Attack On Titan Season 4 may not be produced by Japanese animation company WIT Studio according to multiple sources. While not confirmed by an official announcement, the production of the fourth and final season is apparently up in the air.
UPDATE May 29, 2020: The Attack On Titan Season 4 studio change to MAPPA has been officially confirmed. Please see the new article for more details. The remainder of this article remains as initially published.
Rumors are even causing some fans to fear the anime will never fully adapt the Shingeki no Kyojin manga series, which is quickly approaching its ending in the near future.
The news about the Attack On Titan Season 4 anime first started with a Chinese animator who works for a Chinese firm called Zhenglei/Thundray.
While this animator does not work directly under WIT Studio, he’s apparently a Chinese contractor who has worked on the anime series since AoT Episode 2.
Writing on Weibo (which is like a Chinese Twitter), the animator said work on the last episode of Shingeki no Kyojin (Attack On Titan Season 3 Part 2 Episode 10) has started.
“Eight years have passed. Back then, I was only 29-years-old, and now I’m 37,” the Chinese animator wrote. “This is a series that accompanied me in my formidable years as a key animator, but it also trained group after group of Chinese animators. It allowed them to grow and experience what a high-level production of 2D animation is like. For this final episode, let us anticipate it together.”
What freaked everyone out was when the animator was asked, “Huh? This season [Season 3 Part 2] is the final season?!” and he replied, “Yah, the final one.”
The animator did not clarify whether he simply meant that his own personal contract on the animation team was ending or whether the current season was really Attack On Titan’s final season as an anime adaptation, but this Weibo post was enough to launch the rumor rocket on Reddit.
A day later, another Weibo user claimed, “Asked some other reliable users, AoT S3 P2 would be the last season WIT [Studio] is in charge of. No updates on which studio would take the job or when the new season airs.”
This user reached out to multiple sources and although he “didn’t dare to ask too much” he was “told multiple times that even the chance of [WIT Studio] returning is nearly zero” due to “many complicated reasons,” which the user believes “implies that there [is] a good amount of information that must remain confidential.”
However, the Weibo user did provide some hope for Attack On Titan Season 4. He noted that “most of the key staff members are huge fans of the original manga” who would not want to abandon the anime series.
On this basis, the user claimed, “Hopefully, WIT will return as the studio [for Attack On Titan Season 4] in future years.”
Based on these rumors, Yonkou Productions claimed he reached out to “staff on the show” and confirmed that SnK Season 3 Part 2 is the final season of Attack On Titan being produced by WIT Studio.
It’s notable that Yonkou is seemingly blaming the decision on overworked staff and bad scheduling at WIT Studio.
“Keep in mind that it’s up to Kodansha to decide how to proceed forward now that WIT [Studio] has decided to bow out from working on Attack on Titan but those plans are yet to be decided,” Yonkou tweeted. “You need to understand how taxing making Attack on Titan has been for WIT [Studio] FROM THE START. Having 30 plus key animators and 10 or more animation supervisors per episode made this a nightmare because the schedules were always so bad. It’s no surprise that WIT [Studio] is done given that fact.”
WIT Studio was founded in 2012 by producers at Production I.G as a subsidiary of IG Port, which is also the parent company of Production I.G., XEBEC, and Signal.MD.
Despite its success, WIT Studio is also a small animation studio with a huge workload. In the past, president of WIT Studio and Production I.G. producer George Wada appeared to brag about their overworked staff as if it was a status symbol.
No matter how much you like anime, it is not advisable to come to Japan and participate in anime work. Because the animation industry is usually overworked?
— NISHII_terumi (@Nishiiterumi1) April 22, 2019
Yonkou is not the only one saying WIT Studio won’t be involved in producing Attack On Titan Season 4. The reputable Sakurabooru blog claims to have verified “the leaks that qualified people at WIT [Studio] have indeed said they’re done with Attack on Titan” and “100% confirmed that the rumors come from the core of the team and aren’t misunderstandings!”
“I’ll be honest and admit that before everything blew up yesterday I’d simply assumed the prior whisperings were fan speculation gone wild, but after checking multiple first and second-hand sources, I can say with certainty that these aren’t mere conjectures,” wrote kVin on Sakurabooru. “WIT [has] said they’re done.
At the same time, kVin could not rule out the possibility that WIT Studio is using “controlled leaks to make producers panic and secure better conditions for further contracts.”
After all, despite the worldwide popularity and financial success of the Attack On Titan anime series, WIT Studio does not have a seat on the anime production committee.
The good news is that these leaks do not say Attack On Titan Season 4 will never happen.
Back in 2013, WIT Studio President Wada said that “as long as the manga continues to go on, I would like to continue [the] anime series, too.” Sakurabooru also notes that the “one thing you can trust producers to be motivated about” is “trying not to leave cash on the table”.
Already, these knowledgeable anime industry insiders are suggesting that the Shingeki no Kyojin studio change would be best served by shifting production to Production I.G., which makes sense since they’re directly on the anime production committee for the SnK anime series.
But that idea does not necessarily mean the main SnK staff would remain the same for Attack On Titan Season 4.
Production I.G. might be able to “borrow a bunch of staff acquainted with the property” but it’s unknown whether that might include series director Tetsuro Araki, who has “gradually gave more power to second in command figures to focus more on his baby Kabaneri of the Iron Fortress.”
Action animation director Arifumi Imai is responsible for the overall style of the action scenes and he’s “technically more of a free agent than the other individuals we’re talking about,” but “having him reappear if an entirely new team is assembled doesn’t exactly seem likely.”
What’s more, character designer Kyoji Asano and chief animation director Satoshi Kadowaki are directly attached to WIT Studio (Asano is a co-founder) so they’re unlikely to be involved in making Shingeki no Kyojin Season 4.
“Other than the easy choice of Production IG, I might go with a larger and reckless studio like MAPPA,” kVin wrote on Sakurabooru. “And I genuinely believe they could put together a different team with exceptional qualities of their own to offer a new take on the series. It’s also possible that a company with no investment in quality whatsoever could pick it up just to have a huge property in their hands, but no point in being pessimistic when everything’s up in the air.”
Let’s just hope that WIT Studio quitting doesn’t negatively impact the anime series. For more details and spoilers, please see our article on the Attack On Titan Season 4 release date. Stay tuned!