All good things must come to an end, and Attack on Titan is no exception. With the last chapter now out and the story finally concluded, there is an uproar of opinions across social media. However, the ending has both its highs and lows. Here is an opinion of an avid Attack on Titan fan who has tried to find meaning in quite literally, everything.
To put it simply, it’s okay, but at the same time its not.
Here are some things that I personally found good about Chapter 139.
The irony of the Attack Titan
The Attack Titan was never the champion of change. It didn’t take long to realise that the Attack Titan doesn’t have any will of its own; the current inheritor will act according to the future they see. Therefore, they were never “free”. Personally, when Eren mentions he was nothing but a way for Ymir to gain freedom, it relieved me.
It became more obvious that Eren is not the anti-hero he was pretending to be. This revelation brought more sense to the story. At the end of it all, Eren will still a boy with a childish dream but one so noble that he would do anything for his friends. That, and coming to terms that he wasn’t the most important character in this battle all along.
The timeless ending
Another good thing that came out of the chapter was that life indeed went on. While a dystopian ending with the world crushed and the alliance burdened would’ve made a darker ending, Isayama once again makes us understand that life goes beyond war. Even after the darkest times of humanity, the sun would rise again.
After the insane amount of heartbreak Isayama served us, he did leave us with some very wholesome moments. We see Historia’s child, Levi with Falco and Gabi, and lastly, our alliance. It felt fantastic to see them act their age and bicker around like friends after finding themselves at each other’s throats quite too often before.
In context to the plot, Isayama leaves us with another lesson- conflict can never truly end. Eren’s (or Ymir’s) actions had consequences which played out into the fickleness of being human; we can truly never stop fighting. However, as we see our young ambassadors finally go to Paradis to talk with a grim reminder that maybe this will never end until one side is wiped out, I’m not worried. They’ll find a way, and we should leave it at that.
On another note, Reiner, get help.
Love, courage, and everything in between.
No matter your stance on Mikasa, she embodies these emotions very well. One theme of the story often ignored due to its violent nature is connection and love. Ymir sees Mikasa as almost an inspiration. While many shrugged off Ymir’s love for Karl Fritz, it was obviously a case of Stockholm syndrome. While luckily Mikasa did not share such relationship with Eren, she too was dangerously in love.
Ymir found strength from Mikasa’s decision to break free from the chains of love to save humanity. This is what Ymir had hoped; a sign that she too can break away if needed. Things like this can be missed on the surface level, yet it definitely added onto the story and I’m glad it stayed this way till the end. (Also, Erehisu shippers punching the air right now).
That being said, Isayama messed up at some of the most crucial places.
This thing gave Ymir her powers. This thing also saved Eren when Gabi blew his head off. However, Isayama never tells us what it is. I cannot stress how frustrating it is!
Even until the end, this creature turned people into titans. Is it autonomous? Is it above the authority of Ymir? These questions deserved answers because without that a lot of the story loses its worth. When building a universe so complex, Isayama bit off more than he could chew. With that, he introduced this slimy centipede in an already complex story.
Looking back, I think this one concept should’ve not been introduced if it was never going to be elaborated.
How much control Eren had over his actions.
We would never know how much of Eren’s actions were courtesy of Ymir. While he did this all so Mikasa’s actions could bring Ymir to set herself free, he also mentions if it was fully up to him, he would’ve carried out the rumbling anyway. Is he mentioning he was left with little choice? While we would never know, I guess it does tell us that one’s “freedom” always comes at the sacrifice of the other.
There have been multiple arguments that Eren’s portrayal and the current conclusion do not add up. While I do think that most of Eren’s excessive stress on “freedom” was to force himself to believe he was here for a cause, I too have some criticisms. The story became too heavily dependent on the Alliance. Subsequently, one chapter is not enough for us to hear from Eren’s end. With that in mind, I come to the last point.
The story was rushed.
Hajime Isayama built a world inside of a pre-existing one, but never gave us the answers of how it came to be. While its understandable that a lore never has everything answered, he left too much for the fans to theorise. At times, the story got more meaning from the theories than the plot itself.
It seems like as the story was winding down, there was hurry in getting over with this story after all. While the ending leaves us with fond memories, plot wise, it left major questions unanswered. We barely heard from Eren, and chapter 139 was indeed an information dump on our heads. I feel that the universe had wasted potential!
Despite all that..
I leave Attack on Titan with fond memories. Despite the disappointing aspects of some parts of the story and the ending that left us confused, there is no denying that today we mark an end of an era. After all, Isayama is human and maybe we expected a little too much. However, just like many fans, I too will miss these characters, as their stories finally rest today. Fortunately, we still have the anime left, so Attack on Titan won’t be going anywhere anytime soon!
As much as it irks me that a some brainstorming went down the drain, I am still happy with my choice of reading it. From its marvelous themes that intrigued us to the end, to characters and their grit, Attack on Titan is one of a kind in its own special way. We do leave the story with some lessons, one being that its important to manage our expectations. Still, thank you Hajime Isayama!