Hajime Isayama in what is his first overseas convention attendance appeared before New York City in Anime NYC 2022. There he addresses possible claims of his future, mentioning that he won’t write another manga. He also said that the ending of Attack on Titan was heavily influenced by Yuki Kaji’s portrayal of Eren Jeager. 

If you’ve been reading any of my articles, you may catch me when I say that creativity is heavily impeded by a pressurizing corporate publisher for most manga artists. It may be a common phenomenon, but there’s usually tension whenever an artist is bound within a certain structure. In this case, Attack on Titan Author Hajime Isayama may have faced a similar obstacle.

Hajime Isayama’s appearance in Anime NYC 2022

Hajime Isayama on Anime Expo 2022 NYC
Hajime Isayama alongside his translator in Anime NYC 2022, image courtesy of Twitter user @SUBARASHII95
  1. Isayama had announced his presence in Anime NYC 2022 prior to the convention. A special message in the form of a tweet came from Kodansha USA. The tweet requested the attendees to be careful of their behavior towards the renowned author. Hajime Isayama has reported multiple times that he has been afraid of what he has put out, and is quite unsure of what he has landed.
  2. Despite Isayama’s fears, he was exceptionally received at the convention. He actually made an appearance in the Attack on Titan panel at the New York Anime convention. Besides he was a translator that helped everyone who couldn’t read the subtitles below Isayama’s speeches.

Isayama opens up about his fears of the Attack on Titan ending in Anime NYC 2022

At the convention, Hajime Isayama opened up about multiple things, including the fact that he had suffered greatly from Writer’s block. He mentioned that he was quite unsure of his ending and that he is to date left wondering if he did justice to his own series.

  • But things went quite positively for our self-critical author as the fans’ told him that they loved the ending. In what seemed to be a very heartfelt moment, Isayama shed tears out of joy.

Hajime Isayama mentions that Yuki Kaji the voice actor of Eren Jeager influenced his Attack on Titan ending

Yuki Kaji influenced Attack on Titan ending
Yuki Kaji the VA Of Eren, we snapped this from Wikipedia ;P
  • On the same note, he also mentioned that Yuki Kaji’s portrayal of Eren Jeager influenced Isayama’s stance. Isayama himself wasn’t sure if he wanted Eren to be the hero of the story. Sure he was the protagonist, but Isayama wasn’t sure if Eren fit into the hero narrative.
  • But with how WIT Studio animated the manga, the world had hopelessly leached onto the idea that Eren Jeager is a hero. If you’re wondering why this happened, we have an educated answer.

Why a source manga’s story and characters can change during an anime adaptation

Eren Jeager
Eren Jeager, image snapped from Comicbook.com courtesy of WIT Studios
  • The thing about any literary work, whether a novel or a comic, is that it seriously lacks certain elements that a movie does. Far more can be expressed through soundscores, frames, voices, and a space-time illusion.
  • Cinema in itself, or anime for that matter, shows good continuity of frames in time and space. Of course, comics do something similar. But the part that comics or manga cannot do is the giving life to a character. So whenever a literary work is adapted into something cinematic, there is a gap between source and adaption.
Attack on Titan author in Anime NYC 2022
Hajime Isayama takes a Shinzo sasageyo pose with his fans, Image Courtesy of Kodansha USA

Ultimately a character is born differently when an actor or a voice actor portrays him. The character gets an associated voice, a tone of being. Sure, the voice actor’s job is to match his voice and acting to that of the designed character. But it cannot be helped that the VA gives much of his existence (in some sense) to the character. Because no matter how much he diversifies his voice it ultimately is coming from the living person himself. 

Eren Jeager may not have been a hero originally

Will Attack on Titan have an Anime original ending?
Eren Jeager in Attack on Titan Final Season by Mappa

The way WIT Studio may have approached the anime together with Yuki Kaji’s amazing and relentless performance may have shifted the way the world viewed Eren Jeager. When I heard Isayama in the convention, it hit me that I always considered Eren a hero because I saw the anime first. Maybe Isayama planned this differently.

  • And after seeing how the world appreciated Eren as a hero, the author was pulled by audience expectations and publishers’ push. Isayama may have had a difficult time with the ending. On one front there was his creative block, and on the other, there was huge expectation to be met.
  • Just imagine the entire world waiting to criticize your own literary work. In some way it slips from being just yours. As the burden of the world and the need to approve everyone becomes one of your mortal obligations.
Hajime Isayama on Anime NYC 2022
Hajime Isayama in Anime NYC 2022, image courtesy of Twitter user @SUBARASHII95

But how the ending could have been does not matter. A literary work could have turned out differently depending upon many sets of factors. An artist may draw something completely different just because a fly sat on his coffee cup. That is the thing about art, it changes shape and form. We can’t really criticize what could have been when all we have is what is.

Also Read: Chainsaw Man: Denji and Makima’s relationship has BDSM angle; here’s how

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Rhytham is a Philosophy graduate who founded a state-level organization that promotes anime and Japanese culture in his home state of Assam India. The org is named Assam Senpai Society. He is also an ardent writer, poet, musician, vocalist, graphic designer, and photoshop artist. He has worked on multiple state and national level conventions. Other than anime, catch him watching western series that really have in themselves the solidity to catch his attention.