Chapter 100, “Declaration of War.”
Pretty much every Attack on Titan fan who has read the manga can easily recall this chapter.
I can still remember sitting in stunned silence after reading it because of what had just occurred.
So, needless to say, I was extremely excited to see one of my favorite chapters adapted in the anime.
Well, having seen it, I can say that Mappa and director Teruyuki Ōmine definitely pulled it off, providing a nail biting delivery for “Declaration of War.”
The episode starts off with a flashback to Reiner, Bertholdt and Annie’s time in the scouts, as was seen in Episode Three.
This time, we have a scene of Bertholdt wondering why the man who hung himself in the settlement chose to tell them his story before he did so, believing it was because he wanted to be judged.
At this point, the scene perfectly transitions to Reiner about to be judged by Eren, as they meet for the first time in four years.
Falco, the sweet boy, has absolutely no idea about the absolute disaster he has unintentionally caused, completely unaware as Eren subtly threatens all the people in the building above them by showing his cut hand, threatening to transform if Reiner tries anything.
From here, we see the build up to Willy’s declaration, as he is visited by the mysterious Kiyomi Azumabito from last episode, who seems to know something, given that she leaves before the festival.
Another interesting scene is between Karina and Annie’s father, where Mr Leonhart insists that his daughter is still alive, which is basically just Isayama’s way of saying, yes, Annie’s in the story, even if she’s not important right now.
The final build up scene before the performance sees Zeke, Pieck and Porco being lured away by a mysterious guard who then traps Pieck and Porco in a hole to prevent them from transforming and trying to stop whatever is about to happen.
As a manga reader, it’s been pretty fun to see fan theories about who the mysterious soldier is.
I’ve heard theories about it being Jean, Connie, and, most often, Armin who has had an extreme growth spurt.
In any case, this trapping scene is very well done, building the tension up nicely, and even providing some humor when Pieck’s panzer unit get jealous over Pieck hugging only one of them.
With the threat of enemy Titan Shifters removed, Eren can now confront Reiner in temporary peace and Willy can begin his last speech.
Down in the basement, Reiner asks Eren why he came here and Eren chillingly replies “the same reason you did” and follows this up by telling Reiner multiple times that he is “the same as you.”
This shows just how much Eren has grown over the four year time skip, going from hot headed to calm, collective, and even reflective over his situation.
He is clearly not the same arrogant character who I couldn’t stand all the way back in season one, and Yuki Kaji does a fantastic job voicing this calmer version of Eren.
Another voice actor who deserves praise for their work this episode is Kazuhiko Inoue, who does a fantastic job with delivering Willy’s lines, during his epic speech.
This voice acting, accompanying the gruesome imagery of the performance, makes for a great use of exposition that keeps the viewer engaged while being fed information.
The information Willy conveys is that the Marleyan version of history is a lie (big shock), and that The Great Titan War was actually ended by King Fritz, who conspired with the Tyber family to make a Marleyan, Helos, a hero, and then fled to Paradis Island out of guilt for what his people had done.
Willy revealing this shows how masterfully he can manipulate a crowd because first he reveals the truth, before redirecting the crowd’s anger at a new threat, Eren Jaeger.
Speaking of, Eren knows full well how much of a threat he is, admitting that he might just end up destroying the world, like Willy fears, because of the millions of Colossal Titans in the walls, which he could potentially control.
Falco is horrified that someone he trusted would use him and becomes even more terrified when he realizes the letters Eren had him send were to his “comrades.”
For now though, Eren’s attention is entirely on Reiner as he proceeds to judge him just like the opening of the episode suggested that he would.
However, this judgement is not what we might expect.
Instead of condemning Reiner, like he did in earlier seasons, Eren is shown to have become more understanding of him, as showcased by Eren telling Reiner to forget his promise to make Reiner suffer, admitting that there is good and bad people on both sides of the conflict.
This is followed by the moment that breaks Reiner completely, Eren telling him that he did what he did because he was a brainwashed kid.
Reiner refutes this entirely, falling to his knees and tearfully admitting that he pushed on with the mission to attack Paradis because he wanted to be a hero and he is to blame for Eren’s mother’s death.
Reiner’s voice actor, Yoshimasa Hosaya, did such a great job with Reiner’s tearful repentance that it almost made me cry.
Reiner’s pleas for death are then juxtaposed by Willy saying he doesn’t want to die because “he was born into this world,” and this very line that Eren’s mother spoke years ago finally draws Eren’s attention away from Reiner, as shown by the subtle widening of his eyes.
Maybe Eren is experiencing some hope that he will not have to go through with his plan?
Unfortunately, any hope Eren might have for peace is shattered because Willy follows this up by proclaiming he wants everyone to help him fight the devils of Paradis.
Accepting what he must do and that he really is the same as Reiner, Eren pulls Reiner to his feet, as we get some anime original content of soldiers approaching the basement door, ready to attack Eren.
One might think upon hearing about this scene that it is a pointless attempt at diminishing Eren’s responsibility for what comes next but, thankfully, it comes across more as a way to build tension, rather than try to justify Eren’s horrific act of violence.
And horrific it is, as Eren transforms then and there, killing who knows how many civilians and even Willy Tyber himself, crushing him with massive his fist, before throwing him in the air to be devoured, like a piece of popcorn.
This scene is just fantastic with a great use of sound and music.
That said, some manga readers took issue with the OST in this scene, 2Volt.
Some took such a disliking to this OST usage that they even harassed director Teruyuki Ōmine over it, to the point that he felt depressed.
Critique a scene all you want but if you harass the people behind that scene, you’ve gone way too far.
Personally, I feel that the music worked great and the people who dislike the scene may have had their own preconceived ideas on how the it would go, making them be inevitably disappointed when it didn’t suit their envisioned scene.
Still, even though I thought this final scene was great, there is one issue I have with the episode but it is one I am not ready to deduct points for just yet.
This issue is that there is a cut scene between Willy and Magath that is crucial to understanding both their characters’ motivations.
There is a possibility that this scene could have been moved to episode six, so if we see the scene there then this won’t be an issue, however, if it’s not there, then I think we are missing some crucial development for both these characters.
Like I said though, I am not going to be deducting any points from the episode because there is always the chance of this scene appearing in the future.
Overall, “Declaration of War” is a fantastic adaptation of one of the manga’s best chapters, delivering the point of no return for Eren brilliantly.
Three more chapters.
That is how long we have before my favorite story comes to an end, at Chapter 139.
It is also a fitting number to conclude Attack on Titan at because of the significance of the numbers 13 and 9 in the series.
For now though, we have Chapter 136, “Devote Your Hearts”, another banger that adds more tension and excitement to the final battle between the Alliance and Eren.
Coming into this battle, I was expecting a lot of character deaths but, once again, no one died in this chapter.
I remember saying in my predictions post for Chapter 137 that I was pretty certain Pieck was going to die because of her predicament at the end of “Battle of Heaven and Earth.”
Well, much like Jean’s fear for Pieck, I was proved “dead wrong” because Pieck not only survived but was also the best character in this chapter, by far.
In what is probably her most epic scene in the entire manga, Pieck runs along the trident of the Warhammer Titan, transforms and kills it, and then transforms multiple times while shooting herself out of her previous Titan forms, as if she was wearing a jet pack!
It is an incredibly epic fight scene and her banter with Jean is quite funny, as she gives this whole speech about him not needing to worry about her and to continue with the mission, only to turn around and see that he is already doing just that, causing her to give a disappointed, “oh.”
However, while this is an epic and funny scene that made me glad Pieck was safe, there were other scenes that raised death flags for characters.
One of these was Reiner when he brings up Falco’s promise to him to protect Gabi “from the dark, dark future we face”, which makes it seem like he is preparing for a heroic sacrifice.
I was wrong about Pieck though so, hopefully, I have been reading too much into this potential death flag.
In any case, Reiner is helping Jean and Pieck by holding off the Warhammer Titans so I wonder which of them will be the one to detonate the explosives on Eren’s nape?
This plan to blow up the nape was devised on Falco’s flying Titan, and it is also here that the second part of the plan was formulated, that Mikasa, Annie and Connie would go to rescue Armin from the Okapi Titan, which holds him captive in a hentai nightmare.
Jokes aside, this is a very emotional scene, as the Alliance finally admits they can no longer hold back on Eren, with both Levi and Connie pointing out that it is too dangerous to do so.
Yet, it is Jean who tragically has to break the news to Mikasa that they have to kill Eren, if they want to stop him.
The look on Mikasa’s face after this moment is just beautifully drawn by Hajime Isayama.
Along with this scene being a potential death flag for Eren, with Mikasa maybe being the one to put him down, there are two other hints towards parts of the ending in this opening part of the chapter.
The first of these is pretty minor and that is the survival of Kiyomi and Yelena.
This chapter confirms that they stayed behind in life boats after Falco’s transformation caused their ship to capsize and did not go with them to the final battle, which pretty much guarantees that they will survive the story.
A much bigger hint at the ending comes from Gabi, when she mentions the shining centipede, or, as Kruger previously called it, “the source of all living matter”, which emerged from Eren’s head when Gabi decapitated him.
Gabi says that if they can decapitate him again, they might just see this source again, which basically confirms its importance in stopping Eren.
Once this talk is done, the initiation of the plan begins, with Jean and Reiner going to help Pieck (not that she needs help, as I’ve said) and detonate the explosives, and with Annie, Connie and Mikasa going to save Armin, leading to more intense action sequences.
This is especially the case between Mikasa and Annie, as Annie uses Mikasa’s ODM Gear to throw her towards the Okapi Titan that has Armin.
Although exciting, this big action moment unfortunately fails, with the Okapi Titan now heading for Bertholdt’s Colossal Titan, which is being controlled by Ymir.
This brings us into the final part of the chapter, where we see Armin, who is thankfully not fully experiencing the Okapi’s tongue attack anymore.
Armin is now facing his unconscious body and yells and it that he hates himself and that his body has always betrayed him.
Just like Mikasa shouting that she is strong in Chapter 135, this scene of Armin perfectly reflects his character growth since the Trost Arc.
Where Armin slowly began to grow confidence in his own strength from that arc onwards, this final arc has been slowly diminishing that to the point that Armin is now at his breaking point.
However, at his lowest moment, who is the perfect character for him to meet?
Why, Zeke, of course!
That’s right, the monkey is finally back, and Armin has made contact with him after realizing he is not dying but in the Paths.
Their interaction is brief, with the chapter ending abruptly just as it begins, but it does raise a very interesting question.
Zeke asks Armin if Ymir ate him too, which makes me wonder if Zeke was eaten when Eren transformed, only since his mind was in the Paths when it happened, he is now trapped there.
Whether Zeke is truly alive or not, though, I am very excited to see how he and Armin will work together since the two have never even talked to one another before.
Both are at their lowest points in the series and they may just need each other to climb out of the dark pits of self doubt that they have found themselves in.
And, hey, with Zeke back, this means Levi can have his final confrontation with him that has been built up forever.
However, it is pretty clear from the way Isayama shows Levi thinking about this in the chapter that it may not be as simple as we think.
Levi notes how the one order he has not been able to follow from Erwin is to kill Zeke.
He also mentions how he doesn’t regret saving Armin over Erwin and even seems to be on the verge of tears when remembering his dead comrades, Erwin and Hange among them.
It is also this scene that the title of the chapter, “Devote Your Hearts” seems to come from, as Levi thinks of how if the Scouts didn’t dream of “an absurdly innocent and idealized world” then “it won’t have been worth what they devoted.”
As the story has been drawing to a close, more and more chapters have been given names that have significance to the story, first “Wings of Freedom” and now “Devote Your Hearts.”
Back to the actual chapter, it’s time to talk about my one criticism, which is the confrontation between the Eldians from Liberio and the Marleyan soldiers.
The Eldians approach the soldiers, leading to the two sides pointing guns at one another because, of course, the Marleyans just can’t stop being racist even though it’s the freaking apocalypse.
Annie’s father tries to cool the tension but it just doesn’t work, until the leader of the soldiers, Secretary Muller, arrives with his gun at the ready.
The chapter then cuts to the Alliance on Falco’s back, hearing the gunshots, the implication being that both sides started shooting at each other.
Only, I am pretty sure this is not what happened.
There’s no way that Muller, the guy who was just saying that he wanted to abandon hatred two chapters ago, is just going to give into that hatred again.
No, most likely the shots fired were Muller getting everyone’s attention to stand down.
It just feels pretty predictable, so I don’t see why Isayama had to give us a fake out.
Although I could be completely wrong about this and, if something else happens and it makes perfect sense, I’ll be sure to correct this criticism.
All in all, though, Chapter 136, “Devote Your Hearts”, is another fantastic Attack on Titan chapter that feels like it is setting up the last three nicely.
It does end a bit abruptly but so did Chapter 120 and that was followed up by my two favorite chapters of the story so far, so let’s hope that this abrupt ending points to a similar trend, with incredible chapters to come.
Even though I liked Episode Three of Attack on Titan’s Final Season, “The Door of Hope”, the one issue I had with it was the cutting of some pretty great scenes from the manga, like Reiner’s struggles in the beginning, Annie’s role in destroying the wall, and Reiner deciding to infiltrate the military.
However, cut content is certainly not a problem I have with Episode Four, “From One Hand to Another”, which adapts the manga chapters it covers amazingly.
Directed by Tetsuaki Matsuda, it even adds in scenes from previous chapters that we thought weren’t going to be adapted, like Pieck’s crawling gag, a scene that was memed to death by the fandom, after its absence in Episode Two.
This joke came after the opening, which followed the cliffhanger from the previous chapter, where Eren Jaeger himself was revealed to have infuriated Marley, disguised as a traumatized soldier and fittingly using the alias of Kruger.
It is in this opening scene that Eren begins his manipulation of the good natured Falco, having him deliver letters to his “family.”
Following this sinister moment, the rest of “From One Hand to Another” definitely gives off a calm before the storm vibe, with the build up to Willy Tybur’s speech at the festival.
Speaking of, we finally got to meet the Tybur’s, the family who holds the War Hammer Titan.
The head of the family, Willy, is certainly an interesting character because, despite being an Eldian himself, he is the secret leader of Marley, who is widely respected by the world’s other leaders.
It creates a striking juxtaposition when, at a dinner party, Willy is treated with respect, while Udo, a fellow Eldian, is treated like trash by almost all of the world’s leaders.
Willy’s introduction also sets Magath on the path towards being an interesting character, since it is revealed he is trying to get Marleyans to realize the errors of their ways, in being a warmongering nation, by forcing conscription to show them the true horrors of war, which the Eldians they force to fight for them experience.
Magath and Willy seem to have come to accord to save Marley, as Willy talks of how Marley is in need of a new hero, like the mysterious Helos.
Another scene also highlights this need because, while speaking to Wily in code, Magath reveals that their “house” has already been infiltrated by “rats.”
And, poetically, the scene then cuts to said infiltrator, Eren, who thanks Falco for sending his letters and now has a baseball from his “family.”
Eren even talks about how he needs to go back to his “hometown.”
Oh, the irony.
However, their conversation is interrupted by an approaching doctor who is revealed to be Eren’s grandfather.
Dr Jaeger talks with Eren, unaware that he is his grandson, telling him to stop having Falco run errands for him because, if the Marleyans suspect something, Falco and his family could be punished.
Eren retorts by bringing up the regrets Dr Jaeger must have, already knowing those regrets full well from Grisha’s memories.
This causes Dr Jaeger to have a complete mental breakdown in a creepy moment that reveals he is not a doctor at this hospital but a patient, having broken down from the pain of losing his children, which he believes to be entirely his fault.
As the real doctors lead a traumatized Jaeger away, Eren turns to the baseball and tosses it into the air.
After this strange moment, we get the dinner party scene where, as I mentioned, Udo is looked down upon because of his Eldian blood.
However, what I didn’t mention earlier is that there is at least one person who looks out for him, a mysterious, older Asian woman, who Gabi says is from the nation of Hizuru.
Once the party scene has concluded, we then get our final calm before the storm moment, as Gabi and the other warrior candidates enjoy the wonders of the festival.
This resulted in quite a few hilarious moments, primarily thanks to Gabi’s voice actress Ayane Sakura who, I have to say once again, was the best possible choice for Gabi.
Her delivery is completely on point, much like Yuki Kaji’s somber Eren voice, which will make it interesting to see how Bryce Papenbrook follows him up in the English Dub.
Back to the festival scene, we get another funny moment with Reiner.
The man has been abused physically and emotionally and now the time has come for him to be abused financially, as his wallet is all used to pay for the kids’ food.
This does make Reiner smile towards the end though so his financial pain is worth it.
What also makes it worth it is Pieck and Porco being present in this scene, as they were not there to enjoy the food in the manga.
Their scenes with the kids help make the two more relatable, especially Porco who, in the manga, is just a massive jerk.
Seeing him encourage the kids in Episode Two, and now enjoy the festival in Episode Four, really makes me like him more than in the manga, by this point.
It’s not all happiness though because Gabi just had to jinx it by hopefully stating that it felt like things were going to change, before the credits rolled.
Well, yes, Gabi, things are going to change, just not for the better as you had hoped.
No, the end credits scene crushes these hopes because Falco is manipulated into bringing Reiner down into a basement for another confrontation with Eren, four years after their last meeting.
With that, the episode left us off on a two week break until the epic episode that will be “Declaration of War.”
Still, I’m sure that the wait will be worth it and I am glad the animators got a small break because I’ve heard making the final season has been absolute hell for them.
Fingers crossed that they can perfectly adapt “Declaration of War”, one of the best chapters of the manga and, potentially, one of the best episodes of the anime, if done right.
Episode Five cannot come sooner.
We’re at the home stretch.
Recently it was confirmed that Attack on Titan is in its final volume, which will be released in either May or June.
This means the story will end on either Chapter 138 or 139, so three or four chapters left.
With the end now in sight, we are probably going to get some big reveals and character deaths soon, most likely starting with the upcoming Chapter 136.
It’s just a matter of how how Hajime Isayama will surprise us with the next twist in the story, and I think it may have something to do with a certain scene that was added to the premiere of the anime’s final season.
What Does Falco’s Dream in Season Four Episode One Mean?
The first episode of Attack on Titan‘s final season was fantastic and one of the best things about it were all of the little scenes added in by Mappa, creating a new experience for Manga readers like me.
One of these new additions was a brief piece of dialogue that had my jaw on the floor as I considered its implications.
When Falco is recovering from his probable concussion, he tells Gabi, Udo and Zofia that he dreamed he was flying around with swords, fighting Titans.
Now, this could be foreshadowing for him eventually using his Jaw Titan to fly but the one thing that doesn’t make sense is Falco having swords.
This makes it much more likely that he is experiencing a Scout’s memories.
It could be Freckled Ymir’s, since Falco gains her Jaw Titan but wouldn’t Falco only be able to access those after he gained the Titan?
In fact, the only Titan Shifter that we know of that can access memories throughout space and time is the Attack Titan, which is currently in possession of Eren.
So, could this mean that Falco will eat Eren at the end, becoming the next Attack Titan?
This theory could also be supported by Eren having a memory shard of Falco in Chapter 130, which was long before they meet.
Although, many people online who have heard this theory seem to dislike it so, if it does happen, it will be interesting to see how it is received.
Personally, I’m not sure how I would feel about it.
Guess I’ll just have to wait to see how Isayama writes it, if this is indeed what he is foreshadowing with this added anime scene.
What Will Happen to Armin and Pieck?
Back to the manga, Chapter 135 saw Armin and Pieck being left behind on Eren’s gigantic Titan form, with the both of them in life threatening situations.
Sadly, I think this may be the end for best girl Pieck.
She is one of the few characters who doesn’t really have an arc or a connection to many of the main characters so her death feels pretty likely.
I will honestly be surprised if she somehow makes it out of the next chapter alive, the happy kind of surprised that is.
As for Armin, I am much more convinced that he will survive the hentai situation he has found himself in.
I stated in my previous predictions post, where I outlined my thoughts on who among all of the important characters left in the story would die, that I thought Armin would live.
He’s the narrator of the story, and I think there may be a simple way for him to transform into his Colossal Titan to escape.
This simple way being Annie’s ring.
Some have speculated that, after their romantic talk in Chapter 131, Annie gave Armin her ring to protect him.
So, with his mouth now covered by the hentai Titan to prevent him transforming, Armin could use Annie’s ring to cut his finger and transform.
There are also two interesting things Armin could do, both having to do with dialogue.
The first is try to talk to Bertholdt, but I don’t know if Bertholdt could really say anything back since his soul looks like it is being controlled by Ymir.
Speaking of, Ymir is the other character Armin could try talking to.
She is the one allowing Eren to continue the Rumbling so, if Armin can convince her to stop, then the battle will be won.
Of course, if the talk no jutsu fails, then Armin may have to go to their last resort of stopping Eren, potentially killing him.
This is where the explosives come in.
Chekov’s Explosives: Who Detonates Them?
Before being impaled by the Warhammer Titan in “Battle of Heaven and Earth,” Pieck barely managed to wrap the explosives taken from the Jaegerists around the neck of Eren’s Titan form.
There is a panel of the detonator after Pieck is stabbed, so it is likely going to be important in the next chapter, just like how the anti-Titan gun Colt showed off in Chapter 118 was foreshadowing of Gabi using it to decapitate Eren in Chapter 119.
So, the question is, who detonates these explosives to try and stop Eren?
Well, my money is on Pieck, yet again.
She is the one who is closest and I think this could be how she ends up dying, sacrificing herself to try and stop Eren.
Even if Pieck isn’t the one who detonates the explosives, I see her playing a role in it.
Since Gabi is probably the only character left with a well established connection to Pieck, and she’s a great shot, maybe Pieck will hold up the explosives for Gabi to shoot.
Whatever happens to Pieck, and whoever detonates the explosives, I highly doubt this will kill Eren.
The guy’s too smart to just hide out in his nape.
He is most likely elsewhere, hiding using the power of the Warhammer Titan, along with Zeke.
So, if Pieck does die detonating the explosives, it could tragically be all for nothing.
And she’s not the only character in danger next chapter.
What can Levi do at This Point?
Levi has been through hell and back this arc, both physically and emotionally.
Not only has he lost his last remaining friend from the old Scouts, Hange, but Zeke exploding the Thunder Spear has left him extremely wounded.
His situation was worsened in Chapter 135, when his leg was bitten by a Titan while he was trying to save Connie, most likely breaking it.
Not only this but Levi is likely bleeding internally, as evidenced by him coughing up blood shortly before getting his leg bitten.
Levi is pretty much in so shape to fight now.
I know he’s a super soldier but the guy’s a mess.
Any more fighting from him is most likely going to result in his death at this point.
At least we know he won’t die until he has his final confrontation with Zeke.
After that, all bets are off.
Where are Kiyomi and Yelena?
Unlike Pieck and Levi, I don’t expect Kiyomi and Yelena to die at all.
The two of them were not on Falco’s back with Annie and Gabi at the end of the previous chapter, so this means that they likely stayed behind on the boat heading for Hizuru.
I think Isayama may be keeping Kiyomi alive for some role in Mikasa’s epilogue, if Mikasa does end up surviving the story.
I’m not honestly sure why Isayama decided to have her stay behind.
It felt like Yelena had more story to give, since her relationship with Zeke and mini rivalry with Pieck have yet to be resolved.
Maybe Isayama couldn’t find a way to fittingly put these things in the finale so he just had Yelena stay on the sidelines?
Either way, I am a bit disappointed that we most likely won’t see an end to Yelena’s arc.
In any case, I do expect her and Kiyomi to survive the story since they are so far away from the final battle now.
Any Chance of Zeke, Eren or Historia?
Every chapter we ask whether these characters will show up in the next one, don’t we?
We saw Historia at the beginning of “Battle of Heaven and Earth,” where it was revealed that she is currently giving birth.
Due to the potential importance of this plot point, with her baby possibly being the one we see in the final panel preview, I don’t see Historia showing up again until the penultimate, or very last chapter, unfortunately.
I do think Isayama has severely underused her character though so, however he ends hers her story, it can hopefully satisfy her fans.
As for Zeke, I really hope he turns up soon and gets his rivalry with Levi resolved because we haven’t seen him in the present story since Chapter 122.
While I have faith that Isayama will at least show Eren and Historia by the end, there is always the fear that Isayama will reveal that Zeke died off screen.
This said, I do have faith in him not to do this because of Zeke’s importance to the story, it’s just a little concern I have.
Fingers crossed that Isayama can bring back Zeke in a meaningful way before the end.
Then there’s Eren, who I’m not really concerned about.
He might not appear next chapter physically but he is still the main character so he is going to show up and make a big appearance by the end.
It’s practically guaranteed.
It’s just a matter of what happens to him at the end.
Does he live, die, or get stuck in the Paths Dimension?
Only time will tell, and a short amount of time at that, with only three or four months left until this epic story reaches its conclusion.
Being Reiner sucks.
I’m sure that’s a thought that passed through many viewers’ minds upon watching the third episode of Attack on Titan‘s final season, “The Door of Hope.”
Directed by Kōki Aoshima and Hiromi Nishiyama, the episode details the many, many, many times that life has kicked Reiner to the ground and then spat on him for good measure.
If you hated Reiner in prior seasons for his actions, then you may find it rather difficult to hate him after what we see him go through, as “The Door of Hope” is primarily a flashback episode to Reiner’ time as a Warrior on Paradis.
Before the episode gets to that point though, it starts off with Reiner’s humble beginnings, as his mother revealed to him as a child that his father was a Marleyan and the only way they could all be together was if they became honorary Marleyans.
This motivates Reiner to become a hero to the world by slaughtering the “island devils” so that both his parents will be proud of him.
However, this is easier said than done because Reiner is by far the weakest out of all the Warrior candidates, as pointed out by Porco.
This causes Reiner to go full brainwashed indoctrination mode, accusing Porco of being a Restorationist sympathiser, which results in him getting punched to the ground, not the last time this will happen in the episode.
Unfortunately, it is also here that I have to state one of my criticisms of “The Door of Hope”, which is the soundtrack used for this scene.
The music itself is great but it doesn’t suit the scene at all, being more fitting for an action scene than a dialogue driven one and this drew me out of the moment.
Still, the scene makes up for it with its showcases of Annie and Bertholdt, and the symbolism.
Bertholdt helps Reiner to his feet, showing his good nature that would later be corrupted by what he does on their mission in Paradis as the fearsome Colossal Titan.
This is contrasted by Annie, who seems well suited for the Female Titan already, crushing a bug under her feet, just like she would go on to crush the numerous Scouts who got in her way when she tried to capture Eren both times.
With this characterization done, the scene then transitions into some fantastic symbolism when, while Reiner looks up at the Wall separating the Liberio Eldians from the Marleyans, on Paradis, presumably at the same time, Eren looks up at the walls separating him from freedom.
Both are trapped by walls and both are now given the opportunity to move forward past them. Reiner now has the motivation to become a Warrior so he can achieve his goal of becoming an Honorary Marleyan, and Eren is being approached by Armin with the book that will create his motivation to strive for freedom, no matter how far he will have to go to achieve it.
Following this great piece of symbolism, showing how similar Eren and Reiner are, we then get the first of many scenes that are improvements from the manga.
The first of these is the recap of six of Marley’s Titans, as we see them destroy an enemy nation’s military with a display of each of their powers and a description of their users.
The way this scene is edited with the files of each Warrior, followed by their power being shown, and this all ending with the portrayal of the Colossal Titan’s nuke attack as a “god of destruction” is way more intense than it was in the manga.
Another step up comes when Marcel is eaten by Ymir, which is framed like a scene from a horror film.
This moment came after Marcel revealed to Reiner that the only reason he became a Warrior was because he spoke up for him while criticizing Porco to the military, which he did to save his brother from shortening his lifespan by inheriting a Titan.
Marcel revealing this before he dies saving Reiner is just another in a long list of Reiner being kicked while he’s down, both figuratively and literally.
Figuratively, when he first meets his father only for him to call him and his mother a devil and run away from him, and literally, when Annie almost kicks Reiner to death after they lose Marcel.
The latter scene is particularly brutal, with some fantastic work from Annie’s voice actress, Yū Shimamura, in a scene that tells us so much about Annie’s mental state, being the least brainwashed of the trio, recognizing that both Marleyans and Eldians are liars, and only wanting to get back to her father.
However, it is following this great scene that again tops the manga, that we get a scene where the manga is clearly better, this time because of cuts.
The moment where Reiner, Annie and Bertholdt destroy the walls is almost completely cut, with old footage from season one primarily being used.
Annie’s involvement in destroying the wall, Bertholdt looking up at it upon arriving, and Reiner’s desperate fight to protect them in the chaos, is all cut for the sake of time.
Yet, while it is disappointing to see that these scenes have been left out, they are not essential to understanding the story so it is not a massive loss.
Thankfully, other, more important scenes are not cut, like the one with the villager who kills himself in the settlement after telling the Warriors his backstory.
This moment with the villager is important because it is his backstory that Bertholdt uses as their cover when he and Reiner are first introduced in season one, creating another rewarding find for viewers upon rewatches.
Another cool moment comes with Kenny making a brief cameo, as Annie tracks him to try and find the Founding Titan, only to realize this was a big mistake because of how dangerous Kenny is.
With some quick thinking and some good old kicking, Annie manages to evade the Ripper and report back to Reiner and Bertholdt, causing Reiner to decide they need to breach Wall Rose, leading to the attack in Trost.
Before cutting back to the traumatic present, we get one more symbolic scene between Eren and Reiner, as Reiner, after realizing he sees himself in Erne, encourages him to keep moving forward, a piece of advice he will sincerely regret giving later on.
Then we get another improvement on the manga, in the most gruesome of ways, with Reiner’s suicide attempt in the present.
Coming into “The Door of Hope”, I was concerned that this scene would be censored based off the trailer.
They showed the whole thing in disturbing detail and even add things, like Reiner’s gasping after he thankfully decides not to go through with it because of a miraculous unintended interruption from Falco.
And Falco’s reward for unintentionally saving Reiner’s life?
Well, running into the most dangerous person in the world of course!
The reveal of Eren in the final moments of this episode is fantastic, with some stellar voice acting from Yuki Kaiji and great added symbolism with the tree behind him.
The build up to this scene was also great, with the previous episode hyping up his appearance in a subtle way that some anime only viewers picked up on and others didn’t.
It is in his conversation with Falco that Eren lays out the very themes of the episode, as he speaks of those who push themselves into hell for hope or just for another hell, and that the only ones who know what lies beyond are those who keep moving forward.
Well, Reiner has been trying to push the door open on hope for a while now and got nothing but misery, yet Eren seems determined to find hope, even if he has to go through hell and drag everyone with him to get there.
Overall, “The Door of Hope” is a great Attack on Titan episode that does a fantastic job of showing the suffering of Reiner and what comes of it.
It looks like we have only one more episode before we get to the adaptation of the amazing Chapter 100 and I, honestly, cannot wait.
Hope you all have a merry Christmas.
Coming into the final season of Attack on Titan, I wondered if Mappa would cut or rearrange certain scenes from the Manga, like Wit did with the Uprising Arc, in order to make the story flow better.
Well, this question has been confirmed with the season’s second episode, “Midnight Train”, which adapts Chapters 93 and some of 94 and 95, skipping over Reiner’s flashback, leaving that for next week.
Whether this rearranging of scenes will be problematic or not remains to be seen with future episodes but, so far, it appears to be working well if “Midnight Train” is any indication.
Directed by Daisuke Tokudo, the episode starts off by adapting Chapter 93, although having various cuts throughout.
Beginning with the meeting between the Marleyan generals, the first scene highlights once again how Marley is falling behind other countries technologically because of their reliance on Titans in warfare.
This leads to Zeke suggesting they attempt to retake the Founding Titan to buy Marley time to catch up, saying that he will do so because he should be the one to bring an end to the plans of Grisha Jeager, as his former son.
While also revealing that Zeke has one year left in his term, this scene also unfortunately highlighted my main criticism with the episode, it’s animation.
While certainly not bad, it did have a few questionable moments, like with Zeke in this scene where his face looks oddly emotionless, with only his mouth being animated to move.
This odd animation continued in the following scene when Zeke and Colt are walking up some stairs and when Udo starts talking about the threats Eldians face.
Apparently, these two moments were made using rotoscoping, which is an animation technique.
It is used during other scenes in the episode and those all look great.
However, these two scenes with Colt and Zeke, and Udo look a little janky compared to the rest of “Midnight Train’s” animation and they pulled me out of the story for a brief moment.
Still, these are only small instances and the technique usually looks good.
Besides, the Colt and Zeke, and Udo scenes are both well done in their own right, providing great humor with Zeke’s ass wiping technique gag, and also tragically revealing the full extent of Reiner’s PTSD when he imagines Gabi, Falco, Udo and Zofia as Bertholdt, Annie, Marvel and Porco from his training days.
Speaking of Porco (Toshiki Masuda), we finally got to meet him and Pieck (Manami Numakura) this episode.
Both of their voice actors do great jobs as the characters, with Pieck being the Cart Titan and one of my favourite new characters introduced during the Marley Arc, and Porco being Marcel’s brother and the new Jaw Titan, meaning he ate Freckled Ymir to get her power.
That’s right, Freckled Ymir still dies off screen.
It’s disappointing that we still don’t have a death scene for her but it’s not like I expected anything better for her character at this point anyway.
Following these scenes, we get the titular train the episode title is referencing as we see the Eldian Warriors on one, returning to their home internment zone of Liberio, resulting in the humorous scene of Colt lifting up Gabi so everyone, including Gabi herself, can cheer for her.
Yet, there also comes a serious scene here, as Falco criticizes Reiner for apparently allowing his cousin to inherit his Armoured Titan, thus shortening her life span.
Reiner uses this moment to test Falco, resulting in two interesting reveals.
One, being that Falco’s last name is actually Grice, the same name of the man who was with Grisha in the Eldia Restorationists.
And two, that Reiner wants Falco to surpass Gabi and inherit his Armoured Titan so he can protect her from the dark future they face.
With this, the adaption of Chapter 93 comes to an end and we get a merged adaptation of parts from Chapters 94 and 95.
Starting with the Warriors reaching Liberio, we get some interesting new scenes of Porco and Pieck interacting with Gabi and Falco, acting as older siblings looking out for them.
I really liked this addition because it helps make their characters more sympathetic, also helped by all of the shots of all the Warriors reuniting with their families.
We have Zeke greeting his grandparents, Gabi hugging her parents, Reiner awkwardly reuniting with his mother, and an anime original scene of Pieck’s father coughing as he welcomes her, which introduces his illness a lot earlier than the manga does, which is a pretty cool addition.
Along with this heat warming scene, however, we also get a reminder of how war is constantly on the horizon, as the Marleyan, Koslow, scares a bunch of traumatized Eldian soldiers suffering from PTSD.
This also allows us to see Falco’s good side because he is kind enough to help one of these soldiers, whose armband has been placed on the wrong arm.
The next scene proves as a great contrast to the horrors of war because, while the traumatized soldiers screamed and fall when Koslow yells “Boom!” at them, Gabi yells “Boom!” with glee to her family, showing the extent of her indoctrination in Marleyan propaganda.
This indoctrination is shown further by Reiner having to act like the Eldians on Paradis Island are devils, comedically turning something as innocent as Sasha eating a potato into something monstrous.
On an unfortunate note, many anime only viewers seem to have misinterpreted this scene as Reiner trying to fool himself into believing this, when he is actually trying to subtly tell his family that those on Paradis are no different from them.
This may have been lost in translation because of the removal of Reiner smiling under his hand, so I wish they had kept that.
One great addition is the a brief moment that comes after this scene, as one of the traumatized soldiers is shown killing themselves, again showing the harm the Marleyans are doing by forcing the Eldians to fight their battles for them.
I love how Mappa is adding all of these scenes to show the horrors of war.
From here, the episode goes into adapting parts of Chapter 95, with the meeting between Zeke and the other Warriors, as Zeke explains their plan to take the Founding Titan with help from the Tyber family, the holders of the Warhammer Titan.
Here, we get another indication that Reiner is now fully aware of the Marleyan propaganda and indoctrination, as he realizes Zeke is hinting that the room is bugged and saves Porco, who is voicing his dissent, from endangering himself by interupting him.
With this moment, the episode ends as Reiner wonders if he really has to go back to Paradis, setting up the next episode to adapt all of his flashbacks, which is kind of worrying.
I have heard leaks about the pacing of this next episode and it makes me scared the writers could cut a lot of pivotal moments for Reiner’s character.
Fingers crossed they can do these chapters justice with just a single episode.
Back to the episode itself, “Midnight Train” is a solid adaptation that is brought down slightly by its occasionally janky animation and cut content.
Still a good episode though and I hope everything turns out alight for the next one.
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.
WARNING: MAY CONTAIN MANGA SPOILERS.
It’s finally here!
After over a year of waiting, Mappa has delivered the first episode of Attack on Titan’s final season, “The Other Side of the Sea,” and, boy, is it a good one.
Honestly, coming into this episode, I had concerns.
There has been a number of leaks about production hell at Mappa with how complex the character designs are so I was worried the animation would suffer.
However, Mappa and directors Yūichirō Hayashi and Jun Shishido thankfully pulled it off, delivering a fantastic first episode that gave me a new appreciation for Chapters 91 and 92 of the manga, which the episode adapts.
Directed by Kaori Makita, “The Other Side of the Ocean” picks up four years after the defeat of the Warriors on Paradis, introducing us to a whole slew of new characters, starting with Falco (Hanae Natsuki), an Eldian warrior candidate caught in the middle of the final battle of a war.
The opening scene introducing him and his brother Colt (Masaya Matsukaze) is fantastic, with the ringing of Falco’s ears, the intense music, and the brutal imagery of the brothers’ fellow soldiers being cut down in a hail of bullets.
The war the two are involved in is Marley’s attempt to defeat the Mid-East Allied Forces by destroing their forces at Fort Salta; the Mid-East Allied Forces being a series of countries who banded together to attack Marley after they were defeated at Paradis four years ago.
This information is delivered to us in admittedly shoddy exposition, with the convenient excuse of Falco losing his memory due to a probable concussion.
Thankfully, it is a brief scene so it is not too much of a problem.
Also, this does give the episode time to introduce its other new characters, Gabi (Ayane Sakura), Udo (Ayumu Murase), Zofia (Yumi Kawashima), and Commander Magath (possibly Yukitoshi Hori), all of whom are greatly adapted from the manga.
Gabi is especially well done, with Ayane Sakura bringing the character to life perfectly because I already can’t imagine another voice actress playing her and I’m probably going to hear her voice whenever I read Gabi’s lines in the story.
Following these introductions, Gabi reveals she, Falco, Udo and Zofia are being considered by Magath for the role of the next Armoured Titan.
It is after this that we get the Final Season OP, “My War” by Shinsei Kamattechan.
Honestly, on my first listen, I was kind of unsure about it but, after repeat views, I think it’s a great opening for the Marley Arc, with amazing lyrics, and some chilling visuals towards the end.
I suppose my biggest criticism of it would be that it does occasionally use repeated shots of explosions and I think there should have been some variety.
Once the OP closes, we get the the beginning of the epic battle, with Gabi coming up with a plan to take down the Armoured Train, which is a threat to even the nine Titans, all by herself.
This plan goes off without a hitch, with Gabi destroying the Armoured Train before Falco dives in to protect her from machine gun fire.
He needn’t have tried though because the new Jaw Titan, Galliard, who has one of my favourite Titan designs, shows up to save them.
We also get a look at the Cart Titan, which has had its own upgrades in the four-year time skip, with machine guns mounted on its back to shoot at oncoming soldiers.
It is during this time that Falco saves an enemy soldier, only for him to call the Warrior candidates “devils,” showing how strong the hatred for Eldians is outside Paradis, even from their own people, as Gabi so obviously displays by how brainwashed she is into hating the Paradisian Eldians.
Then, we get the most epic moment of the episode as, in a perfect adaption, Eldians are parachuted down from an airship carrying Reiner (Yoshimasa Hosoya) and Zeke (Takehito Koyasu).
The latter lets out a vicious roar, turning all of the falling Eldians into Titans, who crash down onto Fort Slava to a great soundtrack, which we saw a hint of in the final season trailer.
Reiner jumping down and wiping out the Mid-East Allied Forces’ soldiers with the help of Galliard, then protecting Zeke from a navy bombardment, followed by Zeke destroying that navy, were all moments that left my jaw on the floor, in terms of their quality.
One slight criticism I do have about sequence is the CGI.
Basically, almost all of the Titans in this episode are CGI and, while this looks great on some Titans like Galliard and Reiner, it looks a little off for the Beast Titan in certain shots.
However, this CGI is certainly nowhere as bad as WIT’s CGI Colossal Titan and it did not lessen my enjoyment of the events so, even if the quality of the Titans remains the same throughout the rest of the anime, I will be completely fine with that.
Following the end of the battle, we get the ED, “Shock” by Yuko Ando, which is another banger and has plenty of cool symbolism for upcoming events.
An intriguing anime only scene accompanies this song, which appears to show Jean having infiltrated Marley, hyping up a future battle that I hope is done justice with the adaptation.
This was not the only anime only scene in this episode though because there were multiple ones and, in my opinion, almost all of them improved the adaptation.
There were the anime original portrayals of the horrors of war, like traumatized Eldian soldiers, including one kissing a locket supposedly containing a photo of his loved ones, a squad of what appeared to be forced suicide bombers, and a single soldier climbing atop countless corpses.
Then there’s the added set pieces, like when Reiner has to destroy a second Armoured Train, which he then used to destroy the enemy canons, when in the manga there was no second train and Reiner used a radio tower to destroy the canons.
Another interesting change is the character redesign for Koslow.
In the manga, he looks like a normal guy but they adapted the design in the adaptation, making him pudgy and ugly, probably to make him seem like an evil caricature.
Thankfully, Koslow is a minor character with no importance in the plot so this character design change is not one I particularly mind.
What is definitely the most interesting deviation from the manga, though, is Falco, while concussed, saying that he dreamed he was flying around with a sword, fighting Titans.
This is quite a shocking change because it seems to be heavily implying that Falco is seeing the memories of one of the Scouts, most likely Eren’s.
If this is true, then this anime only scene may be crucial to predicting the manga’s ending, which I will discuss in my predictions for Chapter 136.
Overall, “The Other Side of the Sea” is a fantastic start to the final season that I actually think surpassed the manga, with its great adaptation of the source material and brilliant anime original scenes.
I was a bit worried about the adaptation going in but Mappa definitely proved themselves here and I hope they can keep up the quality in the 16 episodes to come.
Yes, I did say 16, because that seems to be how many episodes we will get, based off leaks, at least for now.
Since this is nowhere enough chapters to fully adapt the story without it being rushed and thus poorly adapted, this would spell certain doom for the final season were it not leaked that the pacing of this season will be around two chapters an episode.
Given this, the pacing will most likely be fine and we will probably get a second part of the season months from now, or maybe a movie or two to finish the adaptation.
No matter what happens though, I hope Mappa can keep up to the standard they have set with this episode and deliver a fitting final season to my favourite story of all time.
With Chapter 134, the final battle of the Attack on Titan manga has begun and it looks like we only have one more volume left before the end of this epic story.
This means we most likely have four or, if Hajime Isayama wants to do a longer volume since it’s the last one, five chapters left.
Now that the story is so close to the conclusion, it means we are getting into predictions that will tie into the ending, so I am excited to lay out how I think Isayama will want to finish the tale he has been weaving for over ten years.
I will start with a prediction that I promised to expand on in my review of “In the Depths of Despair.”
What’s up With Historia Giving Birth Now?
At the beginning of Chapter 134, Historia is shown to be giving birth.
However, this is rather strange since, in Chapter 113, Levi said it was a few months before the baby was due.
Canonically, it has been five days since Levi said this and yet the baby is being born now?
Personally, I don’t think this is a mistake since Isayama rarely makes them.
But, if Levi saying Historia was a few months from giving birth, only for her to be giving birth now, is a purposeful clue left by Isayama then what is this pointing to?
Well, I think there’s two possibilities, the first of which is that it is a premature birth.
This could align with the setup of what the Military Police said of the dangers of Historia giving birth in Chapter 108.
However, what I think kills this possibility is the fate of the child.
In Attack on Titan, the world is around 100 years behind us technologically so, if the baby were to be born two months prematurely, then this would not only kill Historia but the child as well because medical care is not far enough along to save its life.
The reason I think that this eliminates the possibility of the birth being premature is that children are a very important theme in Attack on Titan, especially in this final arc.
From Mr Blouse’s speech about getting children out of the forest, to Onyankopon proclaiming that children are the future, to all the panels and references to children in the most recent chapter, it is abundantly clear that children, especially newborns, will be important to the manga’s ending.
Heck, the teased final panel is of a man holding a baby and telling it that it is free, and this baby is most likely Historia’s so it definitely isn’t dying.
So, if the birth isn’t premature, then why did Levi say it was a few months away from being born earlier?
Well, because that’s what he and everyone else was told.
Historia lied about the timing of the conception.
To hide the true identity of the father, Eren Jaeger.
Yes, I know, the debate over whether Eren or the farmer is the father of Historia’s child has been beaten to death at this point.
That said, the baby is clearly so important to the ending with the numerous references to children that I just mentioned, and the implications of Historia possibly lying about when the child was conceived are there, so I just can’t help but speculate about it.
Basically, this theory is that Eren got Historia pregnant some time after their meeting in Chapter 130.
Historia then met with the farmer and convinced him to act like the father of her child.
Some months later, after Eren had left for Marley, she announced her pregnancy, with the farmer acting as the father, to eliminate Eren as a possibility for the father in the MP’s minds because they would not have accepted this once Eren went rogue and likely used the child against him.
Along with the implications of this possible lie, there is also the implications of the child being born right as the final battle is starting.
I can’t help but remember what Eren said in Chapter 88, “if someone who holds the power of one of the nine Titans dies without anyone inheriting that power then the power of that Titan is suddenly inherited by a baby belonging to the Subjects of Ymir.”
With the final battle now ongoing, it is likely we could get some Titan Shifter deaths.
This could mean that if a Shifter, say Pieck, dies right at the point Historia gives birth, then her child will gain the power.
Not only this, but the quote could also be suggesting the popular theory that Historia’s child will be the reincarnation of Ymir Fritz.
I do think that Eren is going to eliminate Titan powers all together after the final battle and this may mean destroying the Paths Dimension, which could end up freeing Ymir Fritz, causing her to reincarnate.
This reincarnation would then occur in the Subject of Ymir that was just being born, Historia’s child, which Historia would then fittingly name Ymir, after Freckled Ymir who saved her from killing herself and put her on the path of living for herself.
Whether any of this happens or not though, it is clear to me that Historia’s child will be incredibly important to the ending of Attack on Titan, whether this is purely for symbolic reasons or, hopefully, the story based reasons that I have outlined in this prediction.
Where Really is Zeke and What is his Role?
Zeke disappeared all the way back in Chapter 122 and he has been absent from the current story ever since.
We might have seen him in the most recent chapter, as Eren used Zeke’s Beast Titan to destroy the airships sent to bomb him and the Rumbling.
Zeke is now the target of the Alliance because they believe killing him could cut Eren’s connection to the Founding Titan and stop the Rumbling once and for all.
However, there is one pretty big hiccup in the Alliance’s plan, which is that we actually don’t know if Zeke is inside this Beast Titan.
Eren could have moved him anywhere inside his gigantic Titan form, using the power of the Warhammer Titan.
The next chapter could open with Levi cutting Zeke’s nape, only for the Alliance to realize he isn’t inside, throwing the Alliance’s entire plan into chaos.
Most likely, finding Zeke’s whereabouts will be a big focus after this, with him being anywhere in or around Eren’s Titan.
However, it is Zeke’s role in the final battle that I am more interested in.
We’ve known since Chapter 121 that his goal is now to stop Eren as Grisha begged him to, so his motivations now align with the Alliance’s.
I can actually see Levi temporarily putting aside his desire to kill Zeke to work with him so they can stop Eren and save the world.
How hype of a cliffhanger would it be for it to seem like all is lost when Levi and Zeke charge in, working together, despite their differences?
At least, this is what I hope to see in Zeke’s future.
For all we know, he died and Eren absorbed his power in Chapter 122.
Isayama killed Freckled Ymir off screen so he’s not above this.
Hopefully, this doesn’t happen because Zeke’s one of my favourite characters and I don’t want to see him go out as badly written as Freckled Ymir did.
Possible Peace Ending?
One of the highlights in “The Depths of Despair” is the unnamed Marleyan general admitting to his and his country’s wrongs in persecuting and hating the Eldians, and vowing to never make that mistake again, should they survive.
This moment could be seen as possible foreshadowing of a peaceful ending with the survivors of Eren’s genocide deciding to end generations of hatred and make peace with Paradis to stop another worldwide massacre, like the Rumbling, from happening ever again.
Kiyomi and Hizuru could help in this endeavor, as well.
Now, given that it has been stated time and time again that stopping the Rumbling will cause the world to destroy Paradis, many could see this potential ending as a copout.
However, there are some factors that could make it more believable, like the Helos theory, which will see one of the Eldians who defeat Eren, or maybe take credit for it, like Reiner for example, become a hero in the eyes of the world, preventing the destruction of Paradis.
Another important thing to take note of is that the general who says he wants to devote himself to peace is just one person and obviously not reflective of the entire world.
Therefore, I believe that, even if we get the peace ending, there will still be a significant amount of tension among the Eldians and the rest of the world, which could end the story on a bittersweet note.
However, there is another way this story could end other than peaceful, and that is with the full destruction of the world with Eren’s Rumbling succeeding.
Is Eren Actually On Paradis?
One theory that I have seen thrown around is that because Eren has activated the Founding Titan, his War Hammer Titan abilities have increased tenfold.
If this is the case then he could be apart from his massive Titan form from even larger distances, say, all the way back at Paradis, for example.
I can see it now; the Alliance think they have Eren defeated and they rush in for the final blow… only to discover that Eren is not there and all the way back on Paradis controlling his Titan.
The Alliance is too far away to stop him now and Eren destroys the entire world, leaving only those on Paradis alive.
However, there are some holes in this theory, like the build up Mikasa had with her bloodline in Hizuru.
What would be the point of that if the world is destroyed?
Still, this does not completely rule out this dark ending happening.
Personally though, I’m hoping for an ending that is more bittersweet, rather than completely dark or completely happy.
Final Death Predictions:
The final battle of Attack on Titan is obviously going to come with a lot of emotional, gut wrenching character deaths.
So, I’m now going to go through every important character left in the story and give a percentage to their chances of dying and my reasons for thinking so.
- Eren Jaeger = 50% – I think it could go either way for Eren at this point. He could be killed by someone in the Alliance, he could complete the Rumbling and have to live with the guilt, or he could get stuck in the Paths Dimension or deliberately stay there. I can see all of these possibilities fitting into his character arc and, given how amazing Isayama has made him since the Marley Arc, I have complete faith in the ending he will deliver for his main character.
- Mikasa Ackerman = 50% – Like Eren, Mikasa could go either way. Sure, there is a lot of build up with her connection to Hizuru, which has not payed off yet, but there are some distressing signs that point to Mikasa’s death. One such example can be seen in Chapter 126, where Louise says Eren told her to get rid of Mikasa’s scarf if she had the chance. This means Eren was most likely trying to prevent a future he saw for her. Whether this future was her dying, her killing him, or something else, I don’t know. If she does die though, I can see Armin never forgiving Eren.
- Armin Arlert = 30% – I find it unlikely that Armin will die in the final battle. For one thing, we know he’s the narrator of the story so him living through it all is pretty certain. Also, I cannot really imagine a scenario where Armin dies here. He just became the new Commander of the Survey Corps and, whatever ending happens, Armin’s gonna need to be there to help rebuild the world, whether that world is only Paradis after Eren destroyed the world, a united world following Eren’s defeat, or something else entirely.
- Levi Ackerman = 50% – Levi is yet another character I can see it going either way for. Despite being a fan favourite, his injuries do make him more likely to bite the bullet in this final battle.
However, he will not die before his rivalry with Zeke ends, either with him killing him or putting that aside to work with him in stopping Eren. One thing that points to Levi living is that him being humanities strongest soldier but everyone still dying around him is kind of his thing. This could suggest Levi being one of the last people standing and living on to honour his comrades’ memories, or finally being able to join them in death.
- Jean Kirstein = 50% – Another character whose chances are 50/50 when it comes to living or dying, Jean is a character with death flags but I can also see Isayama allowing him to live. Him dying could tie into his arc of putting aside his own selfish desires for the good of humanity, which is supported by him seeing his dead comrades, just like Hange and Erwin did before they died. Yet, you never know with Isayama. He could find a way to have Jean survive and make it fit into his arc. We’ll just have to wait and see.
- Connie Springer = 60% – I debated on what chance of dying to give Connie and, in the end, I settled on 60% because he’s just not a character who’s too important to the plot. Him living or dying wouldn’t really affect it that much, other than his death motivating the other characters.
Then there’s his mother, who is still a Titan. If he lives, then he might just be able to live with her if she gets turned back into a human. If he dies, then Armin can tragically tell his mother that he died protecting people like he wanted. One thing I am expecting is a confrontation with Zeke because he was the one with Titanized his whole family and Connie did say he wanted to fight him in the Uprising Arc.
- Reiner Braun = 30% – Oh, poor Reiner. The one character who wants to die and is never able to. I honestly expected Reiner to die giving his Titan power to Falco but, after that role fell to Porco, I just couldn’t see him dying anymore and I still can’t. I honestly think Reiner has a great shot at making it out of this story alive and living with all of the bad things he has done as the new Helos, hero of the world, although an unwilling one at that. Whether that last part actually happens or not though, it will be interesting to see what role Isayama has for Reiner in the ending.
- Zeke Jaeger = 80% – Zeke is the character that I believe has the biggest chance of dying in the final battle. Taking him out is currently the Alliance’s number one priority, and both Levi and Connie have personal grudges against him. However, like I said, I can see Zeke siding with Levi to try and stop Eren. But, even if this happens, I find it difficult to imagine an ending where Zeke makes it out alive. Whatever way he does end up going out, if he dies at all, his rivalry with Levi will almost certainly be resolved.
- Annie Leonhart = 60% – When Annie left the Alliance, I was disappointed because I wanted her to be there for the final battle. Well, now that she is set to arrive on Falco’s flying Titan, I am scared for her safety. That final glance she shares with Armin in Chapter 132 just screams tragic ending for me and, since I don’t see Armin dying, this raises Annie’s chances of dying significantly. Maybe she will die with her father, or he’ll see her alive before he goes out. If Annie does die fighting Eren though then, just like with Mikasa, Armin will probably never forgive him.
- Pieck Finger = 60% – Pieck is a strange character to speculate about when it comes to whether she will live or die because she is a pretty stagnant character. There is nothing wrong with having a character like this, and I really do like Pieck, but it makes predicting how she could die pretty hard. The only member of the Alliance who she has any emotional connection to is Gabi so I don’t see her dying until she shows up. Then there is Yelena, which Pieck has kind of a rivalry with, so her story could end with hers if Yelena ends up coming to the final battle. Pieck’s a hard character to guess but I’m going 60% since she isn’t really all that pivotal to the plot.
- Gabi Braun = 30% – Like Armin and Reiner, I honestly don’t see Gabi dying. With Isayama’s focus on children being the future and her having moved past her hatred, I think she will survive the final battle and help educate her fellow Eldians in Marley about the wrongs of the Warrior program. I will be pretty surprised if she ends up biting the bullet in the end.
- Falco Grice = 30% – Falco is another character who I think will survive the story, again because of Isayama’s focus on children thematically. With the plane having crashed and the Rumbling fast approaching the surviving Eldians from Liberio, I see Falco rescuing them all using his flying Jaw Titan. As for when he will show up, probably in the next couple of chapters at the most. Either way, I don’t see him dying.
- Historia Reiss = 50% – Historia has basically become the new Annie. She was an incredibly important character who has been sidelined for a very long time. I hope Isayama can give her something interesting to do, like he is now with Annie, before the end. Whether she will die or not is hard to say. If she does die, it will certainly be from child birth, as was foreshadowed by Nile laying out the dangers of pregnancy in Chapter 108. Personally though, I really don’t want Historia to die after how little screen time she has had. It would be like Freckled Ymir all over again and Historia deserves better than that. Historia will either die giving birth or live on with her child.
- Onyankopon = 60% – Onyankopon has served his purpose in the story, as the one who flew the Alliance to stop Eren. At the end of Chapter 134, he is trying to crash land the plane and his fate is up in the air. If he lands in the direction the Rumbling is moving, he will almost certainly be crushed. I hope this doesn’t happen though because Onyankopon is a cool side character who I think deserves to make it. However, his chances are less likely because he has served his purpose and is now in danger.
- Yelena = 50% – I thought about giving Yelena a high chance of dying but I don’t even know if she is going to be in the final battle or not. She looked pretty sick in Chapter 132 and I don’t if she would want to come. On the other hand, she did say that she wanted to see how this would all end in Chapter 128 and Falco, Annie and Gabi could use her to guide them to Fort Salta. If Yelena does end up going to the final battle I am pretty sure that she will die after getting her storylines with Zeke and Pieck resolved. However, if she stays behind then it is safe to say that she will live through the story.
- Kiyomi Azumabito = 40% – Kiyomi is a character who I am confused by because, aside from delivering the plane that the Alliance has used to reach Eren, she hasn’t really gone anywhere as a character, despite her connection to Mikasa. This makes me think her role isn’t over yet because she may have some role for Mikasa planned after the Rumbling ends, which would mean the likelihood of her dying is pretty low. Not as low as Armin, Reiner, Gabi and Falco but still pretty low since her storyline with Mikasa has yet to pay off.
So, those are my death predictions and we will surely be seeing a lot of death as Attack on Titan comes to its conclusion, most likely with the next volume.
I am incredibly excited, both for that and for the final season of the anime, which will air in a week.
Fingers crossed that Studio Mappa can adapt this final season excellently, which it deserves.
Another month, another incredible Attack on Titan chapter.
Chapter 134, “In the Depths of Despair” sees the final battle of the story between Eren and the Alliance finally commence.
It’s funny to think that I thought the final battle was beginning all the way back in Chapter 116, which was more than a year ago.
How far the manga has come since then, with admittedly less than stellar chapters like Chapter 126, but mostly incredible ones like chapters 119, 121, 122, 123, 130, 131, and 132.
Well, now I am happy to say that “In the Depths of Despair” is the same quality as these fantastic chapters, delivering plenty of epic moments.
More than that though, the chapter lives up to its name, displaying quite a bit of despair, most of it in regards to children.
This is made clear right from the beginning of “In the Depths of Despair”, where Historia is shown to be giving birth, right as the worldwide genocide of the Rumbling is happening.
Talk about bad timing.
In all seriousness, Historia giving birth now does raise a lot of questions because Levi said there was still a few months before the baby’s arrival and, canonically, this was five days ago.
Levi being wrong here could be a mistake by writer Hajime Isayama or it could be a purposeful detail put in by him, which could have interesting implications for the pregnancy subplot.
I will be discussing this in my predictions post for Chapter 135.
In any case, Historia’s soon-to-be-born baby is not the only child we see in this chapter because we also get a lot of spotlight on other children suffering due to Eren’s Rumbling.
There’s the children aboard the train with the Eldians from Liberio who find that all the airships have left, meaning they cannot escape the Rumbling and will likely be crushed if Eren is not stopped.
Most chilling of all is a baby seen among a fleeing crowd of thousands, stuck between the Rumbling and a cliff.
The people among this crowd are left with the choice of either death by being crushed or death by falling and probably drowning in the sea.
Following this disturbing reveal of their choice in fate, we see a case of unsettling attention to detail by Isayama as a woman among the countless number of people facing their imminent deaths looks a lot like the pregnant woman who Eren saw in Chapter 130.
When Eren looked at her then, it caused him to wonder what his mother would think.
Well, now Eren seems to have pushed such thoughts aside because this pregnant woman has given birth since he saw them, and now Eren is condemning the both of them to their deaths.
In a most likely futile but no less touching attempt to save her child, the woman throws her baby into the crowd as she falls off the cliff.
The baby is catched by another woman and, in a beautifully haunting panel that is now probably my favourite of the entire manga, the countless citizens, doomed to die in the Rumbling, reach out to protect this child against the inevitable, incoming death.
It is the children who truly suffer the most in this chapter, with Historia’s baby being born at the beginning potentially foreshadowing the new life for Paradis children while, in the rest of the world, millions of children are ruthlessly slaughtered in Eren’s genocide.
Children being the biggest victims here is also astutely pointed out by the leading general at Fort Salta who, I just want to say, really grabbed me this chapter, despite us not knowing his name or backstory.
Some say that his speech to his fellow soldiers was forced and contrived but I really disagree with this.
In all honesty, I found it to be one of the most beautiful speeches of the entire story that ties into the themes incredibly well.
This can be seen through his realization of how the hate they gave has now been returned to them through the devil that is Eren and now the ones who will pay the most for this adult hubris is the children.
The profoundness of this speech even causes Karina to come to a realization of how she used Reiner, making her break down and declare how she was never a good mother to him, with Annie’s father saying he was the same way with his daughter.
Her breakdown made it all the more epic when Reiner transformed at the end to fight Zeke’s Beast Titan, which Eren appears to be controlling through the Warhammer Titan.
There were a lot of predictions about how Eren would take out the airships heading for him at the end of the last chapter.
I guessed that he would use the Warhammer Titan to create spears for the Wall Titans to throw at the airships like javelins.
However, nobody predicted that Eren would use Zeke to do it.
It just goes to show how unpredictable Isayama can be with his story.
Now that Zeke is back, it looks like Levi is completely ready to take him on, so it will be interesting to see how their longstanding rivalry ends.
The true star of this chapter for me though was surprisingly not Eren, Levi or the unnamed, bearded general who gave the brilliant speech, but Onyankopon.
Seriously, the guy did an incredible job avoiding the debris sent flying at them by a controlled Zeke.
Onyankopon refused to bail out with the Alliance, instead flying them as close as he could to Eren so they could have the best shot at beating him, planning to make an emergency landing once they had jumped out of the plane.
I just hope he can survive now, since he has served his purpose in the story of delivering the Alliance to the final battle.
Speaking of, we finally know what the final audio that was displayed at Attack on Titan’s final exhibition was all about.
Seeing Armin jump out of the plane and yell out, “Eren!”, just like he did in that audio, gave me goosebumps.
The chapter then ends with the Alliance fighters landing on Eren, and Armin stating that he plans to ask Eren how he is free once he rips him from his Titan.
This is a triumphant ending to “In the Depths of Despair”, which, in all likelihood, will not remain very triumphant as the endgame plays out.
This is the final battle and I, for one, fear that a lot of main characters deaths and a lot of heartbreak will come as the story concludes.
Overall, Chapter 134 is another incredible chapter of Attack on Titan.
The first half is full of despair, with the suffering of children being put on full display, while the second half is an epic and triumphant beginning to the final battle than will, sadly, most likely end in tragedy.
It looks like we only have one more volume left of Attack on Titan, with the story potentially ending at Chapter 138 or 139, and I am prepared to be emotionally destroyed by it.