Manga artist Hajime Isayama shows that the last thing we’ll ever see in his manga stays true to a theme it’s had since the very start.

Since mid-October, the Attack on Titan anime has been on hiatus. But while the next new episode isn’t scheduled to air until the spring of next year, fans still had plenty of reason to urn on their TVs last weekend.

The most recent installment of Japanese broadcaster MBS’ Jonetsu Tairiku news program focused on Attack on Titan creator Hajime Isayama, visiting the manga artist at his studio and talking with him about his creative process for the phenomenally successful series.

During the extended interview, Isayama revealed that he’s already working on the layout for the series’ closing scene, and even shared his rough sketch of the very final panel.

The drawing shows a long-haired man from behind, gently holding a baby with a protective hand cradling the child’s head. “You’re free…” reads what Isayama intends to be his manga’s final piece of dialogue.

It’s not clear who either the man or the child are, but considering how strongly Attack on Titan protagonist Eren’s actions are influenced by his father, a final message of paternal love, delivered via a symbolic flashback, seems like a strong possibility. Regardless of their identities, though, the man’s words show that Isayama intends to continue Attack on Titan’s theme of yearning for freedom, something the author felt longing for while growing up in a rural Oita Prefecture town ringed in by mountains, going until the series’ very end.

And just when is that end coming? That’s something Isayama didn’t specify. In 2014, he estimated the manga had about three years left until its conclusion, but we’re already a year past that. There’s also the fact that some manga creators have their series final scene in mind long before they’ve worked out how they want to arrive at it, with the process sometimes taking a very long time. Still, if Isayama is actively working on the layout for the end of Attack on Titan, it’s probably a sign that, at least in his mind, it’s not too far off.

Sources: Jin, Comic Natalie
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