After a long decade of running, Attack on Titan manga ends 139 chapters later with 80% of humanity lying dead at the feet of the story’s protagonists.
The Ending of Attack on Titan was one of the most anticipated chapters. Yet, 11 years and 139 chapters later. It was met with mixed criticism and reaction. Some hated it, while some liked it. Hajime Isayama’s masterpiece had its bitter end, and fans couldn’t be more upset. Partly because they knew they would miss the end of an era.
The other reason was that, quite frankly, audiences did not like it.
Yet, in a way, the ending itself… was perfect. It was a masterpiece. Yes, some parts of the ending, as almost everyone can agree, were unnecessary.
Two of those scenes are Eren Yeager’s random love confession to Mikasa, and Armin thanking Eren for becoming a mass murderer for “their sake”.
The love confession, as almost everyone can agree, was embarrassing. I closed my manga volume in secondhand embarrassment and reopened it around 4 pages later.
Armin thanking Eren for “becoming a mass murderer for their sake”, was uncalled for. Becoming a mass murderer for anyone’s sake is a bit of a no-no. Especially when the result is 80% of an entire species being dead within 4 days. I mean most of those people were innocent, they had done nothing wrong to be deserving of the fate Eren had given them.
Trampled alive by hundreds of thousands of huge Titans must not be fun in any way. Don’t become a mass murderer for any reason, it’s not honorable in any case. There are many ways that the ending did not work, but also many ways it pandered perfectly to the course of the story.
With that all aside, it can also be said that the ending is a masterpiece. One must simply look underneath all the conspiracy to find it.
Eren’s villain arc is not a new plot twist in stories, but a rare one. It adds a new depth to the story, one where the protagonist isn’t all good and mighty. But flawed as well. And Attack on Titan is a story where the protagonist’s flaws bring about a new side to him, his inner human, his inner evil.
And everyone was captivated by this. This was one of the things about the later chapters fans were excited about. But they were unhappy about what followed.
What followed was massacre, massacre, massacre. Innocent people, dead. Eren’s friends, dead. Everyone, dying or already dead.
Yet, for a story as grisly and gut-wrenching as this. This is how it always should’ve ended.
After all, the story was always centered on war.
First, the war was with the Titans. Paradis v.s the Titans. The people of Paradis were fighting against the man-eating monsters for centuries. Hoping that they could one day eradicate the single worst enemy to the freedom they had.
After finding out that the people of the island nation were not the only humans left, the outside world brings war to Paradis after Eren foolishly attacks Marley. That is the second war, but that doesn’t last long. The second war quickly ended as both opposing sides realized that their true enemy lies within Eren himself. Eren, who controls the Attack Titan, and soon the Founding Titan itself. It is now Humanity v.s Eren. Humanity, against one man and his army.
That is the third and final war. In the end, the story revolves around war. War with different opposing sides. But war nonetheless.
And in war, there are the dying, the dead, and the massacred. Three words can be used to summarize Attack on Titan in all its parts. From the very first chapters to the very last. Very grisly death.
In war, everyone loses.
Friends die, family dies. There are no winners. Much similar to this concept.
We lost Erwin. We lost Sasha. We lost Hanges.
Levi is now stuck in a wheelchair. Eren’s friends were forced to kill him.
One of the most disliked topics on the end of the manga was Mikasa being the one to kill Eren. But I think that’s the best part. Eren is someone who took it too far. He wanted to protect everyone he loved, yes. But he decided that getting rid of his entire species would be the way to do it. He went too far, and the very same people he wanted to protect were the ones to drop the hammer on his activities.
Mikasa killing Eren, was to show that even Eren’s biggest supporter, had had enough. The girl who always stood behind him in every way. A girl who practically worshiped Eren killed him. She did it not out of malice, but out of the need to stop him from continuing his evil doings.
To kill what you love most, is war. His friends, who loved him very much, were the ones to kill him.
Eren was a tortured man, a very tortured man, and his torture turned him into a vile anti-hero. His friends went through their own sorts of torture. But they managed to keep most of their sanity and understand good v.s wrong. They were sane enough to identify that the actions of Eren were ill-fated. And so they set out to stop him. For the world, and their friend.