Man, Hajime Isayama sure does like pulling on our heart strings doesn’t he?
Long before Chapter 132 of Attack on Titan, “Wings of Freedom”, came out, I was pretty sure I knew what was going to happen.
What with all the Happy Birthday wishes for Hange and talks of there being two major character deaths this chapter, I was almost certain that the eccentric 14th Commander of the Survey Corps was not going to make it out alive.
Sure enough, Chapter 132 delivered one of the emotional character deaths of the series with Hange Zoe sacrificing herself so that the alliance could escape to confront Eren and try to stop the Rumbling.
For a chapter that ends in tragedy though, much of “Wings of Freedom” is actually light hearted, with a lot of character growth and great jokes being showcased as the plane is being prepared for take off in Odiha.
The best of these jokes came when Mikasa realized that Annie has a crush on Armin.
Her face when she realized this was absolutely priceless and reminded me a lot of the surprised Pikachu face meme.
Two interesting points for the story to explore also come out of this interaction.
The first of these is Mikasa telling Annie that she has the scarf Eren gave her but that she doesn’t want to wear it right now.
This line, along with Louise revealing in Chapter 126 that Eren told her to get rid of the scarf, seems to be foreshadowing a big plot development surrounding Mikasa and Eren’s connection with that scarf.
Knowing Isayama though, I wouldn’t be surprised to see this storyline end tragically.
The second interesting point that comes out of Mikasa and Annie’s conversation is that Armin didn’t actually convince Annie to come with them, like I thought he would, and Annie still plans on staying behind.
In fact, it’s not just her, but Gabi, Falco, Yelena and Kiyomi are also not coming.
Now, while these characters staying behind for the final battle does make sense, with Annie not wanting to fight anymore, Gabi and Falco being children, Yelena being injured, and Kiyomi not having the skills, I still think there is a lot of missed potential in leaving them out.
For example, Is Yelena really never going to have a conclusion to her relationship with Zeke?
However, I will not fault “Wings of Freedom” for this because, although I would be disappointed if Isayama left these characters out of the final battle, that hasn’t happened yet so I can’t criticize the chapter for it right now.
Hopefully, Isayama will find a way to give each of these characters a chance to shine before the story ends.
Following Annie’s interaction with Mikasa, we get a set of goodbye’s from her.
There is a heart warming scene where she says goodbye to Reiner and Pieck and Reiner apologizes to her for making her and Bertholdt go along with the mission to attack Paradis, before they embrace.
Afterwards, we see Annie waving goodbye to the Scouts, accompanied by a couple of panels of her looking sadly at Armin before departing.
Well, if that’s not a death flag for Annie or Armin then I don’t know what is.
Honestly, though, there are so many things that could constitute as death flags in this chapter, from Pieck saying she has to pay back her dead comrades, to Reiner entrusting Annie with Gabi and Falco’s safety, to Hange asking Levi if he thinks their dead comrades are watching them.
Sadly, the death flag about Hange was entirely valid this chapter.
I was worried about her dying since she saw her dead comrades in Chapter 127, just like Erwin did before he died, and my fears were finally realized this chapter.
However, Hange is not the first big death in Chapter 132.
No, that death goes to Floch as, surprising no one, he managed to latch onto the ship like a cockroach and makes his last stand, damaging the ship before he is taken out by Mikasa.
I will say that I do have mixed feelings about Floch’s death here.
On the one hand, his final words show that he really did care about protecting his people, even though he took it way too far by devolving into Nationalism, and his death does have an impact, leading to Hange having to sacrifice herself.
On the other hand, I’m not sure if Mikasa was the right choice for the one to kill Floch.
Sure, she is certainly a better choice than Gabi, but I think it would have been better for a character who had more build up with him like Jean or Hange to do the deed.
Isayama may have been paying off the scene where Mikasa nearly killed Floch when he tried to stop her taking the syringe from Levi, before Hange stopped her, in Chapter 84 but that may be stretching it.
In any case, Floch’s death certainly wasn’t bad, I just think it could have been executed slightly better.
What was perfect though was Hange’s death.
As I said, Floch was the cause of her having to sacrifice herself because he shot holes in the plane’s fuel tank just as the Rumbling arrived, forcing someone to stay behind to kill some of the advancing Wall Titans to give the alliance time to escape.
Hange chooses to do so, taking responsibility for the comrades she had killed and appoints Armin as the 15th Commander of the Survey Corps.
It is then that we get one of the most gut wrenching moments of the chapter as Levi confronts Hange before she departs.
Hange is clearly trying to put on a brave face and, accepting that she has made her choice, Levi puts a fist to her chess and says for the first time, “Devote your heart.”
From here, we get the emotional death of Hange, around her birthday no less, as she courageously fights the Wall Titans, killing at least four of them and giving her allies enough time to escape.
One of her last words is especially fitting, “Titans really are incredible.”
Hange often struggled with being the Commander and even admits in this chapter that she was powerless and couldn’t offer Eren any hope (which was unfortunately mistranslated, making it seem liked she was throwing Eren under the bus).
Yet, in her final moments, Hange was her true Titan loving self, going back to the time when she was most happy, studying her Titans, and saves her comrades lives.
The panel of her on fire, falling to her death, as the 104th look on in tears is not even the most heart breaking thing about Hange’s death.
For me, the saddest thing about it is Levi’s reaction, with him saying he will see Hange later and asking her to watch over them.
Levi is a character who has always kept his emotions on the inside, never allowing himself to cry over his comrades’ deaths and continue with his mission, and yet you can still tell how torn up he is about Hange’s death.
He has now lost all of his old friends, being the last of the old scouts.
A part of me wonders if killing Levi off would be completely sad now because then at least he could be reunited with his comrades, just like Hange was at the end of the chapter.
She wakes up in a Wall Titan’s footprint and is welcomed by Erwin, Hange, Mike, Gelgar, Nanaba, and all of her old Survey Corps friends.
Whether this really is the afterlife or just her hallucinating in her final moments, it is both a gut wrenching and heart warming scene that does Hange’s death justice.
It actually reminded me of (The Promised Neverland Spoilers!) Yugo’s death from from The Promised Neverland.
Now, I’m just afraid that the rest of the characters are going to start dropping like flies, especially since we’re close to the end, with the alliance most likely about to confront Eren at Fort Salta in the next few chapters.
Speaking of, that’s another interesting thing about Chapter 132.
Yelena reveals that Eren is most likely heading to attack Fort Salta, Atlas backwards, and also reveals that the place Eren attacked in Chapter 130 was called Acirfa, Africa backwards.
I guess Isayama really does consider the world of Attack on Titan ours, only flipped upside down, huh?
Overall, Chapter 132, “Wings of Freedom”, was another fantastic chapter of Attack on Titan, despite a few concerns, like some of the characters being left behind, and some issues I had, like with Mikasa being the one to kill Floch.
Far surpassing these slightly iffy moments were were some surprisingly wholesome and funny moments, like Hange asking to ride Pieck’s Cart Titan, and the emotional and fitting send off for Hange, one of the story’s most beloved characters.
Attack on Titan Chapter 132 is just around the corner and, with the last chapter’s horrifying showcase of the Rumbling, many are wondering how Isayama will continue the story as we near the end.
Fortunately, Chapter 131, “Rumbling”, provided us with a lot of interesting scenes and panels to speculate the meaning of, starting with,
What Will Ymir’s Role be?
Partway through “Rumbling”, we saw the horrific scene of the innocent child Ramzi being crushed in Eren’s genocide, along with his brother Halil and thousands, if not millions, of other innocents.
However, during all of this horror, one curious event happened.
Right as Ramzi is being crushed under the massive foot of a Wall Titan, he appears to see Ymir Fritz, the one who started this entire story, looking at him.
We haven’t seen Ymir since Chapter 122, when she lent Eren her power to start the Rumbling because he was the only person who ever let her make her own decision, and many have been wondering what her thoughts on the actual Rumbling are.
We don’t get a look at Ymir’s face here so it is hard to guess what she is feeling upon seeing all of this slaughter.
Whether she is horrified by this or not, though, could lead to her role in the endgame as she can either continue to support Eren or turn against him.
There is also the question of why Ramzi can see Ymir since he isn’t an Eldian.
He didn’t see Eren’s declaration that the Rumbling would kill everyone so he can’t be one, which makes it weird that he can see Ymir.
Of course, it could just be that this was Ymir looking at Ramzi and he couldn’t see her back.
But if he could see her, then this has interesting implications because then Ymir may somehow be able to influence anything, not just Subjects of Ymir.
Whatever the case though, Ymir is sure to have a big role in the end of this story.
Personally, I am still a member of the Ymir getting reborn as Eren and Historia’s child theory bandwagon.
I think that would be the perfect way to end this fantastic story.
Why is Eren in Child Form and Will he Make it or not?
Another point of speculation created by Chapter 131 is why Eren was in child form when he committed the Rumbling.
This question was the result of the chilling panel where he declared that he was experiencing freedom as his genocide killed countless people.
I have seen two theories about this, the first being that Eren is disassociating to cope with the guilt, like Reiner did when he was on Paradis.
This would make sense because we know Eren is not a complete monster, despite his actions, because he does feel remorse, as shown by his tearful apology to Ramzi when they met in Marley.
Another theory is that Eren is reverting to when he first received his Titan powers from Grisha, just like Ymir reverted to her child form, which was when she first got her powers, after she entered the Paths Dimension.
Although, this theory does have one snag and this is that Eren was not in child form when he announced the Rumbling to all Subjects of Ymir.
I guess only time will tell if we will get an explanation about why Eren appears as a child here.
A far more pressing question is if Eren is actually going to survive to the end of the story.
The final panel of Chapter 131 shows his decapitated head, only attached to his body through his exposed spine.
We know Titan Shifters can heal but Eren doesn’t seem to have completely healed after Gabi shot his head off, due to the showcase of the spine.
Maybe because his Titan form is so large, and he is exerting so much power controlling it and the Wall Titans, he can’t focus enough to heal.
This could be the key to the alliance defeating Eren but if he will live or not is another matter.
I can see different scenarios where he lives or dies going down and it will be interesting to see if he is punished for his genocide by being killed or if will have to live with the guilt of his actions.
Like Ymir, I have my own theory about Eren’s fate, and that is that he will continue to live after the Rumbling for four years, until his term is up and he ends up passing away from Ymir’s curse.
Eren only having four years left is constantly mentioned, like in Chapter 130 for example, so it would make sense.
What Will Armin do?
Next to Eren, Armin was the most important character of the “Rumbling” chapter.
This is not just because he finally revealed his feelings for Annie but also because he saw child Eren in the paths and reveals he still has hope that there is a world they haven’t seen yet outside the walls.
In my opinion, this is Isayama setting up Armin for something big.
Eren did say back in the Return to Shiganshina Arc that Armin would be the one to save humanity.
Maybe this will be his chance to save the world and finally prove that he was the right choice over Erwin in the Serumbowl.
We also know from the audio teasing the ending that Armin will be one of the key characters confronting Eren.
All that remains to be seen is what his plan will be in trying to talk Eren out of the Rumbling or forcibly stop him.
He is the narrator though, so I don’t think he will die, even if he fails.
Can Eren see Through Birds?
Crazy question, I know.
Just hear me out.
At the end of Chapter 131, when Armin is talking to Annie, a seagull lands on the ship and watches them, before it cuts to Eren in his exposed spine state.
This is not the only recent usage of birds because some crows are seen looking at the approaching Rumbling, and eagles are seen following the alliance’s ship and flying over the military alliance’s fleet.
This started the theory that Eren is somehow controlling these birds with the power of the Founding Titan and is using them to spy on threats.
So, basically, the theory is that Eren is Bran Stark, only a lot more useful.
The implications this has for the story could be interesting because it might just link back to the being that gave Ymir her powers, which was called the “source of all living matter” by Kruger.
Maybe this being, which is apparently the source of living things, can control everything and Ymir only chose to use it to change the Eldians under pressure from the Fritz king and his descendants.
Now that Eren has her power, he can use it freely, meaning he can control all living things if he wishes.
Or, maybe I’m just an idiot overthinking things and the birds are just symbolism for freedom as they always have been.
Again, time will tell.
Could the High School AU Become Canon?
Just, god no.
For those of you who don’t know what I’m talking about, for a long time the Attack on Titan volume releases have come with around two pages of a comedic alternate universe at the end, where the characters from the manga are all in a high school.
Recently, in that au, Eren has begun wishing for more excitement in his life and a cult storyline has emerged where Eren is the only one who can see Ymir, so her followers want to capture him.
This, along with an image from the high school au appearing in a memory shard from Chapter 120, has caused people to speculate that Attack on Titan is, in fact, an Isekai.
The theory is that Eren is from a normal world and wished for a more exciting one so Ymir created the world of Attack on Titan for him, where he could become the enemy of the world.
I hate this theory.
The high school au is only around two pages in each volume and those who don’t collect these volumes won’t even know about it.
Aside from the single memory shard of the au Armin and Mikasa, which I hope to god is just an Easter Egg rather than being actually important, there is no other build up to the high school au being canon in the actual story.
It would come completely out of left field.
Also, and this is more of a personal thing, but I am not really all that into Isekais.
So, even if it was built up well, I still probably wouldn’t like this happening.
Again, this is my own personal opinion though.
I just hope Isayama stays in his own canon universe and doesn’t feel the need to bring alternate universes into it.
Remaining Story Structure Prediction.
There has been a lot of speculation about when Attack on Titan will end.
Isayma said he planned to end it this year and in a recent interview he estimated that there was around five percent of the story left.
This has caused many to believe that the story is assured to end in 2020, which would mean there are four chapters left.
However, I have my doubts about this.
I honestly don’t believe the story can end in four chapters because I feel like there is still so much to wrap up.
I actually feel like Chapter 138 would be a more appropriate number.
There is even speculation that the manga will end at Chapter 139 over a supposed leak.
This leak must, of course, be taken with a grain of salt, however, it does make sense with the importance of the numbers of 13 and 9 across the story.
So, the manga ending at either Chapter 138 or 139 would mean either seven or eight chapters left, meaning two volumes, which I think is an appropriate number to end it at.
But how would this be structured?
This is just a guess but I assume that the rest of Volume 33 will mainly be alliance focused as they prepare to confront Eren.
They’ll reach Odiha, prepare the plane, maybe Floch will intervene, Kiyomi may reveal her importance.
Whatever happens, I expect Volume 33 to conclude with the scene from the audio that teased the ending, with the alliance finally confronting Eren and Armin screaming his name.
Then, we will have the final volume, which will cover the final battle of the series; the alliance vs Eren for the fate of the world, with the last chapter dealing with the aftermath and ending on the panel that Isayma also teased a while ago.
No matter how this final act for Attack on Titan is structured though, I hope it can bring a fitting end to my favourite story of all time.