There is one striking statement in the manga that pretty much depicts our own society as well.
And that is when disaster comes or is imminent, the society is not united, and superficial values still remain in place.
We've been shown two elements that might(or not, based on opinion) be the source of discord:religion and the corporate layer of the society. The reason why I'm identifying these two, because these were the ones that have been portrayed with a negative connotation in the manga. Let me say not just negative connotation, but even without meaningful purpose.
I don't really know however to what degree does the society in Shingeki no Kyoujin depict ours. Humanity has suffered blows in its history, but I don't think there has been anything near the level of total extinction.
I'm not saying the author is trying to depict our society to the smallest detail. But I think questioning it is a valid thing to do, because in determining(or just discussin) the degree of resemblance between our society and the one shown in the manga could lead us to interesting predictions, and it may further our understanding of the manga.
So there you go, those are my basic thoughts...any comments, ideas on just the society of the manga, or even theories are welcome. If we venture into comparing our society with the one in the manga, or if we take on the subject of general human behaviour, I urge everyone not to go too far off topic, especially when it involves our society.
PS: speaking of resemblance with our society and how it isn't united...do you think the author will take it one step further and would show us: sexism, racism, homophobia maybe...or similar ideas that divide our own society? What issue would you like to be tackled?
Last edited by benelori; March 11, 2012 at 09:43 PM.
Greetings. I'll take this opportunity to set up shop in this awesome subforum for this awesome manga
I think "realism" is a very strong element in this one. Of course, considering 15meter high titans and humans that can change into such doesn't exactly sound 'realistic'. But the setting is not the point - as you said it is the human side of it that makes things interesting.
The realism btw is also very strong with the background info stuff: how exactly the tech works, how the walls are layed out and why, fighting tactics, training facilities and so forth and so on... But in truth this level of realism is just the folio used to make the PEOPLE living in this world much more palpable to the reader. It is about the psyche of these rather young people undergoing harsh training in this detailed environment - and having this wealth of details about how they train just adds so much to the characters just like the details about the makeup of the society such as the religious sect and the merchants and the "governement forces" so to speak make it feel real how these people come up with so different views and solutions to their predicament.
And it is not just the fact that all these pieces of the puzzle are provided by the artist, it's the way they are mixed that makes them work out as the background is very skillfully used to enhance the character development on a scope as I have seldom seen in any manga. The whole thing is a bloody seamless unity: art style, background, characters, overarching topics, it all fits together and there is very little if anything that 'doesn't fit' - I cant think of anything seriously wrong just now matter of fact...
And yeah sure, it is not exactly hard to draw parallels to reality. When I first took it up I had to think of Battlestar Galactica a lot: The basic setting of a society under external, existential threat is very simmilar and a perfect backdrop to focus on psychological and ethical/moral topics. And BSG for one consciously addressed the (then) current situation of the US under terrorist attack, the feelings and fears and human reactions that came with that ...
But at the same time, even if some people involved in the production of BSG decidedly stated in interviews that yes, when scripting the series, people have indeed had the real world on their minds in suprisingly specific terms - well, that doesn't make a Zylon an Al'Qaida and vice versa. And I think that's an important point to make for SnK as well:
The topics described make it easy to come up with connections to the Real but that is not because SnK is going for a thorough depiction of reality, rather, it has taken a pretty abstract, generalized topic (society under attack or in a state of emergency) which happens to be easily accessible to readers as it's a recurring issue in the real world and then goes on to develop it's own world to kinda "raise" this topic in. But due to that fact DIRECT connections to the real world seem kinda difficult to uphold:
There is a lot of "sub-topics" that fall under the main on: the role and influence of religion on society, the question of how far military and security circles should run the society during crisis, as these guys inevitably will crop up at such stages and state they can do a better job, the big question of social equality as obviously there is a clear, almost caste-like stratification in this society and the lower groups are pretty much fucked up and left to die whereas those still in control of power and ressources begin to hold their thumb down on the same all the more as they begin to realize they might not be able to hold their priviliges forever as the overall situation escalates more and more...
But as of now, considering the very slow and deliberate pace with which things are being built up here I for my part don't dare to voice an opinion on how this stuff will be handled and how it does or or does not depict real society, yet - I have a feeling that not all of the sub-topics will recieve the same amount of attention, the people doing this one seem pretty through on planing and I wouldn't be surprised if they take it slow with expanding the topics further.
But yeah, racism is already in it in a way one might argue as the whole setting is based on a clash between different races, and it has become apparent the titans are not entirely mindless beasts yet the humans would for the most part rather see them as such (having some reason for that of course considering the number of victims over the ages...) But not sure if this will be so big an issue...
As for gender discrimination or sexism, judging from Erin's kickass best friend woman are well accepted in the military (albeit, gut feeling, overall the majority of soldiers, as well as people in position of power, especially the later is MALE) and as she progresses to more prominent positions in the military (which she should if she survives) that might yet become an issue, who knows...
I havent seen anything hinting at homophobia but perhaps I missed it? XD
Anyways, sry for tl;dr, bottom line:
yeah, multiple connections can be made, but so far I see them on the one hand on a pretty abstract level (general setting) and on the other hand on an mainly individual scale (how do people react to it) - it remains to be seen how those two poles will later be connected via the groups of society that have been introduced. It would be awesome if the political dynamics increase more and more as each of the internal factions kinda gets more decisive and coordinated in their efforts as the story progresses and the situation becomes more dire for humankind
But currently there still are a lot of wildcards: The true nature of the titans and their human supporters alone might trip this in a totally different direction at some point. Take i.e. Claymore:
So let's wait for the next few big surprises, I fully trust they will be great
edit2 or 3: Well, since I butted in with an endless post anyways, might as well expand thinking some more, the strongest topic for me is currently really threat/security and society's reaction to such. So far we have mainly seen how people react to threats, but it's really gonna get interesting if the manga dares get into the question how a threat is defined as such in the first place. That is actually pretty arbitrary until some social group comes along and takes over the public discourse and states "this is a threat" and"this is not".. And that act of securitizing a certain topic will inevitably be influenced by the groups policy.
That actually happens to be a massiv real world topic. I don't feel this is the place to go into the real word side of it but just to give a few examples:
Should the US and many European citizens give up on a whole lot of long established civil liberties because an increased security&surveilance apparatus WILL truly make them "safer" from religiously motivated terrorism? Is Israel a threat to Iran or Iran to Israel or both vice versa? Is there a hguman right to equality and does capitalism ignore it? Should we get rid of capitalism therefore?
Just some rather prominent issues in the media on which I am not voicing any personal opinions here, just to point out what they all have in common: They all have a lot to do with "definition", with the perspective you take, which naturally will differ in turn depending on your social surroundings, upbringing, education, political stance etc...and when these topics are publicly debated they are often framed in a threat/security context:
To ensure "safety" of life, cultural integrity, porperty or whatever, measures have to be taken, and as the threat is an "existential" one, extreme measures are kinda half-automatically legitimized as 'being the only viable option'. That doesn't neccessarily have to be the wrong conclusion in all cases. But once you are there, you have severely narrowed your box of thinking....
And stuff like that has actually already been hinted and it's not too hard to concieve how it might be built on later in the manga:
There was that naggin question of Erin being a threat or rather a blessing and a weapon to be used, and you could clearly see how the religious and military people came up with totally different approaches.
Now suppose it later turns out the titans are fractured, not a homonogenous group; say there IS the mindless maneaters, but there is also those who interact and mingle with (some) humans and maybe with those some understanding could be reached? I doubt they(the city council or whatever) could settle on a compromise on a decision such as that ...
Last edited by haegar; April 03, 2012 at 11:59 PM. Reason: in closing i would like to say SRY, thinking about SNK makes me ... wordy XD
^ why do you apologize so much? except for that part, its a wonderful post.
I personally didn't think much of reality in this series except for the very realistic human psyche. that's a major reason for me as to why i've gotten stuck with this manga.
then again i was never much good at finding this kinda similarities.
aeh, apologize so much not for what I was saying but rather for how many words it took me to express it cause I felt it kinda awkward to bark in with "hi, I am new here, tl;dr" anyways, thx for reply, glad you liked
though gotta say wish some more people would post, it's so awesome to have a whole subforums for this with engaging thread topics like this one, on other boards I hang there is like one general thread only ...
one question i've wanted answered since annie was revealed.....
why did the royal city have an underground city....and why was it discontinued?
was it some kind of bunker for the royals/religious leaders?
what caused the construction to stop...was it a leaders death/revolt/etc?
It actually tells us how the humans treat death. You don't get to choose the way you die, and how exactly you want to be considered by the living after you die. You are suddenly out of this world, in the blink of an eye, without anyone giving a damn. Are we made merely just to fall prey to the villains or be the hunters and change our own destiny? We get to choose how we live our lives, as a coward or a brave warrior, but death... it just comes, whether you like it or not.
As for believing, we just follow those who are strong and start worshiping them, in this case the titans. Since most of them are scared to death even at their sight, they made themselves to believe that nothing is superior than them. So, it's just a chain of the strong devouring the weak.