Attack On Titan has long been hailed as a series with some of the best openings ever enjoyed by the anime community. They are praised by fans for the way they create buzz, for their thoughtful and exciting take on anime music, and for their stunning sakuga images.
However, the openings of Attack On Titan are also riddled with omens and hints about what’s to come in the series. Most of them are subtle, disguised, or so quick it’s easy to miss. These openings are masterpieces of symbolic density, and it’s worth taking the time to appreciate the amount of thought put into the visuals for each introductory theme.
10 Opening 2: Armin finding out the identity of the Female Titan
In Opening 2, viewers see Armin covered in human blood, alluding to the impact of the deaths that occurred during the expedition beyond the wall. The camera zooms in on his head and the image is overlaid with a multitude of lit candles. Then Armin looks to the side like he’s focusing, and all the candles go out except one.
Attack On Titan: 10 Things You Missed In Chapter 124
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This symbolizes the fact that Armin is in anguish after the events of the expedition and is struggling to establish the definitive connection between Annie and the Female Titan, even though he knows it makes sense. Finally, he pulls himself together and realizes that there is only one possible answer.
9 Opening 2: Betrayal of the Titans
At the beginning of the second opening, some of the main characters of the series are shown one by one, facing the left of the screen. These characters are Jean, Sasha, and Connie.
Bertholdt, Reiner, and Annie, on the other hand, are shown looking to the right of the screen, away from the rest of the group, portending that their loyalties lie elsewhere. Ymir and Historia appear facing left, but begin to turn to the right; a nod to their doubts and mixed alliances.
8 Opening 2: The drop of water that falls on Mikasa’s hand
In the second opening, the camera goes from a shot of Annie’s eye to bloody hands trying to catch a drop of water. That drop never reaches the hands, as it stops right where Mikasa’s hand appears. This is probably a reference to how Annie’s goal is to capture Eren, and she tries to do so in the forest, but Mikasa and Levi manage to stop her.
The falling of the drop symbolizes the conflict of objectives between Annie and Mikasa and shows who is ultimately winning.
7 Opening 2: The reflection of the female titan
The second opening ofAttack OnTitan shows many scenes of the Titans rampaging within the city. If you look closely, there is a pool of water in one of the scenes that shows the silhouette of the Female Titan. The movement of her hair is lively and clearly recognizable if you search.
This spoils the fact that it will be transformed and present in the city. It also gives way to the idea that what the rest of the characters in the beginning are probably fighting – especially the Eren who transforms at the end of the credits – is the Female Titan.
6 Opening 3: History and Ymir
Throughout the openings, light and dark have been very clear and remarkable themes. The scenes starring the Titans are dark, bloody and stylized, while the soldiers are usually shown in a pure white light, symbolizing their fight for justice and their good intentions. With this in mind, it’s an interesting hint that Ymir and Historia are shown in dim light and with scenes of Titans violence flashing above them. This is likely referring to Ymir and Historia not really being allies to anyone other than each other.
The fact that they are shown together also foreshadows their story, which is covered as part of the arc. Historia turns abruptly as if searching for something, while Ymir stands thoughtfully, as if she knows that she is what Historia is looking for.
5 Opening 3: Grisha and Zeke’s hands
In the center of the third opening appear the hand of a soldier and that of a baby. It is left ambiguous whose hands these are; some fans have theorized that it is purely symbolic, a display of how hopes for freedom have passed from one generation to the next. Another popular theory is that it is about the hands of Grisha and Zeke, the former holding the hand of the latter, full of hope for the great soldier he would become.
This theory is considered more likely, given the importance of Grisha’s story in the story arc. The Beast Titan was also very important, so it would make sense to focus on its story in the opening.
4 Opening 3: Hearts on fire in the beasts
The lyrics of the third opening say that you have to “sacrifice your heart”, a phrase that commanders often say in the show to tell their soldiers to give themselves up to the fight. As a reference to the phrase, the soldiers’ hearts light up. However, the opening also features the Beast Titan and a group of large animal companions with their hearts also lit up.
The implication here is that the Beast Titan and everyone who fights on his side are also putting their heart and soul into the fight, and they have their own motivation.
3 Opening 5: Inculpation of Bertholdt and Reiner
In the fifth opening, there is a shot in which Bertholdt and Reiner literally have their backs covered. They offer each other their fists as they say goodbye, not knowing if they will meet again. This is a scene from the manga, but the framing is also significant.
Bertholdt is shown with the background of Shiganshina, which is where he ends up meeting his end. Reiner is shown in front of the exterior of the Wall Maria, symbolizing how he leaves the island and returns to his home.
2 Opening 5: Armin wakes up
The fifth opening very clearly shows Armin turned into the Colossal Titan with a series of ingenious frames. The first is a close-up of the face of the Colossal Titan. Then the scene fades and Armin, positioned exactly like the Colossal Titan, awakens with a start. The framing suggests that they may be the same.
Also, there is a split-second shot of Armin burned between frames where he wakes up from a nightmare. It is possible that his awakening foreshadows the first time he wakes up after becoming the Colossal Titan, or a reference to the trauma suffered in combat that led him to eat his friend. It could also be totally symbolic, as it shows that he is waking up in the role of commanding officer after the battle.
1 Opening 5: Erwin in front of the dead soldiers
There is a scene near the end of the fifth opening in which Erwin is standing in front of a group of soldiers that viewers know have already died in battle. This is in part a reference to a scene from the manga, in which Erwin is shown being haunted by the metaphorical spirits of his dead companions.
However, the fact that he is in front of the soldiers also portends that he is about to join them in the afterlife. On the plane it seems that he stands as their leader, which could refer to the fact that he leads to the death of almost all the soldiers under his command.