Attack on Titan is one of the most popular and influential anime series of all time. Based on the manga by Hajime Isayama, it tells the story of Eren Yeager and his friends who join the military to fight against giant humanoids called Titans that have brought humanity to the brink of extinction. The series has been praised for its dark and mature themes, its complex and controversial characters, its stunning animation and music, and its epic and unpredictable plot twists.
But Attack on Titan is more than just a hit show; it is also a symbol of the anime industry’s growth and evolution in the past decade. Since its debut in 2013, Attack on Titan has been at the forefront of anime’s expansion and innovation, both in Japan and abroad. Here are some of the ways that Attack on Titan has changed the anime landscape forever.
It boosted the popularity and profitability of anime
Attack on Titan was a huge commercial success, both in Japan and internationally. According to Oricon, the manga sold over 110 million copies as of September 2022, making it one of the best-selling manga series of all time1. The anime also sold millions of DVDs and Blu-rays, as well as merchandise, video games, live-action films, spin-offs, and collaborations with other brands. According to Parrot Analytics, Attack on Titan was the most in-demand anime series in the world in 20202.
Attack on Titan also helped to increase the visibility and accessibility of anime to a wider audience. The anime was broadcast on various TV channels and streaming platforms around the world, such as Adult Swim, Netflix, Hulu, Crunchyroll, Funimation, Amazon Prime Video, and more. The series attracted many new fans who were not familiar with anime before, as well as old fans who were reinvigorated by its quality and originality. Attack on Titan also generated a lot of buzz and discussion on social media, blogs, podcasts, YouTube videos, memes, fan art, cosplay, and more.
Attack on Titan showed the industry just how big anime could get, and how much potential it had to reach a global market. It also inspired other anime studios and creators to produce more ambitious and diverse works that could appeal to different tastes and demographics.
It challenged the conventions and expectations of anime
Attack on Titan was not a typical anime series. It did not follow the usual tropes and formulas that were common in many other anime genres, such as shonen (action-adventure), shojo (romance), or isekai (fantasy). Instead, it created its own unique genre that blended elements of horror, thriller, mystery, drama, war, politics, philosophy, and more.
Attack on Titan also subverted many cliches and stereotypes that were often associated with anime characters and stories. For example:
- The main character Eren was not a typical hero who was always righteous and powerful. He was flawed, impulsive, emotional, and sometimes even villainous. He also underwent drastic changes throughout the series that challenged his beliefs and motivations.
- The female characters were not just damsels in distress or fanservice objects. They were strong, independent, intelligent, and capable fighters who had their own goals and personalities. Some of them even surpassed their male counterparts in skill and leadership.
- The villains were not just evil for the sake of being evil. They had complex backgrounds, motivations, ideologies, and emotions that made them sympathetic or relatable at times. They also had their own conflicts and dilemmas that made them question their actions.
- The plot was not predictable or linear. It had many twists and turns that surprised and shocked the viewers. It also had many layers and mysteries that kept the viewers engaged and curious. It also explored many themes and issues that were relevant and controversial in real life.
Attack on Titan challenged the conventions and expectations of anime by offering a fresh and innovative perspective that appealed to both hardcore and casual fans alike. It also raised the standards and expectations for anime quality by delivering a high level of production value that matched or surpassed many Hollywood productions.
It influenced the culture and society of anime
Attack on Titan was not just an entertainment product; it was also a cultural phenomenon that influenced the culture and society of anime in various ways. For example:
- It inspired many other anime series that followed its footsteps or paid homage to it. Some examples are Kabaneri of the Iron Fortress , God Eater , Seraph of the End , The Promised Never.
- It created a community and a fandom that transcended borders and cultures. Attack on Titan has a loyal and passionate fanbase that spans across different countries, languages, ages, genders, and backgrounds. The fans have created and shared various forms of fan works, such as art, cosplay, music, videos, podcasts, memes, and more. The fans have also engaged in lively discussions and debates about the series, its characters, its themes, and its controversies. The fans have also supported and celebrated the series and its creators through various events, campaigns, awards, and donations.
Attack on Titan has influenced the culture and society of anime by creating a phenomenon that resonated with millions of people around the world. It has also sparked interest and curiosity about other aspects of Japanese culture, such as history, mythology, politics, religion, and more.
Attack on Titan is a masterpiece of anime that has changed the anime landscape forever. It has boosted the popularity and profitability of anime, challenged the conventions and expectations of anime, and influenced the culture and society of anime. It has also left a lasting legacy and impact on the anime industry and its fans. It is a series that deserves to be watched, read, analyzed, appreciated, and remembered for years to come.