Attack On Titan Ending Explained: Everything That’s Wrong With It!

Contrary to popular thought, we did find the ending of Attack on Titan good. But not good in terms of AoT standards. So here's our take on everything that went wrong by the time the story came to its conclusion!

Eren And Historia

This article was co-authored by Shatakshi Tyagi and Anand Bhaskaran. Make sure to read their other blogs on the website. You can find their profiles here and here respectively!

While there is no denying that Attack on Titan gives the reader satisfaction with its themes and fantastic reveals, the last leg of the story had some plot holes. While we have nothing but praise for Hajime Isayama for writing such a beautifully crafted story, the geeks in us are desperate for a few answers for these six loose ends!

Its only fair that we start with addressing the elephant in the room; the hallucigenia-like creature.

The odd case of Hallucigenia

real life pictures of hallucigenia

Before we get full-fledged onto the issues with the hallucigenia of Attack on Titan, did you know that it was foreshadowed right in Season 3? Don’t believe me? Here take a look:

Attack on Titan Season 3 Episode 21 - Eren Kruger mentioning about Ymir and hallucigenia
Attack on Titan Season 3 Episode 21 – Eren Kruger mentioning about Ymir. Here, “source of organic life” hints at the hallucegenia.

Ever since the Ymir flashback chapter (Chapter 122), fans have been speculating on what that “Skeleton which latched onto Ymir was”. Seeing the depth Isayama provides in his description of things, we were expecting a good explanation from him. But sadly, that did not come to pass.

In Chapter 137, Zeke explains that the hallucigenia was one of the first creatures to exist on Earth.Then it multiplied and adapted to the environment (basically evolution) and eventually leading to what humans are now.

Details about the Hallucigenia need explanation because it gave the power of the Titans to Ymir and in turn all Eldians. In Chapter 137, after Jean bombed Eren’s neck, the Hallucigenia sprang up to connect Eren’s head with his skeleton body. Why didn’t the Hallucigenia come out to connect Frieda’s head before Grisha gobbled her up?

In the next chapter, it survived the explosion of Armin’s transformation (How?) The others were like “Who knows” and no explanation was given for it. Later on, it spewed out gas which made the normal Eldians present there into Pure Titans. 

Based on this, there are so many unexplained elements. Some of which are the following:

  • How is the hallucigenia species existing even now after so many years of evolution? Was it just lying in some deep part of the ocean since life formed?
  • How did it attach itself to Ymir? Was it coincidence that Ymir happened to find it?
  • How is it immortal?
  • If it is one of the early ancestors to all living beings, why are its powers restricted to only the “Eldians” and not to all of humanity? How did it have just Titan related powers?

How did Eren’s death lead to its disappearance? Keep in mind this is only ONE of the things left unexplained by Isayama. There are some more…

The Paths Magic

Eren talks to the Subjects of Ymir through the paths.

After Ymir passed on from this world, she found herself in a mysterious place filled with sand. Since then, she has been living there, waiting for someone to save her…

Paths serve as channels for the transportation of several things, such as memories and wills from other Subjects of Ymir, flesh and bones that make up a Titan’s body and its powers. In Paths, time is irrelevant and inconsistent. Zeke says that it felt like he was there for years, but it was also all over in an instant.

All the Subjects of Ymir are connected via Paths and all of them meet at the coordinate, the Founding Titan. This, in brief, is what we know so far from the series. And it’s not enough. Atleast not enough to give light to the following points:

  • How does one go to Paths?

After Zeke was severely injured by the explosion of the thunder spear attached to his chest by Levi, he was somehow transported to Paths. How did this happen? Is there any specific criteria which needs to be fulfilled to enter Paths? 

One can argue that it’s because of Zeke’s royal blood. But that’s not a valid argument because, why didn’t he not know the fact that Ymir makes the titans and heals them from soil before? He knew that only when he was lying on his deathbed after the explosion. How so? Does a shifter go there after being injured? We don’t think so. When Reiner got his head blown off in Season 3, he didn’t go to Paths. But somehow, Ymir (the former Survey Corps member) was able to go there.

  • Does it consider an Eldian’s desires? Is it temporarily granted in Paths?

In Chapter 137, some of the previous shifters suddenly appear to both Zeke’s and Armin’s surprise. Zeke was recollecting the memories of the shifters known to him. Was it because of him they appeared? If so, how? Was it because his desires were accounted for by Ymir? We don’t have a clear answer.

  • What exists in Paths?

We know that transportation of memories, will of the Subjects of Ymir and flesh of Titans take place. But what REALLY HAPPENS in Paths when we don’t see? All we is sand and the branches of the “coordinate tree” in the sky. 

When transported to Paths, do people get physically transported or is it a conscious construct?

Ymir’s ambiguity

If the paths were shrouded in mystery, so was it’s sole resident. Ymir has easily proven to be one of the most mysterious characters in the whole manga. However, for someone who played such a big role in the path Eren took, there wasn’t much to her character in the end. The ending of Attack on Titan manga lacked a crucial perspective from Ymir. She deserved her story told in a better way.

Ymir wanted to break away from the chains of misguided love that kept her trapped. Making Eren do something as extreme as killing 80% of the world was necessary because other than that nothing could make Mikasa go against Eren (shows Mikasa’s strong moral code too on another note).

A lot of Ymir’s own ambitions told by Eren are a mere hunch (see what we did there), which, while it does make sense, leaves Ymir in the dark. There’s only so much a dazed mass murderer with a child’s mind can explain.

Attack on Titan manga, chapter 139
But, we want to know too!

It is important to note that Ymir is no mere side character. She is the story. Maybe we’re nitpicking, but we would’ve loved to have some panels from her end. 

Eren’s motives

Eren Jeager is arguably one of the best written main characters in current shonen mangas. However, then we get to know that Eren is actually nothing but a pawn in Ymir’s hands. While it makes for an interesting revelation, we do wish there was more foreshadowing to it. This is because this sudden reveal takes away a lot from the characters of the story. Their actions are reduced to becoming butterfly effects for a greater cause. 

Attack on Titan manga, chapter 139
Is Eren trying to convince himself that rumbling was something he would’ve wanted  regardless?

Furthermore, when did Eren realise he was being used by Ymir? Did he know it throughout the last arc or did he only realise it at a specific point? How many of Eren’s words are his own? He does admit that even if he didn’t know he would be killed he would have carried on the rumbling regardless. However, wouldn’t that be impossible because Ymir would’ve made him stop here regardless?

Regardless of anything, this has given fans questions they will lose sleep over for many days!

Eremika and their “last” conversation

As chapter 139 shows us, Eren gives Armin and Mikasa a final message. With Armin, Eren managed to slip these pockets of interaction throughout their lives and then omitted them from Armin’s actual conscious life. After Eren’s death, these memories came back.

On the other hand, the scene with Mikasa never happened. There is no future where they both are together. 

His scenario with Armin is logical and in line with the explanation given. On the other hand, Mikasa’s dreamlike sequence is still an abstract concept. Could Eren’s ability to transcend the concept of time allow him to put such a film in Mikasa’s head? While we will never know, check this article out for some possible theories!

Killing off characters

Lastly, we have one special complaint. While this is not really a plothole, we felt frustrated with the way this character left the series.

Attack on Titan manga, chapter 132
Attack on Titan 132- Hange wakes up in the afterlife.

Our cherished Titan lover and the commander of the Survey Corps had a pretty disappointing death. We’re not saying Hange shouldn’t have died. The manner of her death is the problem. 

It seemed like she was trying to escape from the burden of being the commander, which is unlike Hange’s character. She is a bold and responsible character. She is not the type to ditch her comrades and join the dead while they are fighting for their lives. In these situations, it is easy to say “I give up. Let me just die”. Hange seemed to have taken the simple route.

The stage wasn’t set nor was there was any build-up for her death. It just happened all of a sudden. This is unlike the deaths of Erwin or even Hannes. In Chapter 136, all of us were expecting Levi to be the next to go; given there was sufficient build-up for a potential death. But it didn’t happen.

We feel Isayama just stuck pictures of characters on the wall, blind folded himself and threw a dart, to decide whom he has to kill next. Hange’s death did not make much sense. She could have used the help of Mikasa and Annie to take down a few Titans and quickly escaped to the flying boat. 

Final thoughts

Contrary to popular thought, we did find the ending good. But not good in terms of AoT standards. It was good in an emotional sense; from the emotions it carried when Armin and Mikasa cried while holding Eren’s head to the alliance team teaming up again to promote peace amongst nations. Eren’s love for Mikasa really tugged on our hearstrings too!

Isayama could have taken a different route to give a satisfactory conclusion to some of the characters like Eren, Mikasa, Hange, Ymir. With all that’s said and done, Attack on Titan will continue to be a series which will cause a major rift in the anime community.

It’ll be cherished by many for long (At Least the first 3 seasons, if not all). With infinite hypotheses to ponder over, fans still have a lot to discuss over. On that note, we wonder what Erwin would have done if he was here…..

The final volume of the series, vol 34, will contain a few extra panels from Isayama that did not make it to the final chapter. While we don’t expect full blown explanations, we hope there are some hints or symbolisms that make a few things clearer. Until then, we can’t express enough gratitude to Isayama for giving us Attack on Titan. We will truly miss it! 

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