Statues of the main characters from "Attack on Titan" are erected at Oyama Dam in Hita, Oita Prefecture, from where author Hajime Isayama hails. (Satoshi Juyanagi)

HITA, Oita Prefecture--Fans of the wildly popular "Attack on Titan" manga who make a pilgrimage to author Hajime Isayama's hometown here can now feel the immense scale of the epic story.

The statues of the three main characters from "Attack on Titan" were unveiled on Nov. 8 at the foot of towering Oyama Dam in the Oyamamachi district of the city.

The statues of protagonist Eren and his childhood friends Mikasa and Armin, in their younger forms, are placed looking up at the structure as if it is the massive wall from the story that protects humanity from human-devouring giants.

When visitors hold up an exclusive augmented-reality (AR) app installed in their smartphones at the dam, the Colossus Titan appears on top of the dam in the screen just like a scene from the manga when the protective wall is breached.

About 200 people, including 174 participants of a crowdfunding campaign who donated at least 50,000 yen ($480) for the project, were invited to the unveiling ceremony to celebrate along with Isayama.

"It represents the moment when the three children are faced with what's outside the wall and the reality of society, making them no longer children," Isayama said of the statues.

"'Attack on Titan' would never have been possible if I hadn't grown up here," the author continued. "I hope my work serves as a catalyst so that as many people as possible learn about Oyamamachi, Hita and Oita."

As for the manga series that is reaching its climax, Isayama said, "I feel like I only have 1 to 2 percent left to go. I resolved anew today that I would finish it to the end for those who have supported me."

Sotaro Oda, head of a local volunteer association that came up with the project, said a statue of fan favorite Captain Levi will be erected in front of JR Hita Station next year.

"We want to promote Oyama and Hita as a special place where 'Attack on Titan' fans can get together," he said.

The crowdfunding campaign was launched in August 2019, raising 29.68 million yen.

The statutes were originally scheduled to be unveiled on April 5, but the unveiling was postponed due to the new coronavirus pandemic.

To view the AR image of the Colossus Titan on the screen, users need to install the "Attack on Titan in Hita" app on their smartphones.

In addition to the Colossus Titan, the Founding Titan appears at Hita Station, while the Female Titan can be seen at the Mizube no Sato Oyama roadside rest area. The Founding and Colossus Titans can be seen fighting at the former Bungo-Mori Roundhouse in Kusu.