This article is about the manga. For other uses of this name, see Attack on Titan (Disambiguation).
Attack on Titan (進撃の巨人 Shingeki no Kyojin?, lit. Advancing Giant(s)) is a manga series written and illustrated by Hajime Isayama. It was first published in September 2009 and is serialized in Kodansha's Bessatsu Shōnen Magazine. Currently, it is on its 32nd volume. An official English version by Kodansha Comics began serialization in the United States in June 2012. As of October 2013, it was also made available online on Crunchyroll's manga platform, where it is consistently scheduled to be published on the same day as the Japanese release ("simulpub"). Since April 2016, Amazon simulpubs the series as well on its comiXology and Kindle Store platforms.
The original Japanese title, "Shingeki no Kyojin," has a dual meaning. The literal translation of the title is "Advancing Giant(s)" or "Attacking Giant(s)", with giants being Titans in the context of the series. In this way, the title can refer to both the advancing threat of the Titans or to a single attacking Titan.
- Main article: Timeline
Roughly a century before the beginning of the series, a mysterious race of giant, man-eating humanoids, known as Titans, suddenly appeared and nearly exterminated humanity. In order to protect themselves from this threat, the few survivors built three concentric Walls, called Maria, Rose, and Sheena, and encased themselves in this limited territory, forgetting everything about the outside world and the history before the building of the Walls.
In the present, a boy named Eren Yeager, his adopted sister Mikasa Ackerman, and their friend Armin Arlert, dream about seeing the world outside the Walls some day; but their peace is abruptly interrupted when an unusual 60-meter tall Colossus Titan and an Armored Titan breach the outermost Wall, and Eren sees his mother dying in the resulting devastation. Eren vows revenge against the Titans and later enlists in the military branch Survey Corps, accompanied by both Mikasa and Armin.
As the story progresses, more mysteries surrounding the true origin and nature of the Titans, as well as the lost history of the world are addressed, and the reader gradually discovers that the Titans may not be the real enemies. Eren and the Survey Corps find themselves as the only remaining hope for their civilization, as they fight to uncover secrets from the past and stop the forces that want to bring about the destruction of mankind in the present and future.
Chapters and Volumes
Hajime Isayama came up with the idea for the Titans when a drunk man grabbed his collar in an Internet cafe. Isayama said he was inspired by the man’s inability to communicate and reason even though they were of the same species. This encounter led him to believe that “the most familiar and scary animal in the world is actually the human.” This idea is conveyed through the Titans: threatening beings which, despite their human-like appearances, lack any humanity. He also cited the visual novel Muv-Luv and the manga ARMS as primary influences for his work.
The scenery for the story was inspired by Isayama’s own hometown in the mountains. He often desired to go beyond the mountains, which influenced Eren's wish to go beyond the Walls in the series. George Wada, the producer of the anime, said that the concept of being isolated and overcoming a "Wall of Fear" was also inspired by the isolated and enclosed nature of the Japanese culture.
Isayama first drew a 65-page draft of the story in 2006 and offered it to the Weekly Shōnen Jump department at Shueisha, but he was advised to modify his style and story to be more suitable for the magazine. He declined and instead took it to the Weekly Shōnen Magazine department at Kodansha, where it was accepted and began serialization in the first issue of its monthly spin-off Bessatsu Shōnen Magazine in September 2009. He was 23 years old and that was the first series he had ever published.
His monthly schedule consists of one week for storyboard and three weeks for drawing. When designing the Titans, he gets aid from a reference book for various human expressions; as well as inspiration from real-life models such as Yushin Okami for Eren's Titan form, Brock Lesnar for the Armored Titan, or the anime's voice actors. He said that he chose giants as the theme for its work because "they are kind of gross." His early drawings were rough, and he himself admitted that they were "amateurish" and felt that they were "short of the standard required for commercial works"; but it has been noted that they have greatly improved over the years. His narrative puts much focus on the individual inner feelings of the characters.
Isayama has revealed that the story is planned far in advance and that he can even mark down in which specific volume a certain situation is going to happen; although it is not properly fleshed out until he is working on it. He had also planned a tragic ending for the series in which everybody would die, similar to that of the film adaptation of Stephen King's The Mist; but after the manga and anime gained so many fans, he began to worry about the impact that such a conclusion could have on them, and now he is unsure of whether he should go ahead with it. However, he admitted that he still likes the idea.
In September 2013, he stated that he wanted to end the series in Volume 20; but in June 2015 he claimed that the manga was "60% finished" at that point, and in September of the same year his editor Kawakubo Shintaro estimated that there were "about three years worth of manga chapters left"; which, if true, would mean that the manga would have ended around late 2018 or after 26+ volumes. In a June 2020 interview, Isayama confirmed that there was only 5% of the story left to go.
Since its serialization, it has become a best seller in both Japan and the United States. Its popularity has also inspired an anime adaptation and a number of spin-offs; including 5 manga series (one of which received its own anime adaptation series as well), 6 novels, 6 visual novels, 2 live-action movies, a live-action web miniseries and a one-shot crossover with Marvel Comics. A second season of the main anime was announced to be released in Spring 2017.
As of December 2019, the manga has 100 million copies in print worldwide since it was first released; reaching the top 20 of the best-selling manga series in history as the 11th (tied) best-selling overall and the 4th (tied) still ongoing at that point (despite being one of only two series in the top 100 with less than a decade in publication—next to Kuroko's Basketball—and the youngest of the top, being just in its 8th year). Volume 12 received a first printing of 2.5 million copies, making the series one of the only two manga series ever to get an initial print surpassing 2 million, next to One Piece. Volume 13 sold 2,750,000 copies in its first printing and holds the first print run record for its publisher, Kodansha.
Since 2013, after the boost in its popularity following the release of the first season of the anime, it has consistently ranked among the 3 best-selling manga series in Japan per year. In the first half of 2014, it reached the top of the chart, ending One Piece's five-year reign as the highest-selling series in that period. Isayama was surprised about this and thanked the readers. It finished the year in second place with almost 12 million copies sold. In the first half of 2016, it ranked 3rd, making it the highest selling monthly manga overall and the highest selling manga by Kodansha, surpassing by more than 1.6 million copies the second most popular title by the publisher, The Seven Deadly Sins.
Its numbers since 2011 are as follows:
- 2011 - 11th (3,766,194 copies sold).
- 2012 - 15th (2,682,504 copies sold).
- 2013 - 2nd (15,933,801 copies sold).
- 2014 - 2nd (11,728,368 copies sold).
- 2015 - 3rd (8,778,048 copies sold). 
- 2016 - 4th (6,544,081 copies sold).
- 2017 - 2nd (6,622,781 copies sold).
- 2018 - 3rd (5,235,963 copies sold).
- 2019 - 7th (4,704,234 copies sold).
Attack on Titan won the Kodansha Manga Award in the shōnen category in 2011, and was nominated for the 4th Manga Taishō Award and both the 16th and 18th annual Tezuka Osamu Cultural Prize. The 2012 edition of Kono Manga ga Sugoi! named it the 8th best manga series for male readers, while the 2014 edition named it the 6th best. It ranked #1 in the Yomiuri Shimbun's Sugoi Japan Awards for favorite manga series in 2015.
The official English version of the series by Kodansha Comics has also been met with success in the United States. As of the week for January 17, 2016, Volume 1 had been on The New York Times Manga Best Seller list for 120 weeks, 81 of them straight; and on the week for October 13, 2013, six of the seven volumes published in the United States at the time reached the top 10 simultaneously. The same month, Volume 1 also topped the chart of Nielsen BookScan's list of top 20 graphic novels in American bookstores, and the previous month the series had 5 volumes in the top, more than any other series. The Young Adult Library Services Association named it one of its "Great Graphic Novels for Teens" in 2013. The English version also won the 2014 Harvey Award for Best American Edition of Foreign Material, and it was the only manga to be nominated for the 2015 Goodreads Choice Award for Best Graphic Novel/Comic.