Book: Attack on Titan: End of the World


Attack on Titan: End of the World

English Book Title

Attack on Titan: End of the World


Touji Asakura (based on the screenplay by Yusukue Watanabe and Tomohiro Machiyama; English translation by Maria Maita-Keppeler)


Vertical, Inc.


Pages 136-137 - Back Cover



By: Andrew Sudomerski

Released in Japan on September 23rd, 2015, the official novelization of the critically dubious live-action films was released in the Japanese marketplace mere days after Attack on Titan: Part 2 (2015) hit theaters throughout the nation. In thanks to Vertical Inc., a publishing arm of Kodansha, Attack on Titan: End of the World made its way to the West in 2016 for fans and readers to enjoy. The book compacts the events of the Attack on Titan movie duology into one package, and puts its own spin on the story.

The question is, how does it fare? First, a super quick overview:

Everything known within the walls comes to a head when the titanic, 60-yard tall Colossal Titan busts through the southernmost outer ring of the First Wall, leading to a nightmarish invasion of cannibalistic humanoids known as “Titans.” The small town of Mozen is swarmed by the gigantic maneaters, leaving only a few thousand refugees to escape to the Second Wall. Among them, childhood friends Eren and Armin escape with their lives, having to deal with the burden of the lives lost, including the disappearance of Mikasa.

After 2 arduous years of training, Eren enlists in the Survey Corps regiment to partake in the 3rd (and presumably final) Outer Wall Restoration operation and get revenge against the Titans. But the closer they get to sealing the wall, a more complicated conspiracy begins to unravel before their very eyes. The lost are found, seeds of the past begin to bloom, the mystery of the Titans begin to unravel, and all culminates with a secretive political uprising in the works to fight against the interior government--with Eren and his fellow comrades caught in the middle of this revolution--and that all isn’t what it seems.

In a lot of ways, Asakura’s novelization keeps most of the story beats and components of Shinji Higuchi’s live-action films. However, it very does its own thing with a lot of the original elements; some superficial (such as rescaling the Colossal Titan and the Walls to better match the manga/anime), while others focus on expanding upon elements left unclear or unacknowledged in the films themselves. Much needed questions are answered if one has only seen the two films. Surprisingly, they adhere closer to Isayama’s original material in terms of characterization (or at least their Season 1 depictions), even putting new spins on some of the original characters exclusive to the live-action movies. The characters are the strong point, even with the occasional hiccup of irrational thought, you get a clearer understanding of the characters and where they’re coming from. And for fans of the show, one will take note of the plethora of references and nods Asakura sprinkled throughout.

End of the World goes out of its way to detail and explain a lot of what the movies don’t cover. While the novelization executes the story in its own fashion, it does at least try to rationalize as much of the nonsensical moments as possible (e.g. Lil’s and Sannagi’s manner of deaths are changed, but the placement in the plot remains relatively the same) to fill in the gaps or make it a more enjoyable and even unpredictable experience. However, this also leads to a lot of heavy-handed exposition moments that can be somewhat detrimental to the reading experience (and even confusing). Some are understandable, but once it reaches the final chapters, the payload of information it dumps is astronomical and a lot to take in; so much so, it becomes rather tiring and saps away from what’s supposed to be the action-packed finale. In frankness, the material in question could’ve been further elaborated upon beyond where the movies end or handled it very differently rather than just coming to a sudden stop (much like how it’s heavily suggested that Eren’s father is alive, but there’s no elaboration on it after the matter).

To further expand upon this, while the book does cover a lot in greater detail, there are some important attributes that are shockingly glossed over. The mystery of the Walls, how the government has the ability to control Titans, and even aspects of the origins of the Titans are left unspecified and somewhat nebulous; even the book is self-aware of these shortcomings. But it’s also because of this that it hinders the greater story as a whole, even for the things it does right.

As a side note, the writing and translation is on-par and solid. There are a few typos littered throughout, but nothing too extravagant or distracting. Everything reads perfectly fine and is at the very least competent and conveys a lot of the action relatively well. Sequences involving the usage of Vertical Maneuvering Equipment (VME) and the Jaeger Titans feel particularly strong, while the commonplace Wraith Titans somewhat fall to the wayside for being too broad and general without too many visual distinctions, aside from their sizes or one or two disfigurements.

Attention must also be drawn to the presentation of how the book is formatted. If this is an aspect carried over from the original Japanese print, that information is not known as of this review; nevertheless, the team at Vertical Inc. did a fantastic job with the interiors. The outer rims of the pages brim with nice decoration that fits the Attack on Titan aesthetic, including a nice little visual depiction of the Walls along the bottom of nearly all the pages and the three major Regiments as paragraph breaks. While this may be distracting for some, for this reviewer it’s a pleasant surprise that gives the book a unique feeling, at least in terms of visual presentation.

Overall, Touji Asakura’s Attack on Titan: End of the World provides to be an entertaining and fun read, but not without its faults that bog it down. There are enough changes here to recommend the read for any AOT fan, be it the live-action films or the original source material, or even those with the slightest inclination to the material in question. It’s serviceable, but pales when compared to the soaring heights of Isayama’s original story; it, at the very least, is a different enough experience worth checking out while also retaining enough familiarity to be the proper middle-man between the anime and movies.