The popular shonen manga Attack on Titan (aka Shingeki No Kyojin) recently saw the release of the series’ 114th chapter on February 8th, 2019. In this latest chapter, author Hajime Isayama explores further the tragic backstory of Zeke Yeager, half-brother to the series’ protagonist Eren Yeager. Upon release, some fans took issue with what they perceived as a blatant depiction of anti-semitism.

The chapter, titled Sole Salvation, is told from the perspective of Zeke Yeager as he recounts his childhood spent in oppression, as well as the circumstances which led to Yeager’s inheritance of the Beast Titan. Yeager recalls how his race of people, the Eldians, were routinely oppressed and discriminated against by the fearful Marleyan government and its citizens. This could be seen in the actions of the Marley Government as they segregate the Eldians into internment zones, prevent them from holding any positions of political power within the government, and forcing the Eldians to wear an identifying armband depicting the Eldian emblem. At one point, a janitor throws water on the Yeager family and screams “You should have been exterminated, all of you!”

Attack On Titan Accused of Anti-Semitism Following Latest Chapter Release

Grisha, Dina, and Zeke Yeager as depicted in Chapter 114. The arm band worn by Grisha is required dress, used to identify Eldians. While the Eldians plight parallels that of the real world Jewish people, the Eldians and their backstory are in no way an attack on the Jewish people or their heritage.

Some fans took offense to this imagery, citing the chapter as evidence for their claims that the Eldians are a Jewish analogue and that the entire series and its author are promoting fascism and racism:

While the Eldians do in fact face constant bigotry due to their heritage and it is apparent that the dynamic between the Eldians and the Marley government draws many parallels with the fascistic treatment of the Jewish people in Nazi Germany, to call the series anti-semitic speaks to a grossly misinterpreted and binary view of the story.

The Eldians are not treated like second-class citizens simply for existing, but rather due to the fact that their people possess the ability to turn into Titans, as well as the nation of Eldian’s history as an imperialistic, destructive force prior to the Great Titan War. These historical dangers provoked fear within the Marley government, which was disgustingly weaponized against the Eldians. Isayama does not condone the oppression faced by Eldians, but depicts their harsh reality in order to fully realize his story. In fact, one element of dramatic irony throughout the series is that the reader knows that every justification, stereotype, or attack against the Eldians are anti-Eldian fabrications created and spread by the Marleyan government.

Attack On Titan Accused of Anti-Semitism Following Latest Chapter Release

Tom Xaver recounts the story of the racially charged suicide of his family, due to their discovery of Xaver’s Eldian heritage, to Zeke Yeager.

It is also curious to paint the series as anti-semitic as the very race some fans believe represent the Jewish people are portrayed sympathetically and heroically as the heroes. The actions of the Marleyans are depicted as terrifying and a violation of human rights, while the Eldians constantly fight to regain respect, standing, and equality. Eren himself has previously directly declared war on the Marleyans, and there exists an entire faction known as Yeagerists who wish to create a new Eldian empire. If the series were truly anti-semitic, it would be odd for the race being discriminated against by the author to be sympathetic protagonists the audience is intended to cheer on and support.

Conversely, some fans took issue with the anti-semitic interpretation of the series and took to Twitter to express their frustrations and inform people shocked by the claim as to the reality of the content within Attack on Titan: