I am not a fan of the Hype-Train. In fact, I do everything in my power to avoid it. When they Hype-Train’s course comes near my personal space, I loudly call out “ALL ABOARD THE NOPE TRAIN TO SCREWTHATVILLE!!”.
So, in secret, I began a plot to reap the benefits of an obviously great manga series without the awful side-effects of the “instantly, hugely popular with everyone” phenomena. And, so far, the series has definitely exceeded my expectations.
Overall, I’m feeling an over-arching theme of Ancient Greek Creation Mythology happening, and I like it.
While I’m not the first to ponder if Attack on Titan creator, Hajime Isayama, had ancient civilizations in mind when he created the series, but I haven’t seen anyone with my thoughts online…. yet.
While most online theories revolve around discrediting the Grecian mythology in favor of Norse giant mythology (Jötunn, or giants, doing what they’re meant to and terrorizing humans (Midgardians) and Asgardians).
The use of the term “Giant Field” in the several human territory maps you see throughout the manga, leads most manga-readers to assume the Norse mythos, as the world “Titan” is not used to describe the territory currently ruled by the Titans. There have also been several questions about whether Hajime Isayama (who chose the English Translated title of “Attack on Titan”) is actually qualified to decided whether “Titan” is the best direct translation from the Japanese title, Shingeki no Kyojin. There is a small internet faction dedicated to the idea (in league with the Norse theory) that the proper translation for the title should actually be “The Eotena Onslaught” (Eoten being another word for Jötunn).
Excuse me while I break the internet.
I’m going to start my argument by assuming that Isayama knew what he wanted when he translated his manga to read “Attack on Titan”. The entire premise of the story is a chronicle of the last human hold-out, and attempts to re-capture previously human-occupied territory.
My first thought when I cracked open volume 1 was that it was an interesting take on Greek creation myths. Particularly with the consistent reminders that the Titans sole purpose in life seems to be eating people because they can. It seems apparent that the Titans don’t really need to eat, they’ve been living in a bubble devoid of humans for nearly 100 years at that point. Immediately I was reminded of Cronus, who ate his children to avoid a prophesied downfall. Cronus also happened to be (wait for it) a Greek Titan. So, it shouldn’t be too much of a stretch to see the Titans of AoT as a “God-Tier” class, and humans as “children” of that God-Tier class. Ergo, the God-Tier Titans must eat their human children to avoid annihilation.
Next up, the origins of the word “giant”. Wikipedia says this:
Giant is the English word (coined 1297) commonly used for the monsters of human appearance but prodigious size and strength common in the mythology and legends of many different cultures. The word Giant was derived from one of the most famed examples: the gigantes (Greek “γίγαντες”) of Greek mythology.
I feel like that pretty much kills the “Hajime Isayama hasn’t translated his titles properly” and the “but why does it say giant field, instead of Titan field” arguments. Isayama has translated his title properly as Attack on Titan, and that the use of “Giant Field” in the maps can very accurately have the same meaning as “Titan”, using the actual Greek words. In fact, Gigan and Titan are only one letter away from being the same word, which is probably how we ended up calling the Gods “Titans” in the first place instead of Gigans.
Some more about the Gigantes (Titans) from Wikipedia:
This is where I feel like the oft heard secondary mistranslation argument comes into place. That argument being that SnK directly translates from the Japanese to “Advancing Giants”, implying that the Titans are advancing on the humans. This seems contrary to the English title of Attack on Titan, which seems to imply the opposite – humans advancing on the Titans. This seemed fair enough until I read about the “War of the Titans”. War of the Titans seems to be a good intermediary meaning, marrying both the Japanese and English translation.
My next point: Humans are Olympians. When reading about the home of the Olympians, Mount Olympus – there was mention of 52 separate peaks, but I could only find mention of 3 summits: the Skala, Skolio, and Mytikas summits. The summits are important, since the summits of Mount Olympus are 1) where the War of the Titans took place, and 2) the home of the Olympians (who defeated the Titans during the war). The fact that there are 3 summits is monumentally important.
If the Humans of AoT are equivalent to the Olympians of ancient times, the Human Field would be equivalent to Mount Olympus. Olympus is a mountain; the farther in you go, the higher in elevation you get. The same is true for the Human Field – the closer to Wall Sina, the higher in elevation you are. Mount Olympus has 3 summits (Skala, Skolio, Mytikas), the Human Field has 3 walls (Maria, Rose, Sina). The ruling-class Titans live at the highest point of Mount Olympus, the ruling-class humans live at the highest point of the Human Field. The similarities keep piling up.
Also, The War of the Titans was fought (and won, by the Olympians) in the summits of Mount Olympus. The first page of AoT clearly states “To you, 2000 years from now”, implying that at least two people survived and rebuilt the human race (implied human victory). This is presuming that “To you” means “To the reader” and that “now” means the time in which the manga is taking place, and that we, the readers, are the grandsons and granddaughters of these men and women (2000 years removed). It is my opinion that the Attack on Titan we are reading is meant to act as a record of the defeat of the Titans, securing the Humans as a ruling class in their victory, and implying that (given today’s world) we took back our lost territories.
So, that’s episode one of Nerd Girl’s Fan theory. Hopefully, I’ll uncover even more sinister revelations boiling just beneath the surface.
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