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The location of the walls (i.e. the country or region) is never revealed in the manga nor the anime of Shingeki no Kyojin. Many assume that it's somewhere in Western Europe, because of the characters' nationalities (German, English, French). However, using some easily-overlooked information from the manga, this can easily be ruled out.

Again, like my typical theory posts, I'm not saying that the setting is definitely in America (for all we know Isayama never picked a location), I'm just putting together theories I found over the internet in one pretty post, because theories are FUN!

Wall Dimensions

File:About the Walls Pt2.jpg
Many maps of the three walls are extremely unproportionate--there's a huge amount of space between them--so the area bounded by Wall Maria is easily underestimated when guessing its location. Luckily, the anime provides us with neat, precise numbers of the dimensions (image on right). Assuming that this information is reliable, we can do all sorts of fun calculations!

Calculating the Dimensions of the Walls

  • Radius = 250 km + 130 km + 100 km = 480 km
  • Circumference = π * Diameter = π * 960km ≈  3016 km
  • Area = π * Radius² = π * (480 km)² ≈ 723,822 km²

The Walls on a Map

Now wouldn't it be so cool if we had an interactive map where we can drag around a circle with the dimensions mentioned above to test possible locations? David Mear[1] has created exactly this, for all of us to use:

http://davidmear.com/snk/map/

Using this, it is clear that the walls are nowhere near small enough to fit in France, Germany, England, or even Western Europe.

Manga and Anime Clues

Clues from the manga further narrow down the possible locations of the walls.

  • Ocean: Armin expresses his deep fascination that, according to his grandfather's book, "most of the world is covered by a water body known as the sea!!" and that "the sea is entirely made of salt water," to which Eren responds "Nonsense! Salt is like, extremely valuable"[2]. This implies that the sea, or any large body of salt water, is a foreign concept to the inhabitants of the walls because they live far from it.
  • Landscape: In OVA 3, the characters are roaming a desert landscape, and there are no deserts in Europe[3]. To fit into the theory that SnK is set in America, the big river could be the Mississippi, and the mountains could be the Appalachians.
  • A bird flies by

    A bird resembling the cedar waxwing appears at around 5 minutes into OVA 3, while Mikasa and Thomas are discussing.

    Wildlife
    : Also in OVA 3, a bird that resembles the Cedar Waxwing appears while Mikasa and Thomas are discussing possible routes and reading maps (image on right). The Cedar Waxwing can be found only in North America[4]. One could argue that the bird also resembles the Bohemian Waxwing, which can be found in Northern Europe and North America, but birds of this species are seen only during the winter or in regions with cold temperature and high altitudes[5]. Because the setting of this OVA is clearly somewhere with hot, desert-like temperatures, it can be deduced that this bird is the Cedar Waxwing, not the Bohemian Waxwing.
  • Diversity: Based on the last names of the characters, there is a wide range of nationalities present in the story[6]. America is known to be a very diverse continent, while Europe is one of the least diverse[7].
  • Wild West: Kenny Ackerman 's encounter with Levi suggests a Wild West theme[8]
  • New World: Not many people know that there is hidden writing in upside-down Katakana on the inside covers of the manga. There is mention of sailing to a "new world," where walls were had been "previously prepared" (an interesting topic worthy of its own post!)[9]
巨人の圧倒的な戦力に成す術もなく、人類は新天地への航海を余儀なくされた。
Unable to match the overwhelming force of the Titans, humanity was forced to sail to a new world.
America is known to be the "New World" after its discovery by Christopher Columbus.
  • Climate: Isayama commented about the climate and temperature of the story (which is reflected on the type of clothing the characters wear) but I am unable to find the source or the exact wording. Based on the clothing however, it can be inferred that the temperature is moderate.

The Winged Victory of Samothrace

Winged-victory

Image from Tumblr

Some have noticed that the statue in the recent OVA 4 (No Regrets, Part 1) Trailer looks exactly like the Winged Victory of Samothrace, a 2nd-century BC marble sculpture of the Greek goddess Nike[10]. Since this statue is currently displayed in the Louvre Museum in Paris and is unlikely to leave France due to its fragmented condition, some have hypothesized that the setting of Attack on Titan is in France. But, using our handy map on David Mear's website, we know this is impossible because the walls are too large to fit in this country.

The only explanation for this contradiction is that the statue seen in the trailer is one of the many copies found in the Americas: Las Vegas, Ohio State University, Syracuse University (New York), Connecticut College, Argentina, Cape Town (Africa), and others[11].

Edit: Whoa what am I even talking about, it did not even occur to me that SnK is set in 850 AD, way before the Winged Victory of Samothrace was discovered, in 1863!! For some reason I was thinking that SnK is set in the future. Here is my newly revised section, after a bit of historical research:

Some have noticed that the statue in the recent OVA 4 (No Regrets, Part 1) Trailer looks exactly like the Winged Victory of Samothrace, a 2nd-century BC marble sculpture of the Greek goddess Nike. The marble figure was discovered in 1863 in Samothrace, a small island off the coast of Greece, and has been displayed in the Louvre Museum in Paris since 1883 after relocation and segmented reconstruction[12].

Considering that SnK took place in 850 AD, one would assume that the statue in the trailer depicts the Winged Victory before it was discovered in Samothrace. However, this makes no sense because SnK can not be set in Samothrace: it is a miniscule island in comparison to the Walls (even Wall Sina alone would not fit on it!). But if the statue in the trailer is not in Samothrace, where it was sculpted in 200 BC, why would it be moved elsewhere, then moved back to be discovered in the 19th century?

From another perspective, considering that the statue in the trailer appears to be in the exact same fragmented condition as its modern counterpart, one would assume that the trailer statue existed some point in time between its 1863 discovery and its 1883 relocation to Paris. But again, this makes no sense: with SnK set in 850 AD, the time frames do not match.

Therefore, either the producers invented the pre-discovery history of the Winged Victory of Samothrace, or they simply thought it was a really cool-looking statue and decided to use it in their animation without doing any research, or thinking how much it would confuse their observant, already-confused fans...! Either way, although this is an extremely well-spotted observation (I applaud whoever noticed it first), it does not contribute towards theorizing the location of the story.

References

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