Polygon

Marvel’s Iman Vellani dishes on her love of Attack on Titan

Iman Vellani is the sort of film star whose enthusiasm, humor, and openness radiates off the display and feels positively incandescent in individual. The 21-year-old actress, finest recognized for her function 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 yr on the Crunchyroll Anime Awards, Vellani shared with Polygon what satisfied her to lastly make the leap into exploring Japanese animation.

“I was very intimidated by anime until very recently,” Vellani mentioned. “I started watching anime about a year ago, so this is a new obsession for me, but I’m totally into it now. There’s just so much content, I didn’t know where to start. I mean, I can barely keep up with all the Marvel content that’s out there.”

Picture: Wit Studio/Crunchyroll

Vellani attributes her nascent love of anime to Attack on Titan, which she was launched to by way of household and buddies and proudly names as her present favourite anime. “They just talk about it all the time,” Vellani mentioned, “and Attack on Titan kept coming back up whenever they would talk about anime. I started watching it and was like, This is a story that seems like it’s about humanity. I think I can get into it.

Of your entire ensemble of characters that seem in Attack on Titan, Vellani identified one particularly whose story resonated essentially the most with her. “I love Mikasa Ackerman,” Vellani mentioned. “The way that she kept Eren’s scarf at the end of the show, even though Eren told her to give it up and forget about him. Her being the only one who was able to kill Eren at the end to stop the Rumbling. That is a woman who — I don’t think I’ve seen many other female characters like her who have that authority, willpower, and determination to actually act on it. I recently cut my hair, and when I looked in the mirror, I was like, I know what my next 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 the collection’ different main characters as one she particularly loved, going as far as to reward the voice actor answerable for their efficiency in Attack on Titan’s finale. “I like Armin because I always like to root for the nerdy characters,” Vellani mentioned. “I watched the final half of the show with the English dub and, I don’t know who the actor who plays Armin is, but they deserve a raise because their performance in the final episode blew me away. He made me cry, his wailing and that flashback scene between him and Eren, it just hit me in all the right ways.”

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

“I think they tied the knot so perfectly, and I can’t think of anything else I’ve watched recently that’s impacted me as much as that. I was crying in my bed watching it. My mom walked in on me and she was like, ‘It’s just an animation show!’ and I was like, ‘No, this is real!’”

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 Attack on Titan, she dove into exploring different in style collection instructed by her buddies. “I finally started Jujutsu Kaisen and One Piece,” Vellani mentioned. “One Piece was one that I did not want to get into initially because it’s like, what, a thousand episodes now, and that felt like too much. Grey’s Anatomy was more than enough for me, and I stopped at, like, season 10. But after the Netflix show came out I was so drawn to the characters, and after the heartbreak of Attack on Titan, I needed something lighter and funnier and that made me feel good. The characters are likable and I want to root for them all, so that’s a show I really like.”

And Vellani’s love for anime doesn’t cease at TV. “I watched Suzume just before coming to Japan and I loved it,” Vellani mentioned. “That blew my mind. Truly a masterpiece. I also recently watched The Boy and the Heron and, as a 21-year-old, it really spoke to me and it reassured me that my inner child still 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 in regards to the medium that particularly spoke to her, Vellani cited the empowering roles and depictions of ladies and youngsters, in addition to the craftsmanship of studios like Studio Ghibli, as some of the the explanation why anime is so in style amongst Gen Z audiences. “I simply really feel like anime feels so progressive with the way in which they depict ladies and youngsters, particularly in Studio Ghibli films. All these films are so good at showcasing youth and childhood and creativeness in a approach that’s encouraging youngsters to maintain that mindset.

“I feel like a lot of American cinema right now is just so depressing. It just wants to show the gritty real life of the world. I want to live in a world that makes me excited for the future, and I think anime does such a wonderful job in showcasing all the beauties of life. We went to the Ghibli Museum this morning and saw how they draw every single detail of the houses — the bricks, the walls, the windows — and you just realize how much people paid attention to these details when they drew it. Like, this is how they see the world, and that’s how I want to see the world, as something that’s full of life and joy.”

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