So as usual, I was going to write this a few days ago. But then stopped myself because I felt that I was being too harsh.
Then something happens, or comes to light that makes me feel like I was justified for feeling that way in the first place, and I end up dropping an article like this.
Here we are yet again, as the dust finally begins to settle on the Shingeki no Kyojin manga ending fiasco.
I have only been reading and reviewing this series monthly for a little over a year now, and cannot imagine how those who stuck with it for 10+ years must have felt. I won’t get into spoiler territory, or tell you what happened because you can judge for yourself come this winter with the premiere of part 2.
The sole good thing this incident has done is shed more light on the issue of creators grappled in a stranglehold by their agencies.
This happens across all countries for the most part, and in most mediums – be it literature, film, the music industry, etc.
So in regards to what happened to the AoT manga and series ending, I do not blame Isayama Hajime.
For a while now, many of us could tell the series was going south and not of his own volition. I do not blame the mangaka, and would strongly advocate against anyone seeking to harass this man due to the story’s culmination.
There are various contradictory interviews people on social media have been pulling from over the years, and then there was that recent odd interview in January where Isayama randomly talked about “not being rushed” to finish the series.
In short, it is my firm belief that he was forced into this ending by his editors, his publisher, or other outside forces that brought circumstances beyond his control into the AoT story. There was even an interview where Isayama cryptically states that he may change the ending to appease certain individuals.
“My initial urge was to bestow trauma to the readers…and although I had the feeling that I wanna do such a thing, at the present time, wonderful people have given the support to the series through the anime, so obviously doing such a thing is criminal….”Isayama Hajime, Shingeki no Kyojin Mangaka
There are many more great interviews that I plan on combing through before I make my final Shingeki no Kyojin ch 139 review, but until then I was reading this here earlier.
It’s a Reddit post that illustrates the stranglehold manga publishers have over their artists, and gives a few contemporary examples. (With Isayama possibly being the latest in this string.)
Which leads me wanting to mention this: Please stop blindly supporting these people.
Please stop excusing every single thing a mangaka, publisher, editor, or otherwise individual does without any sort of criticism.
I’m not saying to personally attack them – but if a story or narrative piece of fiction was going one way (with years of buildup to evidence this), and suddenly does a 360 in less than 80 pages – it is alright and quite frankly healthy to mention it.
You don’t have to be a jerk about it, but bring your valid criticism to the forefront.
You are allowed to criticize things you love, especially when you can tell it was supposed to go differently – but outside forces got in the way.
Please don’t be that type of person who jumps on social media and shouts down, harasses, and generally cyberstalks someone who has a differing opinion from you.
Especially when they are in their own little ‘communities’, subreddits, or blogging spheres just trying to vent and share their frustrations in a positive way with like-minded individuals.
(unless of course, the dissenters really are just bots for social engineering on social media so that the corporations can sustain their capital in which case…nvm haha.)
Not everyone is going to agree with you, your opinion, or the way you interpreted a literary work of fiction – and that’s fine.
We are all entitled to our opinions, and the right to express them.
Just as you have a right, so do others.
So, the prevalence of ‘deranged’ fans who are too obsessed with their ‘ships’, favorite ‘comfort’ characters being ‘killed off’, or any other nonsense lashing out and attacking those who express even the vaguest criticism for a series they also love need to chill out.
Because I’m going to be honest with you – at the end of the day the manga industry does not care about you.
The anime industry does not care about you.
(Why would they, when they barely care about their animators?)
All they want is your money.
During my time at the cultural center, I had the ‘opportunity’ to be in the room with some of these manga publishers, head of companies, and their teams.
Not everyone is bad of course (as with anything) but the majority of these people will use their fans and manipulate them into buying more merch to increase their sales and the company’s bottom line.
I think I told this story before in another older post, but I remember vividly one of the few animanga events the center held.
(Note: they did not like holding them due to the crowd – they considered those into anime as degenerates. Forbid you call yourself an otaku – they would smile in your face and call you a filthy obsessed degenerate behind your back.)
All of the fans showed up decked out in the anime merch t-shirts and bags, etc. Just so excited to be there. After a panel full of lies and false hope-giving, I remember the director of the publishing section head encouraged fans to apply to their company and live out their dreams.
He even gave them this spiel about “trying to learn Japanese” to “improve their chances” of one day living their dream and working as a translator for their company.
(which only leads to hearing a bunch of petty things in another language in the workplace but…I guess that is a good thing, in a way.
So you know where you secretly stand with your co-workers who most likely think you are too stupid to formulate a string of simple sentences together, much less eavesdrop on their every conversation in Japanese without their knowledge. But I digress -)
As I listened – I knew he was bullshitting. Many who are familiar with that industry will tell you that “they don’t hire” and if they do, it’s someone they know “who can wear many hats”.
After the panel and during the networking reception, I approached the only person in their publishing entourage who was not outwardly rude to me for no reason.
He was slightly drunk.
I flat out asked him if they were hiring, and he laughed before taking a sip of his drink and stating “we don’t hire”. I then asked him “then why did (so and so) mention to those kids that your company was hiring?” before seeing him look around nervously and then proceed to walk away from me.
Never heard from him again, although he did accept my Linkedin connection request.
Which was nice, I guess.
Anyway, my point being dreams in the industry are often used as a controlling factor for people.
These publishers may act like your friends in public because that is their job.
They need to seem open, and if something goes wrong with your beloved story know how to make it right so that you continue to buy merchandise so they can continue to suck you dry.
Why else do you think companies have social media profiles?
(To sell products, gauge the vox populi, personally connect with consumers, and project a positive mental image that results in favorability and in turn, increased sales due to brand awareness, loyalty, and recognition. Digital Marketing 101.)
[Hell, they probably even throw your data into an algorithm to project trends and what you might want next – then sell it to you in the next newsletter with a free volume freebie of a past beloved series to draw you in.
Targeting you personally the whole entire time…and you consented to it by signing up to their newsletter and following them on sm. Even if you didn’t know it.]
I had a few more stories I could tell, but every time I think about them it pisses me off.
Same with these actors people constantly make ‘fan cams’ for, and defend in the media, despite their own co-workers and industry gossip informing everyone in the know that they are trash and not worth the public’s time.
So please – don’t be afraid to criticize your favorite series. Whether it be a tv show, a movie, a string of light novels, a manga serialization, or even an anime.
These publishers, studios, shady editors and producers even – count on those “fans” who excuse everything they do to continue making money, and continue the manipulative cycle of profit over ethics or any shred of morality.
They do not care about you, despite what they say on social media, in interviews, and sometimes even at fan meet ups.
“All the world’s a stage,WILLIAM SHAKESPEARE, 1599
And all the men and women merely players;
They have their exits and their entrances;
And one man in his time plays many parts…”
If you do not personally know these people or faceless corporate entities, assume they are playing a role or embodying a ‘persona’ – just like all of these ‘relatable’ YouTubers openly admit to doing nowadays.
It’s everywhere, across all mediums.
Anyway, I think I’ve said enough.
Hopefully I wasn’t too cryptic – and my final review for the SnK series is coming…soon. Haha ☺.
☆ In Asian Spaces