Warning: Contains spoilers.
Talk is Cheap
Thank the gods (whoever they are) for giving us an Eren scene in this chapter, even if it’s only kid Eren with his eyes gouged out, like a character in a B-grade horror film. Kid Eren is better than no Eren at all, and he’s laid down the rules once and for all: talk will get Armin & Co nowhere. Don’t like the full rumbling? Kill me then. We can only hope that Armin the freshly inaugurated commander of the Scouts will think up something novel apart from his old cop-out.
Another good chapter in that we get to see Eren being Eren. No Historia again—ugh, can’t complain enough the way Isayama throws her under the bus.
Moving on, let’s take a look at all the other fun parts of the chapter:
Levi Wants Revenge
Of course he does, he’s promised Erwin, hasn’t he? “I’ll take care of Zeke, so help me out,” he says, and good ol’ Jean responds saying he’s killed his own comrades to get this far so of course he’ll do all he can to stop the rumbling.
It seems Levi and Hange (RIP) have been thinking that killing Zeke might take away Eren’s founder powers. But hasn’t Ymir herself given it to him already? Does Eren have to be in constant contact with Zeke to retain the powers? We can only assume that Zeke is no longer on the island and that Eren has taken his brother’s body with him. Levi might be able to find Zeke and end his life as he’d promised his old partner, but will that affect Eren’s powers? I doubt it.
Reiner is Projecting
Poor Connie, he’s killed two of his friends just to save the airplane, and now he’s feeling compassion for Reiner, who’s killed islanders we can assume he had grown to care for. He tells Connie that the only way they can make up for what they did was to keep others from getting killed. Jean says he’s not much different from Reiner anymore, and Reiner flashes back to that time when Eren said the same thing in Liberio.
“With great power comes great responsibility,” Isayama has mentioned in an interview once, referring to an oft-quoted line in American comics. Reiner feels the burden of this responsibility and the double life it forced him to lead; he wants out, and is assuming Eren wants the same thing, too.
But isn’t Reiner simply projecting? Does Eren really want his friends to stop him, Zero: Requiem style? I don’t think so. Eren went all out during the Liberio attack. He’s always been single-minded in achieving his purpose, with or without his friends.
Hello, Horror Film Kid Eren
The 104th take turns trying to negotiate with Eren in Paths, to turn him. They ask, plead, even beg. But alas, it is far too late.
Levi demands an answer in his typical curmudgeonly way, “For now I’ll spare you from getting your ass kicked…Oi, why don’t you fucking say something?”
Such Levi-ness prompts our precious Eren to speak. “I won’t leave Paradis’ fate to chance,” he says.
Levi spots Eren appearing in kid form, telling his former friends he respects them too much to take away their freedom. He is free to do the rumbling, while they are free to stop him if they felt like it. Diplomacy is moot at this point.
For a moment Mikasa flashes back to a smiling child Eren, the boy she had grown up with and loves with every fibre of her being. They run up to him, but there is no sweet little boy here. It’s Eren and founder Ymir with their eyes gouged out, straight from a horror film.
“Not gonna cease and desist. Want me to end the rumbling? Fight me,” he taunts. “The only way you can stop me is to end my life.”
There. Eren has laid out the rules of the game. Thank god! All this time Armin has been annoying me, the way he pins all his hopes on conversation, still clinging to the vacuous wish that Eren would politely take a seat at the negotiating table. Now that Eren has made it crystal clear he has no desire for discourse, Armin will finally be forced to think of something else.
Not to worry, us readers must! The Attack on Titan isn’t an Eren story, it’s an EMA story, so rest assured the MA part of the trio will solve everything in due time! What else can we expect from a shonen manga?
A lot of people have been saying that Eren himself is a slave to freedom, and I feel having his eyes gouged out in this chapter is a sign of him being exactly that. In Biblical myth, Samson the warrior was betrayed by his lover Delilah and captured by his enemies and made into a slave grinding grain, his eyes gouged out to keep him in line. He eventually finds vengeance although dies in the process. There are similar myths in the form of the Greek Heracles and the Sumerian Enkidu. Enkidu, who died young but embodied strength and wildness, was a mighty hero who rose from slavery to godly immortality. We are all familiar with the great Heracles and his Twelve Labours, but his death is also just as interesting: his wife, suspicious that she has a rival for Heracles’ love, tries to seduce him by giving him a blood-stained shirt supposedly to arouse his passion for her, but ends up killing him because turns out the blood is poisoned by a creature Heracles had previously killed for trying to steal his wife.
What a tragic ending for these mythic heroes! Do you think there’ll be an equally sad ending for Eren? I don’t think we need to worry here, though. We’ve all seen the purported final panel of the manga, so at least we can rest assured Eren will either free a baby or be freed himself as a baby.
We see Annie and Kiyomi having a chat aboard the battleship.
Ah, this convo on the ship! I’ve imagined one between Kiyomi and Mikasa in a fanfic titled On the Battleship (published July 2020), and in that story Kiyomi also speaks of fish dishes as being a specialty in Hizuru. In canon, she uses the term 「絶品」(‘zeppin’) meaning exquisite, fine, excellent. Yey! At least my fanfic’s fish bit has appeared in canon, ahaha!
Speaking of fanfics, I’ve fleshed out Mikasa’s lineage, which would make her nobility over at Hizuru. Just wanted to note that here in canon, Kiyomi refers to Mikasa with the ‘-sama’ (ミカサ様 ‘Mikasa-sama’) formal honorific. It’s used when speaking of someone with social and/or political rank, or someone the speaker deems worthy of respect.
In canon, Kiyomi expresses regret over the way she prioritised profit and family glory over helping out the universally-despised Eldians. In my fanfic, she expressed a similar regret. Two hits in a row for me, yey!
I still do wish Kiyomi and Mikasa actually had a conversation aboard the ship, however. Kiyomi might die soon; too bad Mikasa hasn’t been given the chance to chat with one of the last of her living relatives.
Next we have a successive infusion of Isayama humour: Annie flashes back to good ol’ times with the warriors and soldiers, and we are treated to a funny scene of her looking horrified as Sasha and Connie hold up critters to her face. Aw, so adorable! Afterwards Annie speaks of eating birds, and lo and behold, a bird-like creature appears before her eyes in the form of Falco, telling her about—what else—birds!
Gabi and Falco interrupt the two with their brilliant idea: Falco, whose Jaws Titan looks like a bird, seems to have inherited some of the Beast Titan’s memories, including ones of flying. They assume there was a flying beast titan in the past, and that Falco can do the same because he was transformed with Zeke’s spinal fluid.
In a previous chapter Falco looks up and sees birds. He’s named Falco for ‘falcon’ the bird, obviously. That he could fly is a hooray moment for everyone, I’m sure. At last, that bird-like creature acting the way it looks. Fly, Falco, fly! It seems Annie—whose Female Titan can temporarily inherit other titans’ powers by having a bite out of them— will have to go along, because my goodness she can’t just leave two kids to do their save-the-world thingy now, can she?
Mr Leonhart is Badass
Annie really has given up too early, as we see her father and the other warriors’ parents in a train heading for the airship fort. At last we know what happened to them: the last time we looked, Mr Leonhart was having an altercation with a Marleyan security guard. Now we see what a capable fighter he really is. No wonder Annie’s the Bruce Lee of her generation!
The Grices regret letting their sons join the warrior program. Not-Mother-of-the-Year Mrs Braun thinks of Reiner, the poor son she emotionally manipulated with false hope. Does she feel regret? Reiner deserves an apology from her, methinks.
This Means War
Obviously the Marleyans and other peoples on their planet aren’t just going to stand there and let themselves be squashed to death by the marauding wall titans. Here come the flying bomber squads!
War is happening as we speak, and while Eren attempts to save Paradis by destroying the world, the world proves to be no sitting duck. Eren tries to save his friends and family by eliminating their enemies, but in the end—as we have seen in Liberio—he might just need his friends to save him once again.
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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