We knew Attack on Titan was crazy popular with an incredible 36 million volumes in circulation and a huge fanbase that stretches from Japan to the English-speaking world and beyond, it’s also been translated for audiences in Korea and China (Taiwan). Next year things will reach new heights with a full length live-action film starring Haruma Miura in the leading role.
When we saw these photos apparently showing a Titan from the series taking part in a demo in Hong Kong, we just had to find out more. “The Red Giant” is a piece of protest art made by Hong Kong based artist Kacey Wong, and pictures from the demo have been doing the rounds on Japanese online message boards this week. At once among the crowd and separate from it, the looming bright red figure is a powerful symbol of what Wong sees as the threat posed to Hong Kong by mainland China’s rapid growth as an economic superpower.
▼ Painted in the distinctive red and yellow of the Chinese flag, the Titan holds two helpless-looking dolls that represent the people of Hong Kong.
Wong said of the sculpture, which had its first public outing at a demonstration in July last year: “China is a superpower that threatens to swallow Hong Kong. That’s the reality I wanted to represent.”
Although Wong says he’s not actually a fan of the manga’s artwork, he sees Attack on Titan‘s over-arching story as deep and meaningful. He also draws a parallel between a betrayal that occurs between characters in the series and the actions of some Hong Kong citizens. In Attack on Titan, a friend of lead character Eren is revealed to have been working for the enemy. Wong likens this to those in Hong Kong supporting the Communist Party of China who Wong claims have become monsters by “going over to the other side”.
Pro-democracy rallies protesting Chinese rule are held in the city every July, at the anniversary of Hong Kong’s handover to China. Tens of thousands attended last year’s event.
▼ Wong’s website includes this striking image of the Titan at the demo.
You can find out more about Kacey Wong’s work on his website, or see more images from the protest in this video (subtitles are in English, as well as Chinese):