I can still remember reading Chapter 118 of Attack on Titan for the first time and being quite impressed with all of the standout character moments. Well, I am pleased to say that Mappa adapted this chapter amazingly, for the most part. Directed by Jun Shishido, “Sneak Attack” begins by recapping the last few minutes of the previous episode, again showing us Armin tell everyone that Eren was probably lying about Mikasa, and that he is most likely just using Zeke and Yelena. Last episode had a recap beginning as well and, honestly, I’m finding them to be a bit annoying. It’s clear they’re just doing it to pad for time so they can adapt one chapter per episode. Once the recap of the previous episode is over, the other characters quickly come to the conclusion that they have to help Eren, with Jean even admitting that he envied Eren because he found him to be “cool,” a great moment of growth for him. Afterwards, the 104th go to suit up so they can help Eren fight off Marley and, while running, Mikasa questions Armin’s reasoning for Eren lying. This causes Armin to remember Eren’s final line in the Season Three finale about destroying their enemies beyond the sea. He realizes something because of this but chooses to stay quiet, instead focusing on how he and Eren both knew about Mikasa’s headaches so Eren used it to make his lie more convincing. We then get another recap of Eren and Reiner’s fight, followed up by a kind of underwhelming moment when Porco attacks Eren, only for him to be punched away. This, and Eren’s glare at Reiner when he is being held down, just had a lot more impact in the manga. However, this worrying start then turns amazing when Eren begins to rip Reiner’s jaw apart. Eren’s scream mixed with his Titan roar gave me goosebumps, as did Zeke arriving to save his little brother. The Beast Titan was completely CGI in Part One of the Final Season but he appears to be mostly 2D in this episode and looks absolutely fantastic. This animation only gets better when Zeke throws his crunched up boulders at Marley’s airships, causing them to crash into each other and explode. As this is happening, Eren begins making his way towards Zeke, limping as he does so, which is a great showcase of the brain damage his Titan received from the constant heads shots from Pieck’s Anti-Titan Canon. The Marleyan forces struggle to combat this, with Pieck and Magath forced to go on the defensive against Floch and the Jeagerists, and Colt and Gabi going to rescue Falco. They don’t really have to though because the 104th set out to free everyone the Jeagerists are holding captive, including Falco and Nile. Nile tries to comfort Falco before they are freed, saying this may be his chance to get home, while he may sadly never see his daughters again, even though there is so much he wants to tell them. Along with Falco and Nile, Shadis and Pyxis are also freed, the latter of which prepares to lead his men who have drunk Zeke’s contaminated wine in the last ditch stand. Mikasa also prepares for battle, Louise with her, and at that moment she decides to leave her scarf behind, something she has never done before. Now, surely I am including this as one of the many great character growth moments in this episode, right? Well, unfortunately, no, I’m not. The reason for why though is manga spoilers so I’ll detail the reasons why I found this scene off putting in the manga section below. Once the 104th are all geared up, they go outside, where we see two iconic Yelena panels adapted. The first of these is her basking in the glory of Zeke’s destruction of the airships which is, again, fantastically animated. The second of these is her troll face, when Armin tells everyone they don’t have time to focus on Levi and Hange’s status, as they should instead focus on helping Eren and Zeke. Yelena’s threatening troll face that follows is great and a moment that I’m sure gave a lot of anime only viewers a few nervous chuckles. As if these Yelena moments weren’t standout enough, we then get Nile, Floch and Gabi’s development in what is the best scene of the entire episode. Colt and Gabi come across Nile, Falco and the other wine poisoned military police. Falco sees Colt and tells Nile who, instead of attacking, takes Falco to his brother, freeing him. Nile might not have much of a hope of seeing his daughters again but he made sure to help a little boy alone on the battlefield. It is interesting how Isayama actually started Nile off like an antagonist, having him trying to get Eren taken in by the Military Police, where he probably would have been given to Rod Reiss to pass on his Titan. Then, Isayama pulled back the layers to reveal Nile as a sympathetic character also fighting for humanity, all leading to this moment where he helps Falco. Next, comes Gabi’s big moment of character development, as she stops Colt from attacking Nile and then, after overhearing Kya talk about how she wants to kill Gabi for killing Sasha, finally admits to herself that she was wrong about the people of Paradis being devils. Her tearfully announcing this is her biggest moment and it is made better in the anime, through the new shots of open bird cages, showing how Gabi has just begun to free herself from the cycle of violence. Falco also frees himself in a sense by finally confessing not just his involvement in the attack on Liberio, leading to Udo and Zofia’s deaths, but also his feelings for Gabi. His awkward confession is genuinely sweet and leads to another excellent moment of growth for Gabi, as she tears off Falco’s black armband, just like he tore off her Eldian one before they meet Kya. The three then go to warn Zeke about Falco ingesting the spinal fluid, in the hope that this will convince him not to scream. They almost did not need to worry, though, because it is then we get the titular “Sneak Attack,” with Pieck and Magath showing off their intelligence by launching a near fatal attack on Zeke. First, they have Pieck emerge from her Titan, causing it to disintegrate, making the Jeagerists think the have defeated her. Then, the Marleyans ambush Floch and the other Jeagerists. Finally, Magath fires the Anti-Titan Canon at Zeke in the hopes of killing Zeke. Unfortunately for them, and Falco, Zeke is still alive so there is still a chance that he could scream if he is given the chance to recover on the ground wher he has fallen, ending the episode. Overall, “Sneak Attack” is a fantastic adaptation of Chapter 118. My only criticisms are that the recaps are slightly annoying and the Mikasa scarf scene loses a lot of impact for me with hindsight. Otherwise, it’s a great episode, and I am even more excited for the next one because it will be adapting one of my favourite chapters of the entire series, Chapter 119, “Two Brothers.”
Now, I will talk about the issue I have with the Mikasa leaving her scarf behind scene. This scene had me excited when I first read it in the manga because I thought it would be a turning point for her character. Yes, I did think the scarf would work its way back to her through Louise based off her looking at it, but I at least thought this would all result in Mikasa potentially distancing herself from Eren. Instead, Mikasa ends up doubling down on her Eren obsession, despite her ending up killing him in Chapter 138. This whole thing of her leaving the scarf behind just seems pointless in retrospect. Mikasa is a character who my opinion on really suffered when I reread the series for my Top Ten Chapters list. I am not saying that she never develops, but she is a character with so many missed opportunities. She could have developed so much through her Ackerman and Hizuru heritage, along with leaving the scarf behind and her connection to Louise but these chances for further development are never taken. It makes me wonder how I will view future Mikasa scenes in the anime. Is the hindsight of how her story ends also going to make those less impactful for me? I certainly hope not.
Attack on Titan is back for the second part of its final season and, boy, am I excited to see some of my favourite chapters of the story animated.
Directed by Yūichirō Hayashi, Episode 17, “Judgement” is not an adaptation of one of my favourite chapters but it is still a pretty great episode nonetheless, starting off this series of episodes quite well.
“Judgement” begins by showing the scene I was disappointed not to see in the first half of the final season.
However, this scene’s adaptation certainly did not disappoint, presenting some excellent animation right off the bat.
The episode begins with the captive Hange and the Jeagerists discovering the aftermath of the explosion Zeke caused, after which both his and Levi’s fates were left uncertain.
Well, Levi’s status is still unknown, even after this episode, because it is not entirely clear if he is alive or dead.
That said, I was quite impressed with the amount of detail that went into the gore for what happened to Levi.
Heck, I was surprised with how uncensored this episode was in general.
Back to the scene at hand, Floch and the Jeagerists want to put a bullet in Levi’s head, to which Hange responds that he is already dead, only for her to flee with him when Zeke is revived.
The animation during Zeke’s revival is fantastic and it raises a great mystery with the question of who the girl who revived him in the “paths” was.
Then, we get the opening, “The Rumbling” by SiM, which is another banger, with some great symbolism for future events.
From here, the episode continues with Marley’s attack on Shiganshina, beginning the battle with an unexpectedly comedic moment, when Porco cuts off Pieck’s hand, so she can escape with Gabi.
The hand falls right into Gabi’s hands and the two scream as Pieck throws herself off the building to transform, leaving me chuckling.
In the end, both Titan Shifters escape, Pieck taking Gabi with her, later allowing Gabi to disclose her newfound theory to Magath that Zeke has royal blood, meaning they cannot allow the Jaeger brothers to come into contact.
As for Eren himself, he disregards Yelena’s advice to use the power of the Warhammer Titan to escape.
Instead, Eren goes to face Reiner, who lifts his bloody hand up to Eren before transforming, much like Eren did when he confronted Reiner in Marley.
This was a great callback.
It’s just a shame for Reiner that his fight with Eren goes as well as all of his previous fights with him.
Eren pummels him pretty easy, and Reiner only stands a chance with Porco’s help.
This is also when Eren is not using the Warhammer Titan’s powers.
When he does use them, the battle goes back to being incredibly one sided again.
But then, the Titan that is always exactly right enters the battlefield, as Magath uses Pieck’s Anti-Titan Gun to blow multiple holes in Eren’s Titan head.
This gives Marley plenty of time to deal with many of the Jeagerists, gunning them down with ease.
In Marley, the Scouts had the advantage, yet here it is clearly the reverse.
Much like many scenes in the first half of the Final Season, Mappa added a lot of combat scenes, like when the Jeagerist is chocking the Marley soldier, only to be stabbed with a bayonet from behind.
These are great additions that show off the brutality of war.
As well as Marley gaining the upper hand on the Jeagerists, Reiner also does on Eren, impaling him with one of his own Titan crystals.
While this is happening, Onyankopon rushes to free the 104th from their cell, not having been able to do so earlier out of fear of what Yelena would do to him.
However, he receives a less than warm welcome, with Connie outraged at his perceieved betrayal, revealing how the betrayals or Reiner, Bertholdt, Annie, and now Eren hurt him.
Armin wants to hear Onyankopon out, though, and the volunteer expresses how he is against Yelena and Zeke’s plan to sterilize the Eldians because he believes Paradis has a future and children are that future.
This causes Armin to remember Onyankopon’s comment about how an interesting mix of people makes the world more interesting, realizing he truly is on their side.
Armin also goes on to say he thinks Eren was lying about Mikasa only protecting Eren because she is an Ackerman and being on Zeke’s side, because him carrying out the Euthanization Plan would go directly against his character, beleiving he is only playing along with Zeke and Yelena.
The voice acting of this scene is really great, with Connie, Armin and Onyankopon’s voice actors doing a really good job.
Once this scene is done, we get the cliffhanger, which is Eren still being impaled with his crystal by Reiner, leaving him in a rather precarious position at the end of the episode.
We then get the ED, “Akuma no Ko” by Ai Higuchi, which I think is just as good as the OP.
It reminds me a lot of the OP from the first season and I think this is clearly intentional.
So, overall the second half of the Final Season is off to a good start with “Judgement.”
I am quite excited to see my favourite chapter, 121, get adapted eventually as well.
Manga Spoilers: Since I’m a manga reader, I decided to leave a little section at the end of every review where I can talk about spoilers.
The main thing I want to talk about here is the OP, “The Rumbling.”
Along with it having some great symbolism, like the trampled butterfly at the end representing Ramzi, I was quite surprised by how many spoilers were packed in, like the actual Rumbling happening and Eren’s Founding Titan form.
I think some of these things probably should have been kept vague for anime only viewers.
Another interesting part of not just the OP but the ED as well is how they both refrence the final chapter.
In the OP we see Eren, Mikasa and Armin running towards the tree on the hill, which is important to the ending as it is where Eren is buried when he dies, and in the ED we see Paradis destroyed and overtaken by nature, much like how it is in the updated ending.
Because of this, it’s pretty obvious that we aren’t getting an anime original ending.
Not that I thought we would, but I have been seeing some insane conspiracy theories out there about how an anime original ending was always part of the plan.
People have literally been saying that a supposedly different coloured scarf means the ending will be completley changed.
With the OP and ED putting these anime ending theories to rest, I think the best we can hope for is maybe a couple of changes, rather than a completley different ending.
Personally, I’m just hoping the a few of the last minute twists of the ending will be reworked to make them more digestible.
Hopefully, some dialogue will be changed as well.
For example, please change Armin saying “thank you for becoming a mass muderer,” to, “I’m sorry you became a mass murderer.”
The “thank you” part really sends a bad message, although I know that is unintentional.
But, whatever ending we do get, we probably won’t be getting it for a while if the leaks about a movie turn out to be true.
Either way, I’m just looking forward to seeing fantastic chapters like 119, 121, 122, 123, 129, 130 and 131 adapted with the rest of Part Two.
From 2009 to 2021, mangaka Hajime Isayama gifted us with Attack on Titan, delivering a chapter every single month, except for one due to the COVID-19 Pandemic. After all these years of dedication, he brought his series to a close at 139 chapters. Now, the second half of the final season for The Attack on Titan anime is set to begin airing soon. To honour this occasion, I decided to give the manga a reread and then do a top ten list ranking my favourite chapters. And you know what? I’m glad I decided to do the reread. I made it clear in my review for the final chapter’s updated version that I do not like Attack on Titan‘s ending, and when it comes to a long running series, the ending is usually the first thing that comes to my mind. So, in the months since the story ended, I have been left with a feeling of bitterness over how it all concluded. Giving the story another read really reminded of how incredible of a writer Isayama is. He delivered so many fantastic chapters that I honestly struggled narrowing them all down to a top ten list. Naturally, this left me with some honourable mentions, so I will get into those before I begin the list. The chapters that just missed the cut were Chapters 122, “From You, 2,000 Years Ago”, and 123, “Island Devils”. I really wanted to put these chapters on the list, but they didn’t get in because of how the ending recontextualized them in negative ways for me. This was especially the case for Chapter 122, which pained me not to include because it used to be my favourite chapter, before the final one changed my interpretation of “From You, 2,000 Years Ago” so drastically that it shot it right out of my top ten. With these honourable mentions now listed, here are what I consider to be the top ten best chapters of Attack on Titan, starting with…
10. Chapter 80: Nameless Soldiers.
Beginning with a chapter from the Return to Shiganshina Arc, “Nameless Soldiers” is the chapter that is the culmination of Erwin Smith’s character arc. Erwin is my favourite character in Attack on Titan and this chapter really exemplifies why. “Nameless Soldiers” centers around the conclusion for his arc as, stuck between choosing to die for humanity or be selfish and flee to the basement to find out the truth his father sought, Erwin cannot make that decision. So, in a powerful moment, Levi makes the choice for him, telling his friend to give up on his dream and die for humanity. And so, Erwin speaks to his recruits, informing them that they will begin a mounted suicide charge against the Beast Titan, distracting their enemy long enough so Levi can kill him. Erwin told Levi earlier than in order to convince the recruits to take part in this plan, they would need, “the skills of a first-rate conman”, meaning himself. However, the impassioned words he speaks to the recruits to convince them to ride to their deaths with him rings entirely true, as he speaks of how they give meaning to the lives of their fallen comrades, and whoever follows them will give meaning to theirs. Thus, in his final moments, Erwin becomes what he always pretended to be: a soldier dedicated to saving humanity, no matter the cost. And with Erwin’s fall we begin to see the rise of other characters, although some of them in a negative way, like Floch. His breakdown in this chapter is the perfect prelude for how his trauma will lead to him becoming a dangerous extremist. There is also the continuation of the fight between Bertholdt and the Scouts of the 104th, the bad situation getting much worse with the reappearance of Reiner. This serves as a prelude for Armin’s big sacrifice, two chapters from then in “Hero” but we’ll get to that later. As for “Nameless Soldiers”, it is a fantastic chapter that begins the end of Erwin Smith’s tragic character arc.
9. Chapter 119: Two Brothers.
I read this chapter in public and when I got to the end my jaw was on the floor… I got a lot of strange looks from people. Chapter 119, “Two Brothers” is one of the chapters I am most excited to see adapted in part two of the final season. Centering on the battle of Shiganshina the first part of the anime left off on, “Two Brothers” is an action packed chapter with the core theme of the connection between brothers, and the tragedies this connection can recreate. We see this tragedy replicated through three different sets of brothers. First, there is Falco and Colt. Colt storms onto the battlefield, dragging Falco along, begging Zeke not to scream and transform his brother into a Titan. However, Zeke too has a little brother who he wants to protect: Eren, and so is not deterred, although he does show sympathy. When Zeke screams Colt could have simply abandoned Falco but he sticks with his brother to the end, holding him close and declaring that he will always be with him, before Falco transforms, killing him. It is then we get the second brotherly tragedy with Porco and Marcel. Earlier in the chapter, Porco finally got to see his brother’s memories, learning how Marcel made sure he did not get the Armoured Titan to protect him. This knowledge, along with seeing Colt give his life for his own brother (and also never giving up the chance to one up Reiner) motivates Porco to sacrifice himself to Falco so he can return as a human. The deaths of Porco and Falco are quite emotional, which surprised me the first time I read the chapter. To be honest, I never really cared about either of them before their deaths, but Isayama did such a great job writing their endings that I came to care about the both of them because of this. It’s not just them either because we also get the Titanization of Pyxis, Nile, Roeg (although who really cares about him?), and hundreds of other soldiers. And then we get the big cliffhanger of Eren’s head being shot off by Gabi, finishing off the tragic theme of brotherly connection with Zeke’s horrified face at seeing his brother decapitated. This was the part of the chapter that made my jaw drop and earned me the odd look from the people sitting next to me when I read it. “Two Brothers” is easily one of Attack on Titan‘s most tragic chapters, with the compelling theme of the bonds of brotherhood ending in disaster.
8. Chapter 82: Hero.
The Return to Shiganshina Arc was a storyline full of sacrificies. First there was Erwin in Chapter 80, and then Armin in Chapter 82, “Hero.” This is definitley Armin’s best chapter, with him giving up on his dream to see the ocean for humanity, much like how Erwin gave up on his dream for the same thing, aligning Armin as Erwin’s future successor. The chapter begins with Armin finishing the explanation of his plan to Eren over panels of Historia, Hitch and other military personel to show what they will lose if they don’t defeat Bertholdt here and now. Armin tries to reassure Eren by telling him he has never been much of a hero but before Eren can in turn reassure him that this is not true, Bertholdt approaches and they begin to enact their plan… only for it to seemingly fail immediately when Eren falls off the wall. This leaves Armin to fight Bertholdt alone, holding onto the Colossal Titan’s teeth with his vertical manuvering gear, so he will not get blown away by the intense heat. As this is happening, Mikasa, Jean, Connie and Sasha face off against Reiner, to stop him from interfering with Armin’s plan. Unfortunately, their plan of attack initially goes as smoothly as Armin’s seemed to, with Sasha being injured and Reiner’s jaw not being shot open, meaning Mikasa cannot blow Reiner out of his Titan from the inside with her remaining Thunder Spear. This creates the perfect oppurtunity for Hange to come flying in, missing one eye and using her Thunder Spear to force Reiner’s mouth open, allowing Mikasa to deal the finishing blow. More exciting and horrifying, though, is Armin’s struggles, as he quickly finds himself burning alive under the intense heat created from Bertholdt’s steam attack. As the heat overwhelms him, Armin thinks of how he will pass on his dream of seeing the ocean to Eren, again much like how Erwin passed on his dream to see the basement to those who followed him. With Armin down, Bertholdt suddenly notices that Eren has hardened his Titan, realizing this was all a part of Armin’s plan far too late, as Eren flies up behind him in a glorious full page spread to cut him out of the Colossal Titan. Eren then descends to Armin’s resting place on the roof, telling him what he was about to when Armin said he was never much of a hero, that he was the bravest of them all, bringing a crushing end to the chapter. “Hero” is an action packed chapter that follows on from “Nameless Soldiers” with the Return to Shiganshina Arc’s constant theme of sacrifice. The anime adaptation of this episode is often ranked as one of the series’ best, and it is easy to see why, with “Hero” providing some fantastic, logically planned fights, with sacrifice being a key motif, leading perfectly into the choice between Erwin and Armin, which we will also get to later.
7: Chapter 66: Wish.
The best chapter of the Uprising Arc, “Wish” centers around the fantastic character development of Historia and Eren in the Reiss cave. Despite Eren being the main character of the story, this is definitley Historia’s chapter though. Her character arc in this storyline is one of my favourites and, much like how “Hero” is Armin’s best chapter, “Wish” is Historia’s, being the moment she finally decides to follow Ymir’s advice and live for herself. The build up to this moment is excellent as well, focusing on the dilemma going on in her head perfectly as her father, Rod, attempts to manipulate her into eating Eren and becoming the next Founding Titan. We see her memories of Ymir and Frieda, leading her to confront Rod, who tells her the truth about the Founder: that whoever from their family inherits it comes under the influence of the first king’s ideology. We can clearly see that Rod believes this is the right thing, even though he is still manipulating his daughter. Historia, however, is not having it because, when Rod tries to force the transformation upon her, she remembers what Ymir told her back in the Clash of the Titans Arc. “Live your life with pride,” Ymir tells her in a great full page spread, and, boy, does Historia live her life with pride in this moment, slapping the injection out of Rod’s hands and then throwing him over her shoulder to the floor, possibly breaking his back. She then declares that she will not allow her father to kill her, dashing up the stairs to free Eren, only to berate him as well when he insists that she eat him to save humanity. In the heat of the moment, she declares that she thinks humanity should be wiped out by the Titans and she does not care if that makes her humanity’s enemy. This is a character literally saying she wants humanity to be destroyed and we’re cheering her on. Even Kenny of all people is cheering her on. It is one of Attack on Titan’s most inspirational scenes, and the anime completley did it justice when it was adapted with the fantastic song “Zero Eclipse” by Hiroyuki Sawano. Eren’s arc in this chapter is also great, as he finally breaks down after learning of how his father murdered Historia’s family and potentially doomed humanity. However, when Rod licks the Titan serumn, causing him to transform into the second largest Titan of the series, and Eren’s friends are in danger, he is again left with a choice by Levi, and chooses to fight. Lunging forward, Eren grabs a vile of Titan sermun labelled “armour” and bites down on it, hoping to believe in himself one more time, bringing an end to the chapter as he transforms. These two arcs of Eren and Historia are amazing, especially Historia’s, with hers being one of the most inspirational of the entire story, as I already stated. This is why it was such a let down to read the final arc and see her character assassinated and sidelined with a degrading pregancy subplot. Isayama really dropped the ball with her more than any other character in the final arc. That said, this does not change how incredible her character development is in “Wish.”
6. Chapter 42: Warrior.
“I’m the Armoured Titan and he’s the Colossal Titan.” With just a single sentence, Isayama made the entire fandom go, “wait, what!?” Sure, some did see the twist of Reiner and Bertholdt being the Armoured and Colossal Titans coming but Isayama still managed to subvert expectations by having the biggest twist of the story, at that point, revealed in the most casual of ways. It is honestly one of the most creative twist reveals I have ever seen, and the buildup to it and its fallout are absolutley excellent. First, we get some subtle hints of what is about to happen, like Bertholdt bringing up going back to their home town and Reiner responding enthusiastically. We even see some signs that Eren and the others are onto the two, as Eren seems to purposely bring up their home town first and he, Mikasa and Armin seem reluctant to tell Hannes why they are really there. Then we get the reveal which, along with being creatively casual, also does a great job at showcasing how far gone Reiner is mentally, suffering from a split identity, with his soldier and warrior personality in constant confliction. Reiner’s admittance to his and Bertholdt’s true identities is the moment that these two personalities intertwine into a full breakdown, where Reiner is not able to understand how confessing to Eren would be bad for his mission. It’s some great character writing, however one that also ends up saving Reiner since it is revealed that Eren and the others already knew, with a flashback to this discovery uncovering all of the foreshadowing in prior chapters that lead up to the reveal. After Reiner’s confession, Eren is smart enough to play it off to try and lead Reiner and Bertholdt into a trap but this causes Reiner to snap completley in the moment, his dialogue hinting at his tragic past, which would be revealed in the Marley Arc. Before he and Bertholdt can attack though, Mikasa strikes first but she hesitates, resulting in the two warriors transforming before Eren’s eyes, forcing him to transform as well, while shedding tears over the betrayal of two close friends. “Warrior” was the moment when everything in Attack on Titan clicked for me. Before this moment, I had been enjoying the story, but it was the genius casualness of this twist that made me realize Attack on Titan was something special. This was the beginning of Eren and Reiner’s rivalry and it only got better from here.
5. Chapter 100: Declaration of War.
The 100th chapter of Attack on Titan, “Declaration of War” was one hell of a way for Isayama to celebrate reaching that milestone, starting the war between Marley and Paradis with Eren’s confrontation of Reiner. Before this point, the Marley Arc had been building up Reiner’s character, turning him from an antagonist to a sympathetic victim of the cycle of violence. As such, Eren represents the reader in a way this chapter. Just like we as the readers have come to understand and sympathize with Reiner’s motivations and trauma, Eren has also come to feel the same way about his rival, now understanding that not just Reiner but the entire conflict between Paradis and the rest of the world is far more complex. This is such fantastic character development for Eren who, at the beginning of the story, saw everything in black and white: a battle of good vs evil. Yet, while he has changed in his beliefs on the nature of the conflict, one thing that has not changed about Eren is his resolve to keep moving forward. I feel that even the smallest of expressions on Eren’s face in these panels hold a lot of meaning, like when he hears Willy say he does not wish to die, “because I was born into this world”, the same phrase Eren’s mother used to speak of him. So, even though he now understands Reiner and the rest of the world, Eren has to act, committing his own declaration of war just like Willy Tyber at the end of the chapter, only with the instant action of killing Willy and many innocent civilians in front of hundreds of spectators. Speaking of Willy, he was in the manga for a short amount of time, only four chapters, yet his character is quite compelling, with his own self hatred and sacrificial mission being perfectly explored across the chapter, especially in his opening scene with Magath. “I’m certain that Eldians are the descendants of devils. And I’m certain that we too are devils,” Magath states in an excellent assessment of the conflict in Attack on Titan. The war that starts right at the end of Chapter 100 may be based off years of hatred, yet both sides are completley capable of being devils. My only issue with this chapter is that the impact of Eren asking Reiner why his mother had to die is lost after it is revealed Eren played a hand in her death in the final chapter. Other than this, “Declaration of War” is amazing with its focus on Reiner’s guilt, Willy’s self hatred, and Eren’s understanding of both of them, yet unflinching resolve. What a fantastic way for the story to reach its 100th chapter milestone.
4. Chapter 131: Rumbling.
I’ll admit it, when I finished Chapter 130 I did not think we needed any more of a showcase of how horrifying Eren’s Rumbling was. Then I read Chapter 131 and I realized just how naive I was. We needed to see this and it is by far the most horrific part of the entire series. When I reviewed this chapter for the first time, I described it as “Attack on Titan’s Third Impact” and I still think of this as an apt description, since I still got the same feeling rereading this as I did when watching The End of Evangellion: Shock, horror, awe, and a wonder if what I was seeing was even really happening. The chapter picks up with Ramzi, the young boy whose family Eren and the others partied with in Chapter 123, their last moment of happiness togethor. Since leaving Ramzi, the young boy has had his hand cut off for stealing, showing just how cruel the world of Attack on Titan is. It gets even crueler when the Rumbling arrives, as the chapter constantly cuts between Ramzi attempting to flee from hiz oncoming death, and Eren’s first meeting with Ramzi where he saved him, despite knowing he would end up killing him eventually. This crushing dilemma is clear for Eren, as we see him wandering Marley’s streets in the flashback, knowing that if he did nothing then much less people would die, however it would end with the deaths of his people and that is not something he can accept. He then comes across Ramzi being attacked and berates himself for thinking about the justice of saving him when he knows he is going to kill the boy, yet his conscience still gets the better of him and he saves him, only to break down upon returning Ramzi to his family. As he apologises, he admits to himself a horrifying truth: that the Rumbling is not just to protect Paradis and his friends but also because he was disappointed that humanity existed outside the walls and wanted to wipe it all away. This terrifying admittance is interspliced with the brutal death of Ramzi and his brother, who die alone and scared, crushed under the feet of Titans. Yet the most horrifying moment of “Rumbling” comes not in these bloody displays, but in the full page spread of a child Eren basking in the freedom he is experiencing during this moment of brutal mass murder on a global scale, telling Armin in Paths that he has finally reached that sight. We then get the final scene of the chapter between Annie and Armin, a nice moment after all the horror that builds up their relationship, and ends on the cliffhanger of Eren’s head only connected to his Titan through his exposed spinal column. “Rumbling” is easily Attack on Titan‘s most horrifying chapter, portraying the massive loss of life because of Eren perfectly and in gruesome fashion. It is a chapter that I am eager to see adapted in the anime, so I can be horrified all over again.
3. Chapter 84: Midnight Sun.
Before this chapter, we had the “deaths” of Erwin and Armin, two characters who both set aside their dreams to sacrifice their lives for humanity. Yet, Chapter 83 reveals that not only are both still barely clinging to life but also only one of them can be revived by eating Bertholdt. Chapter 84, “Midnight Sun”, begins with the conflict over who should be revived officially starting, with Eren and Mikasa fighting for Armin, and Levi and Floch fighting for Erwin. What follows is one of the most emotional chapters of the entire series as all four characters likewise let their emotions dictate who should get the Titan serum, with violent results, Levi punching Eren and Mikasa attacking Levi in retaliation, attempting to take the serum from him. What makes the tension even more heightened is how each of these characters has a good point about who should be revived. Eren brings up all of the times Armin’s genius has saved them, from his plan to save Trost District, to him discovering Annie’s identity as the Female Titan, declaring that Armin will be the one to save humanity (something that actually comes true in the final battle). Floch hits back with the story of how Erwin lead them all against the Beast Titan to their deaths, saying he deserves to spend more time in this hell because the only one who can save humanity is the devil himself. Floch then goes on to say that him bringing Erwin back is the only reason he survived while others died which, much like Chapter 80, is great setup for him becoming a follower of Eren, coming to see him as the Devil who will save the Eldians. Floch’s comments even seem to strike a cord with Levi, although not the one he intends, as Levi looks devestated at the thought of his leader and long time friend having to spend more time in their hell. Then, when Hange and the others arrive, dragging Mikasa and Eren away from their dying friend, Levi has to make the choice. He is about to inject Erwin when he remembers Kenny’s words, “They were all slaves to something… even him.” Erwin then slaps Levi’s hand away in a dazed state, hallucinating about the question he asked his father, starting his dream. Levi realizes that Erwin is a slave to his dream and believes it would be cruel to consign him to more time in hell, as Floch described it, so he injects Armin. This was not Levi choosing Armin over Erwin, this was Levi choosing to allow his friend to rest and die the man who sacrificied everything for humanity in the end. We also say goodbye to Bertholdt in this chapter, as he is eaten by Armin to bring him back, screaming at the 104th to save him despite everything he’s done, still thinking of them as his friends. Even the death of Moblit, a minor character, carries plenty of emotional weight. It is Erwin’s death that hits the hardest though, with this being the perfect sendoff for him, in my opinion, solidifying him as my favourite character. “Midnight Sun” is an incredibly emotional chapter, with a storyline that still has the fans debating over whether the characters made the right choice to this day.
2. Chapter 86: That Day.
The mystery of what was in Grisha’s basement had been built up right from the beginning of the story. There were 84 chapters of buildup before we got the answer in Chapter 85, so the answer had to be satisfying. And, boy, was it. Chapter 85 may answer the question of what is in the basement, but it is the following one, “That Day”, which goes all out on the epic reveal of the outside world. This twist that our main cast is part of a race of people known as Eldians who can turn into Titans, making most of the world hate them, and the history behind all this was the biggest gamechanger in the entire story. I remember reading this chapter for the first time and just sitting in silence for a couple of minutes, as I took in the enormity of this reveal. It’s also not just the twist itself which makes “That Day” so great but the characterization of Grisha as well. Grisha is easily one of Attack on Titan’s most tragic characters and this chapter perfectly illustrates this, as his sister is murdered by a Marleyan military officer, who feeds her to his son’s dogs, while she is still alive. This horrifying event causes Grisha to blame himself and, like most traumatic events for other characters, leads him to extreme ends, joining a resistance organization known as the Eldia Restorationists, before marrying a woman of royal blood, named Dina. The two go on to have a son, Zeke, the Beast Titan, with Grisha’s trauma driving him to treat his son terribly for Eldia, leading Zeke to turn in his parents, bringing an end to the chapter. I got spoiled about Zeke’s identity before he was officially revealed to be Eren’s half-brother but it made the twist no less impactful, with the tragic showcase of his terrible relationship with his father and what it lead him to do. “That Day” was the chapter that turned Attack on Titan from a story where its characters’ main goal was to save humanity, to a story where the goal was to somehow survive a world that unjustly hates them for what they are and actions taken by their ancestors centuries before. The series was all the better for this reveal too, eventually leading to the fantastic chapters that appeared earlier on in this list and the incredible chapter at the number one spot.
1. Chapter 121: Memories of the Future.
My favourite chapter of the entire series is Chapter 121 “Memories of the Future.” It is the one where Isayama showed off the best of his writing skills, creating the greatest use of time travel that I have ever seen in fiction, if it can truly be called time travel rather than memory travel. “Memories of the Future” picks up from the previous chapter, with Eren and Zeke exploring their father’s memories, as Zeke slowly comes to realize that Grisha did not brainwash Eren and really did change, while Eren commits one of his most shocking acts. This all begins through Eren insisting to Zeke that he has always been himself and it is Zeke that misunderstood him this entire time, proving this by showing him Grisha’s memories of the time Eren killed Mikasa’s kidnappers to save her life. Following this, we get the big hint of the memory travel twist, as we see the beginning of Chapter One from a different perspective. Through Eren exploring his father’s memories, we see that Grisha was actually aware that Eren and Zeke were there in the first chapter, completley recontextualizing the beginning of the story in the best of ways. So, did Isayama really plan this development from the start, or did he just write it to look like he did? Either way, it’s genius, and what comes next is even better, as Grisha finally goes to the Reiss family cavern to attempt to talk Frieda into using her powers to save humanity. When this fails, Grisha reveals the secret power of the Attack Titan: that it is able to see the memories of its future successors. This is where the brilliant time/memory travel element comes into play since, because Grisha can see Eren’s future memories, he can see his two sons exploring his own, allowing a conflict between timelines. In the past, Grisha was influenced by the future memories of Eren talking to him, and in the present, Eren enters Grisha’s past memories to manipulate him. Into doing what? Well, murderering the Reiss family. That’s right, Eren broke down in Chapter 66 because of what his father had done, completley unaware that he would go on to be the cause of the massacre. Seeing Eren commit this monstrous act left me speechless when I first read it, and this reaction quickly changed to an emotional one when we got the next scene. As Grisha emerges from his Titan outside the Reiss chapel, he screams out to Eren in anguish, before revealing he knows Zeke is there, warning him with a hint about the Rumbling Eren will go on to commit. Grisha then looks up and sees Zeke is there through Eren’s future memories, allowing for the two to finally reconcile thanks to the time/memory travel. This was a genius use of the power by Isayama, creating a panel that made me cry when Grisha embraces Zeke and tells him that he loves him, something I thought Grisha had always been unable to do before his death. The fact that I teared up for both Zeke and Grisha, when both have done terrible things, shows how excellent Isayama’s writing of their characters is. The weaving of the reveal that Eren saw his own future memories of what he would do when he kissed Historia’s hand in Chapter 90 during this is just the icing on the cake. Not to mention it leads to one of Eren’s most unnerving moments, as when he and Zeke leave Grisha’s memories, Eren implies to his half-brother that he liked the horrible event he saw when he kissed Historia’s hand, stating, “what a sight it was.” This eventually leads into the “freedom” panel in Chapter 131, but even not knowing what Eren is hinting at in Chapter 121 makes it terrifying, to the point that I was actually temporarily rooting for Zeke to stop Eren as Grisha asked. Again, I thought this when Zeke had done plenty of terrible things and was currently planning to do terrible things, even though in his mind his Euthanization Plan was right. Zeke is unable to stop Eren, however, as his drive for freedom allows him to break from his chains, minus his thumbs, and run to catch Ymir, ending what I consider to be the best chapter in Attack on Titan. “Memories of the Future” has everything. A brilliant twist with genius writing that recontexualizes the beginning of the story, and fantastic character writing that made me tear up for characters who are honestly pretty bad people. I am incredibly excited to see this chapter finally adapted in the anime and cannot wait to see how the anime only fans will react to how amazing it is. Whenever someone brings up fantastic uses of time travel in fiction, Attack on Titan Chapter 121 “Memories of the Future” should be right up there with the best of them.
So, that’s my top ten favourite Attack on Titan chapters. All that’s left for me to do now is wait for part two of the final season to begin airing, where I will review an episode every week. There are also rumors of the ending being adapted into a movie from Chapters 132 to 139 so it will be intriguing to see if that happens. If it does, I will be sure to review that movie as well, whenever it comes out.
Wow… just wow.
Okay, so I made it clear in my review for the final chapter of Attack on Titan, “Towards the Tree on that Hill”, that I thought the ending of the story was a mixed bag.
There was a lot to dislike about the chapter, from Ymir loving King Fritz, to Armin thanking Eren for committing mass genocide, to Eren killing his own mother and whining about Mikasa even though he just murdered billions of people, to Historia’s drawn out pregnancy subplot amounting to absolutley nothing.
However, there was also a lot to like about the ending, from Levi’s fantastic sendoff, the final panels mostly bringing a satisfying conclusion to the Alliance and Mikasa, and, of course, Titan powers coming to an end which meant that the characters had actually achieved something by the end.
So, overall, the final chapter had plenty of good things and plenty of bad things about it.
This made me excited for the volume release where Hajime Isayama would add additional pages to expand on the ending.
I hoped that these additions would work towards making the things I didn’t like about the ending easier to digest.
Well, Hajime Isayama just released this updated ending and, having read the new pages, I can confidently say that the characters achieved pretty much nothing.
Seriously, these eight pages take the things I actually liked about Attack on Titan’s ending and completley contradicts them.
Without this updated ending I would at least be able to say that the ending to my favourite story was decent, if a bit problematic.
Now that these pages have been added to the canon, though, I don’t like the ending.
I think it makes all the past sacrifices of the story meaningless in the long run.
This said, I won’t act like everything Isayama added here is bad.
There is one addition that I do like and it is Ymir actually getting a sendoff.
In the original chapter, she just disappeared completley, which was bizarre given how much she had been a focus in the final arc.
However, in the updated chapter, she is actually given an ending.
Right after Armin yells that he is the man who killed Eren Yeager, we see Mikasa walking away with Eren’s head and seeing the specter of Ymir, in adult form this time for some reason.
It is revealed that Ymir was the source of Mikasa’s headaches, and Mikasa thanks her for bringing her children into the world before Ymir fades away forever.
I was glad to see Ymir actually get a sendoff here as opposed to just vanishing, but there is still a lot about this scene that just does not make sense.
If Ymir was the one causing Mikasa’s headaches, then how the heck did she know that Mikasa would be key to freeing her?
Mikasa’s headaches have been happening for a long time so why was Ymir reaching out to her then?
Also, how does Mikasa even know what Ymir looks like to recognise her or know about her love for King Fritz?
Not to mention that Mikasa being the one to ultimately free Ymir still comes out of absolutley nowhere.
The most troubling thing about this though is that during this scene we get a flashback, which shows Ymir not saving King Fritz from the spear and then comforting her children.
There are two possibilities as to what this could mean.
Option number one is that Ymir really didn’t save King Fritz and everything we saw after she died in Chapter 122 was just some weird hallucination she was experiencing.
Option number two is that this is just Ymir wishing she had not saved Fritz and had instead lived on with her children.
If it’s option number one then Isayama retconned a massive part of the story’s history and lore, completley ruining Chapter 122.
This is why I am choosing to believe it’s option number two that he is depicting here because otherwise it completley ruins a chapter that I once loved.
No matter what the intended ending is, though, Isayama still made this really unclear, so he should have either been more clear about its intent or just removed it all togethor.
Now, we get to the part of the updated conclusion that made me go from thinking the ending was alright to that it was just downright bad.
Right after the original final scene, where Mikasa thanks Eren for wrapping the scarf around her, we get a series of panels showing different timeskips on Paradis.
The first of these shows Mikasa with an unknown man who she presumeably married and had a child with, visiting Eren’s grave.
I can’t believe Mikasa got the Historia treatment, marrying an unknown person.
As if that happening to one character wasn’t bad enough.
Still, this unknown man could be Jean since it does look like him from behind.
Even if the husband is Jean, though, it still feels forced because of how onesided their past interactions have been.
Much like Mikasa’s love for Eren being properly built up but not Eren’s for her, Jean’s feelings for Mikasa were built up but hers wasn’t for him.
From here, we see a progression of Mikasa’s life, with her continuously visiting Eren’s grave with her family, until she dies an old woman.
Then we get the kicker.
Paradis is destroyed in a war.
I’m sorry, what?
You’re telling me after all that build up in the original final chapter towards the future for Paradis being hopeful, despite the danger, it just gets destroyed?
Then what’s the point of the fantastic Levi scene where he tells his comrades that this is the outcome they sacrificed their lives for?
They didn’t sacrifice their lives just for the island to be destroyed.
This contradicts so much that was in the original final chapter.
In that first ending, it felt like Isayama keeping Paradis’ fate ambigious was him trying to stay consistent with one of Attack on Titan’s biggest themes, this being that the world is cruel but also beautiful.
There was danger on the horizon but Paradis had the Alliance as peace envoys, working to build a bridge between them and the outside world.
This updated ending changes the entire feeling of the conclusion from hopeful to just plain cynical.
Not that a depressing ending couldn’t have worked but, as I said, this just contradicts so much of what was in the original chapter, and this was stuff about that chapter which I actually liked so it makes it way worse for me.
Then we get the big slap in the face.
After Paradis has been destroyed, we see a young boy, who looks like Mikasa’s descendent and has shaded in eyes, meaning that he is a slave to something as the symbolism of this story dictates.
The boy and his dog head towards the tree where Eren’s head is buried, which has now grown to look exactly like the tree Ymir fell into where she was infected with the Hallucigenia and became the first Titan 2000 years ago.
Therefore, it is heavily implied that the power of the Titans will be coming back.
Are you freaking kidding me?
What the heck was the point then?
It was all for nothing!
In the original ending, Titan powers disappearing was an incredibly big deal.
It was one of the biggest achievements the characters made.
Even if the cycle of violence did continue, at least they could say they achieved ending the cycle of Titans, something which Eren sought to end right at the beginning of the story.
Now, that meaning is completley taken away.
Eren ensuring a long life for his friends is the only thing any character achieved with this ending.
Other than this, there was nothing else achieved in the long run.
Paradis is destroyed and the Alliance and Historia’s descendents are all dead, making their attempts to try for peace meaningless, and the Titan powers are hinted to be coming back, making one of the biggest goals of the story go absolutley nowhere.
This ruins the ending for me.
Before, it was okay.
It had big problems but I felt that it was at least somewhat satisfying.
Now, with this updated ending, I can say that Attack on Titan‘s ending is just straight up bad.
The updated ending keeps the things I didn’t like, rather than expanding on them in ways that could make them good.
It also adds worse things that make the good parts of the final chapter completley meaningless.
Ymir getting a sendoff is the only good addition in this updated ending.
Otherwise, it’s a complete disaster.
I still love Attack on Titan because it’s a story where I really connected with its world, themes, characters, and plot twists.
The ending, though?
Not so much now.
This post contains spoilers for the Attack on Titan manga, including the ending.
Out of all the stories I have heard, none has had characters that I have been as attached to as those in Hajime Isayama’s Attack on Titan. There are so many characters from this manga who I will always remember fondly. So, with the story now over, I figured it would be a good time to list my top ten favourite characters. Making this list was not easy because there were so many characters who I considered putting on the list but just missed out, like Gabi Braun, Kenny Ackerman, Sasha Blouse and Bertholdt Hoover. However, the character who hurt the most not to put on this list was Mikasa Ackerman, especially considering how high I ranked her in my first list after watching Season Two. It was honestly very close between her and the character who took the number ten spot but, at the end of the day, there were just a few too many missed opportunities with her character arc, which kept her out of the top ten. Still a great character, though and she should be considered my eleventh favourite character. Now, it’s for the characters I consider to be the best of the best in this amazing story. Here are my top ten Attack on Titan characters, starting with…
10. Hange Zoe.
Coming in at number ten, we have the eccentric scientist and Titan lover, Hange Zoe. Right from her introduction, Hange was one of the most entertaining characters, with her constant wacky hyjinks keeping her assistant Moblit at his wits end. This resulted in many hilarious situations where Hange was the root cause. Along with being comedic, Hange could also be deadly serious when the situation called for it, like when she threatened Pastor Nick after the first Wall Titan was uncovered and when she tortured Sannes for information. However, despite being a capable squad lead, she would have to face her most difficult challenge yet with the death of Erwin, forcing her becoming the new Survery Corps commander. This was difficult for her because, although a very smart person, she was nowhere near the leader he was and thrust into a situation that even he would struggle to handle. The struggles she went through because of this caused some in the fandom to call her completely useless but Hange quickly proved herself, saving Levi’s life and helping form the Alliance, later leading them to victory against the Yeagerists. But her standout moment came at her end, where she stayed behind to hold off the advancing Wall Titans, so the Alliance could get the plane in the air to go and stop Eren. Her looking in awe at the countless Colossal Titans and declaring, “Titans really are incredible” was her returning to the mad Titan lover we all love, right at her end, and in a way that helped save the world. She definitely earned her final moments, as she sees all the ghosts of the dead Scouts and prepares to tell them her story. From mad scientist, to Commander, to a mixture of both in her final moments, Hange is a great character deserving of making it into the top ten.
9. Jean Kirstein.
At number nine is the horse face himself. Appearing for the first time all the way back in the Trost Arc, Jean quickly became one of my favourite characters because of how well his arc was handled. Starting out as stuck up and self centered, Jean’s only goal in life at the beginning of the story was to join the Military Police and live the good life. This mentality instantly caused conflict between him and Eren, with Eren seeking freedom outside the walls and Jean seeking safety behind them. The two even coined insulting nicknames for one another, those being horse face and suicidal maniac. However, then the attack on Trost happened and Jean began to change. Being forced to take on a leadership position, Jean was inspired by one of his friends from the 104th, Marco. After the battle, he found Marco’s half eaten body, which was one of the most significant moments in his life because it forced him to make a choice. This being to do what he wants and join the Military Police, or what is right and join the Survey Corps, fighting for humanity. Jean chooses the latter, showing what kind of person he has grown into, so much so that even Eren is surprised by his sudden resolve. After this, Jean sort of fades a bit into the background. He has big moments, sure, like when is faced with the decision and consequences of killing humans in the Uprising Arc but it never felt like he had as big of a moment as he did when he chose to join the Survey Corps. Then Chapter 127 happened, where he finally got to confront Reiner over Marco’s death, letting out all his rage and grief, before pulling himself togethor and continuing to do what needed to be done for the betterment of humanity. This was a standout moment for him and one that made me love his character all the more, making it more tragic when he was turned into a Titan in the final battle. Now, while it was a little too convenient for him to just turn back into a human when Eren was defeated, I was personally just glad to see that he survived and got a happy ending. Jean is a soldier who wanted to fight for himself but instead fought for humanity, making him an easy choice for the ninth best character of the story.
8. Ymir and Historia Reiss.
I know, I’m kind of cheating by including two characters in the eighth spot but I just could not put one above the other here. If I’m honest, when I first got to the Clash of the Titans Arc, I didn’t even remember Ymir and Historia, or Christa as she was then known. So, imagine my surprise when that arc and following Uprising Arc provided the both of them with character arcs that are among my favourites in the entire story, along with a complex relationship that actually made me ship them quite a bit. First there is Ymir, whose tragic arc in the Clash of the Titans Arc really grabbed me. Ymir is essentially a selfless person who wants to be selfish. Being turned into a Titan for sixty years because she tried to protect those she cared about, Ymir miraculously returned to human form after eating Marcel, upon which she decided to live selfishly for herself. Yet, she just could not do this. Once she heard about Historia and their similar circumstances, she devoted everything she could to protect her, while continuing to act as selfish while being selfless, saving Daz in a blizzard for Historia, and throwing herself into a hoard of Titans to keep her safe. Ymir was finally able to recognise she never could be selfish, going back to save Reiner and Bertholdt and finally admitting to herself that, “being a goddess doesn’t feel so bad.” This tragic arc is just as good as Historia’s, whose is pretty inspiring. In the Clash of the Titans Arc, it is revealed that the Christa personality we have seen from Historia this entire time has been her acting nice, so when she dies people will remember her as a good person. This suicidal ideology was created from her terrible childhood and was thankfully shattered through Ymir motivating her. However, once Ymir leaves, Historia is not sure where to go in her life. It is here that her storyline progresses magnificently in the Uprising Arc, with her slowly gaining insight into who she is and who she wants to be, eventually choosing to be queen for herself, despite that role having been shaped for her. This all culminates in the epic scene where she goes against her father and saves Eren, finally deciding to live her life with pride as Ymir wanted. Hopefully, I have given you an idea of why I consider Historia’s inspiring character arc and Ymir’s tragic one to be some of the most powerful in the entire story. But, if their arcs are so powerful, then why are they only at number eight and not in the top five? Well, because, unfortunately, I think Isayama severely dropped the ball with them after these arcs concluded. First, there’s Ymir, who is killed off screen in what has to be worst written death of the whole manga, due to it not being written at all. Then, there’s Historia, who is paired off with a complete nobody, gets pregnant, and is then sidelined for the rest of the story, ending with her pregnancy amounting to absolutely nothing, even though children being the future is one of the story’s main themes. In my opinion, it is pretty clear that Isayama had no idea what to do with Ymir or Historia once their character arcs concluded. However, given that they come in at number eight, that should show you how great I consider these arcs to be.
7. Eren Yeager.
Eren is a character who my opinion about has changed quite a bit as the story has gone on. If you look all the way back at my Season One review, you will see that my main criticism of the story was Eren himself. In the first few arcs, I found him to be extremely stuck up and unlikeable and only actually started to cheer him on in the Clash of the Titans Arc. I finally came to recognize him as a good character when he was confronted with the Titan who killed his mother, Dina, and he broke down into tears of laughter, not being able to cope with what was happening. As the story progressed, Eren only got better, becoming very relatable to me in the Uprising Arc, as he realized his own flaws and how he is not special, before his friends’ motivations and his dead mother’s words to Keith Shadis taught him that everyone is special just for being born. However, then he was met with the dark truth of their world, with the truth about Eldians and Marleyans, and him seeing the future through the Attack Titan, which caused him to change drastically. When we see him again in Season Four, Eren has progressed dramatically, having become someone who is willing to do anything to achieve freedom for himself and his friends. This ruthless, yet understanding, Eren is incredibly compelling and his confrontation with Reiner in the 100th chapter of the story made him one of my favourites. Eren just got better after this, with the mystery surrounding what he wanted to do and why he was doing it being built up magnificently. Him saying he hated Mikasa and beating up Armin and everything he does in the Paths chapters, from convincing Grisha to kill the Reiss family to later convincing Ymir to join him, all of this made him climb higher and higher on my list of favourite character. Eventually, Eren reached the second spot on this list with Chapter 131, as we saw part of his motivations for starting the Rumbling and also the intense guilt he was suffering from. His death at the hands of Mikasa in Chapter 138 was also immensely tragic and got me tearing up. Then, Chapter 139 happened. Not going to lie, the more I read the final chapter the less I like its depiction of Eren and his plan. It’s not that its terrible but the execution could have been so much better. That said, there are terrible parts to it, like Eren being revealed to have played a part in his mother’s death, which, in my opinion, is not in character at all. All of this pushed Eren further down on my list to number seven. Some say that Eren’s depiction in Chapter 139 ruined him as a character for them but that’s not the case for me. Even though I think the reveal of Eren’s plan could have been done way better, I cannot deny that he is still a fantastic character, with his POV chapters like Chapter 131 being some of the best of the final arc and the manga. He is a character who I have enjoyed reading quite a bit.
6. Reiner Braun.
If there is an example of how to make a character, who was once a villain, sympathetic to the reader, Reiner is a perfect one for that. Starting out as a soldier in the 104th, my initial perception of Reiner was as a loyal friend, who would most likely be Titan canon fodder soon. This perception was proven wrong when, in one of the best twists of the story, Reiner just casually outs himself and Bertholdt as the Armoured and Colossal Titans. From here, the story begins to explore Reiner as a villain, although a slightly sympathetic one, as his actions have caused him to suffer from a split personality, created by his PTSD. Afterwards, though, Reiner is solely an antagonist for the next few arcs, as he fights against the Scouts in the Shiganshina Arc. However, then we get the Marley Arc, where Reiner becomes an absolutely amazing character. The depiction of his PTSD and the suicidal depression this has caused him is quite disturbing and makes Reiner extremely sympathetic. The panel of him with the gun in his mouth has haunted me for a while, and his confrontation with Eren in Chapter 100, where he admits to his guilt, is one of the best chapters of the story. Reiner continues to get more attention in the story, as he pushes past his depression to focus everything he has on saving Gabi and Falco, and then on saving the world from Eren’s Rumbling. This resulted in a few underrated momentes like the infamous “save the world” moment from Chapter 126. Now, I do agree that “Pride” is one of the weakest chapters of Attack on Titan, but I really enjoy how its ending ties into Reiner’s arc. All this time, Reiner has suffered and done horrible things because of his drive to become a hero and save the world, now he is being given a chance at redemption through actually saving it. And save it he does, joining forces with the Alliance and playing a pivotal role in the final battle, holding back the Hallucigenia from reaching Eren. As for why he’s not higher on the list, I do wish he’d been given a bit more to do in the final few chapters, considering his rivalry with Eren was so pivotal for his character. Also, his sendoff being him sniffing Historia’s letter felt a little weird. Certainly not out of character, like some claim, but I feel like such a well-written character deserved a more powerful ending than a gag. Still, Reiner is a fantastic character who is a great showcase of how to make a once hated villain sympathetic.
5. Levi Ackerman.
Probably the most popular character in all of Attack on Titan, Levi has been a fan favourite from the moment he first appeared. As humanity’s strongest soldier, Levi makes an immediate impression on the viewer through how Isayama shows just what kind of person he is. In his first action scene, it is shown how he is a clean freak, disgusted by dirtiness. Yet, when a comrade is dying, Levi doesn’t hesitate to grab his dirty, bloodied hand and reassure him that his death had meaning. This shows Levi is the kind of person to push his own feelings aside to complete a mission or help a comrade, no matter the cost. We unfortunately see this first hand with his reaction to the deaths of his entire squad in the Female Titan Arc, where he pushes his pain about their deaths away to focus on rescuing Eren. After suffering an injury during this fight, he took a back set for the Clash of the Titans Arc but there was his spin off manga that showed his tragic backstory to satisfy us. His backstory was expanded upon in the Uprising Arc where we got the fantastic dynamic between him and his uncle Kenny and commanding officer Erwin. This lead into the Return to Shiganshina Arc, where we got one of the best fights of the story between him and the Beast Titan, if you can even call it a fight considering how one sided it was, leading to the incredibly impactful serumnbowl. Here, Levi showed even more growth, for once making an emotional decision as compared to a logical one when it came to a mission, choosing to let his friend Erwin rest and revive Armin instead. Levi’s decision may be the subject of much debate in the fandom but in my opinion it was the right choice for his arc and the story. Post time skip, Levi continued to be a great character, with the theme of everyone dying around him continuing. First he lost his all of his squad to Zeke, then he was badly injured when he underestimated him, and finally Hange gave her life to help the Alliance, causing Levi to tell her to “devote your heart” for the first time. All of this is great stuff for Levi but it wasn’t enough to get him in the top five for me. So, why is he here? Well, because of the conclusion his character got in Chapter 139. I have my own issues with the final chapter but the one thing I think everyone can agree on is that Levi’s ending is perfect. The scene where he sees the specters of his comrades in the smoke and tells them that this victory is the result of their dedicated hearts, returning their salute and shedding a tear, had me tearing up alongside him. Such a fantastic conclusion for Levi is what pushed him into the top five and I cannot wait to see it animated in the second half of the final season.
4. Grisha Yeager.
It’s kind of funny how Grisha reminds me so much of Van Hohenheim from Full Metal Alchemist. The way my opinion about both characters changed across the series is strikingly similar. When we first met them, I got the impression of them as deadbeat fathers who would never be be among my favourite characters of the story. Then, we learned their tragic backstory’s, which made me realize there was so much more to their characters, ending with the conclusions to their story’s actually making me cry. Like Hohenheim, Grisha goes from deadbeat dad to one of the most tragic characters in the entire series, as we learn all about his backstory at the end of the Return to Shiganshina Arc. Originally coming from Marley, Grisha was an Eldian who lived in the Liberio Internment Zone with his family. One day, he took his sister outside the walls to see an airship, only for her to be murdered by a Marleyan officer who fed the child to his son’s dogs for entertainment. This horrific injustice put Grisha on the radical path, joining the Eldia Restorationists, becoming indoctrinated in the mindset that Eldia could do no wrong, marrying a woman of royal blood, Dina, and having a child, Zeke, for the sole purpose of using him to restore Eldia. All of this resulted in Grisha mistreating and neglecting his son, pushing him to become a Warrior and double agent inside the Marleyan government, even though his son just wanted a normal life. When this finally resulted in Zeke turning him and Dina in, Grisha finally realized what a horrible father and person he had been, deeply regretting his actions. He is then given the chance to redeem himself when his sister’s murderer is killed and he is saved by Kruger, the head of the Eldia Restorationists. Eating Kruger to obtain the Attack Titan, Grisha infultrates the walls to continue his mission to restore Eldia, eventually falling in love with Carla and marrying her, resulting in Eren’s birth. All of this was great development for Grisha and really made me care for him, easily putting him in the top ten. It was what came in Chapters 120 and 121 that put at the number four spot. Before these chapters, I thought Grisha had fallen back into the exact same mindset, killing the Reiss family to complete his mission and turning Eren into a Titan, even though he allowed his son to come to his own ideology this time. However, when Eren and Zeke explore Grisha’s memories, it is revealed that he truly did learn his lesson and actually abandoned his mission in favor of staying and loving his family, especially his son Eren. He only went to take the Founding Titan when left with no choice and, even then, this was because Eren manipulated him into doing so, using the Attack Titan. This lead to one of the most emotional moments of the entire story, as Grisha has a reunion with Zeke, finally apologising for how he treated him and embracing him, telling Zeke what he always wanted to hear from his father… that he loves him. Much like the Levi scene, I teared up in this moment. It was such a beautiful conclusion to Grisha’s character, learning that he truly had changed for the better and could make amends with Zeke in the end. Grisha is easily one of Attack on Titan’s most tragic characters, losing those he loves and changing to better as a result, only to lose it all again. Just like Levi, I cannot wait to see the rest of his story adapted in the anime.
3. Zeke Yeager.
Taking the third spot, Zeke is an interesting character from the moment we meet him. First appearing in his Beast Titan form at the beginning of the Clash of the Titans Arc, Zeke makes a shocking and brutal impression. Not only is he is the first Titan we see speaking fluently but he also allows Paradis’ second strongest soldier, Mike, to be devoured by Titans, as he screams for mercy, with absolutely no remorse. It sets Zeke up as a cold and remorseless character, who we should all fear. This is supported by the way he is portrayed initially in the Return to Shiganshina Arc. His first appearance in human form is dramatic and promises him to be a big threat, a promise that is fulfilled when he kills countless Scouts by throwing crushed rocks and treating it like a good old game of baseball. This is why it is absolutely hilarious when, after all his build up, he is absolutely demolished by Levi, not even landing a hit on humanity’s strongest soldier. Another thing that cuts away at Zeke’s initial persona as a remorseless villain is his flashback scene with Reiner and Bertholdt, and his first meeting with Eren. In the flashback, he tells the two Warriors that he wants everything to end with them, foreshadowing his hidden motivations, and he shows genuine care for Eren when he first meets him, telling him that Grisha has brainwashed him. The reason for this care is revealed when the truth in the basement is unveileved and, along with it being revealed that the rest of the world is still alive and hates Paradis, it is also revealed that Zeke is Grisha’s son, who turned him and his mother in to Marley. The irony here seems to be that Zeke believes Grisha brainwashed Eren, when in reality Zeke is brainwashed by Marley, but not everything is as it seems. Zeke begins to act very suspiciously post time skip, not informing Marley of his royal blood and allowing Reiner to follow Falco and meet Eren. His anticlimactic death at the hands of Levi is even more suspicious, leading to the reveal that Zeke has betrayed Marley for Eldia, leaving his true motivations a complete mystery. These motivations are finally revealed when he is once again beaten by Levi in a fight after brilliantly but coldly turning his men into Titans. Seeing Eldians suffer his entire life and suffering from the neglect of his parents, Zeke came to believe that the way to solve this problem would be to sterilize all Eldians, so their race could eventually die off peacefully. This is why Zeke was so remorseless when he killed those on Paraids, because he believed he was saving them from the cruel world they live in. Guided by his mentor, the previous Beast Titan, Tom Xaver, Zeke sought to make this horrific dream a reality, only for Eren to betray him, leading to one of the most emotional moments of the story, where Zeke was able to reconcile with Grisha through the power of the Attack Titan. After Eren activates the Rumbling, Zeke disappears for a while, which is why he doesn’t take the second spot: his absence. I wish he got more to do in the final part of the story. Still, when he does show up again briefly for the end of his arc, it is more than worth it. Inspired by Armin’s words about the meaning of life, Zeke realizes that his life wasn’t entirely suffering and, even if it doesn’t change his opinion about his euthanization plan, he still wishes he could be reborn to play catch with Xaver once more. Zeke then forms outside Eren’s gigantic Titan and allows Levi to kill him to stop the Rumbling, ending their long rivalry. Like Reiner, Zeke is a fantastic showcase of how to make a villain sympathetic, only even better in my opinion. The slow reveal of his motivations and the emotional scenes he has, made him an incredible character, who you first hate and fear, then are curious about, then sympathize with despite all he has done. Zeke is surely not a good person but he is one of Attack on Titan’s best characters.
2. Armin Arlert.
Armin has been one of my favourite characters from the moment I first got into Attack on Titan. I liked him so much that he took first place in my top ten list after watching Season Two. The reason he is at number two now is not because of any short comings he has had as a character since then but just because I came to like the character who took the top spot more. In fact, I would go as far to say that I think Armin is the most over hated character in the story. I have seen people who don’t like his character dub him as both useless and a Gary Stu, which is weird since those arguments really don’t work well together. Armin starts off as a character with a lot of self doubt and insecurities, which I really related to, and watching him overcome them to become a leader figure in the Trost and Female Titan Arcs was amazing. The moment when he realizes that Eren and Mikasa are depending on him and never saw him as a weak link who needed to be watched over is the moment his character changes into someone more confident. The brilliant strategist part of his character then comes into play, until the timeskip. We see him deduce Annie’s identity, lure her into a trap, realize how Reiner was able to work with her when his and Bertholdt’s identities were uncovered, and eventually nearly sacrifice himself in a plan to defeat the Colossal Titan. As Armin shows his genius during these moments, he also gets a lot of great development as well, with him losing a large part of his innocence when he is forced to take someone’s life to save Jean in the Uprising Arc. Then, after the serumnbowl, he is both gifted with the Colossal Titan and cursed with the burden of living up to Commander Erwin’s legacy. This is where the opinions about him being useless come into play, as Armin, along with Hange, struggle with the burden of dealing with a world that hates them. Armin not really being able to do much tactically here is pretty much the point, though, because it all leads to him admitting that Erwin should have been revived over him, only to later prove himself as the successor to Erwin’s legacy in Chapter 137 through saving the world, just as Eren said he would. Even then, he still does a lot of things before this point, like attacking the port, despite the civilian casualties, and saving Eren from being killed by Magath and Pieck. There’s also his relationship with Annie, which adds a layer of hope to the grim happenings of the Rumbling. As for Armin finally proving himself, he takes the credit for killing Eren in order to become a diplomat for peace between the world and Paradis. It is even hinted that his narration is him explaining their story to the people of Paradis, a detail about his ending which I love. The only thing I don’t like about Armin that I can think of off the top of my head is him thanking Eren for committing genocide in the final chapter. However, reading a leaked interview from Isayama, it thankfully looks like this was not the intent and Isayama just had trouble writing what he wanted to convey in this moment. Other than this, Armin is a fantastic character and has been one of my favourites since the very beginning.
1. Erwin Smith.
There are so few characters in fiction who deserve the title of having a perfect character arc. An example of one of these characters would be Zuko from Avatar: The Last Airbender. Well, Attack on Titan’s perfect character arc and my choice for the best character of the entire story goes to Erwin Smith. While there are a few things I would change about other characters in the story, even ones that I love, like with Armin thanking Eren for being a mass murderer, which I already mentioned, I would not change a single thing about Erwin’s character arc. In my opinion, it is perfect from start to finish. From the moment we meet Erwin, we get a very specific interpretation of his character. A soldier who will sacrifice anything to save humanity from the Titans. This is proven to us time and time again. We see him risk his comrades lives in the Female Titan Arc, all to draw her in and capture her. We see him do the same with the civilians of Stohest, when the first attempt to capture her failed. Most notably, we see it in one of his most epic scenes, when he is dragged off by a Titan but he keeps screaming for his soldiers to “Advance!” Not only this, he also quickly makes a reappearance, saving Eren’s life, with one arm no less. All of this paints a perception of Erwin as a man who is dedicated to saving humanity, no matter the cost. However, this perception is a lie, a persona created by Erwin to motivate his soldiers. It is revealed in the Uprising Arc that Erwin’s main goal is not to save humanity but to find out the secrets that his father had been looking for before he was murdered. When he was a boy, Erwin’s father told him of how the royal government was covering up the truth about the outside world. Not knowing that he should keep this quiet, Erwin told his school friends and word got around to the Interior Military Police, who killed his father and made it look like an accident. This lit a fire in Erwin to take down the government and prove his father right. He achieved the first goal in a military coup that placed Historia Reiss as Queen and set the stage for him finding out the truth about the world, the very thing he desired since he was a boy. He even flat out admits to Levi that this is more important to him than saving humanity. However, then the moment of truth comes. The Scouts are quite literally pushed up against the wall, with the Beast Titan chucking crushed boulders at them with terrifying speed, planning to pulverize them all. The situation is hopeless and the only way Erwin can think of to overcome it is to sacrifice himself and the recruits to give Levi the slightest chance of killing the Beast Titan. Erwin has to choose between achieving his lifelong goal of learning the truth, or giving his life for humanity… and he does not know what to do. Despite the crushing guilt of his comrades’ deaths, he just cannot make the decision he knows is right. So, Levi makes the decision for him, telling him to give up on his dream and die. Free from the burden of this choice, Erwin thanks his friend and gives one last rousing speech to his comrades as they ride to certain death. This time, however, he is not saying these things with the intention of using it to further his goal, no, he is fully becoming what he always pretended to be: the Commander who would do anything, even give his own life, to save humanity. And he almost does give his life, taking the brunt of the Beast Titan’s attack, fatally wounding him. As he lies dying, he is saved by the lone survivor of his charge, Floch, who carries him to Levi with the hopes of reviving him with the Titan serumn. Erwin, however, slaps Levi’s hand away in a delirious state, reminiscing on his dream to learn the truth of the world. This causes Levi to remember Kenny’s words to him about everyone being a slave to something. Levi decides to free Erwin from his enslavement to his dream and the uncertainty of what would come afterward, allowing him to die the hero who sacrificed himself to bring humanity forward, the thing he always pretended to be and finally became in the end. Erwin is just a perfect character. His introduction, the reveal of his true intentions, and how this all results in him having to give up on his dream and become the hero he always acted like he was is as tragic as it is incredible. He is easily the best character Hajime Isayama created, in my opinion. Standing among the others on this list, Erwin Smith is the best character in Attack on Titan.
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 too 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 suspected Ymir was suffering from some kind of Stockholm Syndrome, given that she sacrificed her life for King Fritz.
However, the problem is that the story does not seem to be classifying it as that.
Eren says that what Ymir felt for her abuser was actual love and then Isayama draws a parallel to Mikasa’s love for Eren 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 parallel 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 following the King 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 it was badly portrayed.
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 and begins the peace negotiations, 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 completely 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 completely 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 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, though, 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 extremely 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 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.
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.
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!
Well, that’s a wrap people, at least for now. Part One of the Final Season of Attack on Titan has concluded with its sixteenth episode, “Above and Below”, with Part Two airing either later this year or in early 2022. What a place to end Part One on as well, considering that what many people, including myself, consider to be the best part of the Manga is set to be adapted next. At least the wait will be worth it. I just hope that the Mappa animators don’t have to deal with such a hellish schedule this time around but, given what they’re going to have to animate, I unfortunately doubt it. As for the episode itself, “Above and Below” does a very good job of getting viewers excited for this second half. Directed by Teruyuki Ōmine, Tomoko Hiramuki, and Jun Shishido, the episode begins with a brief showcase of the aftermath of Zeke setting off the thunderspear at the end of “Sole Salvation.” With his lower half completley gone, he lies dying in a field of flowers, when he recieves a brief and mysterious vision of a young girl with shaded eyes, who is carrying a bucket. Before this can be explained, one of Zeke’s Titans, who survived Levi’s purge last episode, crawls up to Zeke, rips open its stomach, and stuffs him inside, no doubt confusing many anime only viewers. This is the last time we see Zeke in the episode and Part One, creating a slight disappointment in me that a scene I expected to be adapted in “Above and Below” wasn’t. The scene that was cut is quite an amazing one from the manga, so I’m sad that we’re going to have to wait a while to get it but, hey, it’s not the end of the world. I know I’ll get to see this moment eventually, along with the plenty of other mind blowing moments from the manga that have yet to be adapted. Once this scene with Zeke is over, the episode cuts to Shiganshina, where Yelena is having her self prophecized dinner with Commander Pyxis, who notices that the Volunteers and the Yeagerists are using Marleyan tactics to take over the military, identifying people with armband. White means they’re a Jeagerist, red means they were blackmailed into working with them through the tainted wine, and black is for those who continued to drink the poisoned wine without realizing, like Pyxis. His bleak situation does not erase his sharpness, though, as he quickly picks up on Yelena commenting about a plan to “save the world.” This confuses Pyxis because he and many others thought the plan was to save just the island with a partial Rumbling, completly unaware of Zeke’s Euthanization Plan, which Yelena then brings to the locked up 104th. Yet, before she explains this plan to them, we get the fallout from Eren’s disastrous meeting with Armin and Mikasa, which ended with him telling Mikasa that he hated her and beating up Armin. Mikasa just seems dead inside about the whole thing and Armin appears to be more conflicted than ever. That leaves Jean to reassure them, unexpectedly saying Eren must have had a reason for what he did. This is some great development for Jean because, at the beginning of the story, he would never have spoken in Eren’s favour, yet here he actually does so, showing true growth. As for another character who gets more entertaining as the show goes on, we then get one of Yelena’s best scenes, as she enters to tell the 104th about the Euthanization Plan. With her are Onyankopon, who seems to have betrayed them, and probably now one of the most hated characters Greiz. I say this because he dared to mock and degrade Sasha in front of her possible boyfriend and family, long after she died. Seeing Yelena put a bullet in his head after he called her the W word pleased a lot of fans, I’m sure. It also shows just how enjoyably nuts Yelena is. You never know if she’s just going to have a conversation with someone or stab them in the neck. Speaking of stabbing people in the neck, we then get Pieck’s epic entrance with the adaptation of one of her best scenes from the manga, as she manages to corner Eren when he goes to try and blackmail Gabi into helping him by using Falco. Marching into the room and stabbing Eren’s guard, Pieck seems to have the advantage, until Eren clearly points out she’s in no position to kill him, being under orders to capture the Founding Titan. It’s here that we end up seeing why Pieck is one of the smartest characters because she actually manages to fool Eren into thinking she wants to defect to save her father, or at least make him think that trusting her is worth the risk. Although, one criticism I do have that carries over from the manga about this scene is that I do feel that Pieck’s backstory is a little too similar to Annie’s but it’s not a massive problem. Also, the rest of the scene is pretty great, with Pieck ripping away the last shreds of Gabi’s indoctrination, explaining to her that the Marleyans will never free her, no matter how hard she tries. Pieck then offers to prove herself to Eren by taking him up to the roof where she can point out her comrades. The scene then cuts to the reveal of another character who is a pretty great liar, that being Armin. As Yelena fanatically explains the Euthanization Plan, Armin appears to laugh but covers it up with tears, or maybe cries for a very different reason to what he claims to Yelena. Either way, he’s certainly fooled Yelena into thinking that he is on board with the Euthanization Plan. Any way he can take this further is quickly interrupted by news of Pieck’s apparent defection, though, as Eren leads her to the top of the roof. It looks like many of the Yeagerists are ready to become Pieck simps when she smiles and waves at them. Unfortunately for them, they are not long for this world, as you can see Porco hiding amongst the crowd, having seen the handcuffs that Eren had placed on Pieck and Gabi to prevent her from transforming. What follows is pretty much a full minute of Pieck basically rubbing it in Eren’s face about how smart she is and trying to worm any additional information out of him before the inevitable ambush happens. What an ambush it is too, as Eren is prepared to transform but completley unprepared for Porco’s attack from below and Marley’s attack from above. The build up to this moment is great with the lack of music up until Pieck points the finger at Eren when he asks where the enemy is, and her well animated smile of reassurance at Gabi. Once the tables turn and Porco attacks, biting off Eren’s legs, we get a great transformation scene of Eren, in which his Titan is 2D, most likely pleasing those who had a problem with the CGI this season. However, I do think some of the animation was lacking in this scene and also in a few others. For example, the shot of the airships coming down to assault Shiganshina does look quite a bit off. So, I suppose it’s a good thing that Mappa’s getting more time to animate Part Two. Again, though, I hope the animators get treated way better than they did this time around with the really bad production schedule and tonnes of crunch. Aside from the couple of animation issues, this final scene is still incredibly hype, ending Part One of the season exactly as it began, with Reiner in an airship ready to attack. This parralel makes it a fitting place to end Part One of the Final Season. There was certainly a different part they could have ended it on, which would have frustrated anime only viewers even more, so it’s probably a good thing they ended it where they did. Overall, “Above and Below” is a pretty good episode, with a hype ending. It might not be the best episode of the season so far but it was a fitting way to end the first half. And, even though we may have to wait a while for Part Two, us manga readers still have the final chapter of the story to look forward to, which is supposed to be dropping on the ninth. It’ll be interesting to see how this story will end and how Mappa with adapt it when the next half of the Final Season starts, either in late 2021 or early 2022.
Much like Chapters 112 and 113, Chapter 114 of Attack on Titan is one that I have slowly come to appreciate more in the years since it came out. So, I was pretty excited to see it adapted in Episode 15 of the Final Season, “Sole Salvation”, which aired right alongside the delayed episode, “Savagery.” I mention that episode here because while I think that “Savagery” could have been adapted a little better, I think that “Sole Salvation” is a perfect adaptation of its corresponding chapter that mostly improves on the source material, with its fantastic animation, voice acting, and soundtrack. Directed by Mitsue Yamazaki, the episode is entirely devoted to Zeke’s backstory and explains his relationship with the mysterious man teased at the end of Episode 14, why he decided to turn on his parents, how he came to his ideology and what this ideology is. That last point is foreshadowed right at the beginning of “Sole Salvation”, where it is shown how Grisha and Dina tried to indoctrinate Zeke in their cause to restart the Eldian Empire by taking Zeke to a tower and showing him the poor conditions Eldians are forced to live in compared with the rest of the world. It is at this moment that a seemingly kind, old janitor walks in and apologises for interrupting, saying he can come back later. Any niceties disappear, though, when he sees the armband on Grisha’s arm and throws his bucket full of dirty water at them in disgust, blaming them for the murder of millions of innocents, even though this happened centuries ago and none of them could possibly be responsible. The old man even goes as far to scold them for “pumping out kids”, in reference to Zeke, an important line that will affect Zeke’s ideology going forward. Grisha again uses this situation to try and instill a drive in Zeke to change the world, telling him that he will save everyone, however, this is clearly not helping Zeke, considering the poor kid is doing the worst at training because his heart is not set on being a Warrior. Can you really blame Zeke, though? The kid just wants to live with his parents and be seen as their son, not as their tool for reviving Eldia. It is here that we get our first look at Zeke’s father figure, Tom Ksaver, the former Beast Titan who seems to take an immediate interest in Zeke. Along with him, Zeke also has his grandparents who do actually care about him and what he wants, yet still try to indoctrinate him with Marleyan propaganda about how the Eldian Empire was pure evil and committed countless sins. One interesting thing to note about this scene is how the illustrations in Mr and Mr Jaeger’s book on the different atrocities the Eldian Empire supposedly committed against Marley actually link back to the ED of the Second Season. That ED was just full of spoilers and foreshadowing for future events, wasn’t it? Back to the episode, we then get the opposite side of the indoctrination Zeke suffers, as Grisha attempts to teach him the exact opposite of what his grandparents said, that Eldia never committed the atrocities Marley claims because Ymir would never allow it. As for the truth? Well, it’s probably somewhere down the middle. The Eldian Empire certainly did a lot of evil things but they also did some good. It just depends on where you’re perspective falls, I suppose. Once we see both of these scenes showing how Zeke’s parents and grandparents are trying to indoctrinate him, we then get his introduction to the one person who never tried to, Ksaver. The two offically meet when Ksaver’s baseball rolls into Zeke’s path, seemingly by chance, although it is pretty clear by the end that Ksaver did this on purpose because Zeke reminded him of his dead son. The two form an instant friendship, as Ksaver praises Zeke ernestly and not based on what he expects him to be, like Grisha and Dina do. Speaking of which, we then get yet another showcase of how the two were not the best parents, as Zeke returns to find them arguing with Falco’s uncle, Grice, about Zeke’s low scores, which most likely means he won’t inherit a Titan. Again, Grisha makes it clear what is expected of Zeke as his and Dina’s son and a child of royal blood but, again, Zeke just cannot live up to these expectations. He still can’t keep up with the other kids and is horrified when Grisha storms off in disappointment. Clearly not father of the year material. At least Dina is kind enough to understand that Zeke is trying, attempting to tell a screaming Grisha this, while Zeke cries in the other room. I also really have to give props to Grisha’s voice actor, Hiroshi Tsuchida, who did an absolutley amazing job this episode, especially with his screaming. Again, in Zeke’s darkest moment, Ksaver is there to help him, lifting his spirts by telling him how it’s a good thing he won’t inherit a Titan and that they are both decent people. However, Zeke’s newly lifted spirt is dashed upon the rocks when he hears Marleyan officers talking about how they are close to locating the Eldia Restorationists and their leaders. Distraught, Zeke attempts to warn his parents, without explicitly telling them that they are close to being found out. It is right before this moment that Grisha gives him such a look of disappointment that I’m sure it made all of us want to kick him. If we didn’t know his own traumatic past then Grisha would be completley unlikeable here. This past is hinted at in this scene because Grisha only explodes into anger when Zeke brings up his aunt Faye, who was feed to dogs, not wanting to end up like her. Grisha’s angry reaction results in Zeke breaking down to Ksaver and telling him everything about his parents. He comforts his father figure, though, telling Ksaver that because of all the fun times they had togethor, he will remember him, even if he is turned into a Titan. Clearly seeing Zeke as a son now, Ksaver begs Zeke to turn his parents in to save himself and his grandparents, stating that his parents used him as a tool and never loved him, something that is, for the most part, unfortunately true. And so Zeke turns his parents in at the behest of Ksaver and many years pass, during which Zeke and Ksaver grow closer to being like an actual father and son. Soon, Ksaver’s term is close to its end, meaning he will have to pass his Titan on. However, he is thankful that he managed to finish his research, discovering that every single Subject of Ymir is connected to the Founding Titan, meaning that it could change their bodies at any moment, and it is here that Zeke’s ideology finally comes to its full fruition. Remembering what the old janitor yelled at him and his parents all those years ago, Zeke wonders aloud if the Founding Titan could sterilize all Eldians so that no more Subjects of Ymir will be born, and the power of the Titans will eventually vanish entirely from the world. In Zeke’s mind, this would also mean no Eldian would have to suffer. This explains much of Zeke’s apathy when he murdered countless Scouts before. He believes that he is saving them from the cruel world. When this genocide by sterlization plan was revealed in the manga, a few people decided this was proof that Attack onTitan was facist propaganda but I think it’s obvious that this is not that at all but a cautionary tale. Subjected to brainwashing attempts and racism all his life, Zeke came to the conclusion that it would be better if his entire race didn’t exist so seeks to commit genocide by sterilization with his Euthanization Plan, which he sees as saving the world. It’s screwed up and shows what dangers can be created from such despicable things, like prejudice and indoctrination. These two things have clearly affected Ksaver as well because his own experiences causes him to align with Zeke’s plan. When he was young, Ksaver took off his armband and married a woman, who he had a child with. However, when she found out that he was an Eldian, she killed their son and then herself in disgust. This goes to show just how strong the hatred for Subjects of Ymir is in the outside world, because it both destroys the Eldians and those who hate them. In this scene, there also appear to be a few hints through the toys of Ksaver’s son to future plot points but I won’t say what in case any anime only viewers happen to read this review. Following the formation of Zeke and Ksaver’s Euthanization plan, Ksaver reveals to Zeke how he will need to find someone he can trust to give the Founding Titan to. Not long after that, Zeke finally inherits Ksaver’s Titan and truly acknowledges him as his father. Low and behold, who should Zeke learn about many years later who he thinks would be perfect for joining him in his plan to sterilize all Eldians? Why, his half-brother Eren of course. The two finally meet in Marley and Eren seems to quickly accept Zeke’s plan, claiming that there is no greater gift than to not be born into this world, warping his own catch phrase into something much more sinister. Zeke tears up from Eren calling him brother, showing just how much he was longing for this familial love. Even though Zeke has done monstrous things, you just can’t help but feel sorry for the guy. Levi, however, is understandably not so sympathetic, as he continues to taunt Zeke in the present about how he will be feed to a Titan. This was clearly not the best call, along with impailing a thunderspear in Zeke’s stomach because a delirious Zeke rips the pin off with a scream for Mr Ksaver to keep watching him. Takehito Koyasu also does an excellent job voicing Zeke here, in all his delirious desperation. Just as excellent is the animation, with the close up on the characters’ eyes and the rain drops falling in slow motion, right before the big bang of the Thunderspear exploding, blowing both Levi and Zeke away, leaving their fates uncertain. A frusrating cliffhanger for the anime only viewers that is pure Attack on Titan. “Sole Salvation” is pretty much a perfect adaptation of its chapter counterpart. With its amazing animation, voice acting, and soundtrack, it easily tops the manga in plenty of areas. Now there’s just one more episode of Attack on Titan for me to review before we have to wait for the rest of the final season begins airing at the end of the year or in early 2022.
I was very excited for Episode Fourteen of Attack on Titan‘s Final Season, “Savagery”, because it would be adapting two very great chapters that I may have not graded too high upon initial viewing but have become more fond of over time.
However, then an earthquake happened and the episode was delayed a full week, now premiering alongside Episode 15, “Solve Salvation.”
While not getting “Savagery” last week was disappointing, it is understandable why they would delay it.
I mean, this came not ten years after the devestating earthquake and tsunami that killed thousands.
Yet, once again, some of the fandom showed its toxic side, demanding the episode be aired and saying they did not care about the reason for the delay.
In any case, we eventually got “Savagery”, directed by Jun Shishido, and was it the potential top ten episode that I said it could be?
Well, not really, but it’s still a great episode.
Picking up from where “Children of the Forest” left off, Episode Fourteen kicks off with Eren’s confrontation with Mikasa and Armin, where he tells them some very hard truths(?).
Leaning back in his chair, Eren tells Armin that because he has been going to see Annie so much this means that Bertholdt has taken over his brain, which is honestly a very hypocritical thing for someone who has eaten three Titan Shifters to say.
But Eren doesn’t stop there, oh no, because then comes the tragic scene that fans have memed ever since it happened.
The “Mmgh” scene.
Dubbed this because of the sound effect Mikasa makes in the manga, in this moment, Eren claims that Zeke told him that members of the Ackerman family only awaken their power after they recognize a host to protect.
So, when Eren saved Mikasa all those years ago in the cabin, she saw him as a host, which is why she has been so desperate to protect Eren over the years, not because she truly loves him but because she is essentially a slave to her Ackerman instincts, or so Eren claims.
He backs this up with the constant headaches Mikasa has been suffering, which is apparently the true self trying to break free from its Ackerman programming.
As if this was not bad enough, Eren follows this up with the cruelest thing he could possibly say, “Mikasa, I’ve always hated you.”
Rightfully, Armin goes to try and teach Eren a lesson, only for Mikasa to slam him into the table, again seemingly proving Eren’s point.
This doesn’t stop Armin, though, as he continues to try and beat up Eren.
Note my repeated use of the word “try” because Armin does not stand a chance.
Eren’s brutal beating to Armin here was much worse than in the manga, where he only hit him once or twice.
Here, Eren launches a barage of fists, reducing Armin to a bloody pulp.
But if Armin doesn’t get to Eren with his fists then he definitley gets to him with his words, calling him a slave and, given Eren’s angered reaction, you have to wonder exactly how free he really is.
This whole scene was a great adaptation of Eren practically trying to destroy his friendship with Mikasa and Armin, although I do wish more lines from the manga had been kept in.
I was pretty sad to see Eren’s line of, “There’s nothing further removed from freedom than ignorance” go.
Following the intense scene between Eren, Mikasa and Armin (oh, and Gabi too, I guess) we get the action segment of the episode with the long awaited round two between Zeke and Levi.
Seeing Zeke run away from Levi before transforming Levi’s men was way funnier than in the manga and the part where he actually transformed them was particularily horrifying.
Then we get the fight, which is really good but admittedly could have been done better.
For starters, I do think some of the shots of the Titans were a bit too static and also some iconic shots from the manga should have been given a few more seconds to linger to make the scene more epic.
Then there’s the OST.
I know I harked on about people complaining about the OST in “Declaration of War” but that’s because I personally think some of them let their expectations get in the way of things, which is understandable because I’ve experienced that too.
In the case of this OST use, I actually like that they used Kenny’s theme because, with him now gone, it feels like it belongs to Levi.
However, I do think that they should have used the lyricless version because the lyrics of this theme speak directly to Kenny’s motivations.
So, it’s a bit weird listening to a song about why Kenny wanted to steal the Founding Titan that is playing in a Levi vs Zeke fight scene.
This is something I picked up on a rewatch, though, and I don’t think a lot of people will be too bothered by it.
Again, I did really enjoy the Levi vs Zeke scene, I just wish that Mappa had more time to animate certain sections of it better and maybe went with the lyricless version of K21, so the lyrics didn’t jar with what is actually happening in the scene.
Back to the actual fight, if we can even call it that because it’s more of a slaughter, Levi comes out on top once more because Zeke underestimates him yet again.
Zeke may be one of the smartest characters in Attack on Titan but his ego always gets the better of him, and in spectacular fashion here.
Levi not only manages to kill all of the Titans Zeke transformed, willingly killing his own comrades, but also blows Zeke out of his hardened nape with the Thunder Spears, leaving Zeke a gruesome mess that looks brutal, even with the censorship.
This leaves him at Levi’s mercy, stuck in a cart, looking like a piece of overcooked pizza, and with a thunderspear stabbed in his abdomen to keep him from escaping.
Not to mention Levi torturing him by cutting his feet off so he won’t transform into a Titan, and probably also for personal satisfaction but who can blame Levi for that after all the cruel things Zeke has done.
Well, if you thought that Zeke was a completley irredeemable monster, then the cliffhanger for the episode may have hinted otherwise to you, as we see Zeke as a child playing catch with a mysterious man named Mr Ksaver, preparing us all for the Zeke flashback we would see next episode, which more than lived up to expectations.
As for the rest of “Savagery” that comes before this cliffhanger, it is just as great, with Floch’s ambushing of Shadis done very well.
You can really see how drunk on power Floch has become, as he pursues nationalism even further by punishing those who do not align with his thought process, having Shadis be beaten up by a bunch of recruits he trained before demanding Hange lead them to Zeke.
Given that it was implied that Hange once had a crush on Shadis, the moment she looks at him, beaten to a bloody pulp, like Armin was previously, is really sad.
Not as sad as the next episode, though, “Sole Salvation”, which, as I have said, is a fantastic episode that I look forward to reviewing.
Overall, even if I think certain moments of “Savagery” could have been done better, the episode is still fantastic with its tragic scene between Eren, Mikasa and Armin, and epic second showdown between Levi and Zeke.