Attack on Titan Pulls Eldian Armbands From Stores Due to Anti-Semitic Connotations

Attack on Titan will not sell Eldian armband merchandise.

The official website for the series announced that it has canceled the release and distribution of official Eldian armbands. The production committee for the show acknowledged that the armbands recall real world examples of discrimination and apologized. The armbands went up for preorder online on Sunday before being pulled. While there are multiple examples throughout history of nationalist or fascist governments requiring subjugated minority groups to wear some sort of identifier to differentiate themselves from the rest of the populace, the use of armbands in Attack of Titan is most frequently cited as a reference to Nazi Germany's infamous policy of forcing Jewish people to wear yellow, star-shaped "Jewish badges".

In the Attack on Titan series, the country of Marley forces members of the Eldian ethnicity to wear the armbands, so they can be identified as the targets for discriminatory laws and regulations, such as forced segregation. Most of the series' protagonists hail from Paradis Island, the last remaining Eldian territory, while Marley and its military serve as the antagonists for much of Attack on Titan's second half.

Attack on Titan was recently pulled into a new political scandal when Republican House Representative Paul Gosar shared an edited video from the series' anime adaptation to his social media channels. The video features the faces of Gosar and several other far-right conservatives, such as Marjorie Taylor Greene and Lauren Boebert, superimposed over the series' Survey Corps protagonists, as they fought and killed several titans, which were edited to feature the faces of Gosar's political rivals, including prominent Democrats such as Representative Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez and President Joe Biden. Twitter flagged the video for violating its policies on hate speech, and many Democrats have since called for disciplinary action against Gosar, as they say the video advocates violence targeted toward their political party. Gosar denied those allegations, saying the video was meant in jest and to draw attention towards his on-going campaign against immigrants.

The cancelation of the arm bands may be a move by the show's producers to keep the series out of any further controversies as it nears its conclusion. Hajime Isayama's Attack on Titan manga published its divisive final chapter earlier this year, and its final collected volume was released in North America this fall. The anime series will also conclude soon, with the show's final batch of episodes scheduled to begin airing in Japan on Jan. 9. Attack on Titan is one of the world's most popular manga franchises, with over 100 million copies in circulation worldwide.

Source: Attack on Titan Official Website via Anime News Network

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