Activating the rumble on Attack the titans opened different gaps in relation to Eren jaeger. The protagonist of this story shakes some paradigms. Currently, inside powerful anime, is the most controversial figure. His demeanor can be seen as that of a hero while, if you take some distance, he can seem like an enemy of humanity. Is there a midpoint between these extremes or should you occupy one of them?
For much of the four seasons of Shingeki no Kyojin, the story told how the inhabitants of Paradis Island, marginalized Eldians, were abused by the various titans who approached their 50-meter-high walls. A people locked up, imprisoned, and seen from the outside as demons. There was no life beyond the walls, a symbolic wink that the anime of Hajime Isayama pull towards nazism and other historical movements that have fostered division within nations. It is in this context that Eren Jaeger grew up.
After seeing how a titan ate his mother, the protagonist’s childhood vanished. He started his career to be a part of the legion, the elite body in charge of killing titans. During this process, Eren Jaeger prepared himself with the normality of someone who goes to school to present tests on mathematics, with the war variant in the process. Then, the following key event in his story occurred: discovering that two of his companions were the titans who caused the death of his mother. Friends with hands full of blood.
A heroic construction that differs in some cases from the paradigm.
the hero’s path
Within the classic shonens adapted in anime format, the paradigm is dragon ball. Goku is a subject from a special race of warriors who, during the beginning of his story, goes through adventures until the first death of krillin. His journey is about getting stronger and stronger so he can deal with threats, at least during the canon adaptations. At all times, his role in the conflicts is clear: he is the good guy in the story.
In the case of Eren there are different readings. Until the events of the fourth season, Eren and his fellow Legion members seemed to be good. The boy who saw his mother die was prepared to face what was typified as evil. What happen? A historical legacy marked by marginalization and polarization from the elites to the different components of society makes it more complex to establish positive and negative labels. For example: until not long ago, zekethe Beast Titan and brother of Eren, was the enemy. Now it seems the calmest look in relation to the conflict that the Eldians are going through.
Aware of the weight of that tradition of hatred that fostered the division of the Eldians, Eren and Zeke understand the dimension of the task: close a conflict that originated 2000 years ago. Both can be considered as heroes of the story. However, their shapes set them apart.
These types of pulses were not manifested in stories like the one mentioned dragon ball or others like full metal alchemist, Samurai Xor the most recent anime phenomenon, demon slayer. This factor does not detract from any of these stories, with their own complexities, a large fan base and capable of attracting different audiences. Your reference serves to know one of the main values of Attack the titans: nothing is black or white. There are a number of nuances in which the story shines.
on Attack the titans
When Eren Jaeger knows the sea and notices that his enemies are beyond him, he is no longer the boy who saw his mother die. He is aware of his abilities, his potential and he saw the “memories of the future”. He knows what he must do to change the destiny of his people. The mission is of such ambitious and bloody proportions that he does not share it with anyone. On the contrary, everything around him seems to be moved according to his ends.
In a narrative key, his birth within the walls of Paradis Island, the death of his mother, the discovery of Reiner and Bertholdt As the Armored Titan and the colossal titanthe confrontation with the Beast Titan, more death and destruction, along with the friends who stayed on the road to this present, merge at that time and the certainty that he is the chosen one to exchange for freedom all the years of oppression, terror and marginalization.
From then until the present, in Eren the end is above the means. He will do whatever it takes to meet his goal. Does that include annihilating the rest of humanity? Until the 81st chapter of the manga adaptation, “Thaw”, Yes. the town of the paradise island he is above the rest of the mortals and he, with a differentiating power and powerful knowledge, is the key to the future that was promised years ago. Again, the reference to Nazism comes naturally. The symbology, with Colossal Titans advancing like an army, along with a red and black palette, further encourages the reference.
So, the doubt that runs through Shingeki no Kyojin becomes unavoidable: how can Eren be recognized, as a hero or a villain?
Eren and his complexity as a character
From a narrative perspective, Eren’s character development is on point. He started at one point and there is a series of events that take him to another place in Attack the titans. In between, a physical and mental transformation. As if all this were not enough, the anime poses a duality to the viewer: Does its end justify ending the rest of humanity? Doesn’t that goal place you on the opposite side of heroics, favoring your interests over logic relative to others?
The answer to this could be, based on his history, that yes, his background validates this behavior because he was not built as someone destined to save humanity but to offer freedom to the inhabitants of Paradis Island. That’s why seeing him advance surrounded by Colossal Titans without walls is a powerful image. The memories of the future are these, moments in which he comes to his mother, to his friends, to his town. That’s why she, before dying, shouted “Live!”.
However, Shingeki no Kyojin does not impose this on the story but, on the contrary, adds doubts. armin, my house and other members of the Legion begin to question Eren Jaeger, companion and friend. The narrative focus shifts away from Eren to be told from their perspective; in particular, from Armin’s. It is he who acknowledges, at first, the victory over the Army of Marley. Celebrates. But then he realizes that Eren’s mission goes further: he wants to end everything that crosses his path, including people who, like his mother, are victims of a conflict they don’t fully understand.
Seen from that place, I recognize Eren as a victim with power, that relentless search for his goal has earned him the label of enemy so far, with a handful of chapters to go. Is Eren’s claim valid if in the middle he takes the lives of the rest of humanity? If it happens, doesn’t that make him a genocide? As well. As is often the case when it comes to Shingeki no Kyojin, it will depend on each spectator the recognition that is made about him. In this type of dilemma, of uncomfortable situations for those who see, lies one of the strengths of this history of Attack the titans: put the human condition on the table until it reaches an extreme point.