Iman Vellani shares her love of Assault on Titan and anime fandom

Iman Vellani is the sort of film star whose enthusiasm, humor, and openness radiates off the display and feels positively incandescent in particular person. The 21-year-old actress, finest identified for her position as Kamala Khan in 2022’s Ms. Marvel and 2023’s The Marvels, is unabashedly open in sharing her love of all issues MCU-related, from playfully debating the finer factors of canonical continuity with Marvel Studios head Kevin Feige to co-writing a Ms. Marvel restricted collection with Sabir Pirzada.

However Vellani has different passions past Marvel — her most up-to-date being anime. Earlier this 12 months on the Crunchyroll Anime Awards, Vellani shared with Polygon what satisfied her to lastly make the leap into exploring Japanese animation.

“I used to be very intimidated by anime till very just lately,” Vellani mentioned. “I began watching anime a couple of 12 months in the past, so this can be a new obsession for me, however I’m completely into it now. There’s simply a lot content material, I didn’t know the place to start out. I imply, I can barely sustain with all of the Marvel content material that’s on the market.”

Eren Yeager, the protagonist of Attack on Titan, standing in front of the “Colossal Titan” with his swords drawn in Attack on Titan.

Picture: Wit Studio/Crunchyroll

Vellani attributes her nascent love of anime to Assault on Titan, which she was launched to by way of household and mates and proudly names as her present favourite anime. “They simply discuss it on a regular basis,” Vellani mentioned, “and Assault on Titan saved coming again up at any time when they might discuss anime. I began watching it and was like, This can be a story that looks as if it’s about humanity. I feel I can get into it.

Of all the ensemble of characters that seem in Assault on Titan, Vellani identified one specifically whose story resonated essentially the most along with her. “I like Mikasa Ackerman,” Vellani mentioned. “The way in which that she saved Eren’s scarf on the finish of the present, regardless that Eren informed her to offer it up and neglect about him. Her being the one one who was in a position to kill Eren on the finish to cease the Rumbling. That may be a lady who — I don’t assume I’ve seen many different feminine characters like her who’ve that authority, willpower, and willpower to truly act on it. I just lately reduce my hair, and once I appeared within the mirror, I used to be like, I do know what my subsequent cosplay is.”

A dark haired anime woman smiles with tears in her eyes and a burgundy scarf draped around her neck.

Picture: Wit Studio/Crunchyroll

Except for Mikasa, Vellani additionally named one of many collection’ different main characters as one she particularly loved, going as far as to reward the voice actor chargeable for their efficiency in Assault on Titan’s finale. “I like Armin as a result of I at all times prefer to root for the nerdy characters,” Vellani mentioned. “I watched the ultimate half of the present with the English dub and, I don’t know who the actor who performs Armin is, however they deserve a elevate as a result of their efficiency within the ultimate episode blew me away. He made me cry, his wailing and that flashback scene between him and Eren, it simply hit me in all the best methods.”

After resisting anime for some time, Assault on Titan rapidly grew to become a present that caught along with her. “The ending was such a intestine punch. It left me feeling so terrible on the finish, however it’s like a type of Succession-type endings the place it’s not the ending you need, however it made sense. The ending made sense for the story, it made sense for the characters.

“I feel they tied the knot so completely, and I can’t consider the rest I’ve watched just lately that’s impacted me as a lot as that. I used to be crying in my mattress watching it. My mother walked in on me and she or he was like, ‘It’s simply an animation present!’ and I used to be like, ‘No, that is actual!’”

A long-haired anime man with shackles around his wrists stands with a giant glowing pillar behind him and a pitch-black starry night.

Picture: MAPPA/Crunchyroll

Shortly after ending Assault on Titan, she dove into exploring different standard collection urged by her mates. “I lastly began Jujutsu Kaisen and One Piece,” Vellani mentioned. “One Piece was one which I didn’t need to get into initially as a result of it’s like, what, a thousand episodes now, and that felt like an excessive amount of. Gray’s Anatomy was greater than sufficient for me, and I finished at, like, season 10. However after the Netflix present got here out I used to be so drawn to the characters, and after the heartbreak of Assault on Titan, I wanted one thing lighter and funnier and that made me really feel good. The characters are likable and I need to root for all of them, in order that’s a present I actually like.”

And Vellani’s love for anime doesn’t cease at TV. “I watched Suzume simply earlier than coming to Japan and I cherished it,” Vellani mentioned. “That blew my thoughts. Really a masterpiece. I additionally just lately watched The Boy and the Heron and, as a 21-year-old, it actually spoke to me and it reassured me that my inside little one nonetheless exists.”

Mahito and a grey heron with disturbing human teeth glare at each other face to face in Hayao Miyazaki’s anime movie The Boy and the Heron

Picture: Studio Ghibli by way of GKIDS/YouTube

When requested why she felt that her era has embraced anime, and what it was concerning the medium that particularly spoke to her, Vellani cited the empowering roles and depictions of ladies and kids, in addition to the craftsmanship of studios like Studio Ghibli, as a number of the explanation why anime is so standard amongst Gen Z audiences. “I simply really feel like anime feels so progressive with the best way they depict ladies and kids, particularly in Studio Ghibli films. All these films are so good at showcasing youth and childhood and creativeness in a means that’s encouraging kids to maintain that mindset.

“I really feel like a variety of American cinema proper now could be simply so miserable. It simply needs to point out the gritty actual lifetime of the world. I need to stay in a world that makes me excited for the longer term, and I feel anime does such an exquisite job in showcasing all of the beauties of life. We went to the Ghibli Museum this morning and noticed how they draw each single element of the homes — the bricks, the partitions, the home windows — and also you simply understand how a lot folks paid consideration to those particulars once they drew it. Like, that is how they see the world, and that’s how I need to see the world, as one thing that’s energetic and pleasure.”

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