Eren Kruger was a Subject of Ymir, who founded the Eldian Restorationists and infiltrated the Marley Government as a spy to aid the restorationists. He was known under the pseudonym of the Owl. His real identity stayed hidden for the majority of the time and was only revealed to Grisha Yeager at the end when Kruger entrusted him with his Attack Titan in order to steal the Founding Titan from within the walls.
While making a pensive Grisha accept the mission, Kruger made a very peculiar statement about saving Mikasa and Armin. A confused Grisha asks Kruger who Mikasa and Armin were, and to his surprise even Kruger had no idea about it.
This has not stopped the fans from speculating how he might have come to known about those two, and even time travel theories were being floated. However, the answer is a little bit different.
The following part of the post contains SPOILERS from the manga chapters of Attack on Titan that have not been adapted into the anime yet. Proceed to read it at your own discretion!
Why did Eren Kruger Say Mikasa & Armin?
After inheriting one of the nine Titans, the Titan shifters gain the memories of their predecessors. This ability enabled Eren Yeager to see his father’s memories. When the inheritors get flashes of these memories, they sometimes tend to talk to themselves (like Eren Yeager did in Attack on Titan Season 3 episode 21, Manga chapter 88-89) and ignore their surroundings. This detail, though small, is important. Otherwise Isayama wouldn’t have wasted precious manga panels showing the survey corp members chiding Eren for acting strange.
The reason why inheritors of the nine Titans can see the memories that belong to the previous users is because the subjects of Ymir, which include the Titan shifters, are all connected by something that transcends the physical space known as paths. The blood and bones that form a Titan are sent to the shifters through these invisible paths (Attack on Titan Chapter 88). These paths sometimes carry memories or even the will to act (like Karl Fritz’s vow to renounce war has been carried down preventing the Founding Titan from using its full abilities).
When Kruger mentioned Mikasa and Armin, he was going through the memory of another inheritor of the Attack Titan. Kruger later admits that he did not know to whom these particular memories belonged. However, if shifters are only supposed to get the memories of their predecessors, how did Kruger come to know about Mikasa and Armin who weren’t even born when this interaction between Grisha and Eren Kruger took place.
In Chapter 121 of Attack on Titan manga, Grisha tells Frieda Reiss about a special ability that the Attack Titan possesses. While the other shifters only inherit the memories of their predecessors, the Attack Titan’s user can see memories of both its predecessors and successors. This means that the memory which Eren Kruger saw was that of a future inheritor of Attack Titan. While it has not been confirmed whose memories Kruger saw, this inheritor in question could be either Grisha or Eren, as these are the only two inheritors who know about Eren and Mikasa.
Looking at Kruger’s statement in this new light, we can assume that he was no longer speaking to Grisha while he mentioned Mikasa and Armin, rather he was repeating the words he heard in the memory of a future inheritor. So what is this “mission” that needs to be fulfilled at this point? Is it still acquiring the Founding Titan and restoring Eldia? If the memories that Kruger saw belonged to Grisha then this could be the case.
While transferring the Attack Titan and Founding Titan to Eren, Grisha mentions mentions the same words, asking him to save Armin and Mikasa. It is totally possible that Kruger was seeing this memory, which made him blurt out Mikasa and Armin’s name. Since Kruger would be viewing the memory from Grisha’s point of view, there is no way he could recognize a young Eren.
However, if it was Eren’s memory that Kruger was seeing, what could possibly have transpired for Eren to say such a thing. Were Armin and Mikasa in some sort of grave danger? Currently in the manga, Eren has activated the rumbling and has probably (not confirmed) flattened Liberio and the surrounding areas of Marley continent. Is Eren asking himself to persist with the mission of destroying Marley and the other nations, even though it makes him look evil, so that he could save the Eldians and ultimately Mikasa and Armin, the two people who are closest to him?
An interesting thing to note is that, when Eren forces his father to kill the Reiss family at the chapel in Chapter 121, he uses similar wordings as that of Krugen, reminding Grisha that this was the story he started!
With Attack on Titan drawing to a climax, all these questions might be answered soon.
So in short, Eren Kruger was seeing a future memory that belonged to either Grisha Yeager or Eren Yeager, through the ‘paths’ that connected the subjects of Ymir. This is how he came to know about Mikasa and Armin.
This has also given rise to speculations about a closed time loop existing in the Attack on Titan universe. So even if the inheritors of the Attack Titan can see the future, they can’t possibly change it because the actions they take would eventually end up bringing forth that same future. Consider it similar to the plot of Interstellar, 12 Monkeys or even the first two seasons of Dark. The protagonists desperately want to change the future, but it is their actions that eventually lead them to the future they dread, whatever they do they can’t change it.
Do you think Time Travel or something similar will eventually be introduced in Attack on Titan? How do you think Attack on Titan will probably end, let us know in the comments section!