The animated adaptation of Attack on Titan contains four catchy opening / ending credits themes and an epic soundtrack written by Hiroyuki Sawano. In the latter's case, nearly all of his associated singers and songwriters brought out their A-game with very memorable songs, and the soundtrack's composition blends in perfectly with the series' overarching themes. As icing on the cake, this soundtrack won the 2014 Tokyo Anime Award for Best Music note . As a bit of a challenge though, many of his themes are titled such as "進撃 vc-pf20130218 巨人", which seems to be his personal shorthand, translating to "Attack [primary instrumentation] [date of production] Titan", so good luck finding whatever track you're looking for.
- The first opening, "Feuerroter Pfeil und Bogen" ("Guren no Yumiya", i.e. "Crimson Bow and Arrow") by REVO of Linked Horizon. There's a reason it started a viral spread of parodies on the series' onset. And that isn't even the full version. The lyrics are also gushing with awesome. The German in the beginning is saying that humans are supposed to be the hunters, and the Titans, the prey. The rest of the song is basically telling humans to rise up and fight for the right to live.
- The first ending, "Utsukushiki Zankoku na Sekai"note , isn't half bad, either; it transitions smoothly from calm to dramatic while remaining powerful.
- The second opening, "Die Flügel der Freiheit" (or "Jiyuu no Tsubasa", i.e. "The Wings of Freedom"), also by Linked Horizon, is often mistaken for a German march song. Even people missing "Guren no Yumiya" are in for a treat because the song reprises the previous opening's melody at the fourth minute.
- The second ending, "Great Escape" by Cinema Staff, switches things up with a heavy rock song that perfectly describes the frustration and determination of 104th Training Corps as they fight to regain their freedom.
- The soundtrack kickstarts in force with the Title Drop track "Attack on Titan"note , establishing the series' overall atmosphere with an ominous German chorus and Mika Kobayashi's ever-powerful singing. Notably used during the Armored Titan's breakthrough of Wall Maria's inner gate and Titan Eren's confrontations against the Female Titan.
- "The Reluctant Heroes" by mpi, the insert song played in Episode 3 during Eren's training, and Episode 9 when Levi and his team are introduced kicking Titan ass. Parts of its melody are also present in other tracks.
- "eye-water" and "omake-pfadlib" are used for some more emotional heavy-hitting moments of the show.
- "Counter Attack Mankind" note , often played in the thick of a battle, especially those that have a heavy emotional weight, like Mikasa's epic struggle at the end of Episode 7 while embracing life despite the pain from Eren's apparent death. The later half's brass bombardment is sometimes omitted to emphasize the chorus, as shown during the first episode's sneak peek at the Colossal Titan's Signature Scene.
- "DOA" (Dead on Arrival), the insert song from Episode 4, when members of the Top 10 are described, and Episode 7, when Mikasa leads the trainees into battle. Sung in Surprisingly Good English by American singer Aimee Blackshleger.
- "Vogel im Käfig", the insert song sung by Cyua, is German for "caged bird". The first half of the song is used in a heroic instance, as a transformed Eren displays what Mikasa describes as humanity's wrath. The second, more recognizable part is played during Carla's death, Eren's first transformation into the Rogue Titan, and the Female Titan's brutal beatdown of the Special Operations Squad. A remixed, more dramatic version, titled "You See Big Girl/T:T", is used for the reveal of the identities of the Armored and Colossal Titans, to underscore the betrayal that Eren (and the rest of the Corps) was feeling at that moment.
- E-M-A note , which is played for great effect during the battle to recapture Trost, or, even better, Titan!Eren carrying the massive rock on his shoulders Atlas-style.
- "Rittai Kidou" note , the Survey Corps' epic and uplifting theme. Almost always plays whenever the action starts building up.
- "Titan's Attack" note , which is often played during scenes where hard decisions must be made.
- "XL-TT", the song that kicks in during intense moments (usually when a Titan shows up), with the crowning one being the Colossal Titan's head and hand creeping over Wall Maria. The second half, which plays when the Rogue Titan shows up and starts owning other Titans is especially awesome.
- "Call your name", co-sung by mpi and CASG. Plays as the insert song when Titan!Eren finally plugs the breach in the Trost gate, becoming the very first time humanity takes back a territory overrun by Titans. Also plays when the remainder of the trainee corps part ways for one of the three military branches. This song's melody in particular reappears in some parts of the second soundtrack as well.Eren: We're born free. All of us. Free. Some don't believe it, some try to take it away. To hell with them! Water like fire, mountains of ice, the whole bit. Lay your eyes on that, and you'll know what freedom is, that it's worth fighting for! Fight to live, risk it all for even a glimmer of real freedom! It doesn't matter what's waiting outside the gate, or what comes in! It doesn't matter how cruel the world can be, or how unjust! Fight. Fight. Fight. FIGHT! FIGHT!!!
- Megata Kyojin Kuchiku * , which plays when Levi pulls a Big Damn Heroes after an exhausted Eren plugs the breach in Trost.
- "Bauklötze" (or Building Blocks, as the lyrics are all about that), which appears when the Special Operation Squad members plead for Eren to have faith in them, all while still being chased by the Female Titan.
- The second soundtrack also has its share of awesome background themes, although every single one of them is difficult to write down. To wit:
- Track 1 note , which is soundly remembered as Levi nearly beats the Female Titan within an inch of her life where so many other soldiers died after failing to even scratch her. The latter half plays when Titan!Eren goes apeshit and takes the Female Titan down for good, and makes for a fitting (disc one) final boss theme.
- Track 2 note , often played in the episode's preface, which tells the history of mankind and its oppression by the mysterious Titans.
- Track 3 note , a slight guitar remix of "eye-water".
- Track 4 note ; the second half is often known as the Female Titan's theme.
- Track 5 note , aka the emotion-filled piece in which Mikasa recognizes Eren as he emerges from the Rogue Titan and rushes to him, as well as the depressing moment where Jean finds Marco's horribly mangled corpse. It features a cello rendition of "Counterattack Mankind".
- Track 6 note , which plays when the 104th's trainees don the Survey Corps' trademark cape for the first time, and when Mikasa desperately attempts to save Eren from the fleeing Female Titan's clutches.
- Track 10 note , a Triumphant Reprise of "Rittai Kidou", with added Victorious Chorus. Also includes an orchestral arrange of "DOA" on the last third.
- "Guren no Zahyou" (Crimson Coordinates) is the latest offering by REVO of Linked Horizon. What makes this song particularly interesting is that not only does it heavily borrow elements from "Feuerroter Pfeil und Bogen" but it also serves as the opening theme song to the first recap movie (called Attack on Titan the Movie: Part 1: ~Crimson Bow and Arrow~).
- The ending theme of the first recap movie is called "YAMANAIAME" by Hiroyuki Sawano and features the vocal talents of Mika Kobayashi, mpi, Benjamin Anderson, and newbie singer Mica Caldito.
- "So ist es immer" by Benjamin Anderson is the insert song used in Episode 1 of the Kuinaki Sentaku (A Choice with No Regrets) OVA.
- "Seishun wa Hanabi no you ni", the opening song of the Junior High spin-off, sounds like a happier remix of "Guren no Yumiya" with the Japanese school bell incorporated into the instrumentals.
- This season's opening, "Shinzou wo Sasageyo!" also by Linked Horizon, doesn't disappoint, and neither do the stunning visuals. Special mention goes to the camera-pan showing the Survey Corps standing atop the wall and then getting ready to jump off to fight off Titans, and Mikasa hurling Eren towards the Armored Titan as he bites his hand, getting ready to transform. This song also has a reprise of "Jiyuu no Tsubasa" and "Guren no Yumiya"; for the part that sounds like Guren no Yumiya, the words are the opening narration to the series.
- The ending credits song, "Yuugure no Tori" by Shinsei Kamattechan, is a bit different than the others but is still a Creepy Awesome song with dissonant voices and music, along with the grotesque European medieval style paintings of titans overrunning cities and eating people.
- As for the second season's soundtrack, "YouSeeBIGGIRL/T:T" is easily among one of the most stand-out examples, being played in two pivotal scenes, the first when Reiner outs himself along with Bertolt as a Titan shifter and subsequently transforms, and the second when Eren unlocks the power of the Coordinate. Especially notable for the return of "Vogel im Käfig" halfway through.
- "APETITAN", an impactful track full of both action and despair that first played in the Season 2 trailer to highlight the intense battles to come, and then in the show proper to announce the Ape Titan's first ominous appearance. It also plays at full blast during Eren's rescue, as Commander Erwin's troops lead a group of Titans on a collision course against the escaping Armored Titan.
- "2Volt", the suspenseful track that plays when Eren seemingly corners the Armored Titan, only for the Colossal Titan to fall on top of them both in a shocking cliffhanger. It is later used during Season 3, where Levi finally gets the honor of tearing the Beast Titan a new one after all the casualties the latter inflicted on the Survey Corps.
- "ERENthe標", better known as Eren (the) Coordinate, is a fusion of the old with the new. The first half is an organ-synth fusion piece fitting the desperate situation the military find themselves in chasing after the Armored Titan, while the second half is a new version of Counterattack Mankind's first half, most notably showing up when Eren gets his lights punched out by Reiner and during the climatic flyover shot at the finale.
- "Barricades", the song that plays during the season 2 finale, as Krista, Ymir, Connie, Sasha and Hannes leap into battle against a horde of titans, combined with some absolutely beautiful animation of Krista dancing through the air, is easily one of the highlights of the whole damn season.
- From the Linked Horizon album Shingeki no Kiseki, "Kanojo wa Tsumetai Hitsugi no Naka de". The vocals are soaring, the music is captivating, and the story is a powerful telling of Annie's backstory and supposed feelings about her mission and the people she is forced to betray.
- When Ymir recounts her past and the freedom of becoming human again, the chorus of "Call of Silence" strikes deep within the listener's heart. It helps that the song uses the motif from "Call your name", another great emotional song.
- "Red Swan" is the third season's opening, and it breaks the trend as it's being performed by Hyde and Yoshiki. Not only is it an emotional song, but it has been a #1 Rock song in a dozen countries and is the best performing anime song in the history of the iTunes rock chart!
- "So ist es immer", the insert song from "A Choice with No Regrets", gets a sad instrumental reprise during Keith Shadis's retelling of the fall of Shiganshina, to great effect.
- "Path of Longing and Corpses", the opening to the second half of Season 3, is a Continuity Cavalcade that references all of Linked Horizon's opening themes (including Season 3's first ending), starting with the same melody of "Guren no Yumiya". It perfectly Book-Ends the Survey Corps' journey and is a great sendoff to the first half of Attack on Titan.
- "K21", otherwise known as the Kenny Ackerman's theme, is a Badass Boast and summary of Kenny's snister character in rap form, performed by David Whitaker and backed by hard rock. It's made even better when this tune returns in Levi's and Zeke's forest battle in the final season. Additionally, we are first introduced to Kenny's motif through its equally chilling orchestral version, "K2-".
- "Zero Eclipse" plays when Historia rebels against her father and frees Eren. The music contains just the right amount of girl power badassery that you'd hope for such a satisfying and character-defining scene.
- "AoTs3-1000略" plays during Erwin's trial and when Eren finally reveals his hardening power for the first time. Furthermore, it's also used when Rod Reiss transforms into his Titan form and heads to Orvud District.
- While Mika Kobayashi doesn't return to sing the series' iconic "Attack on Titan" this season, Eliana picks up the slack with an Up to Eleven rendition, "ətˈæk 0N tάɪtn ＜WMId＞". This track blares as soon as the Armored Titan and the Colossal Titan make their appearance on the battlefield, signaling the start of a grueling battle for the Survey Corps. During 2019's live concert at Shanghai, Tielle and Gemie reprise the song as an explosive duet.
- "Before Lights Out", performed by Laco, is a vocalized rendition of "APETITAN", first playing when the Beast Titan launches Bertoldt's barrel as a response to Reiner's signal. You know you've got something on your hands when the info card separating episode segments doesn't pause the music. Its instrumental version, featured on Disc 2 of the soundtrack, is the actual track that's played in all scenes involving it, also forming the basis for the piano-laden "tooth-i:", which plays when Erwin makes his final suicidal charge against the Beast Titan.
- "Apple Seed" is a male vocal rendition of the first part of "You See Big Girl / T:T" from Season 2 that plays leading up to Bertoldt's nuke-style transformation, where we also see just how much he's changed after having confronted his guilt in the previous season. The tragic determination and nihilism of his inner thoughts, along with impending doom for the Survey Corps, comes through beautifully with this epic track.
- "SymphonicSuite[AoT]Part2-2nd:ShingekiNoKyojin" is a heart-wrenching yet climactic piece that plays during both Armin's sacrifice and Kruger's transformation. "T-KT" softly reprises the melody with somber violins and a Lonely Piano Piece, emphasizing the crushingly bittersweet nature of the season's finale as our heroes finally reach the ocean they've talked about in their childhood, only to realize that beyond the blue horizon lies a world full of enemies.
- SymphonicSuite[AoT]Part1-4th:7-b@$ is a hauntingly beautiful piece. It usually plays when information surrounding the Reiss family or Founding Titan is revealed.
- Name of Love, the second ending theme for season 3, is a bittersweet ending song that displays the moments the Cadets had while growing up, culminating with them walking off as soldiers, and a somber empty barracks room. The last scene also serves as a Tear Jerker as the room is empty because everyone who used to inhabit it is either dead or never coming back again.
The Final Season
- Despite the OP not being done by Linked Horizon, My War by Shinsei Kamattechan (composers of the season 2 ED) opens The Final Season perfectly, and captures the tone of the season quite well: war and chaos.
- "Shock" by Yuko Ando is a beautifully haunting tune that fits the somber mood of the season.
- "Ashes on The Fire" is the main battle motif for this season and is featured in most pre-release trailers due to the sheer hype it generates. KOHTA YAMAMOTO takes inspiration from his mentor Sawano in combining electronics with the orchestra's bombastic performance, perfectly portraying the world's technology catching up to the power of the Titans and ushering an even grimmer era of warfare.