The end of Attack On Titan brought on a lot of emotions, varying from shock and awe to some questioning the decisions taken, like with Mikasa Ackerman. But overall, it was this sense of finality. At long last, one of the most popular manga series in the world had just reached its climax. This decade-long tale of political intrigue, government conspiracies, and a world full of monsters both started and ended with the main character, Eren Yaeger. But was it a good ending?
I think everyone screamed when they reached that panel in the manga, you know the one. Where Mikasa ends up killing Eren for the betterment of those around her, considering how Eren had become a genocidal megalomaniac. And sadly, as much as she loved him, there was no coming back from that. Between her love for the people and her love for Eren, the choice was clear. The longer he was alive, the more people were in danger. And after a lifetime of that, well, it’s easy to see why she took such a hard decision.
And the tragic couple is such an underutilized trope. I don’t like it, solely because I can’t live without a happy ending, but it adds so much complexity to a relationship dynamic, and the story overall feels more layered. Attack On Titan prides itself on its premise and storytelling, with how everything ties neatly within the story to provide a narrative that is bewildering but never played up for the shock factor.
And so here we are, at the end of one of the greatest stories ever told, wondering if there could’ve been something that saved Eren from himself. Honestly, I don’t think there was. I think this was always going to be the end for Eren, dying at the hands of the one he loved. Someone who was his protector during those early years when they were both in the Survey Corps. But it’s something worth breaking down in another segment of Lore Analysis!
Mikasa And Eren: More Than Just Star-Crossed Lovers
To simply state that Eren and Mikasa were doomed from the start would be gratuitously oversimplifying things. The truth is, to Mikasa? Eren was everything. He was her first friend, first family, and first love. And they were together through thick and thin.
At first, people would tease Mikasa by calling Eren her baby brother, but she drew boundaries around that. Despite growing up together, the two were never really siblings at all. They were, however, extremely close to each other. Despite how different their personalities were, Mikasa and Eren gelled perfectly fine. With Eren bringing out her humanity, and Mikasa protecting him. Of course, that didn’t remain the case when Eren became a Titan, the very monster they were fighting against. However, that didn’t deter Mikasa from still following him, trying to shield him from whatever chance she got. Mikasa was truly devoted, despite knowing she might lose him someday.
And when Eren was first presumed dead, she almost became catatonic herself. But she willed herself to live in his memory, to move on. So, when he came back, she burst into tears. But I think that was a sign in itself. Even when she believed that the ‘Curse of Ymir’ would consume Eren, she still stood by him. She made peace with the fact that, while she may lose Eren, she’ll be with him throughout.
So, where did it all go wrong?
How The War For Paradis Arc Sealed Eren’s Fate:
I feel like Hajime Isayama was always building to this ending, even from the start. The mangaka laid hints that showed us where Eren’s path could take him in the future. By making Eren so dependent on this one person, it was obvious.
And the events of War For Paradis cemented his fate. When Mikasa suffers from this intense migraine during the evacuation at Fort Salta, she awakens to a dream-like world, Paths where she is supposedly living in isolation with Eren away from the Paradis-Marleyan war. Mikasa cries because Eren states this was the only other option they had. He didn’t want to hurt Historia or doom the people with Rumble. And so, he asks her to forget him, to rest.
She awakens, realizes Eren was inside the mouth of the Titan, and orders an attack. But it was her blow that severs Eren’s head from his body. And so, there they are. Two people that could never have known peace together.