How Does ‘Attack On Titan’ Relate To Humans?

‘Attack on Titan’ (or more accurately, ‘Attack by Titans’, or ‘Advancing Giants’ in Japanese) presents a mystery of humongous proportions at first… Who are these titans, who seem to be monsters from beyond, who are obviously alive, yet mindless in eating of humans, capable of destroying nearly anything that stands in the way? Spoilers ahead…

They are ex-humans, and were created by humans, when a military experiment went wrong (according to the film version). Great as these monsters are, are their originators not the actual monsters then? Is it a form of passive monstrosity to allow active monstrosity to surface and run unchecked? As always, humans are the most likely ones to drive themselves into extinction.

A clamp down on knowledge and technology ensues, hoping that there will be peace by return to more innocent days. However, the same old not-at-all-innocent politics of the three poisons of greed, hatred and delusion run on among the survivors and their leaders. There is even return to a ‘caste’ system of society, with its circular walled cities, with the privileged best protected in its innermost.

As Nietzsche warned, ‘Whoever fights monsters should see to it that in the process he does not become a monster. And if you gaze long enough into an abyss, the abyss will gaze back into you.’ The titans can also be interpreted as giant zombies of sorts, alive yet not fully alive, who live to consume and waste in large amounts, without care of consequences. Are we devolving to become them now?

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