Human beings have had better times. After being on the verge of extinction, they now take refuge behind three large walls to be safe from the titans, gigantic beings of little intelligence that feed on them. With this approach begins Attack the titans, one of the most popular Japanese animation productions today, available now on Prime Video. In 2021 it became the most watched series in the world on television platforms, and the first non-English language series to achieve that milestone, according to data from the audience analysis company Parrot Analytics, ahead of the squid game or The Witcher and taking the baton The Walking Dead and Game of Thrones. Word of mouth, exposure on networks and the seriousness and crudeness of his proposal are factors that have contributed to the enormous success of the story, which began airing in 2013 and stars the young hero Eren Jaeger.
The plot becomes more complex as the chapters progress, and the viewer no longer just wants to defeat the titans, they also want to know why they are there and where they come from. The answers are inside and outside the walls. It has been 100 years since the last time humans suffered an attack. Society, a pseudo-medieval monarchy divided into social classes, is divided between the different walls depending on the social strata. The lower classes are relegated to living in the outer wall, the Maria Wall, while the royalty and the religious leadership take shelter behind the Sina Wall, the most protected. Jaeger has grown up on the edge of the outdoors with his companions Mikasa and Armin, and his desire to know what lies beyond will make him enlist in the Exploration Corps, the only one allowed to go out to try to discover what is around them. The fiction, recommended for an audience over 13 years old, does not pretend to be a kind or pleasant story. At times raw and bloody, it does not skimp on capturing the hopeless environment, of confinement and restlessness in which its protagonists live subjected.
The adaptation of the original manga, published between 2009 and 2021, is the responsibility of Tetsurō Araki, also the director of another of the world phenomena of the anime ―term with which Japanese animation series are known― from a few years ago, death note (2006). Its success is not only audience. The two series are among the best rated on the IMDB portal, a reference in the world of cinema, with an average of 9 and close to 300,000 ratings in both cases. In fact, chapter 39 of Attack the titans, It has the highest IMDB score ever for an episode of a series: 9.9 with about 87,000 votes. To date, the fiction, which has entered its final stretch, has issued 80 chapters, with a total of approximately 27 hours of plot.
death note It was already a groundbreaking product in its day and paved the way for later works. His plot revolves around a notebook with which you can kill a person just by writing their name on it. For Manu Guerrero, head of the Video department at the distributor Selecta Visión, who has been working in the distribution of content with a Japanese label for more than 30 years, “death note breaks the barriers of what is anime and ends up reaching a majority audience.” “Word of mouth is great, and it shouldn’t be that way, but at the time it spread a lot illegally on the internet. However, the popularity of the series crossed many barriers, in Catalonia it was even broadcast on Sunday nights on TV3 ″, he explains.
After this came other phenomena, Guerrero lists, such as Tokyo Ghoul, One Punch Man or Haikyu!! The volleyball aces, which helped “the snowball to get bigger and bigger”. But next to the titans they are “more transient trends”, he explains. The popularity of Attack the titans it skyrocketed from the first minute it was announced that a series was going to be made. “The adaptation embroidered it, it captured the manga very well. Many people even stopped reading it because they wanted to advance the story through the anime… The world upside down! ”, He says with a laugh while positively highlighting the behavior of the community of followers, who have not dedicated themselves to gutting the end through the networks despite the fact that it was already written.
One of the keys to the success of this series has been word of mouth. Andrés Torres, a 26-year-old Galician forest firefighter, decided to give it a try after listening to the recommendations of his friends, and despite not being a fan of this genre: “A colleague of mine had insisted a lot that I see it, but I didn’t I ignored. Then another insisted on me, then another too… and one Sunday I put it on and at first it didn’t call me much, but after the fifth chapter I was completely hooked.”
Alberto Viña, a 24-year-old from Madrid, started it in mid-January to combat boredom while he was confined by coronavirus. Not a fan of Japanese animation, but in less than a month he has managed to catch up with the series. “It has surprised me for good, I had a prejudice that it was going to be more childish,” says Viña, “I thought it was going to be the typical adventure series, but it is not a series designed for children. I was hooked by the plot and the things it tells. It deals with quite mature themes, apart from blood and death, which is a quite explicit theme”. Torres also thought that he would find a more childish product: “I don’t usually like the subgenre because it is very overacted and I don’t like those things. But this one I noticed more for adults. There are characters who are preparing very hard to defeat the titans, and at the first turn they kill them like flies. It’s pretty raw, and that’s what I like the most.”
a global phenomenon
The demand for Japanese animation has grown 118% in the last two years and has gone from accounting for 4.2% of all global content to 7.1%, according to data from Parrot Analytics. This subgenre of series is, in fact, the third most requested worldwide on platforms, only behind police dramas and comedies. Guerrero considers that it is a natural evolution: “Someone who began to see Attack the titans At 14 years old, he is now 24. For him, watching animation is already something normal. We are at a time now when this type of production is already very popular. People who are now 30 years old, have grown up surrounded by anime and already supposes a majority current. I do not remember anything like it, everything that was not valued a few years ago, today is very cool. The world has changed on this issue.”
Patricia Fernández, from the Selecta Visión team, believes that the stigma of children’s gender, which is still present although it is less and less, has an explanation: “Before there were more prejudices, because normally you see anime for the first time as a child, programmed in the children’s grid —as Pokemon, Doraemon and even Heidi— and is already associated with an audience more for children. The platforms have helped a lot to eliminate that barrier by betting on the anime in their catalogues.
With Attack the titans In its final episodes, which series of this booming genre can take over and become the new super-success of Japanese animation? warrior bets on Guardians of the night, the story of a devil hunter who tries to return his sister to her human condition. But until then there are still a few chapters to be broadcast and many mysteries to solve, inside and outside the walls.
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