There are a lot of questions fans of anime and manga mega-hit Attack on Titan want the answers to. Where did the series’ naked, man-eating giants come from? What did protagonist Eren’s father hide away in the locked cellar he gave his son the key to? And when are we going to see the next portion of the story adapted to animation (in more specific terms than “eventually”)?
But series creator Hajime Isayama did reveal something a lot of fans want to know, as he recently told reporters his personal estimate as to when Attack on Titan’s manga serialization will end.
Isayama recently spoke with reporters from Japanese culture magazine Da Vinci, as part of the Attack on Titan spotlight planned for the publication’s October issue, The series is Isayama’s first long-running serial, and the artist has been at it since 2009. With new installments appearing every month in Kodansha’s Bessatsu Shonen Magazine, Isayama has now penned 61 chapters, which have been collected into 14 volumes.
Of course, the sky’s the limit on manga longevity. After all, pirate saga One Piece now has 75 collected volumes, and police gag story <em<Kochikame is up to 191, thanks to it being continually published since 1976. Should Attack on Titan’s readers brace themselves for a similarly long ride?
No, at least not according to Isayama. “In the beginning, I estimated I’d need about 16 volumes to wrap everything up,” he explains. “But there are more characters involved now, and to do the story justice, it’s going to need to be more longer than that…If each character doesn’t change into someone different between the start and end, then I don’t think there’s any point to a story, so I want to show readers the moment when they change.”
“Personally, I think the manga will continue for three more years. I’d like to end things quickly, with a tight pace of story developments…and then I always end up feeling like I should qualify that with a ‘but,’ so for now, I can’t say anything more specific.”
As an example of a character arc, Isayama spoke more about Eren. “In the beginning, his character was more symbolic, so I sometimes didn’t know what to do with him. But then I heard Yuki Kaiji’s performance as him in the anime, and I started to think, ‘Ah, this is how Eren is.’ There’s a bit of weakness in his voice, with the nuance that he’s forcing himself to be stronger than he really is. It’s brave, bur deep inside, he’s bluffing as hard as he can, which is something I started to better understand as the manga went on.”
With three years to go before the finale, those looking to get a hint of what’s in store for Attack on Titan’s cast might want to check out a musical recommendation from Isayama. “I love Rhymester’s ‘Prisoner No. 1, 2, 3,'” he says, referring to a jazzy song by the Japanese hip-hop trio. “They sing about three people being held prisoner, and their different ways of thinking. It’s just like the Survey Corps, Garrison Regiment, and Military Police Brigade from Attack on Titan. It wouldn’t be going too far to say the song is about the manga’s story.”
Isayama says he’s especially fond of this kind of intellectual categorizing. “There are people who try to use existing systems for their own purposes, and others who stand against that. Most people, though, fall somewhere in between, sitting on the fence and waiting for an opportunity.”
Just like the legions of Attack on Titan fans waiting to see what happens next.