Every once in a while, there is a particular anime that reaches such an insane amount of popularity, that it manages to break down all cultural borders. Western and Eastern perspectives always clash, which is why it’s not often that this remarkable achievement happens. In 2013, the latest phenomenon that was capable of doing that premiered on TV: Attack On Titan, also known by its original Japanese title, Shingeki No Kyojin. It’s often compared to the premise of Western creations, such as The Walking Dead and Game Of Thrones, for the anime’s intense unpredictability of character deaths and the element of survival packed with a humanity-against-something foundation, found in the popular zombie series. The plot of the anime is simple: humanity goes nearly extinct when humanoid like, giant creatures called titans invade Earth, and retreats behind the protection of three giant walls. The story itself begins when, for the first time in centuries, the first wall is breached and titans find a way in. It’s simple enough to draw people to watch it, and surprising enough to keep your attention when you realize the multitude of plot twists and subterfuges. In this situation, it’s not a shock that so many people are anxiously waiting for the second season, due to premiere in Japan very, very soon. So, in case you count yourself as part of this category, here are 10 Things To Know Before Attack On Titan Season 2 to keep you entertained in the meantime.
Also, beware of the spoilers.
1. Mikasa’s Name
The popular female lead of the series gets her name from a battleship that served in the Imperial Japanese Navy during the Russo-Japanese War. Hajime Isayama, the series’ creator, allegedly made this choice out of belief that stories with female characters named after battleships are more likely to be successful. Well, we definitely can’t say that he was wrong, can we?
2. Levi’s Title
Those who pay enough attention to minor details like this one, will know that we often hear people refer to Levi as a “heicho,” which is apparently a shortened version of “heishicho.” The latter is his proper title, which would roughly translate as “leader of all soldiers.” Because of this shortening, people wrongly associate the “heicho” word with the title “Lance Corporal,” a position that’s way too low for someone of Levi’s caliber. In fact, Levi holds no actual position in the military, because he was deemed as an exceptional case, and his “heishicho” title was invented exclusively for him.
3. Hange’s Gender
Isayama is a man of many mysteries, purposely choosing to leave certain things with big question marks around them. One of these cases is Hange Zoe’s gender. Although depicted as explicitly female in the anime, the manga avoids using any pronouns that might indicate one gender at another, something requested by Isayama himself. He said that Hange’s gender is “up to the reader.”
4. Watchmen Inspiration
Hajime Isayama found inspiration for the series in many places, but you might be surprised to hear that Watchmen was one of them. For example, several design and personality points of Rorshach inspired Isayama when creating Levi, while Erwin borrowed many of his traits from Ozymandias.
5. Levi’s Background
It wasn’t until one of the more recent chapters when Levi’s background, his childhood specifically, was shone a small light on. However, before that, it was someone other than Isayama who wrote an interesting origin story for Levi. A Choice With No Regrets was initially a manga that contoured a storyline, which explained how Levi came to join the Survey Corps and the “triggering” experience that Mikasa also went through. It became so popular that Isayama himself accepted it as canon, and it eventually was materialized by the official animation studio as a two part OVA.
6. Drafted Ideas
Like in the cases of most stories, there were many things that didn’t make the cut into the final form of the series. For example, Eren was supposed to know all along about his titan shifting abilities, but Isayama decided last minute that it’d be more interesting if he didn’t know. Another idea that (hopefully) will never get to see the light has to do with the way the series was supposed to end: with every single character dead. This original concept is rumored to be hinted at from the first moments of the first episode, when Eren’s dream shows images of him, Mikasa and other characters dead and bloody.
7. Series Completion
With other series, like One Piece and Bleach apparently carrying on forever, many wonder when Attack On Titan will end. According to Isayama’s editor, the series is “60% complete,” meaning that there are roughly 27 volumes left. Given how a new chapter is released once every month, I fear that we’ll all be old and wrinkled by the time the series comes to a conclusion.
8. Sasha’s Death
Sasha is a character that grew not just on us, but on the creators of the series, too. She was actually meant to die at a rather early stage of the story, with Isayama having even detailed the moment. However, one of his editors apparently loved Sasha so much, that when he read the script of her death, he locked himself in the bathroom and cried for an hour. This led to Isayama eventually deciding to keep Sasha alive. Thanks, Editor-san!
9. Consequences Of Popularity
No one expected the series to be as popular as it is, Isayama and the animation studio included. This is the main reason why we had to wait three years for the second season, which the animators really weren’t prepared for. Funnily enough, it wasn’t just them who were taken off guard, but also Isayama’s bank. He said that he received a phone call, where they expressed concern regarding the sudden financial growth in his savings. Fortunately, there were no money washing of any other illegalities involved. Just a bunch of titans.
10. Season Two Speculations
Finally, we end this list with the most spoiler filled section. As far as the second season goes, we naturally expect to see at least two manga arcs in animated form, followed as loyally as in the first season. However, it’s rumored that the anime will take a different path this time, one major spoiler being the possibility of an important character death, something that has yet to happen in the manga. Other people are also concerned over the slow pace of the manga, which might prove quite troublesome for further adaptations, thus it’s considered that season two might be the last we’ll see of Attack On Titan in anime form. Lastly, as far as the story goes, it’s speculated that the anime will start with the breach of Wall Rose, including the arcs centered on the Reiss family and the rebellion concerning the local authorities.
Well, all things considered, the waiting time is almost over and this is, hopefully, the last time we’ll occupy our time by dissecting random Easter eggs and fun facts. Even though we needed these 10 Things To Know Before Attack On Titan Season 2 to keep us busy, it could be worse. We could be talking about BBC’s Sherlock.