The sensational Attack on Titan franchise – the anime and manga – are edging towards its climax.
But of course, the manga has moved ahead of the anime, in terms of content, enticing anime fans to pick up the medium itself whilst others wonder if the AOT manga really is better than the anime.
I’d like to say, as both a manga reader and an avid fan of the anime, Hajime Isayama and the animation studio (WIT Studio formerly) polished the series and made it shine in the aspects that they had greater control over.
Be it in the manga format or in an audio-visual format, the team behind its creation have left a chilling masterpiece in their wake.
I wouldn’t be surprised if both the mediums are heavily lauded for their brilliance. So, here, I’ll take some time discussing the strengths and the memorable scenes that shined in both the mediums.
1. Short Answer
The anime excels in providing stunning visuals, a beautiful music score and excellent voice acting to accompany its storytelling.
Certain scenes of the anime have a greater emotional impact than in the manga.
However, the manga trumps over the anime in terms of storytelling, dialogues, foreshadowing and character building. Both provide a different experience and give value to different aspects of the story.
2. The 5 Scenes That Worked Better In The Anime!
I. The Female Titan Reveal
For many, the reveal of the Female Titan’s identity was a shocker and for others, it was plain obvious. “They look the same!” is what they cried.
However, none of them could deny the brilliance of how Isayama handles the reveal. The episode opens with Annie Leonhart strongly alluding to her true identity as the Female Titan.
Isayama does not go for a ‘dramatic reveal’ here – both the audience and the characters – by then, are already aware of Annie’s identity. The significance of the reveal lies in the emotional impact it has on the rest of the characters.
Betrayal is a bitter seed that doesn’t digest itself ever so completely and we see Eren and the 104th cadet corps struggle with the reveal.
The anime, however, does portray their emotions and hesitation more eloquently than the manga. It heavily foreshadows Annie’s identity as a drum roll to the reaction of the characters as they’re forced to fight their friend.
The manga was a bit subtle in its approach lacking in the impact that the anime has. Fun fact, Annie’s creepy laugh was cut out from the manga but it definitely sets the eerie scene in the anime.
II. Reiner And Berthold’s Internal Conflict And Reveal
Reiner and Bertholdt’s reveal should definitely make it into the Top 10 Anime Betrayals un-ironically.
Much like Annie’s reveal, the nature of it is pretty anticlimactic but Isayama manages to make that anticlimactic reveal one of the most shocking and unexpected one ever.
What makes the reveal even more poignant and heartbreaking is what the anime excels at. Hiroyuki Sawano’s You See Big Girl plays during Reiner’s monologue and the flashbacks of their time together as the 104th Cadet Corps – one can’t help but mourn the loss of a friendship tainted by betrayal.
But most importantly, it is Eren Yeager’s voice actor Yuki Kaji that nails the scene.
As Eren reminisces the times with Reiner and Bertholdt, he sheds a few tears and tenderly calls out their name – but in an instant, Eren is overcome by the pain and anger shouting, “You damn traitors!”. Yuki Kaji’s voice range in just that mere sentence is jaw-dropping. Kudos to that man.
Reiner and Bertholdt’s internal conflict is revealed in Reiner’s monologue initially. But the anime expands on that internal conflict when we see Reiner’s split personality disorder beginning to take shape especially during the scene of Marco’s death.
Their voice actors – Yoshimasa Hosoya (Reiner) and Tomohisa Hashizume (Bertholdt) really bring to life the tragic – almost pathetic – state that they’re in, making their pain and tears raw.
III. The Love Between Christa And Ymir
While both the mediums heavily imply the romantic undertones of their bond, the anime does a better job at convincing the audience about the powerful connection between the two.
The second season of the anime emphasizes on the relationship between Ymir and Christa allowing the audience to get invested in them.
The voice actors – Saki Fujita and Shiori Mikami respectively – do a wonderful job in establishing the raw yet tender love between the two.
The entire season allows the audience to watch them bond grow and make a strong impact as well. It is this season that allows the one scene of Ymir and Christa in season 3 to be brimming with emotion.
It is implied that Ymir has died after being eaten by the current Jaw Titan but she leaves a letter for Christa, now Historia, tugging at our hearts.
The letter and their story in the anime provides the context for Historia’s character development and her decision to become ‘Queen Historia’.
IV. Erwin’s Sucidal Charge
To be fair, most of Erwin’s plans are quite suicidal so I’ll clarify, we’re referring to Erwin’s final charge against the Beast Titan that lead to the brutal massacre of the Survey Corps.
Now, as a manga reader, I’d like to say, this scene was quite amazing in the manga itself. However, the anime managed to make it more emotional through the voice acting, the direction and the voice acting.
The conversation between Erwin and Levi before the charge where we learn that Erwin is giving up on his dreams is what makes the end of this complex character so saddening.
As the Survey Corps go out in blaze of glory, we witness the scared cadets being crushed by the rocks hurled by the Beast Titan. Erwin’s voice, in contrast, represents the steel resolve he has in the face of his death.
And such an element could only be conveyed through the voice acting, the music, the animation and direction. The anime definitely takes this one.
V. The Survey Corps See The Ocean
The Survey Corps’ seeing the ocean is probably one of the most beautiful and equally depressing scenes in the anime.
WIT Studio goes all out in making the scene as ethereal as possible and not going to lie, the scene is mesmerizing! Watching the calm wash over the Survey Corps as they see a symbol of hope in front of them is very heartwarming.
But it wouldn’t be Isayama’s story if he didn’t snatch that away from us in a matter of seconds. As we see Armin expressing delight about the ocean, Eren interrupts his thought with a dry tone.
He asks if they’ll truly be free if they kill everyone on the other side.
The stellar animation, the background music – Hiroyuki Sawano’s T-KT along with the sound of the waves – and Yuki Kaji’s voice acting makes the evocative impact of the scene tenfold than the manga.
With just this, it is heavily implied that the once the show returns, it wouldn’t be the same anymore.
3. Can You Figure Out The Strengths Of The Anime Now?
The anime is a combination of brilliant voice acting, WIT Studio’s raw yet high quality animation and Hiroyuki Sawano’s beautiful musical score.
This helps enhance emotionally driven and dramatic scenes in the anime. Its strength is the emotional impact it has on the audience.
4. The 5 Aspects That Were Better In The Manga!
I. Attack On Titan’s Worldbuilding
The world building in the anime and the manga are not different, per se. However, their impact is. I still remember people’s initial reaction to Attack on Titan’s first season.
The views were extremely polarized – they either loved the thrill or disregarded it as ‘shounen trash’. It’s fairly obvious that if you consider Attack on Titan shounen then clearly the intricacies of the plot did not register in your mind.
But no one’s to blame, the anime is more fast paced so it’s harder to understand the complex politics underlying the series while watching it.
It’s easier to re-read and analyze a manga as it does not move in a flow dictated by the studio – it depends on your reading style.
Therefore, concepts of AOT’s world building is definitely easier to grasp while reading the manga which also helps us understand the underlying moral and political themes of the story.
These details are crucial as they provide context to the events that are taking place in the final arc currently.
II. The Personalities Of The Main Trio
So, the purpose of the anime is the grab attention as quickly as possible. For which, it is likely that the studio attempted to gloss over the complexity of the main trio’s personalities.
Eren came off as a headstrong “typical” shounen protagonist, Mikasa the emotional and obsessive badass and Armin, the ever so timid and insecure character.
However, the manga provides these characters their room to be real and to grow. Eren is considerably more sensible than he was in the anime.
I’m not saying he wasn’t headstrong but he wasn’t so stupid to have only a one-track mind.
His emotional breakdown in the first part of season 3 comes as a surprise to people however, in the manga, it’s clearer how insecure Eren is and the love he carries for his close ones.
While Mikasa’s independence from Eren is her character development, she is less obsessive in the manga. She interacts with other people and is probably one of the kindest people in the manga (despite not being so overtly).
If you carefully observe the panels, a lot of Isayama’s focus is on Mikasa’s reaction to things – her concern for the people around her especially. She definitely screams Eren quite less in the manga.
And finally, Armin. He is not as submissive as made out to be in the anime. He is driven by his insecurities however, Armin does speak out in the oddest of times.
Even while being beaten up by bullies, Armin still manages to stand his ground by saying that the bully couldn’t prove him wrong which is why he used his fists instead. It shows that Armin can be really bold.
III. Historia’s Past
As mentioned for the world building, Historia’s past contains a lot of information! Trust me, sometimes, I’d either have to re-read chapters or take a break to effectively let the information register in my mind.
Isayama’s stories are potent with information, cleverly placed panels, and a lot of foreshadowing. These elements of his stories compel readers to re-read the manga to grasp the story better.
Such aspects of his storytelling are glossed over in the anime, of course due to time constraints and scheduling. While Isayama does work with the studio to insert charm (foreshadowing), it definitely isn’t as elaborate as the manga.
The entire arc of Historia’s backstory and the Reiss Family is properly addressed in the manga. The anime does shorten some of the flashbacks and increases the pace of the story whereas the manga provides the story its space to take its course.
Historia’s abuse at the hands of her mother is addressed with more impact and focus. Her issues of abandonment are what draws her closer to the Reiss family and her love for Frieda Reiss is better understood through the scenes depicted in the manga.
IV. Levi And Kenny’s History
The history of the Ackerman clan is revealed in the manga. Rife with a lot of information regarding the politics that existed in Kenny’s time, the manga does a better job of conveying the scenario than the anime.
Levi and Kenny’s complex relationship and the underlying feelings of Kenny who abandoned him are clearer in the manga. Kenny is one of the most interesting characters in the arc and the manga really explains the shade of grey that colors him.
Their history and the power of the Ackermans are more fleshed out in the manga. The conversation between Kenny and his father also hints towards a link with Mikasa’s father who was an Ackerman.
The role of the Ackermans in resisting the King’s will and what they represented makes more sense in the manga than the anime.
The anime hails it as an answer to “This is why Mikasa and Levi are so God-like!” but the reveal of their history has a greater significance.
The hunting down of the Ackerman clan is a reminder of the dictatorial monarchy that the Reiss lead under King Fritz’ will.
V. Grisha’s Past
Personally, I was a bit disappointed with how rushed Grisha’s past was depicted in the anime because the manga does a splendid job of portraying the cruel nature of the world. Grisha’s flashbacks and his monologue has an exhausting amount of information.
But, of course, the visuals and the audio of the anime kind of takes away the attention from what is being said. Dialogues are extremely important in Attack on Titan.
They either foreshadow something or provide better context to the events happening.
The anime uses a more simplified language to make it easier to understand however the translations used in the manga are so well put that they urge you to read further.
The drawings of Grisha’s past and the tragedy associated with it really exemplifies Isayama’s drawing style. It’s rough, raw and impactful.
There is one specific panel of Grisha’s eyes after the death of his sister Faye that is haunting. It really speaks of the despair he feels.
And in a story like Attack on Titan, it’s very important to pay attention to each individual’s internal feelings. Hajime Isayama plays them out quite well and the story itself is a conflict that arises out of it.
5. What Makes The Manga Shine, You Ask?
So, when it comes to conveying the themes of the story, its background and fleshing out its characters – the manga does an excellent job.
It helps you ease into the storyline but also impacts you. Isayama’s drawings were quite sub-par in the beginning but over the years, it has improved greatly.
His arrangement of panels, focus on characters and the dialogues really create an impression of realism in this fictional world.
Some of the panels are hauntingly breathtaking and I hope MAPPA Studio does a great job in emulating what he does.
6. About Attack on Titan
Attack on Titan is a Japanese manga series written and illustrated by Hajime Isayama. Kodansha publishes it in the Bessatsu Shonen Magazine.
The manga began serialization on September 9th, 2009, and continues to date with 30 tankōbom formats.
Attack on Titan follows humanity settled within three concentric walls to protect themselves from the terrifying titans that prey on them.
Eren Yeager is a young boy that believes that a caged life is similar to that of cattle and aspires to go beyond the walls one day, just like his heroes, the Survey Corps. The emergence of a deadly Titan unleashes chaos.Originally Written By Epic Dope