silkycuttle: (Default)
silkycuttle ([personal profile] silkycuttle) wrote in [community profile] snk2014-07-29 03:02 am

WEEKLY META: Setting

A different character or plot/setting point will be posted each week for meta discussion. This week: 

Geographical/historical setting!

Discussion can be on anything, so long as it's at least tangentially related to the weekly topic. Reply to the first comment to vote on what next week's topic should be. 

Spoilers should be warned for, but are allowed. Creating your own posts on whatever meta you wish, your own or reccing someone else's, is still highly encouraged.
blitzwing: ([Attack on Titan] mikasa)

[personal profile] blitzwing 2014-07-29 02:30 am (UTC)(link)
What do we know about the series's geographical location? Most people seem to work off the assumption that it's actually set in Germany, or somewhere in Europe, but do we have anything solid to indicate that?

So far we know it's in a climate that has seasonal weather variation (snowy winters, deciduous trees) and that it's in an area that has mountainous regions.

We know there are wild boar (from the OVA) but that still can't be used to rule out areas where wild boar aren't native, because if the series takes place post-modern-times (or even post colonialism) wild boar would have been introduced into a lot of non-native areas. In other words, I don't think we can rule out the Walls being set in North America, or Asia, or somewhere else that potentially matches those requirements. We know so little about the pre-Wall history that not much can be used to disqualify a place other than actual geographical traits.

As far as the historical setting, I'm really glad for the late manga reveals about the technology controls, because it explains the anachronisms well (like telephones existing in a world where refridgeration doesn't*).

*(assuming it doesn't. I don't recall seeing a fridge in the Jaeger's kitchen, for instance, or Jean's, but I could just be forgetting)
Edited 2014-07-29 02:31 (UTC)

(Anonymous) 2014-07-29 08:55 am (UTC)(link)
I think we can rule out Asia, at least. The men who kidnapped Mikasa mentioned it as if it wasn't anywhere near the Walls. If the Walls were in Asia then Mikasa's people wouldn't have had to flee very far.
blitzwing: ([Attack on Titan] mikasa)

[personal profile] blitzwing 2014-07-29 03:09 pm (UTC)(link)
Maybe. If it was somewhere like Tibet, that would still be very, very far from Japan, where Mikasa's people were from. It's about 2600 miles distance. It also depends on the level of technology available when people fled to the Walls. If they were fleeing on foot, or on horseback, that makes any distance far more difficult and risky than if they still had cars. 500 miles for us doesn't seem that far, but walking? That's a much further distance, and much harder to survive such a journey.

About speaking of it as if were someplace far off, distant...I think that could be explained by the fact that people within the Walls seem to have no concept of pre-Wall places or identities. We know Mikasa is Japanese, but she doesn't know that. I don't think it's likely that it's in Asia, but I don't think it can be ruled out yet.

(Anonymous) 2014-07-29 03:08 pm (UTC)(link)
Supposedly SnK isn't set in our world but in an analog to our world, versus an alternative history. The Japanese text accompanying the illustrations at the very start of the manga, I am told, states that technology in the walled cities has been frozen in time somewhere between 1600 and 1800 CE in the real world (so during the heyday of European colonization).

OTOH the hand cannons in the latest chapters are much more modern than that, and the glass syringe that Grisha uses to inject Eren with was, in our world, a 19th-century invention. The saloon scene in chapter 58 is also rather chronologically suggestive, unless you want to write it off as Isayama having a little fun. I missed the telephones — where'd you see those? Were they in the most recent chapter?

The Japanese text also states that the surviving 10% of humanity — or at least those who could afford ship passage — sailed to a new continent. So the canon implication is that they're somewhere in North America. (I've seen the Forest of Giant Trees described as a redwood forest.)

That said, this doesn't explain the ethnic breakdown all that well, even when you take into consideration that the surviving white people committed genocide against the surviving people of color. The bulk of the population we've met so far have German or, to a lesser extent, English names. I can understand that prosperity, as well as proximity to the Atlantic, would not necessarily have equaled a better chance of escape: Survivors in poorer Atlantic-coast countries like Ireland or Portugal would have been screwed. But why would German-speaking people have been better able to escape across the Atlantic (via the North Sea) than people in France, who were and still are on an economic par with Germany? And, if titans need the sun to power their activity, why were there so few apparent survivors of Nordic descent, who would have been able to take to the sea as easily as Germans would have?

Personally, and not entirely for the above-stated reasons, I just ignore that aspect of canon and imagine them in west-central Europe.

(Anonymous) 2014-07-29 03:12 pm (UTC)(link)
SA - oops, editing fail.

I can understand that prosperity, as well as proximity to the Atlantic, would not necessarily have equaled have provided a better chance of escape:
blitzwing: ([Attack on Titan] mikasa)

[personal profile] blitzwing 2014-07-29 03:40 pm (UTC)(link)
I missed the telephones — where'd you see those? Were they in the most recent chapter?

I'm thinking mostly of the anime, tbh. There was the incident where the Ackermans were murdered, and Grisha said he was going to call the police. "I'm going to call the Military Police to request a search for her" is how my eps' subs have it. That could mean walking/riding back to town and summoning them physically, but I assumed, given that they're inside Wall Sina and the murder took place within Wall Maria, that that meant having to call them on some kind of long-distance communication like telephone or telegraph.

Plus, I think I remember us being actually shown one of the military making/receiving a call in the later eps (regarding the Trost/Titan shifter development).


The Japanese text also states that the surviving 10% of humanity — or at least those who could afford ship passage — sailed to a new continent. So the canon implication is that they're somewhere in North America. (I've seen the Forest of Giant Trees described as a redwood forest.)


Oooh that makes a lot of sense! I was pondering on that, thinking about how they break the geography of any area there is (no where in the world has giant trees!) but Redwoods could qualify. They're the biggest rl-trees I can think of.

But why would German-speaking people have been better able to escape across the Atlantic (via the North Sea) than people in France, who were and still are on an economic par with Germany?

See, if I hadn't been told the "took to ship" thing, I might have assumed it was one of the odd enclaves of the Amish, Mennonites, or Hutterites, for instance, that still speak German and still keep a lot of markers of old German culture. I guess they're also present in many places outside North America, like in Bolivia, so the ship thing doesn't completely knock them out. It would also explain the anti-technology bent the Walled society has, albeit twisted over time.

And, if titans need the sun to power their activity, why were there so few apparent survivors of Nordic descent, who would have been able to take to the sea as easily as Germans would have?

The ethnic demographics of SnK really don't make much sense, do they? There's no good reason for them to be the way they are, and a lot of reasons why they should be more varied. Personally, I just distrust the figures/narrator as inadvertently unreliable (Eren and the others only know what they've been told, by a corrupt government after all)--I think it's entirely possible that other enclaves of survivors exist outside the Walls, in places like Scandinavia as well as others.

(Anonymous) 2014-07-30 04:08 pm (UTC)(link)
If it's an analogue world, then isn't it entirely possible that the land masses are different from ours and trying to place the world is simply over-thinking things? I've given up trying to place the setting historically – technology, clothing, buildings, etc. are all a mishmash of very different eras that makes little logical sense. tbh I don't think there is an answer to where and when, only what makes more or less sense and what Isayama thought was cool and wanted to include/needed for plot or streamlining reasons.

(Anonymous) 2014-07-31 01:56 am (UTC)(link)
AYRT

I was thinking that, actually, after leaving the above comment.

It'll be interesting to find out precisely how the canon world does and does not align with our own.

(Anonymous) 2014-08-09 12:34 pm (UTC)(link)
Yeah, that's my operative theory too - it isn't supposed to be our world exactly, more like a parallel world with similar but not entirely comparable characteristics when it comes to landmass, ethnic population breakdown, technological history, etc., based around stuff that Isayama liked.

Any other theory I try to come up with has way too many holes to function.

(Anonymous) 2014-08-09 12:57 pm (UTC)(link)
Also, I really like the idea that the government lied to the population (maybe without even realizing it) and there are plenty of enclaves of survivors scattered around the world. And probably in a lot of those enclaves the survivors think they're the only ones!

I have an idea for a huge spinoff fic set in our own world, in the Mediterranean Sea, in which some survivors had established an enclave on the Mediterranean islands, concentrating in the Ionic/Adriatic/Aegean area (South Italy and the lower Balkanic region including Greece, basically).

We're not told what happens to Titans in water AFAIK, but I assumed they would float, but be unable to walk on the sea bottom or swim due to how their body is so light and how they need sunlight to survive, so the survivors had come up with a very cool system of nets to block them. No 3dmg, tho - the world I had in mind wouldn't be very technologically advanced. I was thinking to have the invasion start around the time of the Lepanto Battle because it's a cool historical setting and I really like the idea of Muslim Ottoman Empire and Catholic European Mediterranean superpowers suddenly needing to work together to keep the enclaves of survivors alive and peaceful and possibly reconquer the mainland.

I have come up with a complex cultural setting and a possible plot and everything, but I'm entirely discouraged by how huge such a thing would be. But it's a nice mental chewing gum, imagining how a settlement would work in your region/area in your century of choice.

(Anonymous) 2014-08-11 06:57 pm (UTC)(link)
DA

If you ever write that, please link it here!