Attack on Titan, The Final Chapter, Toward the Tree on That Hill Review: A Conflicting Ending for My Favourite Story.

please fucking work
Well, it finally happened.
After well over a decade and only one break due to a pandemic, Hajime Isayama has brought his epic story of Attack on Titan to a close.
I can still remember entering this fandom when I watched the first season, all the way back in early 2018.
When I saw the second season, I knew that this story would become something special to me and, sure enough, it is now my favourite story of all time.
Chapters 119-123 especially are the best fiction I’ve ever read.
Now, it’s over.
Isayama concluded his story with Chapter 139, “Toward the Tree on That Hill.”
So, what did I think about the ending?
Well… it’s complicated.
Ever since I finished the chapter I’ve been constantly changing my opinion, going from liking to disliking the way it ended.
Eventually, I just sat down and carefully read the final chapter, trying to understand what Isayama was attempting to say with this ending.
This caused me to come to the conclusion that the ending is decent.
Not great but certainly not bad either.
There are both great and bad things in the chapter, though.
In fact, I think the perfect way to describe “Toward the Tree on That Hill” is as a mixed bag.
There’s a lot to like and a lot to dislike.
I’ll start from the very beginning.
Chapter 139 opens with a flashback to Chapter 131, where it is revealed that Eren actually spoke to Armin when he pulled him into the Paths Dimension.
It is here that Eren proves one of my past theories right, that he did the Rumbling to set up the Alliance as heroes to the world so he could protect them.
Is this a little similar to Lelouch from Code Geass?
Yes but it certainly makes certain plot holes from prior chapters easier to solve, like why Eren didn’t have the Warhammer Titan remove the explosives.
As for the potential problem of Paradis being destroyed, Eren reveals that the Rumbling will kill 80% of humans outside the walls, giving the island a fighting chance.
The horrified look on Armin’s face following this declaration is really well drawn by Isayama.
From here, Isayama gives a great reflection of Eren and Armin’s friendship, as the two journey to lands they always dreamed of through Paths, which is something I really appreciated.
It is in these travels that Eren provides some more twists and it is here that my problems with the final chapter begin to pop up, and the first problem is by far the worst.
Eren tells Armin that the reason why Ymir didn’t go against King Fritz for 2000 years was because she was in love with him.
Yes, you heard right, Ymir was in love with the guy who killed her parents, enslaved her, used her as a weapon in war, raped her, and fed her dead body to their daughters.
I always knew Ymir was suffering from Stockholm Syndrome with King Fritz, given that she sacrificied her life for him.
However, the problem is that the story does not seem to be classifying it as that.
Eren says that it was actual love and then Isayama draws a parralel to Mikasa’s love for Eren with it by having Mikasa’s actions in Chapter 138 cause Ymir to be free from that burden of love, just like Mikasa freed herself.
The one thing you definitley don’t want to do is draw a parralel between your main couple and an incredibly abusive relationship, if you can even call Fritz using Ymir a relationship because I know I don’t.
Another reason I really don’t like this is because it makes me like Chapter 122 so much less to the point that I’m not sure that I can call it my favourite chapter anymore.
When I first read it, I interpreted Ymir as following the King because of because of her stockholm syndrome, not of love but of enslavement.
Ymir had been a slave for so long that she didn’t know how to be anything else and so she continued to do as she was ordered for 2000 years until Eren freed her.
But, no, she did it because she apparently loved the guy who abused her for long, which still does not appear to be labeled as Stolkholm Syndrome, which it most certainly is.
Now, I’m not saying that Isayama actually believes that what Ymir had with Fritz is love, certainly not.
I’m just saying that he could have portrayed it a lot better by calling it was it actually is.
Also, what the heck even happened to Ymir anyway?
She was completley absent in this chapter.
Did she just disappear with the Titan realm?
It’s a shame because not only does all of this lessen my appreciation for “From You, 2000 Years Ago” but also because it is obviously quite problematic to portray Ymir’s feelings about King Fritz in this way.
Unfortunately, this is not the only problematic thing in this scene because later on Armin actually thanks Eren for becoming a mass murderer for their sake… yikes.
I’ll always defend Attack on Titan from those who claim that it is facist propaganda but if this is an accurate translation then Isayama really dropped the ball when considering the implications of this line.
It also seems quite out of character for Armin to thank Eren for killing potentially billions of innocent people.
Speaking of out of character, there’s also the reveal that Eren sent Dina to kill his mother to set them on this path.
Not only do I not believe Eren would do this but it is also brought up and then forgotten about in an instant.
You could completley remove this twist and nothing about the final chapter would change.
Then there’s Eren crying out about how he doesn’t want Mikasa to have any other man but him and how he wants her to be constantly thinking about him.
This scene seems like it’s being played for laughs but, given how it came after the reveal that Eren had murdered 80% of the human population and allowed Dina to kill his own mother, it feels really out of place.
Eren finally revealing his true feelings for Mikasa should have been played as serious rather than comedic.
We also get the teased final panel in this scene and it is actually not the final panel but rather a small flashback of Grisha telling Eren that he is free.
While I do like the symbolism of this, showing that Grisha changed his ways and also set Eren on his path to freedom, I do think that teasing this as one of the last panels was a mistake.
It led to too many fan theories and expectations, which naturally made a lot of people disappointed when their own theories didn’t turn out to be true.
In any case, following Eren’s goodbye to Armin, we then cut to the present where Eren being killed has caused the Hallucigenia to self destruct and turn all the Titans back into humans, including Jean, Connie and Gabi.
While this is quite convenient, I’m just personally glad that those three characters came back because I felt their goodbyes in Chapter 138 weren’t as fleshed out as they could have been.
Along with this, it’s revealed that Eren also sent most of the Alliance a goodbye, before erasing their memories of it.
This includes Mikasa, which doesn’t really make sense because she’s an Ackerman, so her memory shouldn’t have been able to be erased.
Although, maybe the memory she saw was the one Eren sent her right before she killed him in Chapter 138, so that would explain it.
Either way, this does lead to some pretty funny and moving moments, like Pieck comedically saying she wishes she could have spoke to Eren too and Falco running to reunite with Gabi, only for her to fling him in the air in excitement.
Following this, we get the absolute best moment of the final chapter.
The scene that actually made me tear up.
As Levi is resting up against a rock, he see his old comrades standing among the smoke, giving him the Survey Corps salute.
Levi says that this outcome is the result of their devoted hearts, before returning the salute and shedding a tear.
What an absolutley perfect way to conclude Levi’s arc.
It was beautiful and, in my opinion, the best conclusion of any character in this chapter.
Almost as beautiful was Jean and Connie seeing Sasha.
Following this heartfelt moment, Mikasa takes Eren’s head to bury it in the place the entire story began, just as Muller and the other Marleyan officers from Fort Salta arrive.
Muller is anxious about the Eldians, which is consistent from him seeing that they all transformed in Chapter 138.
I also like the line where he tells them to prove if they are humans or Titans, just like Eren was told to prove this when he transformed for the first time in the Trost Arc.
It is at this point that Armin strolls in like a boss and begins the peace negotiations that he was born for, claiming that he was the one to kill Eren.
On this dramatic note, the chapter cuts to three years later and another one of my problems come in, this being Historia’s fate.
It is revealed that her pregancy went well and she now lives on her farm with her daughter and the farmer, who she married.
That’s right, those of us who thought Eren was the father looked too deep into it.
Now, I just want to say, this is not me criticizing Isayama’s choice to not make Eren the father.
That’s on me for looking too deep into it and getting invested in that theory.
More so, this is a criticism of Isayama pairing Historia up with the farmer of all people.
I just think it is poor writing to have a character, who was once so important, be completley sidelined and then married to an unamed character that no one cares about.
It is especially annoying when this is the replacement for a fantastic relationship, if Freckled Ymir and Historia really were supposed to be implied as romantic, which I like to think that they were.
Speaking of which, my headcanon is that Historia named her child after Ymir and I will not be accepting any arguments against that.
Jokes aside, I’m actually not going to hold the farmer being the father against this chapter.
No, that’s more a problem I have with its reveal in Chapters 107 and 108.
What I will hold against the chapter, though, is the completley baffling lack of importance surrounding the birth of Historia’s child.
With all of the themes about children, it seemed like Isayama wanted us to think there was going to be something important about this baby.
From Historia’s pregancy being the cliffhanger of the first chapter for the final arc, to her pregnancy constantly being brought up despite her barely making an appearance, to her asking Eren what he would think about her having a child, to her being shown about to give birth right before the final battle.
All of this seemed like foreshadowing for the baby’s importance.
I thought it was going to be through a Founder Ymir reincarnation or at the very least a symbolic representation of freedom, with Historia’s child being the first Eldian born after the Titan curse had been removed.
Instead her pregnancy was completley pointless and all of that build up and Historia being sidelined was for nothing.
It seems pretty clear now that Isayama had no idea what to do with Historia post time skip.
Oh, well, at least she seems happy and Isayama didn’t decide to just kill her off during childbirth.
Anyway, once this brief moment with Historia’s unimportant child is shown, we get another reveal that is controversial within the fandom but one that I actually like.
This is the reveal that the cycle of violence hasn’t truly ended because Paradis has formed an army to fight the remainder of the world if need be, with Eren being viewed as a martyr.
While many seem to think that this makes Eren’s actions pointless because the cycle isn’t over, I think it actually works well because Eren still gave the island a chance and it’s also representative of the real world.
Unfortunately, total unanimous peace just isn’t feasible.
There will always be violence, war and horrors throughout our history.
That doesn’t mean that there isn’t good in the world, though, because as one of Attack on Titan‘s main themes states, “the world is cruel but it’s also beautiful.”
It is this world that the Alliance now seek to help make better, going on a diplomatic mission to Paradis where Historia and Kiyomi are waiting.
Speaking of Kiyomi, if she’s there then where’s Yelena?
Last we saw of her, she was on a boat in the ocean with Kiyomi and now she’s gone.
There’s another character Isayama didn’t know what to do with at the end but she wasn’t too much of an important character, so it’s thankfully not as bad as it is with Historia.
Back to the Alliance returning, we get one last goodbye with all these characters who we have come to know and love, with plenty of Isayama’s textbook humor on display, as the characters joke about Reiner’s crush on Historia and Jean looking like a horse.
The conversation then turns serious when Annie and Pieck wonder if they’ll really be welcomed as ambassadors to Paradis for the world but Connie says to trust in Historia and Armin tells them those on Paradis will want to know what they saw.
I wonder if this is implying that Armin’s narration throughout the story is actually him telling the people of Paradis what lead them all to this point.
That’s pretty cool if it’s true.
We also get a look at Levi, Gabi, Falco and Onyankopon living their lives in the outside world.
I’m really glad that all the surviving members of the Alliance got their own happy ending.
I’m pretty much satisfied with all of their conclusions.
The panel of Armin, Annie, Jean, Connie and Pieck looking up at the sky from their boat, right as Levi and the others do where they are, is striking.
We then get the final, touching scene of this fantastic story, as Mikasa rests at the titular tree on the hill where the story began, right next to Eren’s grave.
As she breaks down into tears about wanting to meet Eren once more, a bird flies down and wraps the rest of the scarf around her before taking off.
The manga ends with Mikasa looking up at this bird, thanking Eren for wrapping the scarf around her all those years ago.
Pretty fitting that the story ends with all of the characters looking up at the sky, at the freedom of birds and planes.
So, all in all, this final chapter is a mixed bag.
There is some really bad stuff about it, like the problematic writing of the opening scene and Historia and her pregnancy’s treatment.
However, there is also some amazing stuff, like Levi’s tear jerking conclusion to his character arc and the final scenes with all the characters that we love.
With this mixture of good and bad scenes, it creates a final chapter that I consider to be overall decent.
Not nearly as good as it could have been but still satisfying enough, nonetheless.
Yet, even though I am slightly disappointed with the ending, I still appreciate Hajime Isayama for gifting us with this amazing story that delivered some of the best characters and plot twists that I have experienced.
So, from the bottom of my heart, thank you, Hajime Isayama.
You have been hard at work on this story for over a decade and you should pat yourself on the back for all your hard work and the joy (and suffering) you brought to so many readers, myself included.
Attack on Titan will always remain as one of the greats for me and I can’t believe that it’s over.

Attack on Titan Final Chapter Predictions.

Well, this is it.
We are only days away from the final chapter of Hajime Isayama’s Attack on Titan. 
It’s been a heck of a ride, one I’ve been on since early 2018, and I’m honestly not ready for it to end.
This will be my last predictions post for the series, so I had better make the most of it and try to guess at what I believe is most likely to happen in Chapter 139.
I will admit, though, I am a little concerned about the chapter itself because I don’t know how much Isayama will be able to fit in with just 45 pages, if that really is how many he has to work with.
Still, I do have faith in Isayama and I’m excited to see how my favourite story will conclude.
So, let’s begin my final predictions post.

Will the Early Bird get the Worm?

In previous predictions posts, I have stated that I believe the Hallucigenia will most likely be killed by Reiner, making him the Helos of the story, as he inadvertantly brings an end to the Titan powers.
However, after hearing some more theories, I think there is a much more likely candidate for destroying the Hallucigenia, this being Falco.
He does have the Jaw Titan, so him actually being able to crush the Hallucigenia with his strong jaw would make a lot of sense.
There also appears to be foreshadowing for this moment added into the Final Season.
Just look at the first episode of that season, where there is an anime only scene of Falco mentioning a dream about him flying around and killing Titans with a sword.
These appear to be memories of a Scout, which Falco should have no way of knowing, meaning he could gain access to the Coordinate and all previous Titan Shifters’ memories if he eats the Hallucigenia.
This is also supported by the ED of the Final Season as well because it looks like Falco is shown literally grasping the Coordinate’s power in his hands after Ymir is shown.
My best guess is that Chapter 139 will begin with the defeat of the Hallucigenia, as the Warriors potentially manage to feed it to Falco, ending Titan powers all togethor.
However, if this does end up happening, the removal of all Titan powers through the destruction of the Hallucigenia raises questions about the fate of certain characters.

What Will Happen to Jean, Connie and Gabi?

Coming into Chapter 138, “A Long Dream” I expected most of the Alliance to be safe, so imagine my surprise and horror when Jean, Connie and Gabi were all Titanized by the Hallucigenia.
There have been a lot of theories about what will happen to them if the Eldians’ ability to turn into Titans is vanquished entirely.
Some believe they will all just turn back to normal, some say they will all die, and some say only one or two of them will come back.
If I had to pick any character who is most likely to turn back into a human, it would be Gabi.
She didn’t get much of a goodbye when she transformed last chapter and I don’t really see how it ties into her arc, like it did with Jean and Connie’s.
So, maybe Reiner will sacrifice himself to bring Gabi back?
Heck, this is Isayama we’re talking about, so we can expand that prediction.
What if it’s not just Reiner sacrificing himself but Annie and Pieck as well?
There’s currently three Titan Shifters fighting those who have been Titanized and three important characters who are Titans.
So, what if, after the Hallucigenia is destroyed, Reiner, Annie and Pieck all allow themselves to be eaten by Jean, Connie and Gabi, so they can come back but also to make up for all the bad things they did in the past.
You may be wondering why they don’t allow themselves to be eaten by their Titanized family members instead, like Annie would do for her father, but I think this is where the Marleyan officers, lead by Muller, come into play.
For the past few chapters, they’ve been preparing canons that have never been used.
They could fire those canons to help the Alliance and end up taking out the Warriors families, leaving only Jean, Gabi and Connie for them to sacrifice themselves to.
This would not only be a fitting end for the three Warrior characters but also be incredibly tragic, so it’s definitley something I can see Isayama doing.
What’s less clear cut is what happens after all this.

What Will be the State of the World?

This has been a big question the fandom has had for a while now.
Ever since the Alliance took up arms against Eren, there has been a lot of speculation about what will happen to Paradis if they succeed.
It has been mentioned time and time again how if the Rumbling fails then the world will attack the island to stop it from happening again.
However, one important thing to note is that Eren basically wiped out most of the Global Alliance with only Fort Salta posing a threat.
So, even if the world did decide to attack Paradis now that the Rumbling has been stopped, they might not have enough forces to do anything substantial.
Then there’s the whole Helos foreshadowing situation, where the Alliance could be framed as heroes for stopping the Rumbling, earning Paradis’ saftey.
They also might have Muller and Kiyomi’s help so that’s something.
Although, Muller did see a bunch of people he just agreed to help transform into Titans last chapter so I could see him flipping on that.
Honestly, at this point I’m thinking that the fate of Paradis Island and its relationship with the rest of the world will be kept vague.
Again, this final chapter is only supposed to be 45 pages, at least from what I hear, so I don’t know if that’s enough time to get into all this when there are more important things to cover.
I just hope Isayama gives us a little hint of how things will go in the aftermath of the Rumbling and whether Paradis can surive in a world where it failed or not.

The Importance of Historia’s Baby.

It wouldn’t be one of my predictions posts if I didn’t talk about Historia would it?
In all seriousness, Historia and her unborn child are one of the biggest unresolved plotlines in the entire story right now.
Some say that Historia and her baby aren’t important to the story but that completley ignores the rules of Chekov’s Gun.
If you place a gun on the mantle in the first act, then you have to fire it by the third.
Similarily, if you place a bun in the oven by the beginning of an arc, then it has to be ready by the end of it.
Historia’s pregnancy was revealed in the very first chapter of the final arc, Chapter 107, and, even though she’s barely been seen since then, the other characters have brought up her and her future child constantly.
It was even mentioned in the most recent chapter when, in Mikasa’s dream world, Eren says that he, “couldn’t send Historia to hell.”
It’s almost like, despite her not being in the story much anymore, Isayama doesn’t want us to forget about her or her pregnancy.
Then there’s the fact that he showed Historia about to give birth literally as the final battle was starting, potentially meaning that any Titans who die without being consumed, like Zeke did and maybe Eren, would have their powers go to the child.
Taking this into consideration, along with the themes about children being the future, which is outright said by Onyankopon in Chapter 118, and all of this points to Historia’s child being important to the ending.
I have said this before but I believe what makes the most sense thematically is for Ymir Fritz to be reborn as Historia’s child into a free world.
All the pieces for this happening are there.
Historia will most likely name her child after Freckled Ymir, the woman who saved her life, not knowing that this new child is actually the literal reincarnation of the original Ymir, now free after 2000 years.
Then there’s the matter of the father.
I know the father debate has been beaten to death at this point but I still don’t see the reason Isayama would make some no name character none of us care about the father, especially if the child is going to be Ymir’s reincarnation.
Eren being the father would also tie in greatly to the themes about freedom, children and rebirth.
Although I will admit that this is less likely to happen now considering that Isayama supposedly confirmed Eremika last chapter.
However, this may turn out to be inspired by Muv Luv, one of Isayama’s inspirations, where (don’t quote me on this) the main character supposedly has two love interests.
So, I still believe there is a good chance of the E+H=Y theory happening.
If I had to choose though, I’d definitley perfer Ymir Fritz being reborn over Eren being the father.
It just ties into the themes of the story so well.

Will we Finally get Eren and Ymir’s P.O.V?

This is definitley the thing the final chapter needs more than anything, Eren and Ymir’s POV.
These two characters have been so mysterious throughout the entirety of the final arc
At first, it seemed like Eren’s true goal really was to destroy the world to save Paradis, however, recent events in the final battle seem to have shaken this foundation.
Everything just seemed too easy for the Alliance in their final battle with Eren.
They only suffered casualties when the Hallucigenia got involved, otherwise Eren seemed to be deliberately holding back in a lot of ways, like the Warhammer Titan not removing the explosives around Eren’s gigantic Titan’s nape, for example.
Then there’s Chapter 137, where Ymir actually allows the dead Titan Shifters to come back and help the Alliance, with Armin saying she wants something from them.
Finally, there’s her smiling when Mikasa decapitates Eren and kisses him at the end of the penultimate chapter.
So, clearly there’s something more to Eren and Ymir’s plan.
In my previous predictions post, I made the theory that Eren was planning to make the Alliance the next Helos and saviours of humanity to save Paradis.
However, in retrospect, that seems a little too similar to what Lelouch did in Code Geass.
I still think that the Alliance could become Helos but this may be an unintentional thing on Eren’s part.
What I think is more likely now is that Eren’s true goal is what he said it was from the very beginning, bringing an end to the Titans.
This will most likely happen with the destruction of the Hallucigenia, as I have stated previously.
Following this, I think either the Alliance will be regarded as the next Helos, giving them a chance for peace, or Eren will have signifcantly destroyed the world’s military forces to the point that they can’t launch another attack, potentially both.
But, if this is what Eren and Ymir’s plan is, to destroy all Titan powers and have Ymir be reborn, then what will happen to Eren?
There has been a lot of speculation about how he could have survived Mikasa decaptiating him in Chapter 138 but, honestly, I believe he is dead for sure, at least physically.
The “See you later, Eren” moment had been built up to for 138 chapters so it would be weird for Isayama to potentially undermine this powerful moment by having Eren actually survive it.
I think the only possible way that Eren could still make active moves in the final chapter is if his soul is now trapped in Paths, similar to what happened to Ymir in Chapter 122.
So, we will either learn about Eren and Ymir’s P.O.V through a flashback or through him in Paths.
As for what happens to him if he really is trapped in Paths, if that dimension is destroyed with the Hallucigenia, then he will probably disappear entirely.
If the Paths Dimension isn’t destroyed, though, then there is the possibility that he willingly stays there forever to safeguard the Paths and make sure that they are never misused.
Also, when we take into consideration that Isayama was inspired by Muv Luv it could be possible that Eren will get an ending similar to that, where he is either trapped in a time loop or alternate universe.
Although, if this is the case, I would really perfer Eren willingly going into a time loop, giving up his own freedom to ensure his friends’, than to just end up in an alternate universe where everything is in the modern day.
That would just be too out of left field for me.
No matter what happens to Eren, though, we need to get his and Ymir’s P.O.V in the final chapter.
It is the most important dangling plot thread left in the story and it needs to be resolved.

Final Predictions for the Final Panel.

There have been so many theories over who is in the final panel ever since a draft of it was revealed.
The panel shows a mysterious figure holding a newborn baby and telling them they are free.
I have heard plenty of weird theories about this, from the baby being the one seen on the cliff face who just survived the Rumbling, to the baby being the human form of that crawling Titan seen in Chapter 90.
The two most prominant and most likely theories I have heard, though, are that it is either Eren holding a reborn Ymir, or a flashback or time loop to Grisha holding a baby Eren.
Both of these are plausible and I discussed them at length in my Chapter 138 predictions post.
However, I can now say with certainty that the theory that Eren has somehow survived and is holding Historia’s child is almost certainly never going to happen, since I think Eren is physically dead.
He can still hold the baby Ymir from the Paths Dimension but, as far as him actually surviving and holding her physically, I wouldn’t hold my breath.
This also pretty much removes all chances of the ANR ending happening, where Eren murders all of his friends then lives out the rest of his life in guilt.
Although, this theory was always pretty unlikely, in my opinion, since it came from a freaking music video and, even if they do know the ending, I doubt Linked Horizon would have been given the clear to spoil it like that.
So, if Eren’s holding the baby, then I can only see that happening from the Paths Dimension.
That said, the story ending with Eren telling a reborn Ymir that she is free would be very thematically impactful, especially since King Fritz used the freedom card to begin hunting Ymir, only now she is actually, truly free.
The chapter number, 139, is also supposed to mean rebirth so that is another sign hinting at the Ymir rebirth ending.
As for the Grisha ending, this will come from a flashback or Eren being stuck in a time loop.
We will switch scenes to Eren’s birth where Grisha’s first words to him are how he is free.
This will be significant because Grisha’s first words to Zeke were how, as a child of royal blood, he was expeted to save the world.
Grisha telling Eren that he is free would have started his strive for freedom that he has had since the beginning and show what lead to him eventually ending the cycle of violence.
I think that both of these endings would be fantastic ways to end the story of Attack on Titan. 
It could end on a hopeful note in a free world, with the Eren and Ymir ending, or it could end with a showcase of what started the journey to this free world, with Eren and Grisha.
Who knows, maybe Isayama has a completley different ending in mind that will blow us away?
We won’t know until we finally get the final chapter.
This has been my final predictions post and I’m sad to see it end alongside this amazing story.
Now, we advance to the final chapter.
Shinzou wo Sasageyo!