The following was printed in Volume 1 of the Attack on Titan volume.
Japanese readers sent in questions to ask Mr. Isayama, and his editor asked him a few. Here we present his answers. Just be careful: Some of them contain major spoilers for later volumes! We recommend you read Vol. 2, then come back and read this interview.
EDITOR: Thank you for being here today. We’ve received a lot of questions from the readers. Please answer to the best of your ability.
Mr. Isayama: I have a feeling most of my answers will be boring, but… fire away. Nothing is taboo.
Then let’s begin. “Why did you decide on giants as the theme of this work?”
ISA: Well, giants are kind of gross, aren’t they? That’s why.
“Has anything in your life changed since the series has become so popular?”
ISA: I got a weird phone call from my bank. They were wondering about the sudden increase of funds in my savings, so they probably thought I was running some bank transfer scam. (Laughs)
“Do you have a way to clear out the cobwebs when you’re tired or when you need to decide some important story point?”
ISA: Shadowboxing with the hanging lamp cord in my house is very soothing.
“What made you decide to become a manga artist?”
ISA: I just decided one day, is all. I had a habit of doodling and daydreaming anyway, so I was fortunate that my interests were compatible with something that’s profitable.
“Mr. Isayama, what is your fetish?”
ISA: I have a body hair fetish.
“How do you get over those times when making manga gets tough?”
ISA: I don’t. (Laughs) I think it’s always equal parts tough and fun.
“Where do you get your ideas for stories?”
ISA: This doesn’t have to do with creating stories, but when I’m half awake, like just before I drift off to sleep, my mind gets flooded with information I’ve seen or heard subconsciously. I call it “Super Enlightenment Time.” And this is true, I’m not kidding.
On to the next question… “Is there a manga artist whom you respect?”
ISA: There are plenty of them. Of course, there are my fellow manga artists in Betsu Maga, but also Tsutomu Nihei, Ryoji Minagawa, Kentaro Miura, Hideki Arai, Tooru Mitsumine, and I could go on and on. I’m still a fledgling.
“Who is your favorite character in Attack on Titan?”
ISA: That would be Jean. Jean comes right out and says what he’s thinking, even if it’s something you normally couldn’t say. That’s what I like about him.
“Out of all the manga you’ve read, what influenced you most?”
“How far ahead do you have Attack on Titan plotted out?”
ISA: In broad strokes, I’ve got it pretty well thought out to way, way down the line. And I’ve got outlines that say like, such-and-such a truth will be revealed in volume 5 and around volume 10, this situation is going to happen. See, if I didn’t decide these things before it sees publication, I wouldn’t even be able to come up with ideas. Although I don’t flesh it out until I’m actually working on it…
“What do you think of Miyajima (Masanori Miyajima)?”
ISA: He’s got a permanent crease on his nose from his glasses.
“Aren’t you going to have female Titans?”
ISA: I wonder if I should say this… They’re rare.
“I always forget how the kanji for ‘Isa’ in your last name goes. Is there a good way to remember how to write it?”
ISA: You can write it however. I’ll answer either way.
“Mr. Isayama, I want to see where you work!”
ISA: That’s the one thing I hope you’ll cut me some slack on! I really don’t want to show you, since it’s a mess…
“If you were on a desert island and could only have three things, what would you choose besides me and a guitar?”
ISA: Other than you and a guitar, I guess I would bring a U.S. military fleet.
“Mr. Isayama, what were you like as a child?”
ISA: I don’t really want to recall my childhood…
“Do you use a model for the Titans?”
ISA: For the Titan version of Eren, I use martial artist Youshin Okami’s body as a model. My ideal is the physique of a middleweight mixed martial artist. I only use the shape of the body as a model.
“I’m guessing that drawing Titans after a long time would do things to your mind. Do you have nightmares about them?”
ISA: I don’t think giants are really scary in the first place, so no, never.
“What’s the scariest thing in the world?”
ISA: A bunch of middle school girls looking at me and going, “Eww” while laughing.
“Please tell me your one-month schedule.”
ISA: I take a week to storyboard and three weeks to draw.
“Mikasa is always wearing the scarf she got from Eren. Doesn’t she get hot?”
ISA: She doesn’t wear it when it’s hot outside.
“Mr. Isayama, at what age did you start drawing?”
ISA: I have a memory of being praised for a drawing I did of a dragon when I was in kindergarten.
“Are you ever mistaken for the artist who does (soccer series) Giant Killing?”
ISA: Just recently, my own editor made that mistake.
“What manga do you recommend right now?”
ISA: All-Rounder Meguru and Iron Wind!
“Mr. Isayama, which Attack on Titan character most resembles you?”
ISA: Hmm… Mr. Hannes and the Garrison soldiers in volume 1 who sit around drinking booze.
“Is there a story that you want to do after finishing Attack on Titan?”
There’s a story I’ve had in my mind since high school. If I get lucky enough for it to be published someday, I hope everyone reads it!
“Do you have a favorite scene in Attack on Titan?”
ISA: The scene where the TV studio gets taken over and rock music plays. Sorry…
“What’s your favorite food?”
ISA: I’m not really into food.
“How do you spend your free time?”
ISA: Drooling as I surf the net.
“What would you look like if you were a Titan, Mr. Isayama?”
ISA: I’m sure I’d look something like this. (Laughs)
Thank you very much! One last question. “From what page does the story really get going?”
ISA: Just wait for the 420th page and up! Please keep reading!