Da Vinci Investigates How Japanese Fans Interpreted Attack on Titan’s Ending

Da Vinci feature on Attack on Titan

If there’s one thing you can say about the recent conclusion to Attack on Titan, it’s that it has provoked a fair bit of conversation. Whether or not you agree with the ideas presented therein is ultimately a subjective question, hence why Da Vinci’s recent feature on the Attack on Titan ending is an interesting one.

Between 28 April and 9 May, Da Vinci magazine conducted a survey on Twitter to find out how Japanese fans felt about Attack on Titan’s ending, among other things. The results were published in the latest July issue, alongside interviews with Yuki Kaji (CV: Eren Jaeger) and Yui Ishikawa (Mikasa Ackerman). On the whole, reception was positive, with some even going as far as to say that they had witnessed history in the making.

One woman aged 38 declared that ‘if people can preserve civilization for years to come, then I think Attack on Titan will continue to exist 50, 100, maybe even 1000 years from now.’ Another respondent who didn’t specify their gender aged 28 said that ‘even if it’s over, Attack on Titan will continue to stay by my side forever.’ And one woman aged 49 said that the series ‘represented the Heisei era,’ which we’d largely agree with.

Attack on Titan Characters

In terms of interpretation, one woman aged 45 offered an interesting thought when she said that ‘the truth is that rather than being about “Reading the story,” it’s a feeling closer to “Affirming the way that the characters live”.’ Similarly, one woman aged 17 remarked that ‘every character has their own sense of justice, and there’s evil in all of them.’ And seemingly the only man surveyed by Da Vinci on the Attack on Titan ending aged 22 reckoned that ‘for the readers, this might actually be the start of something’ because of the way that the ending brought the series’ messages even closer to real life.

The next part of the Da Vinci feature asked fans what their favorite scenes were, but the third question about what kind of things the readers had learned from Attack on Titan was a whole lot more interesting. Many of the answers mirrored those given in response to the first question, with one fan aged 31 who didn’t give their gender saying that ‘there are two sides to everything, so you can’t judge things with a simple sense of good and evil.’

Screenshot from Attack on Titan episode 72

Nevertheless, two responses in particular are worth pointing out. One woman aged 18 said that she learned the ‘terror’ of what happens when discrimination and prejudice stop critical thinking through the character of Gabi and the scene in Nicolo’s restaurant in particular. Another woman aged 19 said that she learned from Oyankopon that ‘the only thing that’s different about us is the color of our skin and the places we live,’ as well as the ‘stupidity’ of racism.

It’s also worth pointing out that Da Vinci essentially ran a character popularity poll for this Attack on Titan feature: Levi obviously came out on top, but the reasons provided by the respondents for choosing him were interesting. One woman aged 40 wished him a good rest and described him as ‘so strong it’s sad,’ while another woman aged 28 said that out of all the characters, he symbolized the ‘wings of freedom’ best of all with his refusal to dwell on the past.

Perhaps we can learn a few things from Attack on Titan, after all.

You can check out the full Attack on Titan feature in the latest issue of Da Vinci, published by Kadokawa.

Da Vinci 2021 July issue
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