Warning: Major Attack on Titan Manga Spoilers Ahead
In 2021, the highly acclaimed Attack on Titan manga came to a close, leaving fans with a dramatic and unexpected turn of events. Eren Yeager, who had once been a central character and the protagonist, took a shocking turn by attempting to eradicate humanity from the planet. His actions ultimately led to his demise at the hands of Mikasa Ackerman, his longtime friend, love interest, and protector.
The initial ending of the manga hints at a fragile peace emerging among the survivors of Eren’s catastrophic actions. There was hope for a brighter future for the Eldians, with Armin Arlert leading the way.
However, the story took an unexpected turn when the manga’s creator, Hajime Isayama, unveiled an alternative ending. In this ending, peace and society erode, implying a cyclical fate for the world. A child’s discovery of a tree resembling one Ymir found centuries ago raises questions about the enduring nature of conflict and suffering.
Both endings, the original and the alternative, generated dissatisfaction and controversy among the Attack on Titan fan community. Many fans had dedicated years to the series, and the conclusion left them divided and disappointed.
Alongside the discontented fans, even the creator of Attack on Titan couldn’t tolerate the way the series concluded, and even publicly apologized for how the series concluded, recognizing the widespread discontent with the final chapters.
Hajime Isayama’s Apology for the Attack on Titan Ending
During his first appearance in the United States at Anime NYC, Hajime Isayama, the creator of Attack on Titan, issued an apology to fans for the controversial ending of his acclaimed series.
In a panel discussion, when asked if he had always known how he wanted to conclude Attack on Titan from the beginning, Isayama, speaking through a translator, admitted to lingering uncertainties about how he had written the series ending. “I still struggle on this point.” He said, “I’m very sorry about that.”
Fans responded to Isayama’s honest expression of vulnerability with an overwhelming show of support, offering applause and vocalizing their affection for him. This display of kindness was so touching that it nearly brought Isayama to tears. The mangaka said (via Kodansha):
“Carrying heavy feelings, I was down for a long time until yesterday when I met fans during the signing. Fans told me the ending was great and that they loved the ending, and it made me happy, and coming to New York was a great experience for me.”
At the end of the panel, the Attack on Titan creator expressed his heartfelt gratitude to the fans for their unwavering support.
Fan Disappointment with Attack on Titan Manga Ending
Hajime Isayama’s journey with Attack on Titan is quite fascinating. He initially created a 65-page one-shot version of the series when he was just 19 years old.
Although he first pitched it to Weekly Shōnen Jump, they recommended changes to the story to better fit their magazine. Consequently, Isayama moved the series to Weekly Shōnen Magazine, where it began serialization in 2009 and concluded in April 2021 after an impressive 11-year run.
However, it’s true that the series’ ending received a mixed reception from fans. Many readers were left frustrated as they felt it contradicted the characterization of the protagonist, Eren Yeager, and seemed to negate the development of other characters.
Some criticized the finale for its perceived plot holes, the way it seemingly erased previous story developments, and the unsatisfactory plot twist. It’s not uncommon for long-running series to face such challenges in meeting fan expectations with their conclusions.