WARNING! The following article has major spoilers from the Attack on Titan manga. Please read ahead at your own discretion!
Attack on Titan did the fans dirty. Saying that is not an understatement. Isayama knew the love that fans had for Sasha and got her taken out by a new-ish character, which made everyone hate her instantly, though uncalled for.
What surprised a lot of people, though, was Eren’s reaction to Sasha’s death. You might expect him to be heartbroken and maybe even cry, claiming how much her death hurt. However, what actually transpired was completely different. To quote Connie, “The bastard laughed“.
That leads us to the question, why did Eren laugh? Let’s get into it!
Eren’s mental instability
To put it bluntly, Eren was not of sound mind at the time. Hell, he still isn’t! Eren undergoes intense stress from realizing a world exists outside the walls, to sneaking into Marley, to living there, to attacking Willy Tybur. Understandably, this all leads to immense pressure on the mind and can make just about anybody go bonkers.
Additionally, Eren shows a poker face, no matter what happens in front of him. This isn’t him just being a typical “cool guy”. He is forcing his emotions down, to deal with the situation first.
It’s common for people to have extreme reactions when they don’t deal with negative emotions well. And for someone as emotionally stunted as Eren, it is possibly multiplied many times over. We’ve all seen it in the movies or read it in the books. A funeral is going on. A character remembers something funny that the dead person said long ago and bursts out laughing.
Everyone understands that. That could’ve happened to Eren too. Which leads us to
Eren Remembered Sasha’s love for meat
Sasha is shown to be in love with food. She enjoys Niccolo’s food the most. She loves to eat meat. She was even eating a potato in her iconic scene! It wouldn’t be an understatement to say that Sasha’s life was about finding more amazing things to eat.
She promised everyone that they would share the meat she stole once they achieved their goals.
And all that is exactly what runs through Eren’s mind as he hears her last words. She wanted meat. However, Eren wasn’t just laughing at Sasha’s death. In fact, he was deeply affected. He really couldn’t accept that she was dead, but maybe he knew that she would die. He did see the future, after all.
Despite all that, as soon as he heard her last words, he must’ve thought, “hah! Typical Sasha” and laughed out due to his aforementioned instability. He wasn’t mocking her. Rather, he was remembering her all too well.
The parallel between Hannes and Sasha
Lastly, there is a similarity between Hannes’ death and Sasha’s death. In both situations, Eren laughed. Again, this isn’t to mean that he laughed at them. Rather, he was so overcome by emotion that he laughed at himself.
He laughed at his own weakness. He laughed at how he couldn’t save anyone. Also, he laughed at how if he were stronger, he’d be able to make a difference.
All this happened with Sasha too. He didn’t say everything, but the reaction was the same.
In short, looking at how he was mentally unstable and how he faced loss after loss, despite wanting to save everyone, we can assume that Eren wasn’t exactly laughing when Sasha died, but crying as he laughed.
Eren cares. He’s just emotionally damaged.
What do you think? Why did Eren laugh? Did he care about Sasha? Let us know in the comments!