Attack on Titan is a sci-fi action franchise that started as a manga written by Hajime Isayama. The manga began serialization in the September 2009 issue of Bessatsu Shonen Magazine published by Kodansha. As of April 2016, the manga has been collected into 19 tankobon volumes and was the highest selling manga franchise in Japan in 2015. The franchise has over 50 million copies in print and spans not just manga but a host of adaptations including anime, light novels, video games, movies, and more, making it one of the most popular franchises in recent years.
Attack on Titan takes place in an apocalyptic world in which humanity has been driven to the brink of extinction by man-eating giants known as Titans and forced to live in walled-off cities to protect themselves from the Titan threat that lurks just beyond. The outermost wall is Wall Maria, the middle is Wall Rose, and the innermost is Wall Sheena, and within these walls humanity has lived in an uneasy peace for nearly 100 years, successfully keeping the Titans at bay. However, humanity’s shaky sense of security and safety is shattered one day with the mysterious appearance of a giant 60-meter-tall Colossus Titan who breaks through Wall Maria, letting a scourge of Titans inside. Humanity is driven further inward after an Armored Titan appears and smashes completely through the wall. The Titans are battled by the military, which is divided into three sections: the Survey Corps, which ventures outside the walls to try and reclaim the land; the Garrison Regiment, which guards the walls and civilians; and the Military Police Brigade, which guards the royal family and live relatively relaxed lives inside the innermost wall. Soldiers are able to battle against Titans using a tethering system called the 3D Maneuver Gear, which allows them to grapple to and jump from nearby walls, trees, and buildings to attack Titans up close and deliver a fatal strike.
The story centers on Eren Jaeger, who, after witnessing his mother devoured by a Titan in the initial invasion of Wall Maria, dedicates his life to eradicating them all. He joins the military along with adopted sister Mikasa—a quiet and stoic girl who protects Erin and is regarded as a prodigy on the battlefield—and childhood friend Armin—a skilled strategist who cares for Eren and Mikasa and vigorously defends them, at times putting himself in harm’s way, despite having an inferiority complex. After graduating training he is placed in the Survey Corps’ Special Operations Squad led by “humanity’s most powerful soldier,” Captain Levi. Early into the story Eren learns of his ability to transform himself into a 15-meter Rogue Titan who can fight against other Titans on an equal footing. However, this makes him a target to those within the military who see him as a threat. As he begins to attempt to control his Titan-changing ability he begins to discover other abilities as well and the mystery of what the Titans are and where they came from deepens...
The series received a massive surge in popularity with the broadcast of the first season of the anime adaptation. The anime was directed by Tetsuro Araki and starred a strong voice cast including Yuki Kaji as protagonist Eren, Yui Ishikawa as Mikasa, and Marina Inoue as Armin. Produced by Wit Studio and Production I.G, the anime aired in Japan on MBS between April and September 2013 and was simulcast to worldwide audiences through both Funimation and Crunchyroll. A total of 25 episodes were produced along with 3 OVA episodes included in select volumes of the manga. The 25 episodes were later compiled into two animated theatrical films starring the original voice cast titled Attack on Titan - Part 1: Crimson Bow and Arrow and Attack on Titan - Part 2: Wings of Freedom. An anime adaptation was also created for the spin-off manga Attack on Titan: Junior High that aired in October 2015. The second season of the main anime is scheduled to begin in April 2017.
Aside from the main manga series, there have been a total of five spin-off manga and three light novels published. Attack on Titan: Junior High is a comedic spin-off written by Saki Nakagawa that follows the main characters as they battle the Titans while in junior high. The series started in the May 2012 issue of Bessatsu Shonen Magazine. Attack on Titan: Before the Fall, illustrated by Satoshi Shiki, is a manga adaptation of a light novel series by the same name set in the world of Attack on Titan before the events of the manga. The manga began serialization in Monthly Shonen Sirius in August 2013. No Regrets, written by Gun Snark and illustrated by Hikaru Suruga, is based on the visual novel of the same name and focuses on the origins of fan-favorite character Captain Levi. There’s also Lost Girls, an adaptation of a light novel by the same name that comprises three short stories featuring Mikasa and Annie, and Spoof on Titan, a 4-koma manga. On the light novel side, the most popular is Before the Fall (written by Ryo Suzukaze and illustrated by Thores Shibamoto), and there is also Lost Girls (written by Hiroshi Seko) and Harsh Mistress of the City (written by Ryo Kawakami and illustrated by Range Murata).
The franchise has also branched out into a number of other media as well including video games—four of which were created by Nitroplus in collaboration with Production I.G and released as bonus content for the third and sixth volumes of the Blu-ray disc anime releases, and one, titled Attack on Titan: Humanity in Chains, was developed by Spike Chunsoft and released on the Nintendo 3DS—and a two-part live-action film adaptation—the first titled Attack on Titan and the second Attack on Titan: End of the World, both of which were released in Japan and the U.S. SCRAP Entertainment Inc. has also held several Real Escape Games based on Attack on Titan in Japan and abroad including “Escape from the Fortress Surrounded by Titans” and “Escape from the Walled City.” With all this on top of exhibits, radio shows, and collaborative events, Attack on Titan is a true behemoth that has advanced into just about every form of media.