To say that Attack on Titan’s ending encompasses heady themes would be an understatement. Concepts that were only briefly touched upon in past seasons take center stage in the finale, and you wouldn’t blame him for feeling like there’s a lot left to play out. We feel the same way, and that’s why we’ve built this guide that covers the main points of the Attack on Titan ending explained in ways that are clearer than the original source material presented to them. *Warning: Major spoilers ahead*
How does Attack on Titan end?
For starters, it’s worth giving a brief summary of how Attack on Titan ends.
Following their agreement to work together to stop Eren’s world plan, the remnants of the Survey Corps and the Marley Warriors stage a final assault. Although Eren puts up an almost insurmountable defense, using both replicas of the previous Titans through Ymir’s powers and transforming all the surviving Eldians into Titans, Mikasa and Levi successfully catch up with him. Mikasa then delivers the final blow, killing Eren and freeing all of the Eldians from the Titan’s curse.
However, before this can happen, Armin is incapacitated and his consciousness is brought into the separate reality formed by Ymir. Once there, he encounters Eren’s consciousness, who explains that the Attack Titan has the ability to see forward and backward in time through past, present, and future holders of the Titan’s powers, altering events. at will Through this ability, Eren saw a way for both the people of Paradis Island and the Eldian population at large to escape their prejudice, free themselves from the Titan’s curse, and enjoy a life of true normalcy and freedom.
Image Credit: Kodansha
However, this path came with a catch: the world needed a new object to project its hatred and resentment in place of the Eldians and Titans. To this end, Eren positioned himself as the enemy of the world, unleashed the Rumor and prepared to be killed by his friends as proof that the Eldians would face the true enemy of the world. He also made it so that only Mikasa could reach him and deal the finishing blow.
After realizing this, Armin and Eren come to an understanding and Armin thanks Eren for taking on the burden that he did. Armin then regains consciousness and joins his allies. The last remnants of the world’s military arrive soon after, with Armin saying that he was one of those who killed Eren to give Mikasa time to escape with Eren’s remains to give him a proper burial.
The story then jumps forward three years. The world is shown to still be at war due to the Nationalists within Paradis Island, but the Survey Corps survive. members and warriors are working to establish a truce between themselves and the world. Most of the other Eldians are now able to enjoy normal lives, and Mikasa is able to find some closure regarding Eren’s death.
How Eren was able to alter the past and the future
Image Credit: MAPPA and Kodansha via Crunchyroll
With all of this in mind, the first big puzzle to emerge from the ending of Attack on Titan is how Eren could manipulate events in the past without being there himself.
The answer is that Attack Titan’s ability to see through time doesn’t apply to a fixed timeline. Instead, it allows readers to view multiple timelines, any one of which they can try to make happen. The wielders can then alter decisions made by previous Attack Titan wielders by giving them memories of any given timeline, convincing them to act in a way that makes a timeline more likely to come to pass. Likewise, any bearer can do this, and his consciousness becomes present in the timeline that they made the true timeline.
This was hinted at when Zeke tried to convince Eren to join him in his plan to eradicate Eldian. When it is shown how and why Eren’s father Grisha killed the Reiss family, Grisha reveals that Eren was sending him visions of his wife’s death. This drove Grisha insane, causing him to kill the Reiss family and set the timeline for Eren to receive the Attack Titan.
Eren was able to do this because a timeline existed in which he received the Attack Titan and as such he was able to come back and influence each wielder in a way that led to an optimal timeline to save the Eldians.
He was also able to control and influence the regular Titans thanks to his contact with those who carried the blood of the Royal Family and the Founding Titan. This allowed her to control when he would or would not devour specific people, ensuring that his deaths could be used for his plan.
Why did Mikasa need to kill Eren in the Attack on Titan ending?
Image Credit: MAPPA and Kodansha via Crunchyroll
The second point of confusion in the Attack on Titan ending is why Mikasa specifically needed to kill Eren.
As Eren explains it, Ymir felt a kind of kinship with Mikasa. Like her, she was willing to put up with anything and do whatever was asked of her as long as it was for the good of the person he loved. Ymir lived a life guided by the same attitude, but she was tormented by the fact that she could not break free of her love for Karl Fritz even when he proved to be a tyrannical monster.
As such, he only agreed to help Eren trigger the rumble in exchange for setting up the timeline in which Mikasa would break free of her love and do what was best for the world. That’s why Eren went ahead with this plan, even though he shows remorse for hurting Mikasa and wishes he could stay with her while he talks to Armin.
How many people know the truth about Eren’s plan?
The last important point that is not clear from the ending of Attack on Titan is exactly how many people know the truth behind what Eren did.
This point is a bit more nebulous and subject to speculation. While Armin, Mikasa, and the rest of the main characters are shown the truth in a vision provided by Eren, they don’t tell the rest of the world. Instead, they go along with Eren’s plan and make it look like the Eldians defeated the greatest threat humanity has ever faced.
However, it is hinted that this is only a temporary plan on the part of those who know the truth. Based on the wording used by Armin while traveling with his friends to try to broker peace with Paradis, it is possible that they intend to share the truth of Eren’s plans. However, it is not confirmed if they do this, so it is difficult to confirm 100 percent their legitimacy.
Hopefully this has helped clear up the most confusing elements of the Attack on Titan ending explained some of the more heady concepts and provided additional closure. For more on all things Attack on Titan, check out some of the related articles below. For more on anime in general, feel free to check out our lists of the best anime villains, the best anime fights, and our take on which is the best mecha anime.
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