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“Attack on Titan”: volume 34 marks the end of a saga of disproportionate success

It took 34 volumes to reach the end of the adventure! This October 13, 2021 is released in France on last volume from The attack of the Titans (Shingeki no Kyojin Where Attack on Titan) of Hajime Isayama published by editions Long in his Seinen collection. The French public discovered this work in 2013 when the first volumes were translated and published. Since then, the success has grown as gigantic as the deeply disturbing antagonists of this manga. Every three months a new volume came out and kept the readers in suspense (one of the considerable advantages of manga remains the accessible price and the finely balanced suspense). Today fans are going to find out the conclusion of the stories ofEren, Mikasa Where Armin. No spoilers here, you can read the rest of this article quietly.

If you don’t have a clue what The attack of the Titans, allow us to give you some basic information about this universe. The attack of the Titans plunges us into a parallel universe post-apocalyptic. Humanity (at least what remains of it) lives entrenched in cities protected by gigantic walls. This medieval-inspired defense system is not used to resist enemy armies but Titans. These giants with particularly disturbing facial expressions are destroying cities and devour humans in their path. A calamity that only high walls and an elite troop equipped with blades and sophisticated grappling hooks can counter.

As often with manga, there is the interest of the world, the fights and the links between the characters but there is also a whole myriad of hidden themes and metaphors that offer depth to the plot. Critique of society, contemplation of authoritarian and military systems, mourning, depression, philosophical reflections on humanity … The attack of the Titans peels like an onion. As the concentric circles of the walls crumble, the secrets are revealed. But very slowly. To know the origin of the famous Titans, readers had to wait for volume 31 for example for the veil to be lifted (but not completely). It is this mastery in the management of cliffhangers that made the success of this series.

Volume 34 of Attack on Titan “

Credit: Pika

Two powerful allies: Netflix and the Culture Pass

And The attack of the Titans was a great success in Japan and France, the other manga country in the world, it must be recognized that there has been a turning point in recent years. 6 million copies of manga were sold between 2013 and 2020 but with confinement and small financial nudges such as the Pass Culture, sales figures have soared. Pika Edition has, for example, sold 12 times more volume 1 in 2021 than in 2020. And when you start a series, it is likely that you want to complete it as quickly as possible and therefore … that you buy the next 33 volumes.

Today, “5,000 readers buy volume 1 per week in France “, considers the editor. A massive recruitment which is causing a phenomenal acceleration among printers. Almost 170,000 copies of volume 34 have already been printed, for example. An enthusiasm which (for a 34th volume, since a series always loses a few readers per volume) which is reserved only for the greatest authors of fiction. Only a handful of authors could expect such confidence from their editors. In Japan, The attack of the Titans explodes counters with staggering figures for our markets: more than 100 million volumes sold.

The Culture Pass is not the only explanation for this dazzling success. We must salute the triumph of the animated adaptation which is always a hit on Netflix for example. The anime already counts 4 seasons divided into several parts and which takes the course of manga with sometimes some adjustments. Season 1 traces the events of the first 6 volumes and season 4 begins with volume 23 for example.


A multimedia empire

The universe is multiplied far beyond the original manga: animated, films, novels, video games, albums, derivative products … The conquest of the Titans is total. Popular success is also accompanied by critical success with fairly unanimous opinions on the quality of the work. The dubbing (even French) are hailed, the violent and surprise deaths cause as many emotions as the sudden deaths of the best episodes of Game of Thrones. Fans slalom as rarely through social networks full of spoilers (the fault of the Japanese versions which always come out in advance).

The saga does not escape the controversy in particular on the political reading of the work that some see as an ode to fascism. Others explain that totalitarianism, if it is shown, serves above all to denounce the faults of these systems … In the end, it is above all the mystery, the powerful intrigue and a very identifiable graphic style that make the secret of success, in the long run, of The attack of the Titans.

If you want to discover the manga (or please your loved ones at Christmas), several versions await you in bookstores: a complete, a large “titanic” (naturally) collection, collectors’ volumes, classic volumes and a whole series of guides and other spin-off volumes that allow you to find out more. Count 7 euros per standard volume, i.e. a little less 238 euros for a complete collection on your shelves. If you don’t have space in your library, you should know that manga can also be read very well in digital format on a smartphone, tablet or e-reader. Do not hesitate to look at the sometimes very interesting second-hand market.

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