Mikasa meets the cruel world: Attack on Titan in a nutshell
More intelligent people than me have probably pointed this out long before me, but it still amazes me how much Mikasa’s upbringing truly is a metaphor for the entire series.
We start of with this carefree, peaceful family living in this isolated cabin in the woods, distanced from the outside. A comfortable existence, but their family is well aware that beyond their warm home lie problems: the Ackerman clan is still thought to be prosecuted, and Asians are sought by traffickers for their rare appearance and blood–they’re a different race, and this is useful to some.
And then one peace is interrupted: three men break in, destroying comfort and killing innocent people, and they’re there solemnly because of the physical aspects of the family, their rare appearance. Through this experience, Mikasa lost her hope and will to live, and also got to understand the cruel nature of the world she lived in.
And then, a sudden event that changed the course of that day. The young Eren Jaeger barges in, takes out the oppressive intruders, and most importantly, restores hope to her. Just like the kidnappers, Eren came from outside of her world…but instead of bringing her more cruelty, Eren brought Mikasa a way to go against said cruelty–to fight back. The world is cruel and brutal and it crushes the weak–thus, the only way to survive is to fight back against the oppression–and that’s what Mikasa proceeds to do.
This precise event can be translated with total accuracy into the entirety of the story–it’s the exact same thing the walled world went through. The walldians lived in peace and comfort (more or less), isolated from the rest of the world, because the outside meant danger for them. We’ve always known this danger to be the titans–the basement taught us the reality though. The entire outside world has a pre-determined relationship with the walldians–not because of who, but because of what they are. Some see them as danger and want them extinct for safety measures, some see them as useful tools for their own purposes.
Does this sound familiar? Ackermans are prosecuted because they’re a danger to the kings rule, and Asians are sought after because their origin makes them different. Mikasa’s family is a metaphor for all walldians, for all those wanted dead by the world or used as weapons in Marley’s titan army. Their situation is identical too: they live excluded from the outside world, in a pseudo-peace, which is one day interrupted by the arrival of three outsiders (kidnappers, RBA). Through their actions, those outsiders remind the inhabitants of the cruel, oppressive world they find themselves in (a grim reminder). And then, another outsider appears, restoring hope and teaching the oppressed how to free themselves: to fight. This is Eren when he barges into the cabin, and Grisha, originally from beyond the walls. when he entrusts the founding and attack titans to Eren, who would later become humanities hope and, in some way, inspires them to fight back. Both of these stories are perfect parallels.
It’s also definitely not a coincidence that the Eren-saves-Mikasa flashback was included in Isayama’s first draft of chapter 1, in flashback format. All the dialogue about Mikasa being part of a nearly extinct, different race, and Eren telling her to fight back, were there from day one. In the present time she even says that she believes Eren has the strength to overcome the world’s issues and bring hope to mankind–an even stronger parallel between her situation and all of walldia.
Heck, it certainly isn’t a coincidence either that, during ch 14, primordial desire, aka humanities first ever victory against oppression and the first climax of the story, Eren flashes back to that very moment
On one hand it sets up other humans, aka Marley as antagonists, who’re oppressing Paradis due to the blood flowing through its inhabitants. At the same time, it redraws all the parallels mentioned beforehand by straight up comparing humanities struggle to that struggle in the woods.
These two panels really affirm everything I mentioned above–Mikasa’s “origin story” is it’s own microcosm that foretells the entire core struggle of the series: Eldians seeking freedom from oppression. And the fact that such an early scene remains a total metaphor to the story even 90 chapters and a ton of plot twists and revelations later, just goes to show how much of a thought out story attack on titan has been for the longest time.
Hi!! I’ve absolutely been thinking about that, yeah, in fact I recently talked about that to my boyfriend just recently. It’ll likely happen after october! And to answer your second question! I made a thing on legs that i hope you’ll find useful!!
So. I’ve already explained basics on legs here, but I don’t think it hurts to go through some extra details to help you understand legs some more.
The very basic thing is to imagine legs as teardrops. Again, this has already been covered in said tutorial above, but I figured it’s still good to mention even the most basic thing that I know of. I still highly recommend you check it out to get in more detail and to see some other examples and practices that you do. But basically, think of legs in the shapes of teardrops, when it comes to shape. If you need a simple stick-figure to connect the legs in the first place, make sure that they bend at the knees a bit so that the legs don’t come off as stiff and unnatural.
As you can see, this method works perfectly for realistic legs as it does for stylistic ones. Remember to use these as a guideline, never to be the exact base of the legs you will be drawing. If you draw traditionally, remember not to draw these guides too hard, or they will be hard to erase/do freestyle!
But how do you actually draw out the legs without drawing them perfectly straight, as shown to the left? The trick is to add volume to them, and how you do that can be winged to your own liking. The idea is to think in curves. As no leg is perfectly straight. You may make these curves minimal if you don’t want them to be curvy, but keep in mind, still, that not even your own bones are perfectly straight, so it is highly recommended that you make them bend, at least a little.
It all depends on how you draw them as well. Say you put your legs together, as shown in this picture, what happens to the fat and muscle? Naturally, they press together, much like how thighs squish on the surface when you sit down (I’m sure most people know what I’m talking about). Make sure this shows in your art! This is very important to keep in mind, because it makes it all look more natural and believable. Try to cross your legs or stand up and sit down again for real-life examples!
The same applies for stretching your legs, more or less, except they appear to become more ‘hollow’ and slimmer. They become less soft to the touch, too, and might show. Try stretching your legs and feel where the muscles tense and where it feels ‘hollow’. This is very helpful with your art.
Many leg tutorials talk about legs without mentioning the behind. It requires a tutorial on it’s own, in all honesty, but this is the most simplest way to draw it connecting to the legs. Remember that it comes in many different shapes, and this is just a super basic guide! Two circles overlapping, while following the line and flow of the legs. Remember the muscle/fat as mentioned above!
Okay, so we got the basics of leg shapes figured out? What if you want o draw them in a certain pose, or with a certain silhouette, but perhaps do not have the reference for it? Or you want to blend your style into it? The key is to not shy away from doodling the form. Make mess, draw lightly and don’t care about the anatomy. That way you’ll get everything down without it appearing stiff. You can clean up the sketch later, always, and if you can, use a reference after you have drawn your pose, to correct your drawing.
Remember that the hips do a lot to the pose of the legs! Make sure they are in flow with your legs, so that it can look more natural. Remembers that hips ‘rotate’ with the spine.
I’ve talked about this method before when it comes to posing, and the same applies for the legs. One way to make legs appear ‘steady’ is to picture them standing in a line, and one of those legs need not to stray from the lines too much, making it steady. If you want a dynamic pose despite the steady pose, you can always have the other leg stray from the line, since it only matters that one leg is steady. This method can create good, casual poses without making them appear boring. (also notice how the teardrop shapes are used here, despite the highly stylized legs)
Do you want a highly dynamic pose, or them to appear unsteady, then skip the line entirely and make both legs aim away from it completely. As you can see, the legs appear more moving, in action, as if they’re fighting, falling, or dancing. As you can imagine, this is not a pose that one could stay steady on, suggesting that it’s taken mid-movement. More about posing and this ‘line’ method is talked about in this tutorial.
Hope this helped you, if you have any questions let me know, and if you’d like to check out all my tutorials they can be found here!
• shoutout to my girls who are curvy but not “in the right places”
• shoutout to my girls who need some “meat on their bones”
• shoutout to my girls that get shamed for looking “unnatural”
• shoutout my girls that get shamed for looking “all natural” not shaving etc
• shoutout to my girls who “need to cover up”
• shoutout to my girls who “need to loosen up, look like a prude/stiff/etc”
• shoutout to my girls who have to hear “you’re not a real women if you don’t _____” everyday
• shoutout to my girls who live in a world with impossible beauty standards, but keep rocking who they are anyway.
• you are gorgeous as you are, don’t let the world tell you any different.