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Attack on Titan Differences: The Fall of Shiganshina Arc – Anime Vs. Manga | Get In The Robot


Oh, Attack on Titan, how you play with our
hearts, our moral compass, and our… stomachs. If you’re like me and you came
to the manga after becoming super obsessed with the anime, you might have
noticed that a few things were a little different. Well, I mean you probably
noticed that if you read the manga first too, but that’s not what I did.
We’re gonna be covering the Fall of Shiganshina arc, which spans the first
two episodes of the anime and the first two chapters of the manga. Simple as that.
Even though that’s a tiny little cut of what’s to come, there’s a lot of
important setup here. After all it’s basically Eren’s origin story. You know,
giant Titan shows up, busts through a wall, destroys his hometown, lets other giants
in so they can eat his mom, you know the usual. About that, it juts right outside
Wall Maria… interesting choice. So yeah, there are a ton of opportunities
for the manga and the anime to diverge from one another. And what better way to start than with
frame 1 and panel 1. “That day, the human race remembered the terror of being
dominated by them.” Actually, the anime really milks that scene. In the manga, you
get no cryptic birds, no barking dog, no fish splitting in half, no dramatic
silhouette of the Titans head or ultra close shot of Eren’s pupil wobbling.
Watching the first two episodes knowing where the story’s headed is kind of
fascinating, because you realize there’s some subtle foreshadowing. After all, the
anime had the advantage of knowing where things were actually headed. The first,
but not as impressive example is that during the scene where the scouts are
ambushing the Titan in the forest, the anime has a super clear, “he’s gonna go
for the nape, that’s probably important” shot. The manga just shows that Titans
back. By the way, the name of this branch of the military is actually a departure
between the versions. Those of us familiar with the subbed anime know it
as the Scout Regiment; those of us familiar with the dubbed anime know it
as the Scouting Regiment; while the manga calls them the Survey Corps. This divergence is because the Japanese name chousa heidan, has no exact English
equivalent. Heidan, definitely means “soldier group” or “core”–– but chousa is a
little less straightforward. It can mean anything like, “investigation”,
“examination”, “inquiry”, “survey”–– you get the point. There’s another intense
translation debate over the phrase, “Attack on Titan” itself, but, let’s not
open that whole mess. Anyway, there’s an even more interesting bit of
foreshadowing when Erin and Mikasa re-enter the town after Erin’s sad dream.
We immediately encounter a would-be monk preaching about how “the walls are God’s
divine work” and screaming how “no one should defile the wall”, and he’s not the
only one. The second episode also has a shouting religious guy towards the
opening–– in this case, self-righteously reciting biblical verses as scenes of
carnage and panic play out. He’s probably a swell guy. After season 2, the placement
of these religious fanatics right up front is…
very interesting. Especially because neither of them appear in the manga. So
now we’re barely inside the wall with Eren, Mikasa, and a jovially drunk Hannes.
Eren, however, doesn’t think his comrades’ drunkenness is so jovial. You also get
the sense in the manga that Eren’s yelling at the tip-top of his little lungs.
Like, there’s arguably a more emphasized-looking yell-bubble, with bigger and
bolder text than any reaction to any Titan. It feels like a little overkill.
Personally, I’m glad the animators made Eren you know reasonably anime-level
mad. In the anime, Eren’s comebacks are a little less saucy. He just says they
shouldn’t call themselves a garrison. But in the manga, he says the garrison should
call themselves the “Wall Construction Corp”. Hey Eren, sick burn. But in the manga,
there isn’t a random dude just chopping a fish in the middle of this
conversation. Actually, I want to talk more about this fish, because this fish
left an impression on me. In the scene it just, it’s there and it’s wiggling and
the moment Aaron says you know what if the Titans were to come in, suddenly you get
the shot of the fish and they chop the fish and then just–– As a general rule the
anime tends to add a lot of extra details like this.
You know, like the fish, which enhances the characters and the story. For example,
you get more interaction between the Jaegers once Eren and Mikasa return
home. Eren’s mom even pulls on his ear which, even though she’s kind of mad, it’s
kind of cute–– in retrospect at least. That isn’t the only semi-salty, added
interaction. Eren and Mikasa leave the house and subsequently save Armin from
some bullies. Well okay, Mikasa saves Armin. When offered a hand to get off the
ground, Armin rather pointedly says “I can get up on my own”. Which is definitely not
shown in the manga the same way. The way the anime framed this scene has a way of
emphasizing Armin’s independence-and- confidence-issues character arc, and that
subtle change adds a lot of characterization to Armin in this moment.
Our three child heroes then go to the waterfront for a nice exposition-filled
chat. Don’t you love the goddess of exposition when she shows up. But Armin
has a rather interesting extra line in the manga. He explains that the royal
government has made interest in the world outside the wall taboo. Eren
retorts that’s because “the king is a coward”. We then cut to Armin looking
incredibly thoughtful saying, “…You’re right about that. But I wonder if that’s the only reason…” Kind of a conspicuous thing for a child
to say in the first chapter don’t you think? Which is a bit of a wink-wink, nudge-nudge that you don’t get in the anime. But, such pleasantry can’t
last long because… oh no it’s the Colossal Naked Titan! In the manga, he
just appears immediately after Armin speaks, but the anime inserts a… giant
pause–– no pun intended–– we’re talking no sound at all. But the
biggest departure is the manner in which he appears. The Colossal Titan’s arrival in
the manga feels like an earthquake, probably because of his colossal
footstep–– more on that in a bit. But in the anime, there’s something like a jolt
of lightning right outside the wall. The impact of the lightning basically
triggers an earthquake. If you’ve seen season two, prominently showcasing that
lightning-ish effect will seem like a very telling choice to you… very telling
indeed. But let’s get back to the manga, ‘cus when I read this part, I swear I
spent like a solid three minutes wondering, how was it that nobody noticed
that the Colossal Titan was even approaching? I mean it’s a giant. Did it
lightly tiptoe its way towards the wall and then just announce itself? Okay, I
know better now, but, yeah back then that’s how my mind worked and I just
didn’t understand. There’s also an extended back perspective shot of the
Titan’s kick in the anime–– instead of the–– semi-crotch shot we get in the manga. So
that’s nice. Chapter one of the manga actually ends
here. Chapter two opens with a very brief explanation of the history between
humans and Titans, like episode two does. But through the inclusion of one panel,
you get the sense that this explanation is being told in the future as part of
what looks suspiciously like the Disbanding Ceremony or something. However,
the anime instead wants to beat up your heart with Carla’s death before the first
episode is over. That scene is similar in both versions.
Although–– weirdly–– the shot of the Titan about to eat Carla is mirrored. Also, for
all its added slow-motion shots of Carla struggling, the anime mercifully spares
us the shot of Carla being squeexed to death and having her legs
dangling at odd angles in the Titan’s mouth after it takes a bite. Instead, we
just get her blood floating in the breeze, like, the worst cherry blossom
petals ever. Mikasa’s reaction is a little different too. Although she grabs
her head in the exact same way and has a minimally different translation of the
same line, the anime exclusively treats us to a flashback of her parents dead
bodies. Which I appreciate because the manga only shows her head throbbing but
it doesn’t really give us any explanation or association as to why she
says “this again”. So now we’re in episode two, the vast majority of which is anime
original, like scenes of carnage in the beginning of the episode and basically
everything with the boats. In the manga, Mikasa and Eren get on the boat, the
Armored Titan busts through the wall, Eren has his little Shounen moment, and
that’s it. We immediately skip five years ahead. You don’t even know if
Armin’s on the boat. He just shows up like a Cadet later and you’re like, “oh
well I guess he was alive?” The anime also fleshes out the Armored Titan, and even
adds an attempted cannon attack, so you get a better picture of just how screwed
humanity is. Plus in the anime, the character fighting to keep the gates
open is someone we know and are somewhat attached to at this point–– Hannes. In the
manga, that brave defender is a mere silhouette, who in fairness sort of looks
like Hannes, but could easily be anyone else. The anime makes it resoundingly
clear that everyone–– including the people in the boat–– hears the Armored Titan’s
footsteps–– again, no pun intended. So let’s take a look at the rest of episode two.
Extra scenes of Titan carnage while on the boat? Not in the manga. Snobby
government dudes? Nope. Nice little shot of Doc Jaeger in the
carriage, crying? Nope. Struggles and starvation of the refugees in Wall Rose,
featuring Eren lashing out at some guards and a charged conversation
between our three child heroes? Nope. Farming sadness? Nope. The battalion sent
out to reclaim Wall Maria–– which is so freakin sad guys.
It’s in the manga, but as a flashback with less detail. Also, Armin’s
grandfather or family, is never mentioned in the manga. Forget the basement, Armin’s
family is the real mystery here. Literally the manga jumps from, “Hey we’re
on a boat!” to “Wow! We’re graduating from military school!” and that’s the end of
chapter two. Which begs the question, is the entire military training arc anime-original? Don’t worry, it’s not. But it does come after the boulder struggle,
like a flashback. Wisely, the anime thought it best for the audience to meet
everyone before they’re dragged through hell and possibly killed. So that leads
the reveal of Eren’s traumatic encounter with his dad–– this happens at a
different time too. In the anime, Eren has a nightmare about it while still a child
refugee, when ostensibly not much time had passed since he fled in the boat. But
in the manga, Hannes comes up to Eren on the night he finishes military training
and casually asks, “Oh, hey do you remember when you last saw your
dad?” which causes Eren to relive the whole ordeal and pass out from the trauma.
Thanks a lot, Papa Jaeger-Parental-Trauma. At least in the manga we find out that
Dr. Jaeger cured Hannes’ whole family from a plague. Which is why Hannes wanted
to originally payback Eren’s family but then he saw that huge giant and, well, no.
Can we blame him? But, as far as the manga is concerned that brings us into the
second arc, the Battle of Trost, which we’ll tackle next time. Okay guys, thanks
for watching Get In The Robot–– your anime explainer.

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