One of the things I love about Attack on Titan is how it presents scenes with simple meanings and then expands on them years later, giving them a completely new and much more interesting context.
Such can be seen in Chapter 121, “Future Memories”, which expands on numerous moments from the series in the best way possible.
Who would have thought that the scene where Eren saw his father’s memory of killing the Reiss family, when he kissed Historia’s hand, would go on to contain one of the most pivotal reveals of the manga so far?
Well, it does because it is revealed in this chapter that the Attack Titan has the ability to interact with memories from the past and the future.
This results in Eren convincing Grisha to kill the Reiss family and then showing him a memory of a “terrifying” future, which Eren ended up seeing all the way back when he kissed Historia’s hand.
So, Eren has known for four years what will happen because of his actions.
This gives so much new meaning to not only that scene from Chapter 90 but to every other scene with Eren leading up to Chapter 121.
Remember the ocean scene where Eren talked about them killing their enemies so they can be free?
Now we know Eren said that not because he thinks he will have to do it but because he knows he will have to do it, based on what he has seen.
It has finally been revealed why Eren was such a different character post time skip.
This also basically confirms exactly what Eren is planning to do with the Founding Titan power; initiate the Rumbling to destroy the entire world so Paradis can be safe.
Although this has yet to be officially confirmed, it all adds up.
It is further supported in this chapter by Grisha saying that Eren’s dream is “such a terrifying thing.”
This, in no uncertain terms, makes Eren a monster.
Even if his reasoning behind this act is to save all of his friends, he still appears to be planning to kill literally billions of people to make that happen.
Just because his reasoning is not monstrous does not mean his actions are not.
His goal appears to be so extreme that it even got me to support Zeke over him for a second.
Let me reiterate that, Hajime Isayama actually got me to temporarily support a plan that involves sterilizing an entire race of people because it is the lesser of two evils.
That is how complex the story has become; basically showing that no matter how this story ends it will not be the happily ever after many, including myself, are desperately hoping for.
No, it will most likely end with Eren destroying the world to keep his friend safe.
Eren doing it for this reason is epitomized by him not paying attention to Zeke because he is too busy staring at the moment he wrapped his scarf around Mikasa’s neck, showing he still cares for her.
However, the best character of the chapter is not Eren or Zeke; but Grisha.
I love what Isayama has done with his character.
Grisha is dead and yet Isayama still finds ways to constantly expand on his character through his memories.
Seeing that Eren had to be the one to push him to murder the Reiss family; because he initially could not bring himself to do it, is very hard hitting.
What is the most emotional scene by far, though, is when Grisha finally sees Zeke and tearfully apologizes for the way he treated him.
He then hugs Zeke and tells him he loves him.
This moment had me in tears.
It is such an emotionally impactful scene that has been building up for a while now.
And the fact that I still sympathize enough with Grisha and Zeke to cry at their reconciliation, despite all the terrible things they have done, shows how brilliant they are as characters.
The scene even leads to Grisha begging Zeke to stop Eren from initiating his plan.
However, this is where my one potential issue with the chapter lies.
This issue is a plot hole because if Grisha wanted to stop Eren then why did he go on to give him the Founding and Attack Titan?
Granted, this is only a potential issue at the moment because it could be explained later.
After all, Eren does tell Zeke that he did not get to see the memory where he ate Grisha; so there could be something to do with this memory that explains Grisha’s actions.
Whatever the case, Zeke takes his father’s advice of stopping Eren and orders Ymir to sterilize all Eldians.
The chapter ends with Eren breaking free of his chains and running to stop her.
What this will result in is anyone’s guess but I personally think it could lead to us seeing Ymir’s memories if Eren comes into contact with her.
Given how I was completely wrong about everything else that would happen in this chapter, though, I would not be surprised if Isayama blew my mind in a completely different way.
One final thing to note before I get into my overall thoughts is that I have no idea how this series can make me laugh when so many dark things happen in it.
The moment when Zeke sees Freida talking about how they should perish, and then he talks about how he thinks they would “get along well” had me bursting with laughter… before that humor turned to horror, as expected.
Overall, Chapter 121, “Future Memories”, is another brilliant Attack on Titan manga chapter.
It provides a great twist that redefines the meaning of many prior scenes, expands on the characters of Eren, Zeke and Grisha brilliantly, and made me cry with one of the manga’s most emotional scenes.