Nerd Culture

Paul Gosar Posted a Bizarre Attack on Titan-Themed Anime Video to Twitter

Arizona Congressman Paul Gosar as Attack on Titan protagonist Eren Yaeger.
Arizona Congressman Paul Gosar as Attack on Titan protagonist Eren Yaeger.
As further proof that we’re living in the weirdest timeline, Arizona Congressman Paul Gosar posted an anime-themed video depicting him attacking prominent Democrat politicians to his Twitter account on Sunday, November 7.

The 92-second-long clip – which was posted with the text “Any anime fans out there?” – features images of Gosar and other GOP politicians edited and Photoshopped into scenes from the popular anime series Attack on Titan. In the video, Gosar becomes the show’s protagonist Eren Yaeger and slays a giant monster (or “titan”) resembling New York Congresswoman Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez as the theme song from Attack on Titan plays. Later, the Gosar/Eren Yaeger hybrid launches himself at the giant floating head of President Joe Biden.

The video also features an anti-immigrant bent, including footage of migrants crossing the border between the U.S. and Mexico, as well as officials from U.S. Customs and Border Protection flying helicopters, using high-tech surveillance gear, or zooming around the desert on quad cycles.

Gosar’s name also appears underneath the Japanese text for the phrase “attack of the immigrants” in the video, which also includes interstitials with words like “drugs,” “crime,” “poverty,” “money,” “gangs,” violence,” and “trafficking.”

The video has gotten 2.5 million views since it was posted. In the parlance of anime culture, it’s known as an "anime music video" (or AMV) where fans edit together clips from a particular show or movie and set it to a particular song.

It’s not the first time an Arizona politician has waded into an internet-fueled geeky subculture. In 2018, Arizona State Senator Kelly Townsend (then a member of the state House of Representatives) had a run-in online with furries after asking about the lifestyle on Twitter.

So why did Gosar reach out to weebs or otakus with the anime video? One commenter on Reddit described it as his “How do you do, fellow kids?” moment, but it likely was an attempt to court anti-immigrant and white supremacist members of Attack on Titan's fanbase. According to a 2020 article by The New Republic, the show’s plot (humans defending their walled city from enormous man-eating “titan” creatures) is seen as an allegory for immigration and the white extinction theory by nationalists.

Attack on Titan’s anime and the original manga series that inspired it have also been criticized for having anti-Semitic, pro-fascist, and pro-genocidal themes. (Attack on Titan’s creator Hajime Isayama denies this, though.)

Gosar has previously been linked to white nationalist groups and individuals, including noted Holocaust denier and pundit Nick Fuentes, and spoke at the far-right America First Political Action Conference earlier this year.