When Attack on Titan Volume 34 was released, author Hajime Isayama was concerned. He had four endings in mind. But went with the first one he intended for the series.
His editor, Shintaro Kawakubo, understood his reasons and comforted him. Genocide is nothing to make light of. The world has seen too much of it.
But some in the world understood Mr. Not Isayama. For example, in 2019, Polygon infamously published a news story claiming that the story contained fascist subtexts. The ending of the Attack On Titan manga was so unpopular among some of the fandom that there was a petition demanding that Mr. Isayama would rewrite the ending.
Some artists even went so far as to team up to create their own ending called AoT no Requiem. There’s even an animation project that plans to make a new anime ending, though Attack On Titan Season 4, Part 3 hasn’t completed the story yet.
The following includes an interview between: mr. Kawakubo and the editors of The Weekly Shonen magazine† (Note that this writer relied on Google Translate, so some points may be confusing, but the editor’s overall intent is still clear.)
Attack On Titan interview explains the intent of the ending
Bessatsu Shonen Magazine published the final chapter of Attack on Titan in Spring 2021. At one point, Mr. Kawakubo said to Mr. Isayama, “I think it was a final episode that no one could complain about.”
According to Mr. Kawakubo, the meaning he wanted to convey at the time was that he found the premise very interesting, not that “it’s a final episode that we can show to everyone and let them find it interesting.”
When Mr. Isayama started the series 11 years and 7 months ago, there were specific stories and emotions that he wanted to portray. mr. Kawakubo believes that since Mr. Isayama started the manga because he wanted to draw those things and he could eventually draw whatever he wanted to draw, no one has the right to complain about that. In that sense, Mr. Kawakubo opined, “No one has the right to complain, so I guess this was the last episode that no one can complain about.”
Mr. Kawakubo only said these words at the time, so they may not have been clear, but after the final publication came the criticism. Mr. Isayama was concerned about it, so Mr. Kawakubo said to him, “You completed the project the way you wanted, so that’s fine.”
Attack on Titan Editor Kawakubo Reveals the True Meaning of Attack on Titan
Long ago, Mr. Isayama discussed with the editor the meaning behind the story. The manga creator wanted to get the message across that murder and genocide are wrong, but the editor thought it wouldn’t work to directly mention this message.
“If you want to tell people not to kill, it may be pointless to tell them directly not to kill. We can tell 7 billion people in the world not to ‘kill people’, and yet the fact that murders never go away can mean that the words ‘don’t kill people’ mean nothing. If that’s the case, then the words, “It’s okay to kill people,” may make more sense if you only look at the results of the actions, because readers who hear it may think, “Killing people is wrong, what am I?” you talk about?’ So if you have a message you want to convey, you may not necessarily want to draw the manga the way you want it to be conveyed. That said, I think I was talking about this as a story that has nothing to do with Attack on Titan.”
– Mr Kawakubo
Unfortunately, there was a lot of controversy over the last chapter and criticism that it was “confirming genocide”. Of course, Mr. Kawakubo never intended to condone the massacre in the manga story, but Mr. Isayama was quite disturbed by the criticism, so the editor told him, “But isn’t that a good thing, actually?”
“Compared to the fact that a war actually broke out and a lot of people died, it’s better to read Attack on Titan and think, ‘This is a pro-genocide manga and genocide is not good,'” explains Mr. Kawakubo out. “So, even if it is said that Hajime Isayama has confirmed genocide, it is a good thing because it means there is a movement that wants to fight back against genocide.”
Yet people continue to kill. mr. Kawabuko said it was better to keep a genocide in the manga and have everyone agree it’s wrong and do something about it.
To then have a genocide take place in real life and then do something. The main theme of Attack on Titan is freedom. Freedom for everyone.
Regardless of race, gender, creed and politics. That’s what Mr. Isayama and Mr. Kawakubo wanted to make clear in the first chapter.
A creative duo until the end
And part 3 of season 4 is just around the corner. Studio MAPPA plans to keep a close eye on the manga, but there are still fans who prefer the anime to have an alternate ending.
This is not a bad thing. Attack on Titan isn’t the only series that show the dark side of humanity† And it won’t be the last. Attack on Titan will be remembered for many things, and it’s a story you’ll want to relive from the beginning once you’ve seen it end.
Attack on Titan is about a young boy (Eren Yeager) who turns lives upside down with his two friends (Mikasa and Armin). In the first season, we are introduced to many characters, some of whom will not be in the final battle.
Some will choose to help Eren, while others will try to use him for their own ends. But the one quote that always stands out is: Humanity is cattle in a pen. Life within the walls was hard.
But with each episode, we learn that nothing is what it seems. Attack on Titan started out as humans versus titans. An action-packed race for survival combined with the growing knowledge that you can’t trust anyone.
As Season 3 began, Eren and the company faced a new human threat. One that was worse than the Titans. Then the next storyline introduces us to a young girl named Gabi, who is not that different from Eren.
She is headstrong and loyal to her friends. The first to be in danger and the last to leave if she can help it. We learned what life is like outside the walls. And how far both sides are willing to go to win.
The Attack on Titan Season 4 Part 3 release date is slated to be sometime in 2023. The final third of the final season will close out the anime’s story and likely result in even more controversy over the story themes. Let’s hope the fandom understands Hajime Isayama’s intentions.