The world of Hajime Isayama’s Attack on Titan is a truly special one. Whether you like the militaristic undertones or not, the world Isayama has created is undeniably unique. The manga is finished and the anime is slowly nearing its end, but the world of the franchise still keeps attracting fans, who wonder about its origin and its structure. In this article, we are going to tell you where and when Attack on Titan takes place, and whether it was based on any real events.
Attack on Titan is based set in a completely fictional world and follows its own, fictional timeline. The setting is focused on the four major nations of Eldia, Marley, the Mid-East Allied Forces, and Hizuru. While there are some shared elements with our world and some scenes from the future suggest that the world of Attack on Titan would eventually become something similar to our world, the events are not based on anything real.
The rest of this article is going to further explore the world of Isayama’s Attack on Titan, as we are going to introduce you to the major locations, as well as the timeline of the whole anime. We are also going to address the theories that Attack on Titan is actually real and is just a chapter from the history of the world as we know it.
Now, Attack on Titan follows a separate chronology that doesn’t connect to our regular timeline of historical events. Since the series has a lot of steampunk elements, it is very difficult to determine the historical period in which it could be set; there are some medieval elements to the show, but also a lot of modern elements from the Industrial Age. This is why it is best for us to simply tell you about the chronology of the franchise rather than to speculate and give you some misleading answers. This is how things went down in Attack on Titan:
NOTE: Prehistoric events are followed by “B1,” indicating that they predate Year 1 of the given calendar system used in the world of Attack on Titan.
The story of Attack on Titan takes place in an alternative universe inhabited by humans. There are theories that their world looks like ours, only mirrored and upside down, but that is just speculation, as we have never seen a full map of Isayama’s world. In this section, we are going to introduce you to the four major nations of Attack on Titan.
Eldia was an ancient empire that flourished a thousand years ago. The citizens or the people of this empire and their descendants are also referred to as Eldians. The empire fell apart and the Eldia was mainly divided between the areas of Paradis and Liberio. Additionally, the Eldians live in restricted zones throughout Marley lands and, as can be understood from Udo’s testimony, in other countries as well.
The Eldians can be transformed into Titans by the Titan Serum. Because of this ability, they are feared around the world. They are an ethnic group descended from Ymir Fritz and are the only “race” that could become Titans. Beginning with Ymir and her three daughters, the bloodline and genes eventually extended to the majority of the Eldian race as a whole. In the manga, they are also called Ymir’s people.
Marley is a nation that populates the mainland state of the same name as its state people. These territories were formerly under the control of the Eldian Empire until they withdrew to Paradis as part of the Great Titan War, leaving the rest on the mainland a minority from then on.
The Mid-East Allied Forces were a military organization formed by a coalition of several countries. They were enemies of Marley, which they declared war on after the warriors failed to capture the Founding Titan. For a long time, they were the most powerful enemies of Marley, until the end of a war between both sides that lasted four years.
Given their need to confront the Titans of Marley, the coalition was forced to focus on developing weapons that would allow them to protect themselves from such a threat, and, thanks to this, they managed to be a technologically advanced military power. Although at first sight, the weapons of the men of the Allied Forces are similar to Marley’s, the truth is that they had a higher technological level.
Hizuru is an Asian nation that has diplomatic ties with Marley and Paradis. The Azumabito family is the ruling family as they are descended from the Shogun clan of the past and their matriarch Kiyomi Azumabito is Hizuru’s ambassador to Marley in 854. A hundred years ago, Hizuru was allied with the Eldian Empire.
The Shogun’s son was good friends with the royal family of Eldia and stayed on the island of Paradis after the Great Titan War. After the war was lost, Hizuru’s situation became tense as they were allied with those who lost the war. In the course of the next few years, however, they established diplomatic contacts with Marley.
Now, due to some in-universe scenes from the manga and the anime, some fans think that Attack on Titan is real or is based on real events. Namely, there are scenes that show a future with cameras, baseball balls, and other things we have in our world. Does that mean that Attack on Titan is based on some actual historical events and is actually just set several centuries ago? Absolutely not.
There is nothing real in Attack on Titan, and while the world in question is our Earth, a planet inhabited by humans, the fact is that it is a completely fictional, alternative world that has little to do with our own. The same thing happened back in Fullmetal Alchemist, when the world of the anime was connected to our world, but as an alternative take on it, rather than anything else. So no, Attack on Titan is not real and it is not based on any actual events.