Why Attack On Titan’s Most Popular Character Isn’t In The Movie

Why Attack On Titan’s Most Popular Character Isn’t In The Movie

Levi, one of Attack on Titan‘s most beloved characters, is not in the new live-action movie. There must be a reason for that. Turns out there is.

The movie’s screenwriter Tomohiro Machiyama, who’s also a well-known critic and columnist, talked to Japanese website Cinema Today about the rationale behind some of the decisions made in the forthcoming movie.

Instead of focusing on Levi, the most badass member of the Survey Corps, the movie centres around the relationship between the characters Eren and Mikasa.

From the start, some fans did not want Japanese actors to play German characters — probably because while drawing and animating Japanese-speaking German characters works fine, it might be uncomfortable to see Japanese actors trying to pull off Germans.

The live-action movie’s director, Shinji Higuchi, came up with the idea of shooting at Gunkanjima. “That’s already a different world from the original, so the only choice is to change the setting to Japan,” explained Machiyama. That means that the actors and the characters appearing in the film are Japanese.

By changing the setting to Japan, there arose new issues, such as making the experience believable. The tricky part became the characters’ names. Briefly, there was the idea to make all the characters have Japanese names, including Levi’s. The final decision, however, was to keep the names of the principal characters the same.

The issue is that in Japanese, Levi is written as リヴァイ (Rivai), and the problem is that the katakana character ヴ (v) is a character and sound not used traditionally used with Japanese names. It looks even more foreign that other katakana characters, which is ideal for the manga. Japanese readers would have a stronger sense that Levi is foreign. What’s more, use of the character isn’t exactly widespread, and some dictionaries don’t even use it. (More here, if you are interested.)

All the other names in the movie, including Eren, can be written out in Japanese in a fairly natural way. Cinema Today reports that this would need some sort of explanation — that’s why Levi was abandoned for the live-action film. Don’t be surprised, though, if the character pops up in sequels in the future.

Picture: Wit Studio/Production I.G | MBS/Tokyo MX


  • Are people looking forward to this? The Anime was incredible, the movie could be…? Wasn’t sold on the CGI….

    • I suspect it’ll be pretty average at best, most live action remakes of anime typically are.
      I’ll still watch it, it can’t be worse than the Dragonball movie.

    • By all reports, use Michael Bay rules. Expect over the top action, at the cost of plot, acting, and anything remotely cannon.

  • It can’t be worse than any Uwe Bole movie and I’ve watched the Dungeon Siege movie with Jason Statham in it. I think my eyes bled for 2 weeks after that one.

          • Oh God. They were both spectacularly bad. I’d rate Alone in the Dark as worst. At least Battlefield Earth had a consistency to its awfulness. But it was no Sky Pirates at least.

          • When I was a young ‘un, sometime back in the 80’s and early 90’s, my Dad used to buy ex-rental VHS tapes. I was exposed to such classics as Ice Pirates, Action Jackson and Darkman. It was an awesome time to be alive.

  • A lot of people have been thinking the original character created for the film called Shikishima was supposed to be Levi, so it’ll be interesting if real Levi does show up in a future film.

    Levi’s also not the only character who has been dropped, and there seem to be several other original characters who are filling in for those dropped character, though because of their new names and other changes to the story no one’s certain which characters they’re filling in for, if indeed they are filling in for them at all.

    I don’t really have much hope for this film. I’ll admit I’m generally not a fan of live action Japanese stuff to begin with, but these films also seem to be going really far off track from the manga’s canon. What little hope I do have is that it’ll end up being somewhat enjoyable in a so bad it’s good kind of way.

    • From your current usericon, I assume you would know better than me!

      Removing/replacing characters does seem like a pretty damn huge and weird step, and not a step in the right direction.

  • I watched this last night and while it it is disappointing, most of the disappointment comes from the fact that it ended abruptly just when it started getting good and said “wait for part 2”. Instead of making 2 90 minute movies they really should have just made it one 3 hour movie.

  • Wow, nice to know Japan’s movie rational is just as retarded as Hollywood’s when it comes to adaptations. Excuses excuses…..

Show more comments

Comments are closed.

Log in to comment on this story!