I just started watching the series "Attack on Titan" and in the first episode I couldn't help but see the resemblance in one of the scenes to a famous painting by Francisco Goya called "Saturn Devouring his Son".

The resemblance seems uncanny and intentional, but it got me wondering about how deep the influence goes. Is this simply an artistic callback or is there more to the influence of actual mythology in the story of this show? I've started reading some things online but most of it seems to be opinion. Is there any official acknowledgement of the inspiration for this series having mythological ties?

From the first episode - enter image description here

Goya's "Saturn Devouring his Son" - enter image description here

  • It's a pretty imperialistic, western thought process that would expect that Japanese media would be inspired by Western art. Instead of any number of Giants eat people stories. Jack and the bean stalk, the odyssey, etc.
    – cde
    Commented Sep 1, 2016 at 5:15
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    @cde what are you talking about? I think its a pretty limited thought process that would lead one to assume that just because something is japanese media that it couldn't have been inspired from western art.
    – sanpaco
    Commented Sep 1, 2016 at 5:39
  • 7
    I also find it ironic that you use two examples from western culture as your "instead of" examples. Whoops.
    – sanpaco
    Commented Sep 1, 2016 at 5:44
  • 3
    @cde relating foreign entertainment work with you own familiar work is quite common attribute. And it have a valid point, even if got prove wrong later.
    – Ankit Sharma
    Commented Sep 1, 2016 at 6:51
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    @cde "It's a pretty imperialistic, western thought process..." It is exceedingly clear that the people in Attack On Titan are European themed. Names (Armin, Jaeger, Berthold, Hannes, ...), architecture (pretty much all buildings), general character design and even more notable in armors and the German in both theme songs of season 1. Furthermore, it is even a plot point that Mikasa is the last of the Orientals, therefore arguing that everyone else is not oriental. If the Japanese make a show about European characters, it stands to reason they will base themselves on European references.
    – Flater
    Commented Jul 24, 2017 at 8:39

1 Answer 1


Yes, It was.

"But the Titans actually stem from a specific source of terror—and surprisingly, it’s not Kaiju, the giant monsters like Godzilla and Ghidorah who terrorized mid-century Japan..."

"To understand where Attack on Titan’s monsters originate, we need to look to 19th-century Spain, where the artist Francisco Goya painted symbolic representations of the atrocities of war in the form of gory and eerie images of mythological giants. Goya’s series of Titan paintings inspired both the art and the animation behind Attack on Titan, as well as its English name. The literal translation of Shingeki no Kyojin is “Advancing Giants.” The use of “titan” instead makes the homage to Goya explicit—as does the art itself:

Blockquote Shingeki no Kyojin vs. Goya’s Saturn Devouring His Son

enter image description here Shingeki no Kyojin vs. Goya’s The Colossus"


  • 3
    I read that article last night actually and while its promising that I wasn't the only one to make the Goya connection, there are no sources to back up the author's claim that it was inspired by it.
    – sanpaco
    Commented Sep 1, 2016 at 15:56

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