Updated November 14, 2018: Added confirmation that the manga is entering its final story arc and how that affects Attack On Titan Season 4. Added interview about differences between the third season and the manga.
The Attack On Titan Season 4 release date is certain to be highly anticipated since the fourth season of the Shingeki no Kyojin anime adaptation will finally reveal the secrets of the larger world. Eren Yeager, Mikasa Ackerman, Armin Arlert, and Levi Ackerman will be taking to war against an overseas foe after discovering Grisha Yeager’s journals in Eren’s father’s basement in the Shiganshina district.
Audiences may be surprised by what the Survey Corps finds on the other side of the ocean, and may think this story has the potential to go on endlessly, but the 800-ton Titan sitting quietly in the corner is the fact that the story the anime adaptation is based upon is swiftly reaching an ending. So, will the fourth season leave room for Attack On Titan Season 5 or will it be the final season of the series?
The story is based on the Shingeki no Kyojin manga by creator Hajime Isayama. Since 2009, the mangaka has released one chapter around the 8th of each month, with each chapter being about 45 pages long. To put both the manga and the anime adaptation into perspective, most of the events of Season 2 were already shown in manga chapters released way back in 2013.
The hardcover tankobon format book volumes usually come with four chapters each and as of August 2018, the manga series was up to Volume 26. Attack On Titan Volume 27 is scheduled to release on April 2, 2019.
The English translation by publisher Kodansha USA historically tends to come out within several months of the Japanese release. As of July 2018, the English Volume 25 is already out and Volume 26 is scheduled to come out on December 4, 2018.
The third season of the anime adaptation is currently on hiatus. The second half of AoT Season 3 will return in 2019. See below for more details.
This article provides everything that is known about Attack On Titan Season 4 and all related news. As such, this article will be updated over time with news, rumors, and analysis. Meanwhile, let’s delve down into what is known for certain.
Shingeki no Kyojin Manga Ending Relatively Soon: What That Means For Attack On Titan Season 5
For years now, fans have known that the ending of the Attack On Titan manga series was coming. Back in 2015, Isayama estimated that he was about 60 percent done when Volume 16 released. While there is no set date for the manga’s ending, the publisher later confirmed that the manga had around three years left in it, which meant either 2018 or 2019.
Fast forward to December 2017 and the mangaka had reached Chapter 100. Isayama said in a blog post that he had started putting thought into exactly how he wanted to end Attack On Titan. He also mentioned that people kept asking him whether the story had been deliberately stretched out.
“I know there is an impression like that, but to me, in fact I don’t think particularly in that way. If you ask me whether it is true, I’d rather say ‘if it gets stretched, isn’t it very bad to the whole sense of completeness of the story?’ I fear things like that will happen,” Isayama wrote. “Same as other people, I also think it better to keep the length short… Although this is what I have in my mind, when I actually implement the ideas appropriately, the story gets inevitably long.”
Warning: The following paragraph contains minor spoilers.
Based on the way the story progressed in 2018, new ideas pushed out the ending even further. For example, Attack On Titan Season 4 will open with the newest manga story arc involving multiple time skips. In a March 2018 Q & A session, Isayama was asked,“Any plan to draw the four-year period back on Paradis island?” Isayama responded, “That’s something I can’t tell you for now,” and his editor Kawakubo Shintaro jumped in and said, “Isayama-sensei won’t tell you anything, but please look forward…”
By June 2018, manga fans knew the real answer. Starting with Attack On Titan Chapter 106 and 107, Isayama has slowly begun filling in the time gap by showing what happened from the perspective of the Survey Corps.
However, flashbacks won’t delay Attack On Titan’s ending indefinitely. In a May 2018 interview with NHK Japan, Isayama confirmed that he had already mapped out the manga’s ending. By November 2018, MBS’ Jonetsu Tairku documentary announced that the manga was indeed entering its final story arc. Isayama has not revealed the chapter number for the ending, or whether the final chapter will release in 2019, but he has stated in the past that he hopes to finish the SnK manga quickly for the sake of the work itself.
Assuming that Isayama keeps this promise before the end of 2019, that means the fourth season will likely be the final season assuming the anime adaptation finishes off with two cours composed of 24 episodes. However, there could be room for Attack On Titan Season 5 if the final story arcs are broken up (and not a split cour like the third season).
Attack On Titan Manga Compared To The Anime Adaptation: The Third Season Diverged Significantly
The first cour of Season 1 adapted 20 chapters, while the second cour adapted 16 chapters with 12 episodes. Similarly, the Clash of the Titans story arc of Season 2 was a ratio of 16 chapters to 12 episodes. Without getting into spoilers, Attack On Titan Season 3 attempted to adapt two story arcs composed of 20 chapters each. Therefore, the third season adapted the chapters at a rapid pace compared to the second season.
Well before the anime aired, it was known that Wit Studios would change the Uprising manga story arc being covered by Attack On Titan Season 3. In an interview published in the Season 2 Blu-Ray box set, manga author Isayama Hajime revealed that he was “disappointed” with his own work in the manga volumes that covered the events of the Uprising story arc.
“After writing Volume 12, in the period between 13 and 16 was when I felt the most disappointed with my work,” he said. “Hopefully, now that [Attack On Titan] Season 3 is being made, I’ll have the chance to wipe away that regret and replace it with something I’m proud of.”
The mangaka says he suffered a “personal fallout” where his personal energy was “totally exhausted due to nothing but my own incompetence” after he completed Volume 12. Rather than take a break, he kept working hard to turn manuscripts in on time. Due to this agitated state, he believes the quality of Volume 13 through 16 was harmed. He now believes he “reluctantly extended” the manga chapters and made them “duller each month.” (How that explains his creation of the so-called “shit machine” is anyone’s guess.)
That meant Shingeki no Kyojin Season 3 is significantly different from the manga. Based on a recent blog post from Isayama, it was revealed that the overall story remained the same, but how it was executed and the ordering of events changed.
Shortly after the airing of Attack On Titan 3 Episode 1, Isayama wrote about how he worked with screenwriter Kobayashi Keiko to create a “clear and succinct backbone for my messed up manga.”
“At least, in my self-reflection I was weak-minded. Thus, when Season 3’s anime production first started, I discussed with the staff members and expressed that I hope they could appropriately rearrange the sections and functions of storylines in Volume 13 through 16 from the get-go,” Isayama wrote in his personal blog. “As a result, they delivered an idealized script for me. This time, the story has a structure that I had no way of accomplishing with my own skills!”
While many fans love the Uprising story arc since it really dug into worldbuilding, critics disliked the dialogue-heavy stories that were not as action-packed as previous story arcs. While the exact changes to the third season were left undefined, Isayama did say that writer Seko Hiroshi “turned some poorly-written plots in the original manga into more compelling forms.”
“Whether it is structural composition or animation, [Attack On Titan] season 3 differs from the previous two quite a lot – it almost feels like an entirely new series. Whether it is Eren, Levi, or other characters, the production now focuses on their innermost attributes, and it will be quite clear that up to now, we’ve only understood them on a surface level. Even just looking at a key animation draft, it’s apparent that this is not a direct extension of the previous seasons.”
The November 2018 issue of Pash! featured an interview with screenwriter Kobayashi Yasuko where he dived into the changes. Kobayashi says “the first episode’s presentation was completely produced in accordance with Isayama-sensei’s wishes. The timeline, setting, and contents were all courageously reshaped.” In later episodes, extra action sequences involving Levi and Kenny were added, as well.
“The first step was to organize all the information, so we wrote each development onto separate pieces of paper. Then, in accordance with a chronological timeline, we attached and reorganized the papers one-by-one onto a wall, grasping each development individually while crafting the overall story. This was because we must thoroughly understand who communicated what to whom, and what emotions the characters felt due to those interactions. There were even times that if we changed the order of a single event, a character would not be aware of a specific piece of information – thus, the work became complicated (Laughs). This was especially true for episode 38, where significant changes took place in terms of both setting and story, which made our work very challenging. That was the season 3 episode that we spent the most time conceptualizing.”
But the biggest change was the characterization of the revolution itself. The Uprising story arc originally showed how human society pushed the royalty out, not just the military. But the anime version left out the alliance between Levi and Dimo Reeves.
“Throughout the third season, we omitted the elements pertaining to ‘revolution’ from the original work. Ultimately, the scenario we wanted to showcase was ‘coup d’état,’ which was a point that never changed. Hence, the anime’s storyline skewed towards that direction. The citizens, such as the Reeves family and the journalists, definitely belonged as part of a ‘revolution’ rather than a ‘coup d’état.’ It was unfortunate that we had to remove their screentime. In order for the plot to become more comprehensible, we only retained the most essential of the developments.”
In the manga, Dimo Reeves was also the person to utter the line, “Give him a punch after you become queen.” Since the anime had already killed the character off by then, that line was given to Mikasa.
While some fans may dislike it when an anime adaptation changes the source material, Isayama believes the differences made the third season even better than his original vision. In fact, he says, “This time, I can ascend to heaven right after I die!”
Attack On Titan Season 4 Release Date: Will There Be Another Long Wait?
As of the last update, Studio Wit or any company related to the production of the anime has not officially confirmed the Attack On Titan Season 4 release date. Nor has the production of a sequel been announced.
Once the news is officially confirmed this article will be updated with the relevant information. In the meantime, it’s possible to speculate about when, or if, the Shingeki no Kyojin Season 4 premiere date will occur in the future.
Shingeki no Kyojin Season 3 began airing on July 22, 2018. It is believed that Attack On Titan Season 3 will be a two-cour season and run for 24 episodes. The official website has confirmed that the third season will be two cours, but they have not yet officially announced the total number of episodes. However, the first half was 12 episodes, so the second half will likely be the same.
The third season was confirmed to be a split-cour anime season, which is when a single season takes a multi-month break before renewing broadcasting. In this case, the second half of the third season will begin airing in April 2019 during the spring anime season.
— アニメ「進撃の巨人」公式アカウント (@anime_shingeki) October 14, 2018
Therefore, the Attack On Titan Season 4 release date will definitely be in 2020 or beyond. It is possible that Episode 24 of the third season will conclude by announcing the fourth season. If that happy event does not occur, Studio Wit may be waiting on manga creator Isayama to reach a final ending for the manga series.
If that is indeed the case, then anime fans need not wait too long. By the end of 2018, the monthly manga will be up to Attack On Titan Chapter 112 and the manga is in its final story arc. Based on the information available during the premiere, the third season will likely find an ending somewhere around Chapter 90 (Volume 22).
It could be argued that this stopping point will give Studio Wit around 22 chapters to work with for producing Attack On Titan Season 4, which is more than enough for a single-cour season, but it’s unknown if the final chapters of Volume 27 will provide a good stopping point for the fourth season that provides a semblance of closure to the current story arc.
Unfortunately, if the manga finds an ending that’s closer to Chapter 124 through 130, that adds more than a year of waiting. As previously mentioned, it’s possible the manga could leave room for Attack On Titan Season 5, but that scenario depends on whether there is a good stopping point in the final manga story arc by that time. If Isayama intends on finishing the manga with a long, final story arc, then Wit Studio’s plan might be to produce SnK Season 4 with two cours, which probably means fans must wait until at least 2020 or 2021.
Shingeki no Kyojin Season 4 Spoilers
Note: Attack On Titan Season 3 Episode 12, Night of the Battle to Retake the Wall, has the same title as manga Chapter 72. The following spoilers for Attack On Titan Season 4 assume that the ending of the third season will correspond to Chapter 90 of the manga. This article will be updated once the final episodes air in Japan.
One year after the battle of Trost district, the Survey Corps finally set about beyond Wall Maria for the first time in several years. They find the ocean in the year 851, reaching the border of Paradis Island. While others played out scenes from the inevitable anime beach episode, Eren is focused only on killing enemies across the sea.
The secrets inside Eren’s basement proved that the true history of the walled world is about as flip-flopped as anyone might guess. The Eldia world map is based upon a reversed Madagascar and Africa and it turns out Paradis is simply an isolated fraction of humanity.
The empire of Marley was created during the Great Titan War when the Marleyans rose up against Eldia and expunged the Eldians from all of the territories except for Paradis Island. The highest authority in the nation is the Tybur family, Eldian nobles who sided with Marley during the Great Titan War. Marley sent Warriors into Paradis to recover the Coordinate, but after that failure Marley officially declares war on Paradis in the year 854.
What’s more, the rest of the humanity is at war with each other, as well. The beginning of Attack On Titan Season 4 will open by presenting to anime audiences the viewpoint of the Warriors of Marley. For the last four years, they have been battling against the Mid-East Allied Forces, a coalition of territories located in areas physically similar to a reversed real-life India or Arabian Peninsula.
The Mid-East Allied Forces had declared war when Marley lost the Colossus Titan and the Female Titan thanks to Eren and his friends. Marley had other Titan types to spare, but the Allied Forces had anti-Titan artillery, machine guns, Naval dreadnoughts, and other military hardware.
But Reiner Braun’s Armored Titan and Zeke Yeager’s Beast Titan intend on taking a stronghold called Fort Slava in order to put an end to this war. And they do it in dramatic fashion by taking a zeppelin and raining Titans down from on high. While the four-year war is brought to an end, the fact that weapons capable of harming the Warriors’ Titan exist means the age of relying only on Titan power is coming to an end.
Meanwhile, Marley’s forces have realized that every ship sent to Paradis Island has been destroyed, which means that Paradis must be in control of at least several Titans: the Founding Titan, the Attack Titan, the Colossus Titan, and the Female Titan. Besides developing more conventional weaponry to retain their strategic advantage, Zeke recommends to the Marleyan military that seizing the power of Eren’s Founding Titan become a military imperative. It is believed that Paradis Island must be crushed because they are a threat to the rest of the world.
The story also follows Reiner as he meets with children who are Warrior candidates. Reiner regales them with tales of living among the devils of Paradis Island. Audiences will be introduced to Falco, a candidate for inheriting the Armored Titan from Reiner. Falco becomes suspicious of Reiner because of the older man’s behavior and the fact that he described the people of Paradis Island as being just “different” rather than fully evil as Marley’s propaganda would suggest.
Marley’s military is entrusting the power of Titans to children who go through intense training. Through many flashback sequences, audiences will also get to see the childhoods of Reiner, Bertolt, Annie, and Marcel and see why they are so motivated by hatred toward the people of Paradis Island. The anime will also show the attack on Wall Maria, which led to the death of Eren’s mother, and the subsequent military training with Eren from the perspective of the four Marleyans.
While the opening episodes of Attack On Titan Season 4 will be mostly about backstory and developing the Marleyan characters, the action will finally start to heat up when Eren successfully infiltrates a Marley city called Liberio with the help of an unwitting Falco. Eren meets a shocked Reiner and both of them talk openly of their beliefs regarding the world they live in. With both men’s motivations and beliefs laid bare, Eren proceeds to transform into the Attack Titan and kill Marleyan citizens, including children, who had gathered for a speech.
The surprise attack turns into a battle against the War Hammer Titan, one of the Nine Titans capable of creating weapons and structures out of hardened Titan flesh. Mikasa joins the fight armed with thunder spears and other members of the Survey Corps, including Levi, attack using anti-personnel vertical maneuvering equipment. The battle quickly escalates into a full-out war between the Survey Corps and Marley’s Warriors.
The Survey Corps has a grand plan for taking on Marley and the rest of the world to secure the future for the hated Eldian race. Unfortunately, anime audiences will have to wait until the Attack On Titan Season 4 release date happens to see how the story goes. Stay tuned!