Some Japanese Fans Are Sceptical About The Attack On Titan Movie 

Some Japanese Fans Are Sceptical About The Attack On Titan Movie 

The Attack on Titan movie is not out yet. The trailers look pretty good! Don’t tell that to the haters in Japan.

Picture: Toho

Of course, not everyone in country dislikes what they have seen so far. And I do think the movie should do well, just based on the built-in fan base and the ability of the mainstream Japanese media to create hype.

However! There have been several reoccurring complaints about the movie, which typically pop up online in Japan. Complaints online? You say. IMPOSSIBLE. Yes, I know, I know. But, these complaints — however picky they are — should provide some insight into some of the scepticism towards the upcoming film adaptation.

Manga fans in Japan are just are protective of the original works just as, say, gamers in the West are about Hollywood movie versions of their favourite games. The reason is simple: They have been burned too many times. Sure, for every good adaptation like the Rurouni Kenshin movies, there are plenty more awful ones churned out by Japanese studios.

Fans want the original work respected! That’s certainly understandable. Yet, they’re different mediums with different creators — which is where the trouble often arises. It’s no surprise that the Attack on Titan movie seems to have made changes to the original manga. For example, the character Levi Ackerman is apparently not in the film. Instead, a totally new character named Shikishima will appear. Stuff like this makes people nervous.

There are other qualms. Some are very picky. For example, some don’t like the movie’s full title, which is Attack on Titan: End of the World. In Japanese, the subtitle is written as “Endo obu za Waarudo” (エンドオブザワールド), and some felt like a proper Japanese language subtitle would be better. I kind of agree with that! But whatever.

Some Japanese Fans Are Sceptical About The Attack On Titan Movie 

[via Imgarcade]

Then, there are cast issues. In the manga and the anime, the characters are white, with most having German or European sounding names. In the movie, they’re Asian. Online in Japan, many complaints against the film indicate that some don’t want to see Japanese actors playing characters who are not supposed to be Japanese. It seems odd, they say.

Some Japanese Fans Are Sceptical About The Attack On Titan Movie 

[via shingekinokyojin.wikia]

And then, there’s a somewhat of a hot-button issue. Online, there have been complaints about the actor who plays Mikasa, a character with a popular Japanese name and Asian heritage. In the movie, Mikasa is played by Kiko Mizuhara, who is half-American and half-Korean (her mother is a Zainichi Korean). And while she was born in the States, she did grow up in Japan. But since she’s not technically a Japanese citizen, some people online in Japan (certainly, not all!) find it curious that she’d play the manga’s main Attack on Titan character that clearly seems to have Japanese heritage. While this has way different cultural baggage and there is a heck of a lot to unpack, in the West, a vaguely similar argument is sometimes made when Hollywood hires Asian actors to play characters of different nationalities, whether that’s having Chinese actors play Japanese characters or vice-versa. Mizuhara is currently a popular model and celebrity in Japan. She grew up in Japan. Of course, she speaks Japanese. And it seems the film’s producers thought she best fits the part, regardless of her nationality.

Some Japanese Fans Are Sceptical About The Attack On Titan Movie 

Picture: Toho

Via internet forum 2ch and numerous other Japanese blogs (here, here, here, here, here, and here), below you can see a cross-section of comments in no particular order. Some comments are directed at the above posters, while others are the trailers.

Like anything you see online, don’t think these opinions as indicative of all the 120 million or so people who live in Japan. However, the comments might provide an interesting look at how some people view the upcoming film. And, yes, to be completely fair to the filmmakers and the actors, save your final opinion until you’ve seen the completed work.

With that being said, here goes:

“The buildings [in the background] look like Japanese apartments… Yet, they’re still using the name [Attack on Titan] without any changes… Um…”

“Even though their names are for foreigners, their faces are Japanese…”

“Everyone is Asian. lol”

“I think if you are going to make changes to the original work, then it’s better just to make something completely original.”

“It looks rather shoddy.”

“I think it looks interesting.”

“I’m more worried about the actors than I am the CG.”

“If you’re going to make it real, then Mikasa’s scarf looks like it would get in the way.”

“If you changed their names, you wouldn’t know who is who.”

“Eren (Asian person).”

“Why did they set it in the modern day. hahaha”

“This looks more like expensive cosplay.”

“The time period is strange. Fight with regular weapons, and if they used a modern military, they wouldn’t lose.”

“In the original work, the only Asian-like one is Mikasa.”

“It seems like something something to be ashamed of.”

“It makes feel uncomfortable that all the characters look Japanese.”

“This looks like a middle-school or a high-school play.”

“Why is the character with Japanese heritage the only one with the face of a foreigner?”

“Why isn’t a Japanese person playing Mikasa?”

“They really should have stuck to the original story.”

“This is totally embarrassing. Please release it only in Japan.”

“We’re really not going to know until we see the movie.”

“Even though the character of Mikasa has a popular Japanese name, she’s being played by a half-American and half-Korean actress.”

“This should have have been made in Japan.”

“This always happens.”

“Why doesn’t Hollywood do a live-action version?”

“Compared to the Hollywood version of Dragon Ball, it’s fine.”

“Well, if you are uneasy about it, don’t watch it.”

Attack on Titan: End of the World will be out later this year in Japan.


  • I do get some of the issues with the movie (races, time issues), but it is probably hard to find people that speak fluent japanese, look like actors (pretty) and can act.

  • I find it amusing that we all complain about whitewashing movies, and now they are doing the exact same thing.

  • Wow. I knew a while ago that all the actors in the AoT movie were going to be of Japanese descent, so I understood it was most likely due to having potential issues finding people of the proper background that not only properly fit the role, but also speak fluent Japanese. But to now hear that Mikasa (the only one of definite Asian descent as it is pointed out in the show) is the only character being portrayed by a mix-race? That is bizarre.
    I can only fathom that they are messing with the lore to have the location of the walled city be Japan, which would fit Mikasa being a foreigner. But that’s just speculation trying to make sense of the casting choice.

    • Yea maybe they should just do that. Have Japan be the only surviving sanctuary in the world and all other races have died off save Mikasa the halfie.

      Already changed the story by taking out Levi, might as well change the setting as well!

  • Am I the only one who notices the chick with an RPG? I don’t recall there being an RPG in the series…

    I mean, granted I’m only up to episode 13 but still.

    • There might not be an RPG in the actual movie either. I used to design posters and slicks at my last job and I tried to keep things true to the movies. Then you’d get given an ‘approved for the masses’ image of off a client who just designed stuff because it looks nice but is completely out of tune with the movie. But you have to use it because that is the only image you are going to get.

    • I think it’s set in a more modern-day world, with the Walls being erected around the destroyed remnants of a city (seems to be skyscrapers and modern apartment blocks in the posters/trailers) – perhaps the RPG is something available to the movie continuity.

  • Have to agree with the “haters”. We always (rightfully) give a hard time to Western movie makers for white-washing Asian characters. It needs to work the other way as well. AoT characters (with the very pointed exception of Mikasa) are so caucasian that it hurts.

  • ***SPOILERS***
    The director clearly strayed from the original to “make it his own”. The ethnic background of the cast was the least of my complaints. In fact , I thought acting was great. My only problem was the story changes.
    -Splitting Erin and Mikasa up. Annoying , but fine.
    -Letting some cocky douchebag come in between Mikasa and Erin. Sure, why not add a rival?
    -But turning Mikasa, arguably the most interesting character in the series, into some vacant-eyed, emotionally defeated, hollow-shell of a woman really pissed me off!

Show more comments

Comments are closed.

Log in to comment on this story!