O P I N I O N – M A N G A
- a manga reader
- that quirky individual who doesn’t mind being spoilt
Links in this article contain HEAVY SPOILERS. Proceed at your own risk.
Attack on Titan has been around for almost as long as I’ve been receiving my formal education. While my graduation is still a far-off subject, Attack on Titan’s ending is not. The decade-long journey wrapped itself up on 9 April, with the release of the final manga chapter — which calls for a graduation party of its own. Or does it?
Some fans are in no mood to party, for valid reasons. Some fans wouldn’t mind a party, also for valid reasons.
The story has left us with one of the most controversial endings of recent times. Such can be seen from the results of a poll conducted across fans online. With such polarising emotions, the fandom is at war with both itself and with the creator, Hajime Isayama. Some have been sending death threats his way while others have been using #ThankYouIsayama on Twitter. Meanwhile, a handful has pulled the Armin card and created petitions to peacefully negotiate with Isayama to change the ending.
A torn fandom and aggressively passionate participants have made this end seem less cherishable and more abominable. This negativity should be eliminated. Therefore, regardless of which side you’re on, here are some reasons as to why Attack on Titan’s ending is thoroughly enjoyable for everyone and should be celebrated instead.
Passionate communal feeling
Thanks to the show’s massive following, the ending is being discussed on almost all social media platforms. And amidst all of this, what is being most prominently circulated are fan-made alternate endings.
A group of artists on Twitter has taken this idea to a whole new level with their plan to release fully original chapters from where the story left off at chapter 136.
Hi all – thank you for your support thus far. Please take a minute here to read this thread that will address some FAQ's & provide some more insight into the project:
1) This is a 100% a fan-made ending, completely non-profit & working with no affiliations.
— AOTnoRequiem (@AotnoRequiem) April 16, 2021
All of this will be done with re-illustrated storyboards and (hopefully) a better ending. Similar groups have also followed suit to pursue even bigger projects than this one. An example is Operation Usurper, which aims to remake the entire Rumbling arc.
— AOT Usurper (@OpUsurper) April 16, 2021
On the flip side, other fans have already found closure in Isayama’s ending as it is. Even if occurring in small numbers, these sorts of fans are found all over the internet passionately debunking the group which opposes the original ending and create these alternate ones.
It’s insane (and all the more hilarious) what lengths the fandom can go to express their love for this series. It had also been done after Harry Potter ended, and most definitely with the finale of Game of Thrones. Most of us will tend to see this as a mass conflict and feel negative about the whole situation. However, such strong conflicting yet unanimous outrages only fortify our presence in a community.
Despite being petty issues during a pandemic, it is still effectively bringing people together. I, for one, have felt strongly for this wacky weeb community that I’m a part of. After all, what could be better than a sense of unity during quarantine?
And this couldn’t be possible with a ‘good’ ending but is possible with this controversial one.
Isn’t that something to be glad about?
The consensus is that Attack on Titan did not get to score the home run with its finale. Even with its positive elements, the ending seemed rushed and badly written. And it was especially disappointing for a potential modern classic like AOT to go down in this manner.
Having said that, the prospect of a different ending hasn’t been thrown out of the window yet.
In a leaked interview with Hajime Isayama, he stated how he regretted not being able to deliver the ending quite well. Therefore, we could expect to get a new final chapter with the release of the final physical volume. This remains fairly unlikely, though.
On the bright side, it will be months before Season 4 Part 2 airs. Even if we don’t get a completely anime-original ending, odds are it’ll still be received better than the manga ending. With proper pacing and tactful storytelling, it can still evoke a largely positive public reaction. If that fails too, there will always be remakes like there are for Neon Genesis Evangelion. If those fail too, there’s no saying what the fandom will pull next.
Anticipating the future of this series is a thrilling experience and it is oddly fitting. Since the glory days, AOT has constantly locked us in suspense, and it seems fitting for it to end in suspense (though a very different sort of suspense this time).
But..was this a marketing tactic?
Now that we have dealt with why you should appreciate the way AOT concluded, you might ask why exactly did it end this way?
This doesn’t seem like the standard way a good series should end. Especially with Attack on Titan which has continuously left us in awe with each and every one of its aspects. Ranging from the carefully spaced out story to the rational world-building, all of these qualities have lost their initial vigour in the recent arcs. No matter if you liked the ending or you absolutely despised it, most fans agree that it had terrible pacing issues. The carelessness and rushed feel absolutely does not align with the Isayama we have come to know and love. Then what exactly went wrong?
Did the publishing company create unnecessary pressure by shortening the deadline?
There is no conclusive evidence on this.
Did Isayama burn out?
This is highly likely. According to a documentary program created in November 2018, the 31-year-old creator felt “burdened of wanting to live up to fan expectations but also to go against them.” Being in such a catch-22 situation for so many years would make anyone frustrated, no doubt. For Isayama, it was probably like eating the same meal for 10 prolonged years. It wouldn’t be surprising if that was the reason why his efforts gradually subsided as the series progressed.
Then was it a marketing tactic?
No conclusive evidence can support this claim but it is still a valid question nonetheless. If this was a marketing strategy, it is definitely working according to plan.
The fan outrage has helped the series to further spread its name. So has the fan engagement.
But what will definitely translate to money for the author’s wallet will be the rebuilds. And assessing from the situation at hand, it seems like we will have plenty of them. It can be debated whether or not Attack on Titan is a modern masterpiece. But it certainly has the possibility of being the modern Neon Genesis Evangelion, with all its rebuilds in the near future. And with such a legacy left behind, we will soon be showered with AOT washing machines to AOT public transit —all of which will continue to milk this hyper-popular show till the end of time.
So, stop biting your nails over the last chapter and enjoy this interesting point of time that is sure to go down the history of anime. Or just don’t. Since you are free to do whatever you please *wink wink*.
Lamia urges you to tatakae in the comments section if you wish so. If you don’t, you’re truly free to do as you please.