So, let me tell you a little story real quick before I begin what may end up being the anthology series of a lifetime. Or really, just how integral the real-life hallucigenia sparsa is to Attack on Titan‘s story.
One of the main things I’ve learned, or believe I have – is the nature of our reality on this plane.
Because of the things I’ve encountered, these ‘secret histories’ caused a disconnect between this reality, and how I actually perceive things to be within me.
As such, almost everything I view – every single movie, every tv show, every anime – is an opportunity to uncover and witness illicit histories come to life.
And it’s been tearing me up inside, because I wasn’t sure how to start presenting this information.
So for a year now, I’ve been sitting on these ideas. Sitting on countless hours of research and sleepless nights, in the fear that I’d just sound crazy presenting these ideas to you all.
To say all of the things I’ve hidden in my heart for a while now.
I was supposed to start releasing things on Halloween, then I waited.
Then again just before that new Wonder Woman movie came out, and once more when Attack on Titan aired the episode detailing the Great Titan War.
Giants in Attack on Titan
There’s so much real-world history and actual tangible evidence for these things.
America has the most pyramids, and mounds on this earth.
Most mounds contain the remains of Nephilim – or “giants”.
Their existence has been periodically covered up, to the point where if you even mention this once common notion in conversation you are laughed into oblivion.
There are a lot of great resources on this, but one book I recently picked up and am flipping through is called The Ancient Giants Who Ruled America: The Missing Skeletons and the Great Smithsonian Cover-Up by Richard J. Dewhurst.
American Mythology in Anime
I had almost given up on the idea of presenting the series, until a few nights ago when I started watching JoJo’s Bizarre Adventure on Netflix.
Immediately, the Aztec stone mask caught my eye.
Because we had that kind of tech in America.
We had those types of rituals. Especially surviving depictions in codex that show the ritual sacrifice of foreigners who landed on American shores.
And after the Spaniard invasion and the overthrow of the aboriginals in the region, those fair-skinned “seafarer” foreigners that were once kept as slaves began to practice those rituals with specific variations.
There were various cults throughout this new Aztec history divorced from the aboriginal inhabitants of the time. There were sacrifices, and other unspeakable brutalities.
So, I slowly started writing an article for this, to make that topic the unofficial soft opening to the Anime Anthology series.
Boy, was I wrong.
Today after watching the latest AoT S4 episode – I went on Twitter where one of my followers sent me a link to a certain Reddit theory.
Over on the r/Titanfolk subreddit, someone had devised a well-written and thoughtful argument for why the Attack on Titan series is actually an isekai.
And I’m going to be real with you – after the first three paragraphs, I was sold.
Given what I now know about the ‘titans’ and other real-world histories, it was already completely plausible to me that Attack on Titan could take place in an alternate reality.
The series already borrows a lot from (suppressed) American History.
There is also the fact that I already believed in the existence of alternate universes and multiple timelines to take into effect.
I truly believe that shows like The OA have merit, and I do believe that CERN is up to something.
Then there are articles that pop up every now and again talking about scientists opening portals into a new dimension from ‘reputable’ news sources. Many people write these off as fantasy due to various mental and social conditionings since birth.
So…not much ever comes from the release of this type of information.
It also doesn’t help that the super collider shows up in Spiderman: Into the Spider-verse (a film about alternate realities) – which is what CERN is using to open portals to another dimension…allegedly.
The same type of super-secret “government” device was used in the 2013 video game Beyond: Two Souls.
So because I pulled an all-nighter last night and wanted to go to bed at a reasonable time, after reading that amazing AoT theory I headed upstairs.
I get to my room, turn on the tv and open up the YouTube app.
And the first video that is recommended to me is…
Hallucigenia Sparsa in Attack on Titan
Hallucigenia: The worm with the missing head
And when I tell you this, I mean I really swear to you I have never looked up anything related to SnK chapter 137 on that YouTube account. The one I use on my tv and the one linked to my computer are two totally different things.
I do occasionally watch “live-action” animated and colored versions of the manga chapters, but it’s been a few weeks since I re-watched one.
I literally turned on the tv, opened the YouTube app, and was randomly presented with this video.
And judging by the comment section, I apparently wasn’t the only one.
So, all of these coincidences aside and five pages in – these events bring us to our first Anime Anthology entry: Hallucigenia – the Primordial Spinal Creature from the Attack on Titan series.
Almost immediately before clicking on the video to watch, I thought about the ‘sacred bloodworms’ from Sekiro: Shadows Die Twice and the Mugen no Juunin series that sustain Manji’s immortality.
(There’s also someone on YouTube who has a really nice Sekiro: Shadows Die Twice Lore Series I’d suggest you check out if you’re into this sort of thing.)
It also was not lost on me that unironically, the SnK chapter and the Hallucigenia video start out in a similar fashion:
How Ymir Fritz Became the Founding Titan
In Shingeki no Kyojin Chapter 137, Zeke narrates how life began in their world.
While the Hallucigenia: The worm with the missing head video takes a similar approach, stating:
“…Tell about 550 million years ago life on earth is pretty simple and then suddenly in geologically speaking in a very short period of time we see a huge explosion of body plans and types of animal appearing and lots of bizarre forms that are so different from modern animal life that are very hard to interpreting to recognize.”Hallucigenia: The worm with the missing head
Hallucigenia Sparsa was first discovered amongst what is known as the Cambrian era “Burgess Shale fossil” quarries in Yoho National Park. The park is located in British Columbia, Canada on the continent of North America.
The classification etymology for this primordial creature is derived from the combination of the words ‘Hallucigenia’ and ‘sparsa’. Hallucigenia from the latin “hallucinatio, ‘wandering of the mind'” because its anatomy and sheer existence stumped researchers, and Sparsa for the latin “sparsus” to denote its rarity.
Another possible etymology for ‘Hallucigenia’ could be “a seeing or hearing something which is not there.” Likewise, ‘Sparsus’ could denote “to scatter, spread, shower” in reference to the many scattered memories (like Eren’s Memory Shards) later on in the manga series.
(This would also add credence to the proposed AoT isekai – alternate universe theory as Eren could be interpreted as having a very vivid dream – or ‘wandering of the mind’ throughout the series. Especially since the manga starts with Eren waking up from a ‘very long dream’.)
What Creature is Ymir’s Spine?
As Hallucigenia Sparsa is such an ancient creature, this would make sense that Eren Kruger refers to the Eldian founder Ymir Fritz “touching the source of all organic matter” in manga Chapter 88 and thus gaining her titan powers.
Looking back through the manga panels from when Ymir Fritz first encountered the spinal creature, it now makes sense that it latched onto her underwater.
Hallucigenia Sparsa Parallels to The Founding Titan in AoT
In regards to the spinal creature’s structure, scientists note:
“…Most extraordinary was Hallucigenia. It seems to have moved on seven pairs of spiny stilt-legs, and grabbed its food with seven tentacles each armed with snappers like those on a crab’s claw.”
However, other sources attest that Hallucigenia was “a caterpillarlike creature with 14 legs and spines on its back…no one really knows what it was.”
So, it seems that the number of spikes, or spinal nodes can greatly differ depending on the individual creature, or maybe even others in the species genus possibly yet undiscovered.
There was a great difference between Eren Yeager’s founding titan and Ymir Fritz’ OG titan spinal spikes, after all.
Remember all of those online debates on how Eren’s founding was even moving and crossing the sea on basically stilts during the Rumbling?
Returning to the video one more time, there is a portion in both video and the adjoining article where the researcher mentions the anatomy of the hallucigenia.
“A large balloon-like orb at one end of the specimen was originally thought to be the head, but we can now demonstrate that this actually wasn’t part of the body at all, but a dark stain representing decay fluids or gut contents that oozed out as the animal was flattened during burial.”
There was an error while studying the specimen where a dark stain representing decay fluids oozed out of the spinal creature.
Could this be where the idea to “drink the spinal fluid” and inherit titan powers came from in our story?
A seemingly random event in the manga explained away by actual science not many of us had a clue about…except, Isayama, of course.
Despite however the series ends in April, I believe Attack on Titan has already cemented itself in history as one of the greatest of all time for this play alone.
Coupled with the use of cannibalistic Nephilim (‘titans’) and a few other things (like PATHS/alternate dimensions), I literally have no qualms with however he ends the series.
The only thing I still don’t agree with is Falco’s titans’ new found flight ability. That still feels like a severe asspull in that department.
Yes, PATHs and Zeke’s delicious spinal fluid wine make sense on how he inherited the memory but…still, just no.
I wouldn’t mind that AoT isekai alternate universe theory coming true, though. It’d be super interesting.
It even has a few parallels to our current story, especially concerning Historia and Eren – and him “saving” her at least once and keeping to himself the true reasons why.
If you’re interested, you can read the Attack on School Castes manga panels from the various volume fake previews for yourself.
I know this entry into the Anime Anthology series was a bit sloppy, but I was just super excited and happy to write it. I plan on revisiting this topic in the future anyway, once I gather more information.
This was just super spur of the moment on my part. Glad I got all of this out of my head before I went to bed, because I would have overthought the heck out of it tomorrow morning and probably not written this post at all.
It’s currently creeping into the wee morning hours here as I type this, so in a few hours I’ll try to come back and clean the article up after sleeping.
So – I know I dropped a lot on you just now. But…what do you think about all of this?
Do you think the Hallucigenia worm-like spinal creature really did inspire the design, backstory, and possibly overall premise of the founding titan in the Attack on Titan universe?
Could Attack on Titan really be an isekai anime series?
And what’s the deal with parallel universes – do you believe they really exist?
Tell me your thoughts on all of that and more in the comment section below – I’d love to hear from you! And be sure to follow us for more Attack on Titan Theories!
Until next time ~
☆ In Asian Spaces
6 thoughts on “Hallucigenia – the Primordial Spinal Creature from Attack on Titan”
Surprisingly… Yesterday I was doing research on this for a whole 2 hours because I was trying to figure out some theories of how the Series would end for a future post of mine., and then you happened to post! I don’t think that Attack on Titan is an isekai series though, but your reasoning about Hallucigenia worm-like spinal creature is pretty solid. The Hallucigenia creature and Erens final form have a lot of similarities so It wouldn’t be surprising if Isayama was inspired by it to create this. But then again, Isayama always has some trick up his sleeve…
In the first chapter when Eren was waking up from a dream and asked Mikasa why she had long hair, I think he had a dream where he was in paths and since all Eldians are connected through paths, he saw the future (Or something…) just like how Falco said in S4 Ep 1, I thought I was flying.
I am pretty bad at explaining my reasoning but in my future post about my theories, I hope I can get it to make sense. Anyway, I really liked your post!
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Isayama is very sneaky…
Yes, that is a very popular theory! You’re not bad at all, I understand what you mean. I can’t wait to read your theory post ☺
(and thanks for checking out mine. I was so nervous about posting this, haha.)
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I really like this theory! What do you think is the cycle that needs to end? Do you think Ymir- Titan spreading essential trapped their world in a and freeing her/getting rid of Titan would turn their world back to ours.
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Thanks! And yes, maybe!
Either that, or some sort of time travel shenanigan that has Ymir just die instead of getting hallucigenia.
Wow your quick! I’m curious about the spinal fluid thing are you suggesting spinal fluid things came from royal blood mixing with the hallucigenia?
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I thought it came from the hallucigenia parasite hooking onto Ymir’s back and fusing with her spine.