Wow… just wow.
Okay, so I made it clear in my review for the final chapter of Attack on Titan, “Towards the Tree on that Hill”, that I thought the ending of the story was a mixed bag.
There was a lot to dislike about the chapter, from Ymir loving King Fritz, to Armin thanking Eren for committing mass genocide, to Eren killing his own mother and whining about Mikasa even though he just murdered billions of people, to Historia’s drawn out pregnancy subplot amounting to absolutley nothing.
However, there was also a lot to like about the ending, from Levi’s fantastic sendoff, the final panels mostly bringing a satisfying conclusion to the Alliance and Mikasa, and, of course, Titan powers coming to an end which meant that the characters had actually achieved something by the end.
So, overall, the final chapter had plenty of good things and plenty of bad things about it.
This made me excited for the volume release where Hajime Isayama would add additional pages to expand on the ending.
I hoped that these additions would work towards making the things I didn’t like about the ending easier to digest.
Well, Hajime Isayama just released this updated ending and, having read the new pages, I can confidently say that the characters achieved pretty much nothing.
Seriously, these eight pages take the things I actually liked about Attack on Titan’s ending and completley contradicts them.
Without this updated ending I would at least be able to say that the ending to my favourite story was decent, if a bit problematic.
Now that these pages have been added to the canon, though, I don’t like the ending.
I think it makes all the past sacrifices of the story meaningless in the long run.
This said, I won’t act like everything Isayama added here is bad.
There is one addition that I do like and it is Ymir actually getting a sendoff.
In the original chapter, she just disappeared completley, which was bizarre given how much she had been a focus in the final arc.
However, in the updated chapter, she is actually given an ending.
Right after Armin yells that he is the man who killed Eren Yeager, we see Mikasa walking away with Eren’s head and seeing the specter of Ymir, in adult form this time for some reason.
It is revealed that Ymir was the source of Mikasa’s headaches, and Mikasa thanks her for bringing her children into the world before Ymir fades away forever.
I was glad to see Ymir actually get a sendoff here as opposed to just vanishing, but there is still a lot about this scene that just does not make sense.
If Ymir was the one causing Mikasa’s headaches, then how the heck did she know that Mikasa would be key to freeing her?
Mikasa’s headaches have been happening for a long time so why was Ymir reaching out to her then?
Also, how does Mikasa even know what Ymir looks like to recognise her or know about her love for King Fritz?
Not to mention that Mikasa being the one to ultimately free Ymir still comes out of absolutley nowhere.
The most troubling thing about this though is that during this scene we get a flashback, which shows Ymir not saving King Fritz from the spear and then comforting her children.
There are two possibilities as to what this could mean.
Option number one is that Ymir really didn’t save King Fritz and everything we saw after she died in Chapter 122 was just some weird hallucination she was experiencing.
Option number two is that this is just Ymir wishing she had not saved Fritz and had instead lived on with her children.
If it’s option number one then Isayama retconned a massive part of the story’s history and lore, completley ruining Chapter 122.
This is why I am choosing to believe it’s option number two that he is depicting here because otherwise it completley ruins a chapter that I once loved.
No matter what the intended ending is, though, Isayama still made this really unclear, so he should have either been more clear about its intent or just removed it all togethor.
Now, we get to the part of the updated conclusion that made me go from thinking the ending was alright to that it was just downright bad.
Right after the original final scene, where Mikasa thanks Eren for wrapping the scarf around her, we get a series of panels showing different timeskips on Paradis.
The first of these shows Mikasa with an unknown man who she presumeably married and had a child with, visiting Eren’s grave.
I can’t believe Mikasa got the Historia treatment, marrying an unknown person.
As if that happening to one character wasn’t bad enough.
Still, this unknown man could be Jean since it does look like him from behind.
Even if the husband is Jean, though, it still feels forced because of how onesided their past interactions have been.
Much like Mikasa’s love for Eren being properly built up but not Eren’s for her, Jean’s feelings for Mikasa were built up but her’s wasn’t for him.
From here, we see a progression of Mikasa’s life, with her continuously visiting Eren’s grave with her family, until she dies an old woman.
Then we get the kicker.
Paradis is destroyed in a war.
I’m sorry, what?
You’re telling me after all that build up in the original final chapter towards the future for Paradis being hopeful, despite the danger, it just gets destroyed?
Then what’s the point of the fantastic Levi scene where he tells his comrades that this is the outcome they sacrificed their lives for?
They didn’t sacrifice their lives just for the island to be destroyed.
This contradicts so much that was in the final chapter.
In the original ending, it felt like Isayama keeping Paradis’ fate ambigious was him trying to stay consistent with one of Attack on Titan’s biggest themes, this being that the world is cruel but also beautiful.
There was danger on the horizon but Paradis had the Alliance as peace envoys, working to build a bridge between them and the outside world.
This updated ending changes the entire feeling of the conclusion from hopeful to just plain cynical.
Not that a depressing ending couldn’t have worked but, as I said, this just contradicts so much of what was in the original chapter, and this was stuff about that chapter which I actually liked so it makes it way worse for me.
Then we get the big slap in the face.
After Paradis has been destroyed, we see a young boy, who looks like Mikasa’s descendent and has shaded in eyes, meaning that he is a slave to something as the symbolism of this story dictates.
The boy and his dog head towards the tree where Eren’s head is buried, which has now grown to look exactly like the tree Ymir fell into where she was infected with the Hallucigenia and became the first Titan 2000 years ago.
Therefore, it is heavily implied that the power of the Titans will be coming back.
Are you freaking kidding me?
What the heck was the point then?
It was all for nothing!
In the original ending, Titan powers disappearing was an incredibly big deal.
It was one of the biggest achievements the characters made.
Even if the cycle of violence did continue, at least they could say they achieved ending the cycle of Titans, something which Eren sought to end right at the beginning of the story.
Now, that meaning is completley taken away.
The characters did not achieve anything in the long run at all.
Sure, Eren managed to ensure a long life for his friends.
Other than this, though, there was nothing else achieved.
Paradis is destroyed and the Alliance and Historia’s descendents are all dead, making their attempts to try for peace meaningless, and the Titan powers are hinted to be coming back, making one of the biggest goals of the story go absolutley nowhere.
This ruins the ending for me.
Before, it was okay.
It had big problems but I felt that it was at least somewhat satisfying.
Now, with this updated ending, I can say that Attack on Titan‘s ending is just straight up bad.
The updated ending keeps the things I didn’t like, rather than expanding on them in ways that could make them good.
It also adds worse things that make the good parts of the final chapter completley meaningless.
Ymir getting a sendoff is the only good addition in this updated ending.
Otherwise, it’s a complete disaster.
I still love Attack on Titan because it’s a story where I really connected with its world, characters, and plot twists.
The ending, though?
Not so much now.