Attack on Titan's Pop Culture Influence
Attack on Titan, a masterpiece by Hajime Isayama, reached unprecedented heights globally. Its impact on pop culture is immense, captivating fans worldwide!
August 01, 2023
By: Simon Shoklevski
After the global success of anime classics like Dragon Ball, Pokemon, and Yu-Gi-Oh, nobody could have foreseen that a new show would emerge and reach the same heights as these beloved classics.
Yet, that's precisely what happened when the Japanese mastermind Hajime Isayama crafted a tale for the ages. This awe-inspiring story has become the topic of conversation in every corner of the world and is destined to be regarded as one of the greatest ever told.
Let's delve into why Attack on Titan stands as one of the best series to date and explore the profound impact it has had on the pop culture world over the past decade.
The History of Anime Outside of Japan
In Japan, manga and anime are more than just simple entertainment mediums; they are a way of life. The storytelling possible within anime and manga is incredible. With unique characters, plots, conversations, action, and art, today's anime is like nothing you’ve ever seen before.
And that’s how the rest of the world has slowly started to get addicted. At first, despite these shows being normal in Japan, the Western world had a little trouble accepting them, along with creating negative stereotypes around the medium. Little did they know what the future held.
Sometime around the early 90s, Anime was getting normalized in the world and the first global trends started. Shows like Dragon Ball, Pokemon, and Yu-Gi-Oh were essential to the children’s daily routine. Every kid was crazy about watching Goku and Ash’s next adventure and then talking with their friends about it. Is Goku the strongest hero of all time? A question that remains to this day.
As years passed, new shows emerged like Naruto and Death Note, reeling in more and more fans into this new world of entertainment. Simply watching the shows and talking about them was just the start. A huge number of merchandise, board games, and themed parks arose as a result.
Attack on Titan’s Impact on the World
The popularity of the previously mentioned shows continued until they became indisputable classics; people continue to play with Yu-Gi-Oh cards and catch Pokemon to this day. Fans thought that this anime mania would be a peak of Japan’s influence on the world. However, Attack on Titan introduced itself and changed everything.
In 2013, the first episode of Attack on Titan was released, a day mankind is going to remember. The first season introduced us to something that everyone was craving – a serious show with a complex story. Apart from that, it was released at a time when many post-apocalyptic and dystopian TV shows and movies like The Walking Dead and World War Z were popular. This, alongside the story being different from the usual Shonen series, was a good reason for many people to give Attack on Titan a chance.
If you're an active member of the pop culture community, you might have noticed how Attack on Titan played a significant role in rekindling the interest of many in anime. Numerous individuals who were once enthusiastic anime fans found themselves drawn back into the this foreign world of entertainment, all thanks to the Attack on Titan series. Many others who held the stereotype that anime is made for kids had their opinions shifted as they were drawn into the walls of Paradis.
Attack on Titan on Streaming Services
The streaming services were aware of Attack on Titan’s rising popularity and weren’t waiting to make a move. The show was quickly added to both Crunchyroll and Funimation, the two biggest anime streaming services (now merged into one). They were soon picked up by the biggest streaming services in the TV show industry as well. The show has been found in the libraries of Hulu, Amazon Prime, and even Netflix as well - all trying to profit from the demand of this show.
In 2021, Attack on Titan held the distinction of being the most in-demand show in the entire world. This title is not just the most in-demand anime, but rather of all shows in general, putting it above The Witcher, Stranger Things and Cobra Kai at that time. An anime series was dominating the world.
With the release of the anime, the publisher company of the Attack on Titan manga has reported its first revenue increase in 19 years. Incredible considering that it was a single series within their catalogue.
Attack on Titan Collaborations, Games, Fashion, and Much More
Attack on Titan was, and still is, very popular and was generating huge numbers on streaming platforms, so why stop there? The Attack on Titan madness continued far beyond just the show.
Fans share their appreciation of the series by buying official merchandise such as: figures, shirts, hoodies, keychains, costumes, and much more. Many video game collaborations were made, such as Fortnite being the most recognizable one. This battle royale game added in-game skins of the characters, along with in game items, such as Attack on Titan's ODM gear. A mechanic that the fans absolutely loved.
Building on the immense popularity of the anime series, a theme park dedicated to Attack on Titan was opened by Universal Studios Japan two years after the anime's release. The theme park featured many interesting statues, rides, and other iconic elements related to the show.
Art and statue enthusiasts can further indulge their passion by visiting the Attack on Titan museum in Hita City, where they can admire a collection of original drawings and statues. Additionally, visitors can enjoy special drinks and food inspired by the series. It is worth noting that Hita City holds particular significance for Attack on Titan fans, as it is the birthplace of Hajime Isayama, the brilliant creator of the series.
In a unique example of the anime's global impact, Nördlingen, a city in Germany, has experienced a surge in tourism due to its resemblance to the fictional town of Shiganshina in Attack on Titan. This Japanese anime has significantly boosted the tourism of a small European city, showcasing its influence and appeal worldwide.
What Makes Attack on Titan Special?
Attack on Titan is a show about humanity’s survival, hope, and freedom. The first season is hugely focused on the humans’ fight against the Titans and their exploration of the origin of these horrifying creatures.
As the series progressed, we learned that Attack on Titan is much more than just fighting the monstrous Titans. While wiping out the Titans remained the main goal for most of the series, various topics such as politics, human relations, and the difficulty of making hard moral decisions are explored.
It's a show that leaves you thinking after every episode. What makes Attack on Titan truly unique is the absence of a clear definition of good or evil. For instance, Eren Yeager, the main protagonist, would typically be the character viewers root for, but throughout the series, Eren makes choices that could be perceived as evil. He fights for a cause that appears just in his mind, yet it is viewed as evil by others.
Attack on Titan dares to challenge conventional notions of right and wrong, prompting viewers to question the complexities of morality, the nature of heroism, and the blurred lines between righteousness and malevolence. As a result, it sparks thought-provoking discussions and leaves a lasting impact on its audience, making it an extraordinary and unforgettable anime experience.
History’s Influence on Attack on Titan
When crafting this story, Hajime Isayama drew clear inspiration from modern history, particularly from the harrowing times of World War 2 and the era of fascism. Through this influence, he skillfully narrated an emotionally raw and deeply horrifying tale that reflects the echoes of those dark periods in history.
As the story progresses, a new nation is introduced and we learn about Eren’s people – the Eldians’ true enemies. This is the nation of Marley, a developed country that strongly resembles Nazi Germany. The political dynamics in the story, coupled with the plight of the Eldian people within Marley who are forced to wear armbands and endure continuous persecution, bear striking resemblances to the historical treatment of Jews during the war, as observed by many fans.
How did Attack on Titan Divide Its Fans?
A lot of shows come and go, some leaving a bigger mark than others; Attack on Titan is different. If you are part of the community or have friends who are avid watchers, you can feel it. Not many other shows have managed to divide its fans as much as Attack on Titan, particularly when it comes to questioning the plot or the characters.
In the past, we engaged in discussions about Goku's strength or Light's morally grey character. Now, it's time to ponder whether you stand with Eren or not. Interestingly, your response to this question might lead people to judge your character.
Some people wholeheartedly love Eren and support his decisions, believing that he acts in the best interest of both himself and humanity. Considering the challenges he has faced and how he was treated by others, this perspective is entirely understandable and valid.
However, the other half of fans long for the old Eren and disapprove of his current path with the Rumbling. They believe he has lost his way and that there are better alternatives to resolving the conflicts between Marley and Eldia.
The beauty of the situation lies in the fact that there will never be a definitive right answer. Each side's viewpoint is subjective and deeply rooted in their personal understanding of the story and characters. So, the question remains:
Are you a Jeagerist or not?
Attack on Titan’s Complexity
Many stories, whether it’s anime, live-action movies, or TV shows, usually have a straightforward plot of good beats evil. However, Attack on Titan managed to shake the globe by bringing a story that’s not seen on a daily basis. Using fantasy elements combined with real-world problems, complexity, and even time travel, this series never failed to leave fans wanting more.
With such a unique plot, Attack on Titan's fans find themselves constantly engaged in discussions, and sharing their theories on what Hajime Isayama has in store for them next. Let's be real; attempting to guess the mind of this masterful writer is a nearly impossible feat. Personally, I was always mesmerized and eager to discuss the latest plot twists in the show with my friends. The excitement and anticipation it brought to our conversations were truly captivating.
Final Thoughts on Attack on Titan’s Influence
It's a rare occurrence for a TV show, movie, or anime series to generate such intense friction in the pop culture world, but when it happens, everyone goes crazy for it. In the past decade, Attack on Titan has topped the charts, crashed streaming platforms, and introduced people to a story like no other.
From being the most demanded show in the world to the opening of theme parks, Attack on Titan will undoubtedly be remembered as one of the greatest anime series of its time. While we eagerly await the next masterpiece from Isayama, let's cherish and savor what he has already gifted us with. Let's relish in the story of Attack on Titan and eagerly anticipate the final season, embracing the incredible journey it has taken us on so far!
How did Attack on Titan impact the global popularity of anime outside of Japan?
Attack on Titan played a significant role in rekindling interest in anime worldwide, drawing many new fans into the world of anime entertainment. Its popularity and unique storytelling contributed to breaking negative stereotypes around anime, making it a globally recognized and appreciated medium.
What sets Attack on Titan apart from other anime series?
Attack on Titan stands out for its complex and thought-provoking narrative. It blends fantasy elements with real-world issues, delving into themes of survival, politics, and morality. The absence of a clear definition of good and evil adds depth to characters and sparks discussions among fans.
How did Attack on Titan's global popularity impact streaming services?
Attack on Titan's soaring popularity led major streaming platforms (Crunchyroll, Funimation, Hulu, Amazon Prime, Netflix) to promptly add it to their libraries, boosting viewership and revenue significantly.
How has Attack on Titan influenced pop culture beyond the anime series?
Attack on Titan's impact went beyond anime. Fans bought merchandise, played collab games (e.g., Fortnite), visited themed parks and museums, and boosted tourism in locations resembling the show.
How did Attack on Titan divide its fanbase?
Fans of Attack on Titan are divided over Eren Yeager's morally ambiguous decisions. Some support him for humanity's survival, while others seek alternative solutions, sparking intense discussions about the characters and story.