To speak of Attack On Titan by Hajime Isayama as one of the greatest Japanese cultural phenomena would be an understatement. The anime’s final season came out on December 2020, blowing the fandom into pieces. The story of Attack on Titan anime is an adaptation of the 2011’s Shounen category’s Kodansha Manga Award holding Manga of the same title. It follows the story of Eren Jeager, as he traverses through a world inhabited by Titans – gigantic man-eating monsters.

The manga came to an end last year in April putting halt to a legacy of a decade worth of peak fiction. Yet the fandom is far from over. The hype train has only just left its station with the recent developments of the anime titled Shingeki no Kyojin: The Final Season – Kanketsu-hen (Literally meaning, the Final Season – Final Edition). 

Attack On Titan Wasn’t Really Meant to Be Published

The final of the final season will premiere in 2023. In the meantime, we here at Spiel Times dedicated ourselves to discovering how the producers and creator Hajime Isayama worked on the Manga. We found an interview with the Creator who sat down with his editor Shintaro Kawakubo of Kodansha to unravel how they worked to produce the series. Isayama mentions that he had forgotten about Attack on Titan and instead went with another 3 works to the editor of Kodansha. Yet, it was Kawakubo who pulled Isayama out from that decision and brought out the idea of serializing Isayama’s one-shot Attack on Titan draft. What you will read in this segment is a summary of how Attack on Titan went from a one-shot forgotten piece to an unhinging god of the Anime and Manga world. With that in line, Susume!

The Story of The Creator and Editor

Creator Hajime Isayama and Shintaro Kawakubo shared how they initially met. 

Isayama’s Attempt in Bringing Attack On Titan to The Editor’s Office

  • Hajime Isayama was a student at a technical college in Fukuoka. As part of some college requirements, Isayama had to submit his work to a Tokyo publisher. 
  • Attack on Titan was first a sixty-page one-shot manga. Hajime Isayama compiled this work and went with its draft to Kodansha where his work was checked by Kawakubo. Kawakubo recalls this his initial meeting with the revered author was in an elevator, where he had a mild idea that “this is the guy who submitted the one shot.” 

How The Editor and The Creator Became Friends

Attack on Titan Hajime Isayama
Isayama and Kawakubo
  • Kawakubo recalls that he can’t properly recall his first impression of Isayama, but he feels that Isayama has hardly changed. Isayama on the other hand shared his first impression of the Kodansha editor. He says Kawakubo seemed to have low blood pressure as he always had a weary face. 

The Editor’s First Impression Of Attack on Titan’s First Draft

Kawakubo was compelled by the work of Attack On Titan. The illustrations were by no means comparable to work done by a professional manga artist. In the defense of Isayama, he was only a student at a technical college. Yet what caught the editor’s attention was the sheer impact of emotions carried on each page of the work.

The over sixty-page one-shot draft had this weird tint of pull into it, that drew the reader into the expanse of the story. Part of the reason why Kawakubo says he overlooked Isayama’s ‘not professional’ illustrations was because he was also a rookie in the editorial segment. He looked at Attack on Titan not with the grazing eyes of a corporate money maker, but as an artist looking at another piece of art.

The Attraction Of Attack on Titan

Attack On Titan Hajime Isayama
Hajime Isayama, really?

Something about the world buried into the sands of ticking time of extinction attested to the lavish gravitational pull of AoT. This impression may be shared by fans who have felt as if the world of Attack On Titan is not a fictional story, but an accurate retelling of actual events – of stories that one could empathize and relate with. Such a feat is difficult to achieve with fictional works, although not impossible.

Almost all fictional world buildings that have captured the audience’s imagination with a magnetic pull would give the same verdict. From works like Harry Potter, Lord of The Rings, and Game of Thrones, one could attest to this phenomenon whereby the reader merges with the story.

The Road to Serializing Attack on Titan

Kawakubo asked Isayama to win the Weekly Shonen Magazine’s Rookie Award. Because it was tradition to serialize the winner of the same. Heeding the then novice editor’s advice, Isayama went into the competition with his two other works, Orz and Heart Break One. Both won the Rookie Award.

Interestingly, upon the entry of Orz, the judges were so impressed that Kawakubo (who also judged the same) initiated the serializing process of Orz. Kawakubo mentioned that he knew the moment Orz entered that this is the work that will win the show.

Attack on Titan by Hajime Isayama
The Logo of The Scout Regiment in Attack on Titan

Hajime Isayama had Forgotten about Attack on Titan

Isayma’s Attack on Titan one-shot manga got an honorable mention in the editorial department’s monthly Manga Grand Prix. However soon after Orz was serialized, Isayama had forgotten about Attack on Titan. Instead, he approached Kawakubo with three other works. Kawakubo upon reading these had a certain revelation and asked Isayama about it.

Isayama on the other hand had already thought Attack on Titan was done with the last time he approached Kodansha. Yet upon hearing of the request, both these individuals instantly worked upon certain scene ideas. By the time Isayama took a train home that evening, Attack on Titan was pretty much set in stone for serialization. 

Concluding

Attack on Titan by Hajime Isayama
Eren Jeager in Season 4, IMDB

Read the full interview of Hajime Isayama and Shintaro Kawakubo here. Ever since both have worked tirelessly on putting out each new chapter. Often time Isayama brings out a draft for a chapter that Kawakubo supervises and reviews. Kawakubo would prepare beforehand and just ask Isayama what he thinks of his own work, and Isayama would tell him a few things. Upon Kawakubo’s feedback, Isayama sometimes reflected back upon them while other times he just decided to ignore it altogether. 

Also Read: Chainsaw Man Manga Continues With Its Second Arc, Chapter 103 Released

Although one should be grateful to Isayama sensei for his mind-blowing storytelling and god-level world-building, we have plenty of other individuals to thank as well for helping the world of AoT bloom. One of them is of course the Editor of whom we have so extensively told the story.

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