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This is a past article published in Hiragana Times. Each Japanese paragraph is followed by its English translation or vise versa, and furigana are placed above each kanji to make Japanese study even easier. [Magazine Sample] [Subscription Page]

Never-ending Battle Between Titans and the Human Race

[From August Issue 2015]

201508-9-1

Attack on Titan, Cover of first issue
Written by ISAYAMA Hajime. Publisher Kodansha

Attack on Titan

This is a story in which the human race is brought to the brink of extinction by a mysterious race of giants called titans that is constantly waging war against them. The series began in 2009 in a supplement of Shonen Magazine and continues to this day. People took notice when ISAYAMA Hajime made his debut with the publication of this work and in 2011 he won the boy’s manga prize of the Kodansha Manga Award. More than 44 million copies have been sold in book form.

The human race is flourishing, but in the year 845 giants appear out of the blue and attack. Humans have no choice but to live within three huge walls that are built to protect them from these man-eating titans. The Survey Corps occasionally ventures outside the walls to scout the lay of the land, but they suffer heavy casualties and stand no chance of winning. Ten year old Eren dreams of the world outside the walls and hopes to join this Survey Corps.

Peace reigns for 100 years inside the walls, but one day the titans break through the walls. One of them eats Eren’s mother. Distraught that he is unable to save her, Eren makes up his mind to take his revenge. He enrolls in the Training Corps along with Mikasa, a childhood friend who has always kept an eye on him.

A few years later Eren and Mikasa graduate from the Training Corps with excellent grades. The two volunteer to join the Survey Corps which investigates the area outside the walls where the titans live. Eren is attacked by titans while trying to fix a canon. Though wounded in the leg, he saves his comrade and is eaten instead by the titan.

Misaka is shocked by the news of Eren’s death, but she summons enough courage to lead her comrades in an attack. Meanwhile, a titan appears that attacks other titans. When Misaka is cornered, this titan comes to her rescue and collapses after defeating many other giants. Eren – who had been presumed dead – emerges from the body of this fallen titan.

As the story unfolds mysteries, such as why Eren transforms into a titan, are revealed. Readers root for the main protagonist who is not only heroic, but is also plagued by doubts and angst. Another key feature of this manga is that you can find something fresh in its various subplots when you reread it. The manga continues to be popular and has also been published overseas, in countries such as South Korea and the United States.

Text: KAWARATANI Tokiko


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