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Attack on Titan’s Creator Wants Fans to “Regret the Excitement” They Felt for the Rumbling

Attack on Titan's Creator Wants Fans to "Regret the Excitement" They Felt for the Rumbling
Image Source: MAPPA

Attack on Titan’s Creator Wants Fans to “Regret the Excitement” They Felt for the Rumbling

Are we the baddies?

*** Full Attack on Titan Spoilers Below***

The start of Attack on Titan is most definitely supposed to paint Eren Yeager and the rest of the citizens of Paradis as the victims of history. They didn’t deserve the fate of the Titans but always were in control of one specific weapon to bring the rest of the world to kneel: the Rumbling. Fans took to this idea because they had identified with Eren and the plight of his people, however that wasn’t exactly what creator Hajime Isayama wanted fans to feel when the full weight of it was revealed.

As Isayama puts it in an interview posted to Reddit, “protagonists tend to be viewed as righteous. Their actions can be seen as virtuous because viewers often adopt their perspective. We unconsciously think our point of view is correct. But anyone can become an aggressor. All of us have a horrible side, I think.”

A separate interview given before the recently aired The Final Chapter’s Special episode features this masterful snippet:

I want the people who are watching the anime to feel ‘elated’ by putting themselves in Eren’s shoes, and then when they see the Rumbling scene, I want them to regret that excitement that they just felt when they see how horrific it is.

While fans are supposed to root for Eren, Isayama wanted the full reveal of the Rumbling to be a shock to the systems of viewers. It’s supposed to be a gut punch where fans “regret the excitement” they felt at the concept of the Paradis citizens getting their finally realized revenge for their oppressed history. It’s supposed to feel unbalanced as you see how unprepared the rest of the world is to combat the Titans, even if before, you felt they deserved it.

While there’s no doubt it’s cathartic to see Paradis fighting back, in the end, it’s still a response of retaliatory apocalyptic terrorism. There are so many layers of nuance to Attack on Titan that it’s hard to believe it started as a show simply about killing giant monsters that look like people.

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