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[Attack on Titan/Last Airbender] Is AoT's wall based on Ba Sing Se?

Libertad

Knight in tarnished armor
Validated User
While watching Avatar I noticed that the capital of the Earth Kingdom shares some similarities with the Wall of Attack on Titan. Concentric rings spanning vast distances with wealthier residents living in the relative center, the government keeping people out of the loop on the outside war, entire fields and regions contained within that the place is more a walled state than a city, and the walls themselves being impossibly high.

It got me to wondering if Attack on Titan took inspiration from the Last Airbender for the construction of its world. There's quite a bit of parallels.
 

Rachel Cartacos

Social Justice Dragon
Validated User
I suppose it's possible but it's not exactly a complicated concept, it's more likely they're just coincidentally superficially similar.
 

Sjogre

Registered User
Validated User
Walled towns and cities were an actual thing, historically. There's plenty of sources for them.

I don't think that I'd even call their usages similar; Ba Sing Se was just a big walled city, while the setting of Attack of Titan was an entire country within a wall.
 

Libertad

Knight in tarnished armor
Validated User
Ba Sing Se's territory looked more than just a city, though. It had plenty of open countryside and farmland within. I'd like to note that the train rails in the first picture are actually once Aang and company got past the outer wall, which was under siege by the Fire Nation's giant mobile drill:





The map in the opening shows the Earth Kingdom's capital in the northeast, and the walls are visible as two circles. It looks quite large territory-wise:

 

PenguinZero

Wark!
RPGnet Member
Validated User
It's possible, but I don't think it's likely. Timing-wise, it works out okay: Attack on Titan didn't start until 2009, and both Avatar and the episodes featuring Ba Sing Se predate that. There was even a Japanese dub of the first two seasons running from 2007 to 2009.

The big problem is that the series just wasn't very popular in Japan, and in fact the entire Nickelodeon channel was watched by almost nobody, to the point where it was taken off the air in late 2009. As far as I know, Hajime Isayama has never cited Avatar as one of his inspirations, or even mentioned the series at all. It's vaguely possible that he was one of the few to catch it on Japanese TV, but there's no evidence for it. And another mangaka who's often been accused of swiping from Avatar, Kouhei Horikoshi, is on record as saying he'd never even heard of Avatar until American fans started poking at him about the coincidence of broody young men with fire powers and burn scars over one eye.

It's certainly not impossible that, say, one or both of them caught a glimpse of Avatar's marketing in passing, and it left an impression on them that they didn't consciously remember. But that's guesswork at best, and impossible to prove. And it's not like either concept is so original that they had to have stolen it.
 

Libertad

Knight in tarnished armor
Validated User
It's possible, but I don't think it's likely. Timing-wise, it works out okay: Attack on Titan didn't start until 2009, and both Avatar and the episodes featuring Ba Sing Se predate that. There was even a Japanese dub of the first two seasons running from 2007 to 2009.

The big problem is that the series just wasn't very popular in Japan, and in fact the entire Nickelodeon channel was watched by almost nobody, to the point where it was taken off the air in late 2009. As far as I know, Hajime Isayama has never cited Avatar as one of his inspirations, or even mentioned the series at all. It's vaguely possible that he was one of the few to catch it on Japanese TV, but there's no evidence for it. And another mangaka who's often been accused of swiping from Avatar, Kouhei Horikoshi, is on record as saying he'd never even heard of Avatar until American fans started poking at him about the coincidence of broody young men with fire powers and burn scars over one eye.

It's certainly not impossible that, say, one or both of them caught a glimpse of Avatar's marketing in passing, and it left an impression on them that they didn't consciously remember. But that's guesswork at best, and impossible to prove. And it's not like either concept is so original that they had to have stolen it.
I wouldn't say it's stolen so much as emulated. There's still enough differences in both mediums that neither I'd consider a rip-off.

Unrelated, is your username inspired by the notable YouTuber Penguinz0? :p
 

Isator Levie

Registered User
Validated User
I think Attack on Titan's walls are more likely to be inspired by China than American media, and even then not exactly dependent on a direct form of inspiration.

Broad similarities in the particulars feel more likely to be convergent evolution than one drawing upon the other.
 

orangefruitbat

Registered User
Validated User
Walls exist in history, and they also exist in fantasy. Heck, look at Lord of the Rings, and most specifically the city of Minas Tirith. Concentric rings of defense, including walled-in farmland.

Avatar: The Last Airbender did not invent the concept of walls. no.
 
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