Chapter 87: Borderline.
“Borderline” came right after my favourite chapter of Attack on Titan, “That Day” so it had some huge shoes to fill if it wanted to compete with it.
The chapter sure did come close though, with more mind blowing reveals that I cannot wait to see animated.
Picking up from the previous chapter where Grisha and Dina were turned in by Zeke to the Marleyan Authorities, the two are taken to Paradis to be turned into Titans where we get some huge twists.
It turns out that many of the Eldia Restorationists are actually Titans we have seen before in the series.
The majority of them are the ones who attacked Eren during the battle of Trost where he was eaten.
Most shocking of all, Dina is revealed to be the Smiling Titan who ate Eren’s mother.
While, this was a huge shock to read, at the time I did wonder what purposed this served to the story other than it being a random twist but the true point is revealed later in the volume.
Accompanying this shocking twist was a fantastic panel, which showed half of Grisha and Eren’s face as they both reacted to Dina becoming the Smiling Titan in the past and present.
After this, The final twist of the volume reveals Kruger to be the Owl, which I had my suspicions about, and he kills the cruel Marleyan soldier Gross before turning into a Titan and going on a rampage.
The death of Gross is in my opinion one of the most satisfying moments of the entire series.
This is surprising, considering he was only around for two chapters but when you take into account what he did it explains this satisfaction.
I know a lot of people say there are no evil characters in Attack on Titan but Gross is the exception to this.
Evil is the only word to describe a person who feeds a little girl to dogs and feels no guilt about it whatsoever.
However, Gross’ reasoning for this did lead to another interesting revelation.
Gross reveals that only Eldians can turn into Titans and describes this as their “true form.”
On top of all these reveals the chapter also provides emotional growth for Grisha when he thinks about what a terrible father he was to Zeke and how he made the same mistakes as his father by pushing his views on him.
“Borderline” was another fantastic chapter for Attack on Titan in a long line of them.
Chapter 88: The Attack Titan.
Just when I thought there could not be anymore explosive reveals after the previous two chapters multitude of them, Chapter 88 “The Attack Titan” delivered even more.
First it is revealed that Kruger’s first name is Eren, with our Eren actually being named after him, and then it is revealed that all Titan Shifters die 13 years after they get their powers from what is known as Ymir’s Curse.
The second reveal is by far the most impactful because it sets time limits for all of its characters with Titan Shifting abilities.
Eren, for example, only has eight years to live while Armin, who recently took the Colossal Titan power, has 13.
This adds a new layer of tension to all of the Titan Shifter characters because this means, unless Isayama delivers a twist where the curse can be prevented, all of them will die by the end of the series.
However, even though this does add tension, it raises a pretty significant plot hole.
In “Bystander” Keith Sadies said that Grisha arrived 20 years ago.
However, going by the rules of Ymir’s Curse this is cannot be right.
Grisha came inside the walls after inheriting Eren Kruger’s Titan so he would have lived behind the walls for 13 years before passing on his power to Eren and five years have passed in the current story since then.
This would mean Grisha must have lived there for 18 years so there are two years unaccounted for.
This is a plot hole but, then again, it could be set-up for a plot twist by Isayama.
You never know with him.
There were also a few extra reveals to prevent any plot holes, like when Eren states that if a Titan Shifter dies of Ymir’s Curse then their power immediately goes to a random Eldian baby.
Apart from all the reveals, the other great feature this chapter had was all the great character development, from Mikasa’s reaction to Ymir’s Curse, to Eren Kruger’s backstory.
It is revealed he had to watch his family burn alive, which motivated him to spy on Marley from the inside, forcing him to commit many atrocious crimes towards innocent people to keep the act going.
From what we have seen of him, Kruger is a very interesting character and it is a shame we will probably not see more of him because he is eaten by Grisha off screen.
Kruger also presents some very interesting information about Ymir Fritz, which may be of importance, including mentioning a theory that she got her powers from “the source of all organic material”, whatever that means.
He also states what is already one of my favourite quotes from the series, ““anyone can become a god or a devil. All it takes is for someone to claim that to be the truth.”
The chapter ends with the name of the Titan Grisha inherits and then later passes down to Eren being revealed as the Attack Titan.
I cannot be sure but I am pretty certain this is a reference to the title of the series Attack on Titan, which is a nice addition.
Overall, “The Attack Titan” was another great chapter that filled in the backstory and added real stakes, even if it also introduced a plot hole.
Chapter 89: Meeting.
This chapter was an interesting one when it comes to chronology because it was here that Ymir(the second one, not the one who created the Titans)’s backstory was finally revealed in the manga.
Her backstory was actually revealed earlier in season two of the anime in the episode “Children”, which is one of my favourite episodes.
However, in comparison, the way the manga reveals Ymir’s backstory is nowhere near as impactful as it is in the anime.
Sure, it does make more sense for it to be revealed in a letter to Historia rather than her own inner reflection but in the manga this backstory feels more like a way for Isayama to tie up loose ends rather than to add to Ymir’s character development.
The artwork during this sequence was still solid though, especially when Ymir woke up, but it did not have the sense of empowerment and character growth that it did in the anime.
In short, the backstory reveal in the manga is not bad and I still liked it but the anime greatly improved on it.
The letter itself was still very emotional with Ymir saying goodbye to Historia and declaring her love for her.
What I did find disappointing about the letter though was that Ymir confirms she will be dead by the time Historia reads this.
If Ymir really does die it will feel like a missed opportunity to me because I have always felt like she is the series’ most underused character (next to Annie who I barely care about anymore).
If she does die, I hope it is in a meaningful way that ties up her arc nicely.
On the other hand, one thing I enjoyed about this moment was Historia’s reaction to Ymir’s letter.
In a single panel, barely noticeable, we see a tear slowly go down Historia’s cheek, which she tries to cover up when her friends arrive, showing just so close she is to falling apart at the news of Ymir’s potential death.
The rest of “Meeting” was also great, especially with the meeting where everyone discussed what they had learned from Eren’s basement.
Eren realizing he could use the Founding Titan’s briefly because he came into contact with Dina, who had royal blood, was a great reveal.
Before this I was concerned that Dina being the Smiling Titan was just for shock value so I am glad Isayama made this play a role in the story.
It also led to the funny scene where Eren tries to underplay his reaction to this as because of puberty, which was a bit of a recurring joke.
However, what is not funny is the implications this has for Historia because she is also of royal blood.
This seems to set up Eren eating Historia in the future to use the Founding Titan’s abilities, which would be devastating.
However, Eren seems dedicated to protecting Historia so hopefully he will manage to do so.
Then there is the final moments of the chapter, which is without a doubt the biggest WTF moment of the series and is either a really good thing or a really bad thing.
In a flashback, Kruger talks to Grisha about Mikasa and Armin who had not been born yet.
This appears to be heavily implying that Titan Shifters can see into the future as well as the past, which, depending on how it plays into the story, could be a fantastic twist or a jump the shark moment.
I am hoping for the first one.
Chapter 90: To the Other Side of the Wall.
After 90 chapters of build-up the ocean was finally reached by Eren, Armin and the others.
This looks to be where the second-half of season three will end, due to the multiple cases of foreshadowing towards the ocean.
Personally, I think this will be a brilliant way to end the season based on the reveal of it in this chapter.
The ocean has always been a symbol of hope for Eren and Mikasa, and especially Armin but, as Eren expertly points out at the end of the chapter, this hope is false because on the other side of the ocean everyone wants them dead.
This results in the final few powerful panels where Eren wonders if they will finally be free after they defeat their enemies and a sea shell is shown in Armin’s hand symbolizing this small hope.
It is a beautiful scene that I cannot wait to see in the anime.
The rest of the chapter is just as solid, presenting this same feeling of hope and dread throughout.
As those inside the walls celebrate retaking Wall Maria and discovering the truth of what is out there, multiple things point to this celebration being short lived.
Floch questions why Armin was chosen to take on the Colossal Titan instead of Erwin, Eren experiences a memory from Grisha of Fay’s mutilated body, and, when kissing Historia’ hand in a ceremony, he experiences the moment right before his father killed her family.
All of this hints towards the cruelty of the world they live in, despite the celebrations and signs of hope that are present.
The constant clashing of the themes of hope and cruelty in this chapter all point towards the greater themes of the story so far and make for another fantastic chapter, especially with the ocean reveal.