Warning: Contains spoilers
Farewell, Dear Hange
Hange’s death is the main event in this chapter, and I feel I should write about that first and foremost. But as someone who absolutely adores Hange and has them up on my list of favourite characters in the manga, I don’t think a few paragraphs in a chapter review will do them justice. I’ll write a separate, tribute story for Hange; this review will focus on the chapter in general.
It’s a chapter filled with awkward conversations. Let’s have a look at the hilarity parade:
Awkward Conversation #1: Mikasa and Annie
Mikasa urges Annie to learn the ropes of the new gear, knowing she’s unfamiliar with it, but Annie informs her she is staying put. Annie throws a long, meaningful glance in Armin’s way, and Mikasa comes to a realisation: Annie is in love with her fellow titan shifter! The shocked, jaw-on-the-floor expression on Mikasa’s face was so hilarious I had to chuckle for a minute or two.
I’d like to believe Mikasa knew of Armin’s feelings for Annie. Going to visit a frozen, unresponsive, corpse-like creature for four long years while the prison guard named Hitch teased you like crazy must be love. If it isn’t, then what is? Mikasa must have been aware of Armin’s feelings, but what she didn’t know was that Annie reciprocated them. She is shocked, but thankfully has the good sense not to tease the petite (but dangerous) blonde about it.
Annie seems relieved not to be pushed, and asks Mikasa about that blasted scarf she had pasted on her neck for years and years. She admits to having it but simply not wearing it at the moment, which makes me assume she wishes for Eren himself to wrap the scarf around her again and finally confess his romantic love for her.
For me, that scarf is a symbol of her sick obsession with and unhealthy emotional dependence on Eren. I’d rather she go without it; she looks better and healthier with her neck getting in contact with the fresh air it deserves.
Mikasa not killing Eren is a given. Those who’ve been speculating about a Mikasa vs Eren showdown are nutty as a fruitcake. Mikasa loves Eren more than life itself. She will never have the guts to kill him, even if he goes out of his way to kill her. So I suppose she’ll just have to leave the talking to Armin. Unless she plans on executing my other fantasy scenario, ahaha.
Awkward Conversation #2: Annie and Reiner
Annie admits to having wanted to kill Reiner many times over, and all Reiner could do is be grateful she didn’t. Between the two of them she is the tougher one, both mentally and physically. She had her chances, but just like the way she spared Armin’s life a few times, she did the same for Reiner.
I’m glad she didn’t kill him, because before he dies I’m sure he has a very important role to play, one that will atone for his previous deeds and give him the redemption he so very much yearns for more than anything in the world.
Annie stays behind to protect the ship and the two kids inside it, who represent the future, while Reiner flies with the rest of the gang and along with Pieck will try to help Armin. I’m pretty sure Isayama has a brave, satisfying death planned out for him.
Reiner and Annie hug it out, very awkwardly.
Awkward Conversation #3: Pieck and Hange
This has got to be my favourite panel in the chapter. Hange asks if she could ride on the titan shifter’s back next time she transforms, so that the curious scientist could gauge her temperature.
I laughed with pleasure. Ah, so typical of Hange! This is why I love them to bits. At world’s end, they still want to have their metrics and data and experimental samples and empirical observations. Not just a fearless fighter, but a scientist through and through, their curiosity about the ways of the world never wavering, their thirst for knowledge alive and well even in the face of death.
Ah, Hange. I could write reams of poetry about you and your brilliance. But later.
Levi remarks about Hange’s unrequited love for titans, and Hange foresees her own impending death by mentioning their dead comrades. “You sound like Erwin,” Levi deadpans, reminding us of the time in Shiganshina when they were fighting against the Beast Titan and Erwin speaks of the mountain of corpses made out of all their dead comrades. Afterwards Erwin dies. Now Hange follows suit.
Awkward Conversation #4: Floch, Hange and Jean
Floch appears out of the blue, as expected. We’ve all been saying he wasn’t dead yet after Gabi shot him, and all of us are right. This chapter is when he dies, courtesy of Mikasa.
Before he gives up the ghost, he manages to remind everyone about his loyalty and allegiance to Eren. “The devil is our only hope,” he insists, to his very last breath.
Isayama needed to get rid of Hange so that Armin could have his place in the sun, completing his character’s trajectory from twerpy little nerd to Commander of the Scouting Regiment. Floch played the indirect assassin here, because someone had to do it.
Jean looking sad and feeling compassion for his dying classmate is pure gold. Just one of the many reasons I love him to pieces. He is human through and through, and it shows. Capable of seeing both sides of the story, Jean recognises Armin+Hange’s point of view about the evil of mass slaughter, but also understands Floch’s perspective about Paradis not being given a real choice. Do you have any idea how wonderful and precious you are, Jean? Well, we Jean stans do, the few of us that exist.
Awkward Conversation #5: Hange and Armin
Before Hange makes the big sacrifice they anoint Armin as their successor, naming his never-give-up attitude in striving to understand issues as his best leadership trait. Armin looks terrified and is at a loss for words.
But I think this appointment is something we’ve all seen coming, and not a surprise at all. Erwin’s life was sacrificed so that Armin might live. Now, whether he likes it or not, he’ll have to pay the price for that second chance his comrades have given him. It’s time he took up the gauntlet. Even Reiner sees him as the main key in successfully finding an alternative to the full rumbling.
And again, typical of the brilliant Hange, she informs the new commander that Levi is now his subordinate so he can do with him as he pleases. A touch of humour in these dire circumstances!
Awkward Conversation #6: Hange and Levi
These two don’t even embrace. Ah, Isayama, you cold-hearted sonofabitch. You deigned us an awkward Reiner-Annie hug but not a Hange-Levi one? Such a Scrooge you are, and it’s not even Christmas!
Hange says goodbye in a socially distanced manner (Two meters apart! Handshakes prohibited! Only a fist tap to the chest is all the contact you’re allowed in Isayama’s perpetually virus-infested world!) to their longtime best friend and Levi looks fittingly devastated.
His last words to them, “Dedicate your heart,” is so atypical of him it makes the outgoing commander laugh. How sweet of Levi to try and make them laugh one last time.
Ahhhh, excuse me for a moment while I remove the speck of dust from my eye…
Before being crushed to their ‘heroic’ death, Hange makes one last stand against the titans they spent their entire life trying to figure out. They have respect for their subject, and their very last words, “Titans are indeed amazing” is befitting of someone with a lifelong passion for these hapless, mysterious creatures.
Farewell, beloved Hange. Yes, watch us from up above. Or down below, as the case may be.
Other noteworthy stuff:
- I can’t get over the fact that Kiyomi, in her lovely two-piece suit, is shoveling coal in the engine room of the ship! It’s the Azumabito top honcho, for chrissake! Her determination to get them through this catastrophic event is made all the more obvious with her dignified shoveling. Nothing is beneath her now, and for that I salute her.
- In Paths, or heaven, or wherever the hell their afterlife is, Erwin is looking handsome as ever. We see Miché, Moblit, Nanaba, Sasha’s back, Shadis’ half-profile. There’s Ness with his precious horse, and old Squad Levi: Gunther, Eld, Petra. Where’s Oluo? There’s even Gelgar with his empty bottle of wine. I’d give anything to refill it! XD
- Poor Falco, finally being told his family is dead. I feel for him because the Grice family seem like good folk. His father was a leader of the rebellion, and Colt was as close to an angelic big bro as anyone could ever get. Gabi simply looks at Falco, helplessly. I wonder what roles these two youngsters will play in the end?
- Annie is so fucking pretty, especially when she blushes.
- Levi trying out the trigger with just two fingers was so painful to watch. He’s in tatters, physically and emotionally. It hurts to see him like this; I’d rather he go out in a blaze of glory than stumble along like an Egyptian mummy in a kids’ movie. I suppose he’s up next on Isayama’s Gonna Die Real Soon hit list, his death being made necessary so that Mikasa can find her place in the sun as the last remaining Ackermann.
- The beautiful Pieck decides to join Armin & Co. She essentially says the same thing Hange says, about making their dead comrades proud. I hope this isn’t a sign that Pieck is going to die as well. She’s still quite young, I’d like to believe. Ageist Isayama is killing off everyone over thirty, so who’s next? *Sigh* Makes me wonder, where is Zeke while this is all happening?
Overall, it was a very sorrowful chapter, infused with bits of Isayama-style humour.
I feel that these glimpses of the ‘afterlife’ cheapen the manga and the preciousness of life on their planet. Perhaps this is Isayama’s way of making us feel less heartbroken about all the dead characters. But having a ‘heaven’ where everyone’s spirit is alive and whole and uninjured is like saying, hey, it’s not so bad, this dying thing: you go to a safe place or some kind of paradise anyway, nothing to weep about. If there is indeed a guaranteed heaven, I’d prefer to die and just go there instead of suffering a corporeal existence on this god-forsaken planet.
Hange’s death weighs heavily upon me; they’ve been a favourite of mine since Chapter 19 of the manga. I’m quite upset, though I’ve long suspected the veterans were all going to die in the end. But having a premonition doesn’t make the cold hard truth any easier to bear.
Thank you so much for reading! What did you think of the latest chapter? Please take a moment to share a thought or two in the comment section below. Your comments give me life and are a real source of encouragement. xoxo, hana
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