Hajime Isayama’s Attack on Titan, a dark fantasy anime series that captivated audiences worldwide with its intense story and complex characters, concluded in 2021, leaving fans in a state of shock and disbelief. The ending, which deviated significantly from the manga’s established plotlines, sparked a wave of criticism and debate among fans, with many expressing frustration and disappointment with the choices made by the author.
The primary source of contention lies in Eren Yeager’s transformation into the final antagonist, a ruthless dictator driven by his desire to achieve absolute freedom. This abrupt shift in characterization, coupled with the sudden introduction of deus ex machina elements, left many fans feeling betrayed and dissatisfied with the narrative’s resolution.
In response to the backlash, Isayama issued a public apology during a panel at Anime NYC, expressing his understanding of fans’ disappointment and acknowledging the challenges he faced in crafting a conclusion that would satisfy everyone. He explained that his intention was to create an ending that would linger in fans’ minds long after the series concluded, even if it meant deviating from expectations.
Defenders of the Ending
Despite the widespread criticism, a segment of the fanbase defended the ending, arguing that Isayama’s decision to challenge traditional storytelling conventions and subvert expectations was a bold and daring move. They praised the ending for its thematic depth and its willingness to explore uncomfortable truths about human nature.
Interpreting the Ending
The ending’s ambiguity and open-ended nature have fueled countless discussions and interpretations among fans. Some view the ending as a tragic reflection on the cycle of violence and the futility of seeking absolute freedom, while others perceive it as a hopeful message about the resilience of the human spirit and the power of compassion.
The Impact of the Ending
The controversy surrounding Attack on Titan’s ending has undoubtedly left a lasting mark on the anime community. It has sparked discussions about the role of fan expectations and the creative freedom of authors, highlighting the delicate balance between satisfying audience demands and staying true to one’s artistic vision.
Attack on Titan’s ending remains a contentious topic, with fans continuing to debate its merits and significance. Whether viewed as a masterfully executed subversion of expectations or a disappointing deviation from the established narrative, the ending has undoubtedly cemented the series’ place as one of the most impactful and thought-provoking anime of all time.