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Attack On Titan appears to use a mix of technology from different eras. The flying rigs and gear used by the military appear to be advanced technology, but they use cannons to defend the city against the titans.

Most of the city appears to use roughly 17/18th Century technology.

In the TV series we're only told that the Titans appeared 100 years earlier, and wiped out most of humanity. The Titans themselves appear to be the product of some kind of advanced technology too.

From this it could be inferred that the series is set in our distant future, but there's nothing to show this for certain. It could be an alternate history story.

Is there anything in canon (from the manga/anime) that tells when the series is set, relative to our own history/calendar?

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    Technology seems to be steam-punky if you ask me. 19th century futuristic so to speak. Usually steam-punk tends to deal with alternate timelines, were steam reigned over diesel, but in this case it's not textbook steampunk. The 3D harness uses pressured gas, not steam for example. – CyberClaw Jan 10 '17 at 15:04
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No, as of the last episode, there is no overwhelming evidence of a date parallel to our own. Attack on Titan appears to take place on an alternative universe without connection to our own history.

It's definitely inspired by Germanic influences, as the characters are mostly germanic, with "Orientals" specifically having mostly died out. This is in contrast to most Animes having "Default Race" characters of Japanese (or Korean or Chinese depending on the production) even through they look "normal" to Americans.

The Movies on the other hand, is more modern day, as we see nuclear or atomic bombs and helicopters scattered around, as well as other signs of modern day technology. Clearly end of the 20th Century.

Our sister site speculates on When and where does Attack on Titan take place?:

This is evidenced by a reference to a real-world legend in episode 15:

Two captured Titans are named Sawney and Bean, which is stated in-universe to be based on the legend of Sawney Bean.

If we use that same evidence as part of a timeline, there's two possibilities:

  1. The year 850 means that we are at least 850 years following the aforementioned legend, putting us no earlier than year 2350 A.D. This seems possible but unlikely, as their technology shows no signs of being derived from our own.

  2. The year 850 is some marker to an event that happened prior to the legend, in which case we have no frame of reference other than that the story must take place in or after the 1500s. This seems to be the more likely answer.

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  • "The year 850 is some marker to an event that happened prior to the legend" why can't it be a marker after the legend? Thus putting AoT potentially centuries into the future. I can't find an explanation for the 850 marker in the linked answer either. – Flater Jul 24 '17 at 8:19

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