistently dominates weekly and monthly manga sales in Japan… except for one series. The one manga that has mostly kept Attack on Titan off the top spot is One Piece, which is the current best-selling manga series of all time.
11. Don’t Ask The Author For A Favor
A manga series is usually attributed to one or two of its creators. Bleach, for example, was attributed to Tite Kubo, whilst Death Note has Tsugumi Ohba and Takeshi Obata listed as its writer and artist. The truth is, each manga is produced by a team of artists.
Those who are listed as the author of the piece will write the series and do most of the drawing, while the rest of the team finishes each page. These assistant jobs are highly coveted, as they act as apprenticeships into the world of manga. Some of the most prominent manga authors started out as assistants on a different series. The most famous of these is Eiichiro Oda, who started out as an assistant on Rurouni Kenshin and went on to create One Piece.
One of the assistants on Attack on Titan left the series when their own manga was published. They asked Hajime Isayama to create a drawing for the dust jacket of the physical book. The series was a romance manga, so Isayama drew its female protagonist as a titan who was devouring a boy alive.
10. There Is An Official Parody Of The Series That Is Set In High School
Attack on Titan quickly became the most popular series ever to be associated with Bessatsu Shōnen Magazine. As such, they have proceeded to milk Attack on Titan for all that it’s worth. Bessatsu Shōnen Magazine is home to the official Attack on Titan parody series and is where the Lost Girls prequel series was published. The other Attack on Titan prequel manga was published in Monthly Shonen Sirius, which is also owned by Kodansha.
The parody series is called Attack on Titan: Junior High, and follows the characters from the main series in a school setting. They attend a junior high, where humans and Titans coexist. The Titans have a tendency to bully the human students and steal their lunch, which has caused Eren Yeager to try and eliminate them from the planet for good.
9. The Armored Titan Is Based On Brock Lesnar
Not all Titans are created equally, as Attack on Titan is quick to point out. One of the first creatures we see in the series is the Colossal Titan, which is able to breach Wall Maria and cause it to fall to the Titans. We later see other forms of the Titan, such as the Female Titan, which has increased strength, agility, and intelligence compared to the others of its kind. There is also the Beast Titan, which has the power to control the mindless Titans.
Another one of the first Titans we see in the series is the Armored Titan. As the name suggests, this Titan has armored plates across its body, which makes it almost immune to the regular weapons used by the Survey Corps. They have to come up with special tactics in order to fight the Armored Titan.
Hajime Isayama has confirmed that the design for the Armored Titan is based on Brock Lesnar, who is a current WWE wrestler and occasional UFC star (so long as they don’t ask him to pee in a cup). The WWE brand is massive in Japan, which explains how Isayama became a fan of Lesnar.
8. The Pilot Issue Was Very Different From The Finished Series
Every manga series in Japan needs to go through a vetting process before it is published. In manga’s case, this means that the author needs to submit a pilot issue of their series, which is meant to reflect what a theoretical first issue would look like and lay out the premise of the story. The author submits the pilot to an editor, who will either accept the piece or send it back for more work.
Attack on Titan had a pilot issue which is referred to as Volume 0 by fans. This was submitted to Weekly Shonen Jump in 2006 and was rejected. It is easy to see why, as the artwork in this pilot chapter is abysmal and wouldn’t have been accepted by any magazine.
The story of Volume 0 is different than what we see in the first issue of Attack on Titan. One of the biggest differences is the fact that none of the characters use the omni-directional mobility gear, as everyone has Spider-Man levels of agility. The Titans are said to have never been beaten until a Titan-shifter appears for the first time.
7. The City Is Based On A Real Place In Germany
In Attack on Titan, the last vestiges of humanity live in a city that is protected by several massive walls that are so huge no Titan could possibly break them (or so people thought). The three walls are called Maria, Rose, and Sheena. Attack on Titan opens with Wall Maria being torn open by the Colossal Titan.
The second wall is breached by the Colossal Titan when Eren Yaeger is finally old enough to join the Survey Corps. Luckily, Eren transforms into a Titan for the first time, which gives him the power to seal up the breach and save the inhabitants of the city.
The unnamed city in Attack on Titan is actually based on a real place. The inspiration for the city comes from Nördlingen, which is in Germany. Nördlingen has existed for over a thousand years and is one of only three German cities that still has a wall around its perimeter. Hajime Isayama clearly used the gothic style buildings as the inspiration for the homes within the world of Attack on Titan.
6. A Commercial For A Subaru Car Featured The Titans
The Titans of Attack on Titan quickly became the most iconic part of the series. Fans of the series loved to share pictures of these uniquely grotesque giants across the Internet, which helped pique the interest of those who had yet to experience the manga. It was inevitable that someone would try and use CGI to bring these Titans into reality.
Attack on Titan would receive two live action movies of questionable quality. These weren’t the first to show the Titans existing in the real world, however, as the creators of the Subaru Forester got there first.
The Subaru Forester is a car with a commercial that featured the Titans. This thirty-second advert shows a driver escaping from the Titans in the Subaru Forester. The Titans look amazing in the commercial, though we aren’t sure how well their presence is advertising the car. Is Japan filled with giant monsters that people need to drive away from on a regular basis?
5. The Stage Play Had To Be Canceled Before It Opened
Musical theater is huge in Japan. This extends to modern musicals, like Mamma Mia! and classical plays, such as the works of Shakespeare. Musicals based on popular anime series also tend to do very well in Japan, with stage shows of Naruto, Death Note, and The Prince of Tennis receiving a lot of business.
Attack on Titan was going to receive its own acrobatic musical, in the vein of Spider-Man: Turn Off The Dark. It was due to run from July to September in 2017. The Attack on Titan musical had to be canceled, however, due to an accident on set that claimed the life of one of the performers.
Kazutaka Yoshino was an acrobat who was preparing the safety equipment for the show. He was testing the wires that were going to be used in the action sequences when they snapped in mid-air. Yoshino fell around thirty feet and was pronounced dead at the hospital. The show was canceled shortly after.
4. There Is An Attack On Titan Section At Universal Studios Japan
Attack on Titan is not a series for the faint-hearted. This is because of its horrific violence, rather than anything related to sexuality or offensive content. It is not a series that should be read or watched by children.
It seems that Universal Studios Japan has a lot more faith in the idea that Japanese school children won’t be scarred by seeing a life-sized Titan than we do, as an Attack on Titan attraction was added to the Osaka branch in 2015. Those seeking a wholesome family trip should definitely check out the life-sized statues of the Eren Titan and the Female Titan locked in combat.
If your trip wasn’t magical enough, then how about posing with a giant Titan head that is made to look as if it is about to eat you. You can take a photo of your loved ones in the grasp of a Titan so that you can cherish the memory forever.
3. It Has Crossed Over With Monster Hunter & Dead Or Alive
The world of anime and video games are practically interlinked. Even the most unsuitable manga can receive a video game adaptation if it becomes popular enough. Attack on Titan has received several video game adaptations, though these have been of questionable quality.
The series has crossed over with other video game franchises, such as Monster Hunter and Dead or Alive. Monster Hunter Frontier G crossed over with Attack on Titan, which included free costume and weapon DLC. You could create the Survey Corps outfit and use their swords as weapons. Sadly, the Titans themselves didn’t appear in the game.
Dead or Alive 5: Last Round had a paid Attack on Titan DLC. This included a stage based on Wall Rose, as well as costumes for all of the characters. These outfits were surprisingly tasteful and true to the source material, unlike most of the costume DLCs that were released for the game.
2. There Are Several Prequel Novels
Attack on Titan has received numerous prequel and side story novels. To date, there are six different Attack on Titan light novels. These are all written by people other than the author of the manga, so many fans disregard their canon status in relation to the rest of the series.
The first trilogy of the Attack on Titan novels was a prequel series called Before the Fall. It is set 70 years before the beginning of the manga and explains the origins of the Survey Corps and the creation of the omni-directional mobility gear. Before the Fall has received its own manga adaptation.
Before the Fall was followed by two novels called Attack on Titan: Harsh Mistress of the City (Part 1 & 2). These followed citizens in the aftermath of the destruction of Wall Maria and the fallout that affected many of the refugees.
1. The Series Could End With All Of The Characters Dying
Attack on Titan is a series that has a reputation for being deadly towards to its main cast. It isn’t quite on the same level as Game of Thrones, but fans are definitely more concerned about the Attack on Titan characters than they are of most manga casts.
The fans may be right to be worried. Hajime Isayama has stated that he toyed with the idea of killing all of the characters and ending Attack on Titan with none of its mysteries resolved. The unprecedented success of the series made Isayama change his mind… for now.
He has stated that he is afraid of the potential backlash he would face if he ended the series in that way. Isayama still wants to do it, though several of the major mysteries of the series have been answered, so the effect of killing the cast would be lessened.
Attack on Titan took the world by storm in a way that no one would have ever expected. The Titans are supposed to be the scariest beings in their world, yet they pale in comparison to the author of the series, who may one day pull the rug out from under us.
What else do you know about Attack on Titan? Can you think of any interesting facts that we may have missed? Let us know in the comments!