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Hajime Isayama Reveals His Struggles to Draw the End of Attack on Titan

posted on by Kim Morrissy

The MBS documentary program Jōnetsu Tairiku aired an episode on Attack on Titan manga creator Hajime Isayama on November 18. The program showed Isayama drawing the rough layout draft for the final panel of the manga series and revealed his struggles dealing with writer's block and the pressure of creating such a popular manga.

According to the program, Attack on Titan is now entering its final arc. Isayama previously stated in 2014 that he personally wanted to end the manga in about three more years. His editor Shintarō Kawakubo also said in 2014, "The serialization is slated to end in three to four years."

Isayama was described in the program as "bearing the burden of wanting to live up to fan expectations but also to go against them." The manga artist frequently commented about how he tired he was; he revealed that he has regularly been waking up at 4 p.m. because of working all night to meet deadlines.

Drawing the name (the rough manga drafts) has been a particularly difficult task. The documentary maker noted that during the process of drawing a name, Isayama would often stare at nothing for half an hour before letting out a yawn.

"It's like this every day," he said. "My worries about not being able to make a good name makes me unable to sleep. Then I get hungry, so I can't draw. But then when I eat I get sleepy and I still can't draw."

Isayama was shown at times simply lying on a sofa in a dazed state, trying to escape reality. The documentary maker noted that he had only seen Isayama smile once—when he took a rare break from manga work to play Splatoon.

When asked if there was something he wanted to draw after Attack on Titan, Isayama hesitantly responded, "Yes. But I might not be able to draw it. It's probably more likely that I won't be able to. I wonder if I'll have it in me to continue."

Isayama first began serializing Attack on Titan in 2009, when he was 23 years old. It is the first and currently only serial he has worked on. The manga has 86 million copies in print worldwide, and has inspired three TV anime series and multiple animated and live-action films. Warner Bros. recently finalized a deal to produce a live-action film adaptation with Andy Muschietti (It) as director.

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