Attack On Titan: The Final Season Part 2 Band SiM On Making An Apocalyptic Theme Song [Interview]

There is arguably no bigger anime at the moment than "Attack on Titan." From the moment the show premiered almost a whole decade ago, it captivated audiences with its horrific, thrilling post-apocalyptic tale of survival. As the story has progressed, it has evolved into something far more complex, mature, and ruthless, going from a horror show to, well, still a horror show, but now with a lot more political and moral intrigue.

From the beginning, "Attack on Titan" has also been a show full of incredible music, from its blood-pumping score by Hiroyuki Sawano to incredibly catchy songs by bands like Linked Horizon. In its final (kind of) season, the show turns full apocalypse, from its epic scale all the way down to its opening theme song. "The Rumbling" is unlike any other song in the show, a phenomenal apocalyptic metal anthem that places us inside the tortured mind of the show's hero-turned-mass-murdering-monster, Eren Jaeger. The song instantly became a hit (even topping the Billboard hard rock chart) thanks to its fantastic lyrics and head-banging melodies.

We had the chance to speak with the band in charge of the hit song, SiM, about placing the audience inside the mind of Eren, looking at the manga for inspiration, and more.

'It's written from the perspective of the Titans'

"Attack on Titan" is known for its incredible opening songs, but this one feels quite different — less about action or excitement, and angrier or even scarier. What emotions did you have in mind when making the song? How did you want it to stand out, particularly for this final season?

MAH (lead singer): As in the title, rumbling is sort of the central idea. So it's written from the perspective of the Titans, who stomp around the earth and how Eren throws the world into fear and despair. But he also has his own struggle, as does Armin and others. That's what we wanted to express through music.

Many people have described the opening as if Eren himself wrote it. Did you have his character in mind when making the song? How did you get into that mindset?

I'm a fan of the manga, so I read the whole series like three times to write this song, paying attention to the dialogues and characters' facial expressions, to "read between the lines," if you will. But only Isayama-sensei knows the truth. My interpretation might be wrong, but I think that's okay.

'It covers the overarching story of Eren and his feelings'

In creating "The Rumbling," did you focus on a specific storyline? Or were you trying to reflect the overall arc of the series?

That's a tough question. I can definitely say that it's not a snapshot of one single moment. For example, the first line and the second line of the lyrics are not necessarily happening at the same time. If the first line was about today, maybe the second line was from yesterday. Or 10 days from now, or years. So I hope that you don't get too hung up on the chronological orders of things. So in that sense, I guess you could say it covers the overarching story of Eren and his feelings in this song.

What was the hardest part about making the song fit into the 90 seconds of the intro?

I'd say it's tempo, BPM [beats per minute]. I wanted to make it a bit slower, but to fit into 90 seconds, I had to pick up the tempo a tad bit faster than I had imagined.

How does it feel to be one of the only anime songs to reach the U.S. Billboard charts?

We had expected that the anime OP clip on YouTube would be viewed a lot. But we never expected that our song, on the merit of our music, would be received so favorably. As a musician from a band in a small Asian country like myself, I never imagined that our song would be in the Billboard chart, even in my wildest dream. So I feel very lucky that it became a reality!

"Attack on Titan: The Final Season Part 2" is streaming on Crunchyroll and Funimation. SiM will perform "The Rumbling" live for the first time outside Japan at the upcoming Crunchyroll Expo on August 6, 2022.