That is how long Annie had been in her crystal prison; even longer than it took to reveal the basement.
Well, after reading Chapter 124 of Attack on Titan, “Melting Away,” the first thought I had was FINALLY!
This is because Annie at long last emerged from her crystal at the end of the chapter, due to Eren using his Founding Titan abilities to remove all of the Titans’ ability to harden, including Reiner’s.
The build up to Annie’s return, with the chapter starting with her father hearing Eren’s speech about his plan, and then ending with Armin realizing she is free before cutting to her, is masterfully done.
I was spoiled about this reveal about an hour before I read “Melting Away” but her return is so well written that I still cheered.
I just hope that Isayama can make me care about her more before the story ends.
Whether he does so or not depends on the role Annie has to play.
However, considering her role also brings in the question of how long the manga has?
I have been predicting for a while that Attack on Titan will end at Chapter 130 but, after Chapter 124, I am having serious doubts about this.
I am now thinking a more suitable number is 134 chapters, which would mean there are 10 chapters left.
The reason I am starting to think this is because of how Annie and other subplots that appear in this chapter seem to be hinting at a longer finale.
A prime example of this is the Connie subplot that was just put into motion.
After Falco ate Porco and inherited the Jaw Titan, Connie and Jean kidnap him, with Jean planning to feed him to one of the Titans Zeke transformed, seriously considering Pyxis.
However, Connie wants to take Falco to Ragako to feed him to his mother so she can become human again.
Armin is against this because that would cause further conflict between Reiner and the Warriors when the world is destroyed; however, before anything can be done, Titans interrupt and Connie runs off with Falco.
So, now Connie is on his way to Ragako to save his mother by feeding her Falco, creating a brand new subplot.
With new storylines like this being brought in, it seems unlikely that the manga will be able to successfully wrap up at Chapter 130, which is why I am thinking Chapter 134 is more likely now.
Back to the actual story, I am glad Connie is getting some development now because I have always thought it was a little strange that he rarely brought up his family when they started working with Zeke, since he’s the one who turned them all into Titans.
I am also interested to see where this subplot could go.
Along with Connie, another standout character is Gabi, who goes through more development by saving Kaya from a Titanized Nile in an epic scene that left me cheering.
The following panel where Kaya hallucinates Gabi as Sasha is also perfectly touching.
I have seen a lot of people complaining that Gabi is stealing the spotlight from more beloved characters, like Mikasa, but I honestly don’t see this.
Mikasa got a lot of development last chapter, and even in this one where Gabi was a key character she shared the spotlight with multiple characters who also developed well.
Probably my favourite of these character developments is Keith Shadis, when he saves the recruits who beat him up and then leads them in the fight against the Titans.
More like Keith, No Longer A Bystander, Chadis!
Sadly, this battle does result in the loss of Dot Pyxis, whose Titan is mercy killed by Armin after being thanked for guiding them all these years.
Both his and Nile’s Titans are killed this chapter, bringing a sad end to these great side characters.
Along with Pyxis’ emotional death, another reason I enjoyed the scene where Keith, Mikasa, Armin, Jean and the other soldiers fight off the Titans is because it is eerily reminiscent of the battle at headquarters during the Trost Arc.
Hajime Isayama has been putting in a lot of parallels to prior arcs in this final one, with Chapter 117 being another prime example by paralleling the Return to Shiganshina Arc.
Such parallels can also be seen in character growths like Niccolo saying they have to leave the forest, referencing Mr Braus’ speech in Chapter 111, and Gabi putting her hair up while looking in a mirror, just like Eren does in Chapter 106.
That last parallel has me wondering if this moment is just a callback or foreshadowing for something more?
Whatever it is, I will say that “Melting Away” is a far calmer chapter than I expected it to be.
Before the Annie reveal, the final moments of the chapter sees the characters resting at headquarters while they all try to deal with the impact Eren’s Rumbling will have.
This leads to Floch turning up, to many a fan’s dismay, and arresting Yelena and the the rest of the Volunteers.
Such an act has me scared that Floch may try to execute them to make Eldians the last remaining race after the Rumbling is completed.
I certainly would not put it past him.
But the real question is definitely if Attack on Titan has been in The Breaking Bad universe this whole time as the Saul Goodman Titan seems to suggest?
Jokes aside, there are also a lot of great visuals in the chapter, like when Mikasa cuts down a Titan right outside the window that Yelena and Onyankopon are looking out of. Another example of this is the individual shots of the 104th Cadets as they take in the fact that Eren is planning to destroy the world to protect them.
As for criticisms, the only one I can think of off the top of my head is Jean apparently wanting to feed Falco to Pyxis.
I understand why he would want to save Pyxis, but it was shown that Jean did not want to kill Falco in Chapter 104 so this feels slightly out of character for him.
But the prior moment where he talks about how the Rumbling may be the best thing, as if he is trying to convince himself that it is but not succeeding, makes up for it slightly.
Overall, I would consider “Melting Away” to be on the same level as the previous chapter, “Island Devils.”
It has great character growth with a lot of amazing action, accompanied by epic visuals.
It will be interesting to see how the manga ends, whether that ending comes at Chapter 130, 134, or perhaps slightly longer than that.
Eren’s motivations and goal for unleashing the Rumbling was finally revealed in Chapter 123 of Attack on Titan, with him announcing his intention to use the Wall Titans to eliminate all life outside the walls.
The Rumbling is definitely going to be the final battle of the story so the question is how will it go?
Will Eren succeed in his plot to destroy the world or does he have other intentions as one fan theory suggests?
In my first prediction for this post I will be tackling that theory, which is,
Will Eren Pull a Lelouch?
Lelouch is a character from the anime Code Geass, and in order to state how Eren’s plan might be similar to Lelouch’s I need to spoil the ending for that anime.
So, if you have not seen Code Geass just move on to the next question I pose.
At the end of Code Geass, Lelouch ends the war consuming his world by becoming the most hated dictator in that world.
He then has his best friend assassinate him so everyone can come together and establish world peace.
And now, many people are theorizing that Eren intends to do the same, propping himself up as the enemy of the world so his friends can kill him, showing the world that Eldians are not so bad and establishing peace between the two groups.
But do I think this will happen?
No, I don’t.
More than that, I am completely opposed to this happening because it would both rip off Code Geass’ ending and also make no sense given what has been established.
In Chapter 123 we get a flashback to when Eren and his friends first visited Marley and during their stay they witnessed a group of Marleyans about to kill an immigrant child because they suspected him of being an Eldian.
The hatred for Eldians is so strong in the world that even if an Eldian, like Armin, succeeded in stopping Eren it would change nothing.
If anything, Eren almost destroying the world would serve as proof to them that the Eldians need to be exterminated.
Eren would have to be incredibly stupid to believe this plan would work.
So, no, I don’t believe Eren has some kind of ulterior motive.
I fully believe he intends to destroy the world, which leads me into my next question.
Will Eren Succeed in Destroying the World?
Whether Eren succeeds in his plan will determine the entire ending of the manga.
Either he succeeds in wiping out all, or at least most, of life on earth and we get a bittersweet ending with Paradis being safe but the entire world is destroyed, or he fails and we get a tragic ending where the world wipes out Paradis.
Personally, I think the former is more likely because we know Eren has seen a part of his future because of the Attack Titan.
However, a lot of people think his plan to use the Rumbling is flawed because of one key thing, the ocean.
Many seem to think that the Colossal Titans will sink into the ocean, where they will be without sunlight and unable to move.
Contradicting this is the Attack on Titan Anthology where, in one story, Colossal Titans are seen coming out of the ocean.
And even if the Colossal Titans will sink, I am sure Eren will find a way around it.
For example, Eren could use the War Hammer Titan abilities, amplified by the Founding Titans powers, to make a bridge for the Titans to cross the ocean.
The one thing that I am at a loss to explain, though, is the airships.
Marley has been shown to have quite a number of these and they could easily pack survivors in them and fly above the Wall Titans’ reach.
So, maybe Eren will not succeed in destroying all of life beyond the walls, just most of it.
Although, one interesting thing to factor in on the idea of Eren being stopped is the possibility of the Scouts and the Warriors teaming up.
They could temporarily put aside their differences to stop Eren, or could just be working together without realizing it as both sides attempt to stop him.
Either way, I am sure that Kyomi’s sea plane and the remaining airships that Marley have left for evacuation will come into play here.
Still, with the extent of Eren’s power, I don’t think anything short of a nuke can stop him but I doubt any nation is at that technological stage yet.
Will Annie, Levi, Hange, or Historia Show Up?
What prediction post for an Attack on Titan chapter would be complete without wondering when the hell Annie, Levi, Hange and Historia are going to show up?
We have been speculating for so long about when these characters will return but they still have yet to do so.
And, with so little time remaining in the story, if these characters are going to play a major role then they need to return soon.
Starting with Historia, I think I have a clear idea of what role she will play in the ending.
Since I think she will give birth to the reincarnation of Ymir Fritz, I don’t think we will see her until the epilogue, although we will probably get a flashback to Eren’s conversation with her, before he left for Marley, and see if he is the father of her child or not.
Then there is Levi and Hange who I am both pretty unsure of.
Levi is badly injured so it seems unlikely he will return until the end but both he and Hange have ongoing storylines so I figure they have to show up somehow.
And then there is Annie.
Oh, Annie, Annie, Annie.
Fans have been theorizing about when she will come back for years and those theories have only intensified with her being brought up so often in these last two arcs.
However, there is still no sign of her.
Personally, it has got to the stage that I no longer care about Annie.
However, I still want her to return so it at least seems like Isayama had an idea of what he was trying to do with her character.
Many have speculated that she will have heard Eren’s message from Chapter 123 and this will cause her to wake up and, honestly, I think this is her last chance.
If she does not return in the next two chapters then I will be convinced that she will not return until the epilogue of the story.
If this happens then she will be a wasted character would should have died in The Female Titan Arc instead of just being locked away, never to return to the story.
Fingers crossed that Isayama will find an interesting way to bring Annie back that somehow gives her an interesting role with so little time left in the manga.