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This week, we brought word of a half meaningless, half vulgar message that sharp-eyed Attack on Titan fans found hidden in what looked to be a mass of scribbles. Owing to artist Hajime Isayama’s creation being the hottest serialized comic in the world, the news quickly spread around the globe. Confused and concerned parties looked to publisher Kodansha for an explanation, and now it seems they have one.

For those of you who don’t scour the Internet daily for Attack on Titan news, the scandal was set off when the most recent chapter of the comic hit newsstands on May 9. In one panel, a character is seen holding a piece of paper with what looks to be some illegible fantasy world writing.

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However, turning the page upside down revealed that the scrawl was actually Japanese, which read:

Rock scissors paper, rock scissors paper, rock scissors paper
So, what should I make, what should I make
In my right hand, a wiener, in my left hand, a pussy
Sex sex
Raw barley, raw rice, raw eggs
Talking dirty all day, all right!

Kodansha publishes Attack on Titan in its Bessatsu Shonen Magazine anthology. The once-a-month release schedule means that Isayama doesn’t have to work at quite the same feverish pace that his colleagues who draw for weekly magazines do, but still, his schedule is anything but leisurely.

As a result Isayama, like most professional manga artists, works with a team of assistants. Exactly how the workload is divided up varies from artist to artist, but in general the manga’s creator does most of the key artwork, particularly the main characters along with eyes and other facial features. In order to maximize the amount of time he can spend on these, lesser tasks get passed off to assistants. Some of these responsibilities include drawing machines, bystanders, buildings, and, you guessed it, non-essential signs, posters, and handbills.

▼ The system is a bit more sophisticated than this.

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On May 14, Isayama addressed the hidden message by posting the following on his blog.

“Many people have become aware of what happened, so I’d like to take a moment to explain. Chapter 57, which was published this month, contains words that were not the intent of the author, and are not the true intent of this manga.

However, the error of not noticing what had been written, and allowing the draft to be submitted and go to press, rests entirely with me. This is the result of a lack of diligence regarding my own materials, and I am incredibly sorry for disappointing those of you who have been enjoying the continuing serialization of the series.”

The manga’s editor chimed in the following day, tweeting:

“I apologize for not catching this at the final proofreading stage. I’ll be making efforts to ensure that this kind of idiotic, embarrassing mistake doesn’t happen again.

The magazine shipped without Isayama or myself noticing what the assistant had written.”

▼ No mention was made of what sort of disciplinary action would be taken against the assistant, but we imagine the editor’s first choice would be something along these lines.

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In retrospect, Isayama’s professed lack of involvement is consistent with the manner in which he’s helmed his manga so far. As Attack on Titan’s popularity has continued to grow, so has its amount of licensed merchandise. Some of these have gotten pretty silly, but the source material itself has stuck to playing its story completely straight-faced. In light of that, Isayama’s assertion that he wasn’t the one who couldn’t resist the urge to slip in some grade school-style dirty talk seems plausible.

In any case, it’s good to know that the artist hasn’t snapped from the pressure of sitting atop the throne of Japan’s comic kingdom, and that he’s mentally fit to go back to work on Attack on Titan Chapter 58.

Sources: Jin, J Cast
Top image: One Pixel Jump
Insert images: Jin (edited by RocketNews24), Blogspot, Wikia