The second part of the final season of Attack on Titan has started with a bang! As MAPPA’s top-notch animation of the long-awaited fight sequence between Eren and Reiner proves, this finale is worth the hype.
As action-hungry anime fans refueled in Episode 17’s battle between Attack, Armored, and Jaw Titan, some were quite baffled by Zeke’s bizarre recovery in a foreign land with the help of an unassuming girl.
With a new character on the scene, everyone is in turmoil, all asking the same questions – Who’s the new girl? And where exactly had she taken Zeke?
As seen in Chapter 120 of the manga, she is Ymir Fritz, the original Founding Titan and the ancestor of the Titan transforming the Eldians.
She had taken Zeke to the Land of the Path, which is an intangible realm that connects all Eldians, Titans, and Titan Shifters.
This page contains Attack on Titan spoilers.
Who is Ymir? What is his story ?
Ymir is the ancestor of the transforming Eldian race of Titans. She was the first person to obtain the Power of the Titans, which transformed her into the first Titan, known as the Founding Titan.
Even though his story spins the plot of Attack on Titan, it has been skewed by Eldians and Marleyans over the years.
While the Eldians formed cults and worshiped her as a goddess who brought prosperity to the land, the Marleyans referred to her as a devil-dealer who brought ruin and destruction to them and the rest of the world.
But in reality, none of these stories were true. For starters, Ymir wasn’t even an Eldian. She was a slave who served the Eldian King Fritz, who attacked her village 2000 years ago.
She later got into hot water by releasing a few pigs from a pen, resulting in the pain of being hunted down by the king and his men.
Hurt and frightened, she sought refuge in a hollow tree which, unbeknownst to her, contained the Anomaly or the Source of All Living Matter.
After her fusion with his spine, she transformed into the first Titan. Fritz then abused his unstoppable power to conquer the lands beyond, devastating the rest of the world, especially their nemesis Marley.
However, he faced a slight setback when Ymir took a spear to the chest in order to prevent him from being skewered. Desperate to preserve his power, he ordered his daughters to consume Ymir and continue this “tradition” long after his death.
Thereby, his powers were divided into Nine Titans who continued their rampage and expanded the Eldian Empire until Karl Fritz vowed to renounce war.
But Ymir’s story doesn’t end there. After her death, her soul ended up in a vast expanse of sand-covered land known as the Paths, where she is forever enslaved to create Titans or use her special foundress powers whenever the royal family l ‘ordered.
What exactly are the paths?
We saw the return paths in Season 2, where they were shown being nine streaks of aurora-like lights crossing the star-covered sky converging in one point.
They were first seen by Ymir (the scout), who inherited Marcel’s Titan Jaw when she awoke to find herself in what appeared to be a snowy wasteland with the Paths above.
Finally, in Season 3, we get a glimpse of their importance from Eren Kruger, who described them as invisible channels connecting all Eldians, Titans and Titan shifters.
1. What are they doing?
In addition to being a network that shares the memories and wills of all Eldians, it also serves as a “pathway” for the flesh and bones needed to form the Titans and Titan Shifters.
Although Titan can take years to manufacture, the Paths compensate for this by transcending time and space, resulting in the rapid and epic transformations we see in an instant. The same goes for their regeneration and hardening abilities.
From the kingdom of the Paths have no physical form, not everyone can see it or use it to its full extent. But members of the royal family seem to have special privileges, for Zeke could access it, but at the heavy cost of a near-death experience.
However, the holder of the Founding Titan can reveal them to each Eldian by speaking directly to each of them, as seen with Eren’s horrific declaration of genocide during Rumbling.
Although paths are an integral part of Attack on Titan lore, they still work in tandem with Titan’s real arsenal of power – The Coordinate.
2. Paths versus Coordinate
The Coordinate is the intersection of all Paths – the Founding Titan itself. While the Paths are only channels that connect the immaterial realm to the physical world, the Coordinate is the control center over all of Eldia’s population.
Often seen as a giant, glowing tree, it can be used to do just about anything to the Eldian race – Change their anatomy, alter their memory, and control titanized humans.
But there is a catch: the holder of the Founding Titan must be of royal blood. This need stems from the Founder Ymir’s loyalty to the royal family. Accordingly, their wishes and orders take precedence.
The Founding Titan’s cry immediately signals Ymir to lend her power to them, as she works behind the scenes in the Land of the Path to carry out their orders. However, a flaw was discovered when Coordinate was introduced in Season 2.
During Eren’s confrontation with the Smiling Titan, he unknowingly activated it upon contact with a titanized Dina Fritz, who was of royal blood. Following this, he received a brief command from the surrounding Titans who stacked and tore her apart.
Because he had the Founding Titan and Dina was speechless as she was a pure Titan, Eren could make the decisions. But this plan backfired on Zeke, as he was a Shifter and still had a mind of his own. So Eren had to change tactics by swinging Ymir with a freedom pick.
3. What are its origins?
Since the entire lore of Attack on Titan is based on the Anomaly merging with Ymir, its origins would also explain the birth of the land of the Paths. Fandom has long theorized the Hallucigenia creature as either an alien or a parasite.
But since it represents the first forms of life on Earth, it is unlikely that it came from space. While the the parasite theory can explain why only Eldians are affected, it fails in the case of time and space barriers crossed in the Paths.
However, this opens up the possibility that the Anomaly is a celestial entity or connected to one. Using the Eldians as an anchor, he may intend to expand his existence as the dominant life form on Earth.
But this can quickly be shot down when the the question of life after death is brought into the mix. With the souls of Ymir and previous Shifters seemingly trapped in the Land of the Path and its curse surrounding the Shifters, mystical powers might be the only explanation here.
Following Zeke’s desperate attempt to flee Captain Levi, he detonated the Thunder Spear lodged in his torso, sending them both flying. While Levi only faced the impact of the explosion, Zeke was already near death considering the severity of his injuries.
Fortunately, Ymir decided to intervene and save him. Sending a titan who engulfed him in his belly, she sculpted her body using the sand from the land of the Way. He then later emerged from the Titan’s bones completely unscathed.
It’s possible the Titan was used for his flesh or perhaps as a connection to the Path or temporary protection while Ymir worked on Zeke in the Intangible Realm.
As for his motivations for lending a hand, it’s obvious – he is of royal blood, and so Ymir considered it his duty to cure him. Ever since she was enslaved by the chains of love for King Fritz, she was loyal to all of her descendants.
Although her love may be unbearable and forced after years of hard work on the Path, she has no choice but to succumb to it since she refuses to let go.
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About Attack on Titan
Attack on Titan is a Japanese manga series written and illustrated by Hajime Isayama. Kodansha publishes it in Bessatsu Shonen magazine.
The manga began serialization on September 9, 2009, and continues to this day with 30 tankōbom formats.
Attack on Titan follows humanity ensconced within three concentric walls to protect themselves from the terrifying titans who attack them. Eren Yeager is a young boy who believes a caged life is similar to that of cattle and aspires to one day go beyond the walls, just like his heroes, the Survey Corps. The emergence of a deadly Titan unleashes chaos.
Originally written by Epic Dope