The Attack on Titan Season 4 studio change has officially been confirmed and Studio MAPPA is replacing WIT Studio. What’s more, it’s possible the Shingeki no Kyojin Season 4 release could be pushed back into 2021 based on the latest anime news leaks, although some sources disagree.
Attack On Titan Season 4 is officially being known as Attack On Titan: The Final Season since it will be adapting the Shingeki no Kyojin manga’s ending (the final chapter should be released in 2020). The official trailer was released on May 29, 2020, and it revealed the new production staff and the new studio.
Former Chief Director Tetsuro Araki will be replaced by director Yuichiro Hayashi, who just wrapped up directing Dorohedoro. Similarly, character designer Tomohiro Kishi also worked on Dorohedoro and is replacing Kyoji Asano, but that’s not surprising since Asano is a WIT Studio co-founder.
As might be expected, the entire animation team is different, but MAPPA has pulled together some good talent. Former AoT Chief Animation Director Satoshi Kadowaki was directly attached to WIT Studio so he’s being replaced by Daisuke Niinuma, who’s known for his work on Banana Fish, Kakegurui, Punch Line, To The Abandoned Sacred Beasts, and Deadman Wonderland.
Art Director Kazuo Ogura also directed the art for notables like the Dragon Ball Super: Broly movie. 3D CG Director Takahiro Uezono worked on the 3D production for Kill la Kill, JoJo’s Bizarre Adventure, and Yuri!! On Ice.
Keep in mind that many anime creators are contractors so they’re not tied to WIT Studio. That means some of the staff are returning from the previous Attack On Titan Seasons to work at MAPPA.
Most importantly, AoT Seasons 1 through 3 scriptwriter Hiroshi Seko (Vinland Saga, Mob Psycho 100) is returning. Attack On Titan music composer Hiroyuki Sawano is also returning, although he’s joined by Kohta Yamamoto who is known for his work on The Seven Deadly Sins anime.
Updated June 1, 2020: Added Attack On Titan Season 4 Fall 2020 rumor.
Shingeki no Kyojin Season 4 release date delayed by COVID-19?
One thing that really jumps out about the new trailer is that the Attack On Titan Season 4 release time frame is not mentioned at all. The official MAPPA Twitter account simply says to “look forward to the anime broadcast”.
The official website’s Broadcast Information page simply shows a graphic for the NHK broadcast schedule but doesn’t actually list any time frame.
In the past, the official announcements were very clearly stating that the final season would premiere in the fall of 2020. Considering that the entire anime industry has been impacted by the effects of the SARS-COV-2 coronavirus pandemic and Japan’s long state of emergency (which ended May 26), it’s possible that the fourth season has been quietly pushed back.
In fact, when anime news leaker Yonkou Productions was recently asked if “Attack On Titan [is] getting delayed” he replied, “That’s the word around town.”
On the other hand, anime news leaker Spytrue is claiming that AoT Season 4 is still coming out in fall 2020. But Spytrue also previously claimed in December 2019 that the studio change wasn’t happening so these news leaks should be taken with a grain of salt.
While there’s been no official confirmation yet, a delay wouldn’t be surprising. Many studios’ schedules suffered from cascading effects due to the ongoing coronavirus pandemic and the worldwide mitigation efforts.
That Time I Got Reincarnated As A Slime Season 2, The Seven Deadly Sins Season 4, Haikyuu!! Season 4, Black Clover, Pokemon Journeys: The Series, The Promised Neverland Season 2, My Teen Romantic Comedy SNAFU Season 3, The Quintessential Quintuplets Season 2, Re: ZERO Season 2, Sword Art Online: Alicization Final Season, and No Guns Life Part 2 have all been pushed back to later dates.
The few anime that are not being delayed had production schedules in which the episodes were completed before the pandemic swept the world.
The Tower Of God anime, My Next Life as a Villainess: All Routes Lead to Doom!, Kaguya-sama: Love is War Season 2, and Ascendance of a Bookworm Season 2/Part 2 are among the anime productions that was able to complete episodes before the pandemic delayed the work.
The Attack On Titan Season 4 studio change to MAPPA was predicted a year ago
Back in May 2019, a post by a Chinese animator on Weibo first teased the fact that WIT Studio was quitting Attack On Titan. He directly stated that Attack On Titan Season 3 Part 2 was the “final season” for the animation team he’d spent 8 years working for.
This revelation caused many people to reach out to sources at WIT Studio and they confirmed what the Chinese animator was saying. The reputable Sakurabooru blog verified “the leaks that qualified people at WIT [Studio] have indeed said they’re done with Attack on Titan”.
Fast-forward to Crunchyroll 2019 and WIT Studio President and CEO George Wada (who has also been recently promoted to Production I.G. anime producer) greatly confused fans by saying “there’s an opportunity” when asked for his opinion on SnK Season 4. Wada was surely aware of the rumors at the time, so many interpreted his comment as an indirect confirmation.
By a curious coincidence, I wrote the storyboard and directed the PV of #AoT Final Season! I'm so grateful for this opportunity!
The director of main series is Yuichiro Hayashi! (Dorohedoro, Kakegurui, Garo: Divine Flame.) #MAPPA !
— やぶた (@yabshu55) May 29, 2020
kVin of Sakurabooru also correctly predicted that Attack On Titan Season 4 would be produced by MAPPA.
“Other than the easy choice of Production IG, I might go with a larger and reckless studio like MAPPA,” kVin wrote at the time. “And I genuinely believe they could put together a different team with exceptional qualities of their own to offer a new take on the series.”
Let’s just hope that WIT Studio quitting doesn’t negatively impact the final season. For more details and spoilers, please see our article on the Attack On Titan Season 4 release date. Stay tuned!