“It’s just not plausible in the world we’re living in”: Hajime Isayama’s Ending for Attack on Titan is Much More Heartbreaking That Vinland Saga Will Have a Hard Time Beating

Attack on Titan's ending may have been controversial but it was a reflection of the world nonetheless.

Eren Yeager Attack on Titan and Vinland Saga

SUMMARY

  • Attack on Titan has one of the most talked about endings for both good and bad reasons.
  • Hajime Isayama explained that the series couldn't afford a happy ending no matter what.
  • Vinland Saga, on the other hand, still can.
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Attack on Titan may be Hajime Isayama’s chef d’oeuvre but, it comes with its fair share of problems. From the themes it follows to some undertones that did not sit well with fans, controversies follow the series like a plague. Even though both the manga and the anime have long since ended, there is a strong fanbase that is keeping the series alive and will do for decades to come.

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Levi Ackerman
Levi Ackerman from Attack on Titan | Credit: MAPPA

In the midst of it all stands the most controversial aspect of the anime and manga, its ending. No matter how many variations of it may exist, what is canon stands strong and once made concrete, cannot be changed. As a story naturally flows through, there are certain changes that take place along the way. The ending found itself the least impacted by these changes, staying the same for the most part as it was first thought of.

Attack on Titan’s World Was Never Full of Roses

Hajime Isayama’s words on why the ending of Attack on Titan came to be have been out and about in the world for a long time now. It is common knowledge now that the ending had many variations of it, those of which the mangaka wished could have made it into the series. As a manga full of regrets, there is not much that can be done, but perhaps, that is more on theme than one can account for.

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Attack on Titan
A still from Attack on Titan | Credit: MAPPA

I guess there could have been an ending where it was a happy ending and the war ended and everything was fine and dandy. I guess that could have been possible. At the same time, the end of fighting and the end of contention itself kind of seems hokey. It kind of seems like it’s not even believable. It’s just not plausible in the world we’re living in right now. And so, sadly, I had to give up on that kind of happy ending.

Speaking with The New York Times, the author talked about how out of all the variations that he could come up with, one that seemed the most detached from his work was a happy ending. Not everyone gets a happy ending, not everyone deserves a happy ending.

A happy ending could have never worked, nor would it have seemed real. The entire point of the manga is to reflect on the harsh and cruel world that humanity created. Humans are the problem in a lot of these cases, so Eren’s death wouldn’t have changed anything, humans will always be selfish creatures who would first fend for themselves and then others. Eren’s lust for freedom was rudimentary because, at the end of the day, humans can never truly be free.

Vinland Saga’s Approach Could Fall Short

Both Attack on Titan and Vinland Saga show the cruelty of the world. Both have similar stories in one sense but different in others. As a result, they are often compared to each other. However, one detail makes them fundamentally different from each other. While Attack on Titan is about gradually showing the truth of the world, pushing towards its corroded sense of survival; Vinland Saga is about finding life ahead of it.

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Vinland Saga
Vinland Saga | Credit: MAPPA

In a post made by Makoto Yukimura on X, the author confirmed that the end of his series too isn’t far away. Seeing that its own end is approaching, there could be a chance to witness another morally conflicting conclusion. Thorfinn finds peace in his tragedy whereas Eren is driven by it.

Both these character are different because while they display the hatred embedded in the world, their outlets are different. Their stories are also contrastingly different. So there is a strong possibility for Yukimura’s series to get a happy ending, something Isayama couldn’t afford, and perhaps that is why Attack on Titan would still have the upper hand.

Vinland Saga is available to watch on Netflix and Crunchyroll. Attack on Titan is available to watch on Hulu and Crunchyroll.

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Adya Godboley

Written by Adya Godboley

Articles Published: 1599

An avid writer fluent in everything Marvel, Adya Godboley is an Assistant Anime Content Lead for FandomWire. She has rich experience in critically analyzing all that is said in between the lines. Hopelessly obsessed with Greek Mythology, she is currently pursuing her Bachelor of Arts in English. Adya has written over 1400 articles on various topics expressing her passion and love for all things entertainment, from superheroes to anime and the occasional gacha games.