The iconic anime ‘Attack on Titan’ reaches its epic conclusion after a decade

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Illustration by Kayla Roberts.

“Attack on Titan,” the anime series recognized as one of the greatest of all time and named the “most in-demand anime TV show” by the Guinness World Records for 2022-2023, bid farewell to its millions of viewers worldwide on Nov. 5.

Created by Hajime Isayama, the series was adapted from the manga of the same name, which was published between 2009 and 2021 and is one of the best-selling manga series of all time, selling more than 120 million copies so far.

The anime series, which began in 2013 and concluded recently after ten years, achieved widespread acclaim for its powerful storytelling, profound messages, music and visuals, making it one of the most impactful anime of all time for many viewers around the world. Fans of the anime have been expressing their thoughts following the airing of the final episode.

UNLV student Meryem Misal Cengiz, a long-time fan of the award-winning anime, talks about the story of the anime in her written interview. “‘Attack on Titan’ focuses on humans living within walls in the Shiganshina district. For a hundred years, people have enjoyed peace within the walls, protected from the giants outside. Despite the apparent peace within the walls, our protagonist, Eren Yeager, is uncomfortable with humanity’s freedom being confined by the walls. One day, when the Colossal Titan breaches the wall, all of humanity faces great danger. Titans from outside the walls start infiltrating human territory, and people find themselves facing titans without understanding what’s happening. During this chaos, Eren witnesses his mother being devoured alive by a titan. At that moment, Eren vows to eradicate all titans. The anime narrates the fight of Eren, the main protagonist, and his closest friends Mikasa and Armin against the titans.”

According to Collider, “Attack on Titan” is credited with having one of the strongest and best arcs in manga and anime history. Cengiz also mentions that the anime’s compelling storyline is one of the aspects that has impacted her the most. “The reason ‘Attack on Titan’ is my favorite anime is due to its storyline and the way it unfolds. The characters fighting against the titans in the anime are very vulnerable and helpless, yet they struggle for their freedom at the cost of their lives. The exploration of the theme of freedom in a utopian world is captivating to me. Additionally, the characters’ distinctive traits were beautifully portrayed.” 

The anime explores themes such as humanity, friendship, isolation, war, peace, ambition, greed, good and evil within the context of the struggle against colossal creatures.

George Wada, the producer of the anime, mentioned in an interview with Anime News Network that the concept of the “fear of wall,” trapping people inside, is derived from the closed and isolated nature of Japanese culture.

However, international fans of the series say that even though it might have its origins in Japanese culture, they think that almost every theme and point in the anime touches on issues that concern all of humanity and that this is where it draws its strength from.

Cengiz, echoing many messages conveyed by the anime, states that the structure of the “fear of wall” is universal, existing in every culture. “In my opinion, the thing we define as the ‘fear wall’ in the anime is the giant wall between humanity and the Titans, revealing the vulnerable side of humanity. However, I don’t think that the isolated way people live within the walls is only related to Japanese culture. In my culture, too, when people are afraid or hesitant about something, they build their own wall and believe that this wall will protect them. Although these walls may seem to bring peace, they are an indication of how significant their fears are towards the other side. I believe Isayama emphasizes that these walls not only preserve humanity’s safety and peace but also restrict their freedom.”

The Attack on Titan anime, which tells the story of the struggle of humans to survive in a world full of monsters and often raises the question of who is human and who is monster, ended with its 89th episode.

Cengiz says that even though the end of the anime made her quite sad, it ended with an unforgettable message about humanity. “I believe that the anime’s ability to relate to real life and human nature in various ways has been highly effective in reaching such a broad audience worldwide.”

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