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Exploring Veganism in Attack on Titan

In a story about humans being trapped and destined to be devoured, can comparisons to humans’ relationships with animals be made?



Few anime and manga series have captivated the world quite like Hajime Isayama’s Attack on Titan. A monstrous fantasy horror that mutates into a Game of Thrones-y political drama, its prevailing popularity is unsurprising. Attack on Titan’s dregs of humanity have defended themselves from people-eating Titans since 2009, and in the midst of its final season, what better time to explore the contentious subject of veganism?

Where manga and anime series The Promised Neverland irrefutably features themes of veganism in its subtext, Attack on Titan is comparatively lacking in such commentary. But in a story about humans being trapped and destined to be devoured by a superior species, interesting parallels can be drawn between the Titans and the concept of speciesism.


Speciesism is the assumption of human superiority leading to the exploitation of animals

In 2005’s groundbreaking documentary, Earthlings, Joaquin Phoenix narrates “By analogy with racism and sexism, the term speciesism is a prejudice or attitude of bias in favor of the interests of members of one’s own species, and against those of members of other species.” The tent poles of speciesism are often voiced by Attack on Titan’s cast. Language like “We are less than livestock,” and perceiving their confinement as “We are like cattle in a cage,” implies that Attack on Titan’s characters are lacking empathy for animals they farm, despite said animals’ reality mirroring humanities’ with the Titans. A life of confinement, before death at the jaws of speciesists.

In Season 1 Episode 5 – First Battle – Battle of Trost (1), a character explains Titans’ sole purpose in life seems to be the consumption of humans. But considering they have survived for more than a century in an environment devoid of human life, we can assume they have no need to eat at all. In other words, we believe their goal in feeding isn’t to gain sustenance, but simply to kill. Whilst nutrition is doubtless bountiful in animal products, the question of necessity remains. According to the United Kingdom’s National Health Service, With good planning and an understanding of what makes up a healthy, balanced vegan diet, you can get all the nutrients your body needs. If you do not plan your diet properly, you could miss out on essential nutrients, such as calcium, iron and vitamin B12.

Attack on Titan Eren

When taking nutritional needs into account, trustworthy health organizations and professionals agree that with proper planning and implementation, a vegan diet is healthy and feasible. If our consumption of animal products is based on want over need, enjoyment over survival, and taste over life, are we any different from Attack on Titan’s human consuming antagonists? Is the argument “But they eat humans, so it’s different!” not rife with speciesism?

In Season 1 Episode 13 – Primal Desires – The Battle for Trost (9), Eren remarks “From the time we are born, we are free… It doesn’t matter how strong those who would deny us that freedom are…” Eren’s belief is that by birthright, humans should be free. Do animals not deserve freedom too? Freedom to exist outside of an anthropocentric norm, and freedom of bodily autonomy. If one’s answer is “Because we like eating them,” then can that not be used to justify the actions of Titans?

Attack on Titan

In Season 2 Episode 2 – I’m Home, a flashback shows Sasha talking with her father. Their way of life includes living in a forest and hunting animals for food. When discussing that other people have moved into the forest due to losing their homes, Sasha’s father worries about the waning animal count as a consequence of the hunting spike. He says “You can feed a hell of a lot more people by clearin’ the forest and plantin’ grain. Maybe it’s time for our family to let go of the forest and give up huntin’ for good.” Whilst clearing forests is detrimental to animals and the environment — hence why many vegans endorse rewilding — Sasha’s father makes a point about the sustainability of plant agriculture over animal agriculture.

Studies say the world’s hunger crisis could be solved by repurposing animal agriculture land into plant agriculture land, due to it being more fiscally and environmentally sustainable. According to IOPscience, Currently, 36% of the calories produced by the world’s crops are being used for animal feed, and only 12% of those feed calories ultimately contribute to the human diet (as meat and other animal products).It later concludes, Reducing meat consumption, or shifting meat consumption away from beef to poultry and pork has the potential to increase cropland food productivity and feed more people per hectare of cropland.

Whilst a vegan world might be tricky to achieve, evidence points to animal agriculture being a dying industry, with plant agriculture generating more food for less space. Strangely, Sasha’s father may have Googled similar studies.

Attack on Titan Sasha

“Sasha, I’ve been watchin’ Earthling Ed on YouTube lately.”

– Sasha’s father, Attack on Titan (deleted scene) (not really, that was a joke)

In Season 3 Episode 12 – Night of the Battle to Retake the Wall, the mid-episode ‘Information Available for Public Disclosure’ says “After the fall of Wall Maria, there was a dramatic decrease in food production. Livestock in particular suffered due to requiring plentiful land. As a result, meat became expensive and occasions to eat it are scarce.” This reiterates the difficult demands of animal agriculture and its sustainability struggles. What would happen if the government stopped subsidizing animal agriculture, and instead granted plant agriculture the same financial privilege?

Whilst intended as comedic, the meat feast that Attack on Titan’s characters engages in after the aforementioned ‘Information Available for Public Disclosure’ is spookily similar in imagery to Titans eating humans. As the Scout Regiment bicker for the best cuts, and super-gluten Sasha lets her inner foodie loose, the orgy of flesh consumption is ironic to the point of satire.

Attack on Titan

Attack on Titan offers a canvas for interesting thought experiments on the topic of humanity’s relationship with other species. The purpose of these thought experiments is not to offend, but rather look at a divisive debate through the lens of an adored anime and manga in the hopes it contextualizes veganism to those unfamiliar. Did this odd melting pot of vegan-y Titan-y word stew get you thinking? With the energy of Eren bellowing his plight against the Titans, share your thoughts in the comment section below!

I invest my time in playing all manner of video games, and as of 2017, writing about all manner of video games.



  1. Nate Heppard

    December 23, 2020 at 11:56 am

    The Titans do not consume humans out of enjoyment; that is their one and only purpose as Titans. They are driven to consume humans by the hope that they will ingest a Titan Shifter and, consequently, revert back to their human form. The parallel you draw between the Titans’ consumption of humans and humanity’s consumption of animals is incoherent at best.

    As for Speciesism, I can’t say I have heard of an “-ism” more deserving of ridicule. It has a somewhat religious tone, tinged with the elitism of alternative dieting. Assigning meaning where there is (inherently) none is the ultimate flaw of humanity. Speciesism is meant to make us feel bad, as if we are destroying some natural order. Do you also deny the tiger its kill? After all, it kills its prey without thought or compassion. Does it hold itself in some higher regard? Is the tiger killing based on some manufactured bias towards the life of tigers?

    Evolution dictates that the most adaptable beings will survive. Modern humans are a unique species unlike anything the world has ever seen. Yet we function on the same principles that all life on Earth before us has. Life, at its core, is biased. Speciesism is nothing more than one name for the guilt that some feel for existing as humans.

    • Harry Morris

      December 23, 2020 at 12:09 pm

      I drew the parallel based on the Season 1 Episode 5 – First Battle – Battle of Trost (1) example. I think this example holds similarities to humans’ consumption of animals.

      The term ‘speciesism’ has existed for fifty years (first being used in 1970). It holds weight and meaning even outside of a vegan/animal activist context. Tigers are a poor comparison, as they are obligate carnivore (i.e. they MUST eat meat to survive). As humans are omnivores, we have a choice of living on a herbivorous diet. If we are given a choice between a diet that involves killing animals, and a diet that greatly reduces harm to animals, is it not more compassionate to choose the latter? Similarly, is it not speciesist to choose the former, knowing we’re putting taste above life, and fleeting pleasure above the value of other species?

      ‘Earthlings’ is an insightful documentary that explores and properly explains the concept of speciesism. I’d recommend checking it out if you’re interested in learning more (not about veganism per se, but animals and our treatment of them around the world).

      Thanks for reading my article, even if it didn’t resonate with you. 🙂

  2. Dan O

    December 23, 2020 at 2:37 pm

    That was a very interesting take, and I think when it is explained that titans eat humans in the hopes of becoming a human again, I feel as though there could possibly a connection in the sense that we are in a conflict between our natural desire to eat meat but also reach consciousness and free will where there’s no need for speciesism, I’m thinking back to what Ymir said about her experience being a titan and then finally human again.
    I’d also like to know if there’s anywhere else I can learn more about speciesism, veganism, and solutions or problems relating to agriculture. Thank you for the interesting take.

    • Harry Morris

      December 23, 2020 at 5:15 pm

      This is one of my favourite comments! I’m so happy my article got you thinking. <3

      Speciesism is best explained in the documentary my article mentions, Earthlings. It's free to watch here: It’s also narrated by Joaquin Phoenix (from last year’s ‘Joker’), which is pretty cool. It’s a tough watch, but by far the best exploration of this topic I’ve come across.

      Earthling Ed is a great YouTuber to check out too! He has all sorts of videos, from public debates to satirical videos. His podcast is awesome as well, and this is an insightful episode:

      Our global treatment of animals is a complex topic, but one that’s fascinating the more you look into it. Enjoy diving down this crazy rabbit hole, and shoot me another comment or an email at if you have any other questions. 🙂

  3. Saki Sanobashi

    January 3, 2021 at 5:02 pm

    SJWs should stop watching anime and reading manga, period.

    • Harry Morris

      January 3, 2021 at 5:07 pm

      People who say things like “SJWs should stop watching anime and reading manga, period” should stop breeding, period.

      Sorry my article didn’t resonate with you. Happy new year! 🙂

      • Elien

        January 4, 2021 at 9:38 pm

        The “stop breeding, period” remark sure is an interesting one when it insinuates that you consider the life of the person who left the original comment to be worth less than your own. Considering the nature of this article and how it highlight the importance of all life, it really does come across as somewhat hypocritical.

        That said, I actually did enjoy the article itself. I personally just take the manga and anime at face value and enjoy the ride on a surface level, but I do think it’s great that other people can enjoy it on a deeper level. I think the more ways a story can be enjoyed, the more fondly it will be remembered for years to come, so kudos to you for highlighting this.

        • Harry Morris

          January 5, 2021 at 2:24 am

          It was intended simply as a petty comeback to the hate, and wasn’t supposed to be taken literally. I thought the tongue in cheek nature went without saying, but sorry if that didn’t come across.

          I’m glad you enjoyed my article anyway. Thanks so much! 🙂

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