From deep lore to Marvel collaborations and everything in between.
Attack on Titan's manga ended in early 2021, and in January 2022, the second part of its anime's final season will begin as well. With the franchise nearing the end of its hugely successful run, it's only natural that many spin-off and supplementary material has been made, so much so that most people probably haven't seen or read it all. If you're looking to fill the gaps in your Attack on Titan knowledge, check out this list of all the manga, anime, and novels that have come out as the main story approaches its conclusion.
One of the more lighthearted entries in the franchise is the manga Attack on Titan: Junior High, a comedy that reimagines the characters of the series as first-year students and faculty in a modern Japanese middle school. Titans still exist in this world, but they are not so much threats to humanity as they are nuisances (for example, Eren's revenge against the Titans begins because the principal of the school, Colossal Titan, once stole his lunch). The characters retain their personalities from the original story, just without the trauma and politics, making for a fun slice of life that lets them have peaceful lives they aren't allowed in the story proper. If you prefer anime, there's a 12-episode adaptation of this manga with the same title as well. There's also a short spinoff of this spinoff about characters introduced much further down the line called The Marley Academy Next Door. Attack on Titan: Junior High is obviously not canon to the main storyline, but if you like the characters and want to see them in a lighter context, it's worth checking out.
As the title might imply, Spoof on Titan is another gag manga, this time featuring the characters in the world of Attack on Titan but taking the whole ordeal much less seriously. As a four-panel joke format similar to a newspaper comic, the characters are at their most Flanderized here, and obviously none of it is remotely canon. There have also been no adaptations of this manga, but it was published in both Japanese and English. If you're looking for a very light read, Spoof on Titan might be worth a look.
If you're a fan of Levi and Erwin, the prequel Attack on Titan: No Regrets is the story for you. A part of Attack on Titan's world that is mentioned but goes largely unexplored in the main story is the underground, a desolate place that was built in an attempt to create more space within the walls for people to live but quickly abandoned as it was found to be too difficult to maintain. Largely unseen by the government, the underground became a place for the poor to live cheaply and the criminal to organize; Levi, as fans might recall, was born there, a poor kid who turned to crime in order to live. No Regrets follows his life there to eventually meeting Erwin and joining the Survey Corps. While originally a duo of visual novels released as extras in box sets in Japan, the most accessible way to experience it for most people would be its two-volume manga adaptation or two-episode anime adaptation. Fully canon, if you're interested in the details of Attack on Titan's world or Levi and Erwin's relationship, No Regrets is definitely one of the essential ancillary materials out there.
While she made a mark as the final enemy of the first season of the show, the wielder of the Female Titan Annie Leonhart's characterization is largely only implied while she is around, expanded upon much later through flashbacks once more has been revealed about the events that lead her to that point. If you're a fan of her and wish she could have gotten more focus during the early parts of the story, though, Lost Girls has what you need. Originally a novel and later adapted into a manga and bonus anime episodes, half of Lost Girls tells a story about Annie's time in the Military Police, something we only get brief focus on in the main series as most of the protagonists choose to join the Survey Corps instead. The other half is a rare delve directly into the mind of Attack on Titan's leading lady Mikasa Ackerman, as she imagines a world where history went a little different, showing what might have happened if her parents hadn't been murdered the night she and Eren met. Both are unique looks at important characters, but between them, the Annie story is honestly more substantial (she even gets two of the three anime episodes to herself). Fully canon, if you're a fan of these Titan characters or interested in seeing more detail about daily life in the Military Police branch, Lost Girls is worth checking out.
One of the few canon stories about characters who aren't from the original story, Before the Fall has two main story threads. One follows a man named Kuklo who is shunned as the "son of a Titan" after being born after his pregnant mother was consumed by a Titan. As the story progresses, he learns about how the people of the Walls live and eventually joins the Survey Corps in an attempt to prove he is not a Titan's son. The other is about Angel Aaltonen, the man who develops the 3D Maneuvering Gear that the Survey Corps eventually adopt in order to stand a fighting chance against Titans. In addition to watching these characters, we also get to spend a good amount of time with various aspects that go underexplored in the main series such as the underground, the Military Police, and what the Survey Corps was like before the time of Eren and even the dawn of the Maneuvering Gear. Before the Fall is canon and was originally a series of novels, but also has a complete manga adaptation, so if you're interested in some of the history of life inside the Walls before the Colossal Titan made its appearance, either one is a fun read.
Another story about characters not in the main series, Harsh Mistress of the City is a pair of novels set during and directly after the initial breach of Wall Maria that sets off the events of the original show. As we saw during that horrifying event, while many were able to be evacuated from Eren's home of Shingashima District, not everyone was so lucky. Harsh Mistress of the City follows the chaos that ensued after Eren's successful escape, as the survivors of the neighboring Quinta District deal with an entrapment thanks to the Titans that surround them at all sides. As the Royal Government assumes Quinta DIstrict is a lost cause, the remaining citizens must fend for themselves, creating a power struggle at the same time as the ongoing Titan invasion. Canon, it's a dramatic story that shows us what life was like for those most directly affected by the Titan attacks, but unlike other spin-offs, it isn't particularly revelatory in regards to worldbuilding. It has also unfortunately not been adapted into manga or anime, but the novels are officially available in English. If you're into the political drama of Attack on Titan, Harsh Mistress of the City is one of the most engaging reads in the extended franchise, but if you're mostly looking for more lore tidbits, there's not much to be found here.
As if to prove just how big Attack on Titan has gotten in the past decade or so, Garrison Girl is a novel originally written in English and later translated to Japanese, but is no less canon than its counterparts. Garrison Girl follows Rosalie, the daughter of a wealthy family who drops out of the Royal Military Academy in order to join the Garrison Regiment, the largest branch of the military that acts as a kind of police force within the Walls. The story is relatively straightforward as Rosalie gets a crash course in just how harsh the world can really be, eventually following her to joining the Survey Corps. For those looking for more worldbuilding details, there is some look at the Garrison here, but the story is much more about Rosalie's coming of age journey than the minutiae of police life in the Walls. Although not yet adapted into a manga or anime, it's a breezy read for fans of YA novels.
In 2015, a two-part live-action adaptation of Attack on Titan was released under the titles Attack on Titan and Attack on Titan: End of the World. While some of the setting is the same — there are still Titans, Eren and friends still fight them using the Maneuvering Gear and nape-slashing blades — much of it is changed. The world they inhabit is modern, and the backstory of society inside the Walls and even how the Titans came to be are all dramatically altered to match. Many of the characters are still here, but most with big changes to their stories and even personalities, while other characters — most notably Captain Levi — are replaced entirely to meet the needs of the movie's new plot. If it weren't for the Gear, Titans, and Walls, this duo of films could easily be mistaken for an unrelated sci-fi movie with a slightly similar story, and most Attack on Titan fans won't find most of what they fell in love with here. Still, if you just can't get enough Titan-battling action, you could do worse than this.
Another release for the English-speaking market, but not at all canon, Attack on Titan Anthology is a collection of one-shot comics with a wide variety of tones and settings. Featuring the work of creators like Gail Simone, Scott Snyder, and Paolo Rivera, Kodansha Comics seemingly gave the writers and artists involved free reign in crafting whatever Attack on Titan-inspired story they desired. This means the stories range from a chaotic day at a comics convention to a dark day in the life of a Survey Corps member and every tone and world possible in-between; with so many ideas being thrown at the wall here, you might not love all of them, but you'll probably find something to enjoy in this one-of-a-kind anthology.
Saving the most bizarre for last, Marvel and Attack on Titan collaborated for a short crossover in 2014 simply titled Attack on Avengers. There isn't really a plot to speak of; in a few pages, characters like Iron Man and Black Widow do battle with various Titans from the series including iconic ones like the Colossal itself, and that's about it. Obviously inconsequential to the grander narrative of the franchise, Attack on Avengers is strange and novel enough to merit a look if only for its unexpected crossover. And hey, with all the Spider-Man jokes that can be made about the Maneuvering Gear in the anime, it's only right that Spider-Man himself got to take a shot at some Titans, too.
David Lynn is a freelance writer and lifelong anime fan who spends most of his free time playing Fate/Grand Order.
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From deep lore to Marvel collaborations and everything in between.