The final battle of Attack on Titan has begun, at last, in the most recent installment, Chapter 135, “Battle of Heaven and Earth”, and, boy, is it a hectic one.
If you thought the Alliance had a low chance of stopping Eren and Ymir before, well, now their odds went down from 100 to one to 1000 to one.
I was genuine surprised that no one ended up dying in this chapter because of how much danger all of those in the Alliance were in.
However, given the positions some of the characters are left in by the end of the chapter, I doubt that many of these characters will be living long in this final battle.
Before I talk about the beginning of this battle though, I have to talk about the intriguing opening page of the chapter, which confirms that Ymir really was the one who freed the pigs, which led to her becoming the first Titan.
In Chapter 122, it was left ambiguous as to whether Ymir really did set the pigs free or if she was framed for it, however, with the confirmation that it was her, this now creates some interesting implications for both Ymir and the Attack Titan.
In the panel after Ymir opens the pigpen we clearly see her eyes, which also have not been seen since Chapter 122.
Characters eyes being unshaded in Ymir’s backstory shows they are not free and the only time Ymir’s eyes have been seen is when she made her first free decision in 2,000 years, by choosing to follow Eren over Zeke.
Now, we see her eyes for the second time here, implying that freeing the pigs was the first free thing she ever did but also the very thing that cost her that freedom.
This could imply that Ymir is longing for freedom and that longing manifested itself in the Attack Titan, which Eren now has.
Ymir’s desire to be free now seems to hinge on the world being destroyed because, as the chapter cuts to the present, she does everything in her power to prevent the Alliance from stopping Eren.
The shot of her standing on the bones of Eren’s gigantic Titan form, looking over the Alliance, sent chills down my spine but it is what she does next that is most shocking.
After realizing that the Beast Titan from the previous chapter is nothing but a husk, and that Eren and Zeke are most likely elsewhere, Armin decides he has to use the Colossal Titan’s nuke attack to try and ascertain their locations.
Before this long-awaited transformation can happen though, a strange looking Titan emerges from the smoke, grabs Armin with its tongue and stuffs it in his mouth, as if Attack on Titan just turned into some freaky kind of hentai.
In all seriousness, the Titan doing this to poor Armin is most likely to stop him from biting his tongue and transforming.
Doesn’t make it any less gross though.
You really have to feel sorry for Armin.
I mean, first he gets molested in the Uprising Arc by that creepy guy, who thought he was Historia, and now this.
However, this one hentai-like Titan is not alone because it has a bunch of creepy and awesome looking friends as well.
There’s a crocodile Titan, a deer Titan, a minotaur Titan, a Titan that looks like the Thing from The Fantastic Four.
Pieck surmises that all of these Titans are past Shifters who Ymir is now using to prevent them from stopping the Rumbling.
While this is certainly a cool turn of events, with plenty of great new Titan designs delivered by Isayama, and it does give the Alliance an enemy force to fight, personally, this twist kind of felt out of nowhere.
I still like it; I just think it could have used a little bit more build up before it happened.
On the plus side, it gave us many fantastic moments like the return of dead Shifters.
Pretty much the only previous Titan Shifter we didn’t see was Freckled Ymir but, hopefully, we’ll see her being used later.
While Freckled Ymir’s Titan is missing, we do see the Titan forms of Porco and Marcel, but by far the most interesting usage of these old Shifters come with the Tyber lady’s Warhammer Titan and Bertholdt’s Colossal Titan.
The Warhammer Titan makes its reappearance when Pieck separates from the Alliance, going to destroy Eren’s nape, since she is not Eren’s friend and she believes this makes her the only one among them who has the strength to take him out.
However, her strength is not equal to Ymir who materializes the Warhammer Titan to stab her with a trident.
Pieck is alive, at least for now, but she dropped the detonator, and that is certainly going to play a role in the upcoming chapters.
Whatever happens with those, I am now extremely concerned about Pieck’s safety.
Armin’s safety, however, is something I am not too concerned about because I am sure he can find a way to make it out of the situation he is in.
It is with him that we get to see Bertholdt’s return, as he materializes in front of a barely conscious Armin, his eyes shaded just like Ymir’s as he cries.
Just as this is happening, Bertholdt’s Colossal Titan also appears above Reiner and quickly destroys his Titan.
Thanks to Jean’s quick thinking, Reiner is saved but his Armoured Titan is thrown at the Alliance, dealing them a heavy blow.
What follows is a scene of Mikasa metaphorically carrying the whole Alliance on her back, as she has to save them from Titans constantly, proving how she is the new strongest human character since Levi’s injury.
Speaking of Levi, he is in even more danger of dying because, not only does he seem to break his leg again when saving Connie, but he also coughs up blood, suggesting he is bleeding internally.
Connie is also injured with a nasty cut to his head, and both Jean and Reiner have broken their ODM Gear.
At least we got more character development for Jean, as he holds Reiner by the hand, preventing him from falling to certain death, showing his growth from Chapter 127 where he beat Reiner to a bloody pulp.
As the Alliance prepares for certain death, being completely surrounded by Ymir’s resurrected Titans, Mikasa calls out to the Titans to attack her because she is the strongest and can take them on, calling back to her speech in the Trost Arc after Eren’s supposed death.
However, before she can make her last stand, why, what is that?
Is it a bird?
No, it’s Falco’s flying Titan, with Annie and Gabi on board to save the day!
While a predictable turn of events, it was still an incredibly hype one that makes me intrigued to see how Falco’s Titan will turn be used.
Maybe Ymir could make other flying Titans to pursue them?
In any case, with Annie back in the final battle, and looking committed to fight based on the cliffhanger being her saying that she’s glad she came, it seems that her main goal in the next chapter will be to rescue Armin from the clutches of Ymir.
Armin does know about Ymir now so the Alliance will have to deal with her somehow if they hope to win, since she is all powerful.
There’s also Annie’s father, who is atop Fort Salta, so the buildup to Annie reuniting with him is bound to pay off soon, most likely tragically.
On the subject of Annie’s father though, he and the other Eldians have rescued Onyankopon, who is, thankfully, alive but with a head wound.
If the Alliance can stop the Rumbling he may survive the story, which is good, since I think he’s an underrated character.
Other characters now likely to survive are Kiyomi and Yelena because they weren’t atop Falco’s flying Titan so they probably stayed on Kiyomi’s ship and out of harm’s way.
Almost everyone else is the Alliance, however, has a guillotine placed over their head and only time will tell which one of them Isayama decides to cry at, “off with with your head!”
All in all, Chapter 135 of Attack on Titan, “Battle of Heaven and Earth” is a great start to the final battle of the manga.
We have probably have four chapters left, at the most, so buckle up and prepare for whatever ending Isayama has in store for us.