Attack on Titan Chapter 138, A Long Dream Review: A Tragic What Could Have Been.

4 and a half stars
138 chapters, all building to this moment.
We finally got the penultimate chapter of Attack on Titan, “A Long Dream”, and, boy, is it a big one.
It’s funny looking back on my predictions posts because I can see how right or wrong about certain things I was and wow was I wrong about some certain character fates this chapter.
While thankfully not seeming as divisive as Chapter 137 was for The Attack on Titan fandom, “A Long Dream” has still made a substantial splash in the pool of various different opinions on the endgame’s quality, which is no surprise given the end of the chapter.
Some predicted it, and this chapter we seemingly got it, Mikasa just killed Eren.
Decapitated him and then spends the final chapter making out with the head.
Leave it to Isayama to make Eremika happen in the most messed up way possible.
Okay, okay, I know I’m clearly overexagerating on how far Mikasa goes in that final panel.
In all seriousness, I actually really like the scene and think that it makes a lot of sense.
Heck, it even got me tearing up at the moment when it paid off a scene from all the way back in Chapter One.
However, before we get to that, I first have to start at the beginning.
“A Long Dream” opens with the baby that was seen in one of my favourite panels in the manga, from Chapter 134, who is revealed to have survived the Rumbling at the cliff face, since the Wall Titans stopped when Levi killed Zeke last chapter.
Although, I would argue that the baby isn’t the luckiest among the group of survivors there.
No, that title goes to the random guy at the back getting pulled up by two other survivors just as the Rumbling stops.
If the Wall Titans had stopped just a second later, then this guy would be toast.
Literally the luckiest guy on earth.
From here, the chapter cuts to the aftermath of Armin going nuclear Colossal at the end of “Titans”, as Falco lands the Alliance atop Fort Salta and the Warriors are reunited with their parents.
Falco, Gabi and Pieck all reunite with their loved ones and Annie learns that her father is alive and goes to meet him.
But, this is Isayama we’re talking about, so of course this was never going to end in anything other than tragedy.
It would seem that the force of Armin’s explosion has launched the Hallucigenia into the bottom of Fort Salta, and Reiner and Armin arise from the destruction to destroy it once and for all.
However, Eren then transforms again, having survived Armin going nuclear as we all predicted, only this time he is in Colossal Titan form.
At the same time, Annie’s father and Muller have decided to work togethor, as it is predictably revealed that Muller fired into the air to calm the situation down.
Annie then shows up and their happy reunion is cut oh, so cruely short by the Hallucigenia, which Reiner sees releasing Titan smoke that will turn any Eldian who is not already a Shifter or has Ackerman blood into Titans.
This means that Jean, Connie, Gabi and all of the Warriors families are now infected.
Thinking quickly, Levi orders Mikasa and Pieck to get onto Falco so they can go and put an end to Eren.
Left behind at the Fort to Titanize, Jean and Connie embrace and reflect on their times in the Survey Corps, with Jean having adopted the mindset of leaving their legacy to those who live on for them.
Connie also jokingly tells Jean that it is his fault they got stuck with the job of saving the world, before they and all the other Eldians transform.
While this goodbye to two Survey Corps veterans is very emtional, I can’t help but wish we got an extra page of them saying their goodbyes to Mikasa and Levi, and Falco saying his goodbyes to Gabi.
I mean, I know that there wasn’t much time because they were all about to turn but we saw pretty much no reaction from Mikasa about her long-time friends being Titanized.
The scene is still great but I just wish it had a little more time spent on it to deliver a more emotional gut punch.
Another slight criticism I have is the paneling of this scene, specifically where Falco is concerned.
When they are flying away from Fort Salta, Falco screams in anguish at the loss of Gabi and his parents and this has caused many to jump to the conclusion that Falco turned everyone into a Titan with the Beast Titan’s power, which he may have recieved from Zeke’s spinal fluid.
However, this doesn’t make any sense to me.
Falco would never turn his parents or Gabi into Titans, and it also couldn’t have been by accident because he does not have the means to use Zeke’s technique, lacking royal blood.
So, it seems like this is just a case of mistaken intent and Isayama definitely should have structured this scene differently to make it clear that Falco’s scream didn’t Titanize everyone.
There is another complaint about this scene, which I have been hearing, that it is out of character for Eren to turn Jean and Connie into Titans because he wanted them to “live long lives.”
However, I believe this does make sense because it is not Eren transforming them, it is the Hallucigenia.
In Chapter 137, Zeke described the Hallucigenia as Life itself, stating that it had the sole purpose of surviving and multiplying.
Armin and Reiner had backed the Hallucigenia into a corner so it did the only thing it could to survive: turning everyone atop Fort Salta into Titans, so that they could lead it safely to Eren, where it could connect with him again.
So, this scene does work because it is not Eren doing this but the Hallucigenia.
As for Jean, Connie and Gabi, can they turn back into humans?
Well, I think Isayama could go either way in the final chapter.
Jean and Connie’s goodbye feels pretty final but it doesn’t seem to fit into Gabi’s character arc for her to just stay a Titan forever or be killed as one.
Guess we’ll just have to see what happens in Chapter 139.
I’ll admit, a part of me wants them all to stay gone for emotional impact, while the part of me that loves their characters just wants them to come back and live long lives.
Like Bertholdt, though, I feel like I can accept any outcome for them.
Annie, however, cannot accept the ending she got with her father which, in predictable Isayama fashion, seems to conclude with her father being Titanized right in front of her.
The cruel world strikes once again with Isayama as its puppet master.
That leaves Reiner, Pieck and Annie to deal with the Hallucigenia and its Titan army, and Mikasa, Levi, Armin and Falco to bring the fight to Eren at long last.
Beginning with an epic moment, where Armin accuses Eren of loving this hell and saying he will stick it out with him until the very end,the two engage in a Colossal Titan beatdown.
I can’t remember where but I’m sure that I mentioned wanting a Colossal Titan fight somewhere in an earlier predictions post and I’m so glad we finally got one near the end of the story.
As Armin and Eren duke it out and Reiner, Pieck and Annie slowly begin to be consumed as they struggle to hold the Hallucigenia back from its master, another headache hits Mikasa full swing, somehow launching her into some kind of dream world or alternate universe.
In this world, Mikasa confessed her feelings for Eren in Chapter 123 and the two ran off togethor and abandoned everyone, deciding to spend Eren’s remaining years togethor.
There has been a lot of debate online about whether this is an alternate universe or just a dream world.
Honestly, I think it’s most likely the latter because it being an alternate timeline doesn’t really make sense considering that if Eren had run off with Mikasa then he never would have convinced his father to eat the Reiss family, essentialy undoing his Titan powers all togethor.
I should note, though, that someone suggested to me that both timelines could coexist at the same time and, if this is the case, then it would allow for Eren to have manipulated Grisha into stealing the Founding Titan, while in the seperate timeline Eren ran away with Mikasa.
Still, I’m leaning towards the dream theory, mostly because of a leaked storyboard that appears to state that this is solely Mikasa’s “ideal” world and Eren.
I could entirely be wrong about this, though.
Yet, even if this is a dream, there is no denying that it is a shared one between Eren and Mikasa.
Eren’s true self seems to show up part way through the dream and tell Mikasa to throw away the scarf when he dies so she can forget about him.
This is most likely why Eren told Louise to throw away the scarf all the way back in Chapter 126.
However, this is not something Mikasa can do because, even though she now accepts what must be done, she will never let go of the memory of the man she loves.
Mikasa resolves to kill Eren, somehow knowing that Eren is in the mouth of his Colossal Titan, most likely because Eren telepathically told her through the shared dream.
With Armin holding Eren’s head in place, Levi is able to blow a hole in his Colossal teeth with a Thunder Spear, allowing Mikasa to dash in.
Eren’s head is dangling from his extended spine, as seen at the end of Chapter 131.
As Eren opens his eyes, he seems to smile at Mikasa, most likely showing how sadly happy he is that Mikasa will never forget him, despite his insistance.
Mikasa shares the smile and swings her sword.
Then, we get the big moment.
“See you later, Eren.”
We now finally know what Eren’s dream at the beginning of the story means, 138 chapters later.
He was experiencing a memory from the Attack Titan of his goodbye to Mikasa in their dream world, when Mikasa was forced to kill him.
Just like that, I tear up and move onto the final panel… only to be shaken out of any potential tears with the image of Mikasa kissing Eren’s decapitated head and Ymir looking on smiling.
Jokes aside, I see some people trying to paint Mikasa as a necrophile here but it’s pretty clear to me that she was experiencing the dream world when she kissed Eren here and this was her way of saying goodbye to him.
This also seems to all imply that Eren felt similarily towards Mikasa, as it wasn’t really clear before.
Well, this makes the chances of Eren being the father of Historia’s child significantly lower but fingers crossed that Isama can still make this happen because I think it really works for Eren’s character.
Back to the final panel of the chapter, let’s talk about Ymir watching Mikasa kiss Eren.
I believe this is important for two reasons.
The first reason is that it shows how Ymir desires love.
We saw this all the way back in Chapter 122, when she stopped to stare at two of her enslavers getting married.
The second reason it is important is that, in my opinion, it shows that Ymir is finally, truly free.
We have only seen Ymir’s eyes twice before this point and both of these times are when she is experincing freedom.
She chose to side with Eren in Chapter 122 and we saw her choose to release the pigs in Chapter 135.
Now her eyes are uncovered yet again in the last panel of “A Long Dream.”
Whatever Eren has achieved by getting Mikasa to kill him, (I do believe that was his goal given how much he tried to get her to move on from him, like by lying to her that he hated her) it has resulted in Ymir’s freedom, which may very well end with her being reborn as Historia’s child in the final panel.
As for Eren, I believe this is it for him.
His conciousness may survive in Paths, like what with happened to Ymir but, as far as the physical world is concerned, he is definitley dead there.
The final chapter will most likely cover his and Ymir’s true motivations and what they will result in for Paradis and the world.
This last chapter is rumoured to only be 45 pages, though, so I hope Isayma can wrap up his story in so little pages in a satisfying way without it feeling rushed.
Overall, “A Long Dream” is a truly fantastic chapter for Attack on Titan, and a great prelude to the final one.
I do think some things could have been better, like rearranging or removing Falco’s scream, so some readers would not be confused, and adding an extra page to give Jean, Connie and Gabi’s potential goodbyes more of an impact.
Yet, these criticisms do not change my mind that this is a fantastic chapter and I cannot wait to see how my favourite story will end next month.

One thought on “Attack on Titan Chapter 138, A Long Dream Review: A Tragic What Could Have Been.

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