Honestly, it felt like it was taking forever for Chapter 123 of Attack on Titan, “The Devils of the Island” to be released.
After the best cliffhanger of the entire series in Chapter 122, I was desperate to see what would happen now that the Rumbling had been initiated.
However, in true Isayama fashion, he started the chapter not with the Rumbling but with a flashback to when Eren and his friends first went to survey Marley.
This surprisingly lead to some of the greatest jokes of the entire series.
There is the amazingly comedic moment where Hange, Sasha and Connie are amazed by a car, with Sasha and Connie mistaking it for a cow.
What makes this joke truly shine, though, is the following exchange between Levi and Onyankopon where Levi expresses his concern that they may try to feed the car a carrot.
Onyankopon thinks he is joking until he looks and cries out “they’re buying a carrot!”
But, by far the funniest gag of the entire chapter that left me in stitches came when a clown approaches Levi and offers him candy, thinking he is a little boy because of his height.
Levi’s expression during this moment is priceless and the fact that this random clown had just inadvertently insulted the strongest character in the manga who could tear him to pieces had me howling with laughter.
I know the chapter just came out but I already think this joke is my favourite out of the entire manga so far.
The flashback is not all sunshine and rainbows, however, as is quickly proven by a surprising character reveal when Levi notices a young boy trying to steal Sasha’s money and calls him out on it.
What is so surprising about the boy is that he is the one with the fez hat from the memory fragment in Chapter 120.
I had previously predicted that this boy would turn out to be a young Tom Xaver or a kid from the future that Eren was seeing with the Attack on Titan power but I was completely wrong about this.
No, instead the boy turned out to be an immigrant from the Mid-East Allied Forces, fleeing his country because of its war with Marley.
This leads to him being singled out by the crowd of Marleyans and it becomes clear that the country’s racism does not just extend to Eldians.
Thankfully, Levi using his quick thinking to save the boy, claiming he is Sasha’s brother before fleeing with him just as the crowd starts to turn violent.
Upon escaping, Levi notices that the boy has taken the money again.
However, I do not think he stole it because of the memory fragment in Chapter 120.
Because we now know that this fragment came from Eren’s perspective we can see there was a moment he made this boy smile.
I think the reason that the boy was seen smiling is because Eren secretly gave him the money.
If he did so it would most likely be because he sees a part of himself in the boy, as pointed out by the scene with him and Mikasa looking at the boy’s camp with his family.
Eren highlights their similarities and then makes a very ominous statement about the boy when Mikasa asks if something happened to him, stating “nothing yet.”
Given this, and the fact that Eren was crying before Mikasa found him, it points to the notion that Eren already knows he will cause this boy and his family’s deaths when he initiates the Rumbling.
Eren is clearly struggling with this knowledge as he asks Mikasa what he is to her.
Many people have interpreted this as a shipping moment but I do not think this is the case.
Rather, I think Eren’s questioning of Mikasa is both a blind hope that she can unknowingly convince him he does not have to destroy the world, a way to test if she only cares about him because of her Ackerman blood, and to see if the future memories of the Attack Titan are really destined to happen, all in one.
This last point seems to be proven by the arrival of Jean, Connie and Sasha to which Eren notes that it is “perfect timing”, as if he knew they would come at that moment.
Then we get the last happy moment of the chapter with the Scouts all getting drunk and partying with the young boy’s family.
This moment is also particularly sad in hindsight because it is the last time that Eren, Mikasa and Armin were happy together.
After this, Eren gets his proof that the subjects of Ymir on Paradis would always be persecuted by the outside world and leaves to plan his attack on Liberio.
From here, “The Devils of the Island” transitions into the present with the much anticipated Rumbling and this is where my one criticism of the chapter comes in.
During this moment we see that Mikasa, Armin, Gabi and Pieck are all safe, when they were in imminent danger at the end of the last chapter.
It was quite jarring to see they were safe without showing how they escaped the collapsing wall.
This problem aside, though, the panels of the Rumbling are both magnificent and terrifying.
The horrifying aspects of these panels are highlighted further by the absolute nightmare fuel that is Eren’s new Titan form.
I was pretty sure he would get a new form after finally utilizing the Founding Titan power last chapter but I was not at all expecting the dinosaur skeleton hybrid that we got.
What’s more is that this Titan puts Rod Reiss’ to shame, with it being at least three times times the size of his Titan, and that’s only when it’s on all all fours!
Eren is practically unstoppable at this point and the full force of the Rumbling is shown through how Armin and Mikasa have to shout to hear one another because of the noise.
Armin quickly realizes that Eren is using way more Titans than would be necessary to crush the Allied Forces in Marley and this leads to Eren’s announcement of what his true intentions are.
He uses the Founding Titan power to communicate with all Subjects of Ymir, seemingly temporarily transporting them to the Path Dimension.
Curiously, Mikasa is also transported there, which is strange because I though she had no Eldian blood, having an Asian mother and an Ackerman father.
However, I think the reason she is there is not because she can be turned into a Titan but because as an Ackerman the past battle experience of her predecessors was given to her through a Path.
So, even if Mikasa is not an Eldian, she is still connected to the Paths so she can hear Eren.
More important, though, is Eren announcing his intentions.
He declares that he plans to use the Rumbling, “until all life existing there has been exterminated from this world.”
And there we have it.
As many of us thought, Eren intends to enact a worldwide genocide to protect his friends.
Anyone who still thinks Eren is a hero after this really should take a good look at their morality because, although Eren is doing this for the right reasons, what he intends to do is still monstrous.
And this monstrous intent is perfectly portrayed by the final panel of the chapter where Eren announces he will kill everyone outside Paradis.
He looks absolutely demonic in this panel, only further implying that he may turn out to be the devil in Ymir’s story.
Devil or not, though, the question is if he will succeed in destroying the world or not?
He could just be trying to make himself the enemy to unite the world against him but this seems a little too similar to Code Geass’ ending.
Isayama has said that he wants to hurt the readers so I see Eren’s plan of worldwide genocide succeeding with him achieving freedom for his people, but at the worst possible cost with many beloved characters dying.
“The Devils of the Island” makes it even clearer that the story of the manga is drawing to a close.
And from the events of the chapter, that ending looks to be on such an epic scale to the extent that we have not seen in this series before.