Attack on Titan Mappa vs. Wit Studio: Which Studio Adapted the Manga Better?
After Wit Studio dropped Attack on Titan due to time constraints and other reasons, MAPPA quickly pounced on the opportunity to deliver the final season of arguably the most impactful anime series of the last decade. However, there are clear differences between how these two studios animated Attack on Titan, as this is quite normal for animators with unique ways of adapting a manga series into an anime. So, in that regard, who between MAPPA and Wit Studio did a better job adapting Attack on Titan?
Both MAPPA and Wit Studio did great jobs in adapting Attack on Titan. The animation of Wit Studio was on-point, but the CGI delivery and faithfulness of MAPPA were also great. Both did well in adapting the manga to fit the atmosphere and themes presented in the periods they worked with.
It is important to note that the Attack on Titan period that MAPPA had to adapt to was very different from the period of the one that Wit Studio animated. They had different themes and atmospheres that were perfect for the respective studios that took charge of these chapters in the storyline of Attack on Titan. And that is why we can’t decide which one did a better job.
Animation-wise, MAPPA has always done a great job with the anime this studio handles. It usually excels in delivering animation styles that are on the darker side of the anime spectrum, and that’s why MAPPA was best for the darker and bleaker atmosphere of the post-time skip storyline of Attack on Titan, as we all know how sad and dark this part of the manga is. MAPPA did well with the 2D aspect of the anime, but its work in that department was overshadowed by its emphasis on CGI.
Wit Studio’s 2D animation was on point regarding how the studio delivered Attack on Titan and the different assets that needed to be animated. The way that Wit Studio animated the titans was more detailed and realistic compared to how MAPPA animated the titans. Of course, we know that MAPPA focused more on delivering CGI titans than animated ones. But the way that Wit Studio animated the titans was more realistic and in line with the art style of Attack on Titan.
While there’s nothing wrong with MAPPA’s animation style, we can’t deny that Wit just did better in the 2D department, especially regarding how the titans were given life.
MAPPA 0, Wit Studio 1
We all know that MAPPA focused more on CGI while blending this technology with animation to deliver a unique way of adapting the Attack on Titan manga. The way that MAPPA used CGI to give the titans larger-than-life appearances and smooth movements and sequences was great. In that regard, the combat and action scenes involving the titans were better on the part of MAPPA, as the way that the company used CGI was smoother and well-integrated.
Wit Studio was often criticized for how badly it used 3D visuals in adapting Attack on Titan. We can’t say anything wrong about the way that the studio animated the 2D assets of this series, but its 3D visuals just aren’t as on par as the 2D ones. There were instances when the 3D sequences didn’t blend well with the hand-drawn 2D assets. And that’s why some sequences just didn’t look smooth.
MAPPA’s use of CGI makes this studio so successful in today’s modern anime world, especially in other titles, such as Jujutsu Kaisen and Chainsaw Man.
MAPPA 1, Wit Studio 1
The way that the characters were designed and given life by MAPPA in the final season fit the overall atmosphere and theme of that part of Attack on Titan’s storyline. We can see how sad and bleak some characters have become, as their faces clearly show signs of stress and sadness. The way that Eren’s post-time skip personality was reflected in his design is one of the things that allowed MAPPA to stand out.
Wit Studio’s character design was faithful to the manga in that the studio could deliver designs that also fit the overall somewhat innocent and clueless atmosphere prevalent in the first three seasons of Attack on Titan. We could see the clear youthfulness in the designs of the main characters. In that regard, Wit did a great job delivering character designs that fit the atmosphere of the first three seasons.
Like many of the other aspects of Attack on Titan, we can’t compare MAPPA and Wit Studio in terms of character design because they did well with respect to the time periods of the seasons they were given.
MAPPA 1, Wit Studio 1
Faithfulness to the Manga
One of the things that fans loved about MAPPA was that it was extremely faithful to the manga in a way that allowed fans to see the pages of the manga coming to life. The fact that MAPPA’s way of adapting was nearly 1:1 is incredible because manga fans often want to see faithful adaptations of their favorite manga titles instead of adaptations based on the animation studio’s interpretations. But the thing about MAPPA is that the studio didn’t even bother to add or change a few details and went full steam ahead with its faithfulness to the source material.
We can’t say that Wit Studio bastardized its version of Attack on Titan because the animators also did a great job of being faithful to the source material. But Wit Studio did add a few details and scenes that gave more depth to the characters. For example, in Eren vs. Annie round 2, we could see a scene wherein Eren needed to reflect on whether he needed to fight Annie. While that bit didn’t change the story, it wasn’t as faithful to the manga (although it was a welcome addition).
Even though Wit Studio never introduced major changes to Attack on Titan, we can’t help but admire how faithful MAPPA has been to what has already been set in stone in the manga.
MAPPA 2, Wit Studio 1
MAPPA has more titan-on-titan action than the other seasons because we finally saw the power of the Nine Titans in play, especially when the Survey Corps attacked Liberio. We cannot deny that the action scenes in that part of the storyline were incredibly animated and had fluid sequences mixed well with the CGI bit of MAPPA’s adaptation. But while MAPPA’s action scenes look great, they look too good to be true because they tend to be more cartoonish than a seinen anime series should have.
One of the things that made Wit Studio stand out was how it focused more on how it delivered the ODM gear action that allowed the members of the Survey Corps to look so badass when facing incredibly terrifying monsters in the form of the titans. While the titan-on-titan fight scenes weren’t as over-the-top compared to how MAPPA did those parts, the way that the Survey Corps fought in their ODM gear looked so fluid and graceful with how Wit Studio animated those scenes. In that regard, Wit Studio set a high standard that was incredibly difficult for any other animation studio to top.
We can’t say that MAPPA did a bad job delivering the action scenes of Attack on Titan. Still, we can say that Wit Studio set an extremely challenging precedent for any other studio aside from MAPPA. That’s why Wit Studio gets the slight edge here.
MAPPA 2, Wit Studio 2
The Bottom Line
One of the things that fans should understand about the MAPPA and Wit Studio adaptations of Attack on Titan is that the periods and the atmospheres of the parts of the stories they adapted were different from one another. MAPPA’s adaptation started during the bleakest and darkest part of Attack on Titan, whereas Wit Studio’s first three seasons were not as dark and sad. In that regard, MAPPA’s way of delivering this dark and tense atmosphere through its animation was incredible. On the other hand, Wit Studio did great in hooking fans up with its promising world-building.
So, as such, we can’t say which studio did a better job adapting Attack on Titan. If they were to switch places and adapt the parts of Attack on Titan that the other studio adapted, then that is when we might see which adaptation is better. Nevertheless, both did a great job with their source material, which is why we can’t determine which of the two animation studios did a better job.