Chapter 99: Guilty Shadow.
After the previous chapter’s massive cliffhanger, Chapter 99, “Guilty Shadow”, picks up with a perfect transition into the confrontation between Eren and Reiner.
We get a continuation of the scene from Reiner’s earlier flashbacks when the warriors were wondering why the man who killed himself told them his story before doing so.
Bertholdt speculates it was because he wanted them to judge him and it is at this point that the story brilliantly transitions to Reiner and Eren reuniting, the implication being that Reiner’s judgement is at hand.
From here, their intense confrontation begins with Eren subtly threatening Reiner by pointing out how many people are in the building above their heads while showing how he has cut his hand to cause a transformation if necessary.
I especially loved this moment because it shows just how pragmatic and ruthless Eren has become in the four year time jump.
The Eren we knew at the beginning of the story would never threaten innocent lives and now he is doing it because he believes the ends justify the means.
Reiner’s reaction to Eren’s uncompromising darkness and Falco slowly figuring out who Eren is are also great moments in the chapter that tell a lot about both characters.
However, the real meat of this chapter is not with the meeting between Reiner and Eren but with Willy Tyber’s speech, which adds more lore and depth to Attack on Titan‘s world.
Willy reveals that when King Karl Fritz fled to Eldia he was actually trying to atone for his people’s sins and worked together with the Tyber family to achieve this.
Fritz also did not want any of his descendants to try and change anything so made it that any of his family who inherited the Founding Titan would also inherit his ideology about staying inside the walls.
This is why Freida, Uri and the other members of the Fritz/Reiss family did not fight against Marley after inheriting the Founding Titan.
I love Attack on Titan because of moments like this.
Hajime Isayama is always throwing curveballs at the reader that both expands upon the world he has built and gives big explanations to things that originally seemed to just be plot holes.
It makes me curious as to just how much of this he had planned when he started writing the manga.
It is also through Willy that we get another possible hint at future events as well.
Before starting his speech, he talks with the Asian woman from the previous chapter, who is said to be from the Azumabito family.
This woman acts very suspiciously, leaving before the speech begins, which, given the future events of the volume, has me believing she knew what was coming and may be working with the Scouts.
Speaking of the Scouts, we see capture Pieck and Galliard in this chapter.
Along with this we officially got to meet Annie’s father who is adamant that she is alive.
Annie is certainly being brought up a lot more now in the manga, which is hopefully signalling her return because she has been in that crystal way too long.
Overall, Chapter 99 was another great chapter that started Eren and Reiner’s intense meeting and fantastically delivered exposition that explained so much.
Chapter 100: Declaration of War.
Reaching 100 chapters is a big deal for any manga or comic series and Hajime Isayama delivers a powerhouse chapter with his 100th of Attack on Titan.
“Declaration of War” is my favourite chapter of the series since Chapter 86, “That Day.”
It is a fantastic chapter that delivers suspense, character growth and an amazing conclusion.
The tension of this chapter is built up brilliantly, with Isayama constantly cutting between Willy’s speech and Eren and Reiner’s conversation.
Both scenes build off one another and the tension goes up and up, until it explodes in the titular “Declaration of War” made by both sides of the conflict.
The chapter kicks off by showing the stakes of such a declaration by having a flashback to a conversation between Willy and Magath where both speculate that it is highly likely Willy will be killed if he gives his speech.
However, Willy still wants to go through with it because he believes he needs to make amends for his family’s crimes.
Then came the brilliant moment when Magath states, “I’m certain that Eldians are the descendants of devils. And I am certain that we too are devils.”
This line perfectly illustrates the morally grey area that every single character of Attack on Titan exists in.
No character in the series is completely good or evil.
They all have flaws and justifications for their actions, no matter how horrific, which makes them all, in a sense, “devils.”
This is proven by Eren’s actions at the end of the chapter and what led to this moment was some of the best writing Isayama has done.
He gave us a great view of Eren’s resolve to carry out his plan, Willy’s desire to redeem himself while still being afraid of death, and Reiner’s crippling guilt over his actions.
This can be in the final moments of the chapter where Eren seems to forgive Reiner for his actions, understanding he did it because of the brainwashing he received from Marley.
However, Reiner contradicts this by breaking down and exclaiming it was his fault Eren’s mother died, begging Eren to kill him.
This, and Willy’s declaration that he does not want to die because he “was born into his world” (the third time in the series this line has been said) seems to temporarily break Eren’s resolve.
However, it is reaffirmed when Willy shouts he wants everyone to fight with him against the “devils” of Paradis to thunderous applause.
With Eren’s resolve affirmed then comes the payoff to all the build-up in this brilliant section in the chapter.
Eren helps Reiner to his feet, states he has to keep moving forward until his enemies are destroyed and then transforms.
He crashes through the building just as Willy declares war, possibly killing hundreds of innocents before crushing Willy, bringing the chapter to an explosive end.
The build-up to this moment is spectacular and the payoff is just as good.
I am sad to see Willy go because he was a very interesting character, even though he was only in the story for a brief amount of time.
One thing I am worried about is the fate of Reiner because he and Falco were caught up in Eren’s transformation.
I do not think Falco is dead but this chapter kind of felt like the culmination of Reiner’s arc.
I hope Reiner does not die because the character development he has been getting in this arc has been nothing short of exceptional.
Still, “Declaration of War” is one of my favourite chapters of Attack on Titan with its brilliant build up and pay off.
It was a fantastic story for Attack on Titan’s 100th chapter.
Chapter 101: The War Hammer Titan.
As the title suggests, this chapter focused on the first appearance of the final Titan Shifter, the War Hammer Titan.
This Titan had been built up for quite a few chapters and it does not disappoint.
In one chapter it is made abundantly clear that the War Hammer Titan is one of the most powerful Titan Shifters, with its ability to create any weapon using its hardening ability.
The war hammer it gets its name from, a crossbow, a sword, it seems that this Titan can make anything.
It also has a great design, looking very creepy and different from any Shifter we have seen previously.
However, I will say the reveal of this Titan’s identity was very lackluster.
It is revealed to be Willy’s sister who has been a complete background character until now and her name has not even been revealed yet.
Maybe we will learn more about her later but for us to know virtually nothing about the user of one of the most powerful Titan Shifters is weird.
But, even though I found the reveal of who the War Hammer Titan is to be disappointing, this does not change the fact that the battle between Eren and this Titan is epic.
The War Hammer Titan wipes the floor with Eren, impaling him on a massive spike and then smashing his Titan’s hands and head off with its war hammer.
It is only through the intervention of Mikasa, who finally returns this chapter, that Eren is able to survive.
Like Eren, her appearance is different from before the time-skip, with her having shorter hair and a new Scout outfit.
Upon her appearance, Mikasa immediately destroys the War Hammer Titan’s nape making me think she had instantly killed it.
This angered me initially that a Titan this strong could be killed so quickly but, after reading the next chapter, I realised the War Hammer Titan still has a few tricks up its sleeve.
The War Hammer Titan battle and Mikasa’ return is not the only interesting things about this chapter though because it illustrates more than any other how dark Eren has become.
In earlier chapters Eren stated how he was “the same” as Reiner and it becomes absolutely clear how similar the two are at the beginning of the chapter.
After eating Willy and realizing he is not the War Hammer Titan, Eren attacks the crowd supposedly to draw the Titan out.
He kills probably hundreds more innocent civilians including Zofia, who is crushed by rubble, and indirectly Udo, who is stomped to death in a stampede of terrified people.
Eren is doing exactly what Reiner did when he, Annie and Bertholdt, first attacked Shiganshina.
He is now willing to kill civilians because in his eyes the ends justify the means.
This takes Eren way past the anti-hero point and closer to a villain, even if we can kind of understand his actions.
Along with this we also got a look at what some of the other characters were up to, like when Pieck and Galliard managed to escape the trap the Scouts had placed for them due to Pieck’s quick thinking.
She managed to subtly alert the panzer unit, showing how capable and smart she is as a character.
Pieck’s Titan may be the weakest of the bunch but her brains more than make up for it.
“The War Hammer Titan” was another good Attack on Titan chapter, which saw the return of Mikasa and the appearance of one of the strongest Titans in the series.
Chapter 102: Too Little, Too Late.
“Too Little, Too Late” saw the true battle between the Scouts and Marley’s Warriors finally begin.
After Mikasa’s return last chapter, this one brings back more of our old favourite characters including Jean, Sasha, Connie and Floch… OK, maybe not Floch.
All of these characters have new designs to suit the four year time skip.
Jean has a beard, Sasha has let her hair down and Connie has grown his hair longer.
Oddly enough, the only returning character this chapter who looks the same is Levi, who appearance is identical to how he looked four years ago.
It makes me wonder what kind of skin cream he is using.
Joking aside, it is also made clear how hardened characters like Jean and Sasha have become because, long after making their first kills in the Uprising Arc, they can become experienced killers when they need to be.
Still, there is a clear distinction between them and Eren and Floch, who both seem to fully embrace the ends justify the means when it comes to civilian casualties.
This led to my favourite moment of the chapter when Mikasa asks Eren if he knows what he has done by killing numerous innocents including children.
She says there is no coming back from this and the side by side panels of a tearful Mikasa looking at Eren in grief and horror and Eren looking back blankly makes for a striking image.
Floch even goes as far as to call Eren a “devil”, mirroring what he said about Erwin when he was in favor of turning him into the Colossal Titan instead of Armin.
Speaking of Armin, we have yet to see him and Hange so I wonder if they will be taking part in this battle soon?
They may be holding back for now as part of a plan but I do hope we get to see Armin’s Colossal Titan because we have yet to get a good look at it.
The main focus of this chapter though, is once again the battle between Eren and the War Hammer Titan, which is revealed to be even more unique compared to other Titans because its user is outside the nape, hidden in a protective crystal like Annie’s.
However, unlike Annie, she is fully aware inside this crystal and uses this to her advantage, almost killing Eren when she takes him by surprise when she partially reforms a new Titan body, after losing control of the first one.
This Titan is certainly overpowered and I have no idea how Eren will defeat it, if he even can.
What makes this a thousand times harder is that Zeke, Galliard and Pieck have all jumped in to help at the end of the chapter.
Although, I do wonder where Zeke was the entire time and if this ties into the theory of him secretly working with Eren for some reason?
Speaking of Galliard though, it is with him that one of my issues about the chapter lies.
Galliard goes to attack Eren but Levi steps in by cutting his jaw, which prevents him from eating Eren.
However, Levi had a clear shot at the nape making it seem like Galliard has plot armor.
Another small issue I had came at the beginning of the chapter where Magath is seen hiding in a building.
This is a bit jarring because at the end of the previous chapter he was on top of a building being attacked by the Scouts so picking up with him here seemed abrupt.
However, this does not change that “Too Little, Too Late” was a great way to end the volume and promises more action in the next volume with the continuing battle between the Scouts and the Warriors.