Did Attack On Titan Deserve A Better Ending?

Attack On Titan's final manga chapter has arrived to bring the massively popular series to an end. Naturally, Attack On Titan fans are now in serious debate over how the story came to an end, and there is already a fair amount of backlash within the fandom. The question at hand right now seems to be: Did Attack On Titan deserve a better ending? It's a fairly complex answer to ponder, as we all try to absorb and process how Attack On Titan ultimately played out. However, there is a lot to be discussed and unpacked, so let's break it down.

WARNING: Attack On Titan Ending SPOILERS Follow!

Attack On Titan Ending Explained

The Final Arc of Attack On Titan saw Eren Jaeger betray his closest friends in the Survey Corps, and his half-brother Zeke, in order to seize the power of the Founding Titan and use it for his own ends. Eren chose to use the Founding Titan's power to unleash "The Rumbling", which freed the Colossus Titans from the walls of Paradis Island and sent them stampeding across the Earth. Eren's friends in the Survey Corps (Mikasa, Armin, Levi, Connie, Jean) joined forces with Marley's Warriors (Reiner, Annie, Pieck, Gabi, Falco) in order to stop Eren. When it came down to it, Eren forced Mikasa to sever his head from the Founding Titan, killing him for good.

In Attack On Titan Chapter 139, The survivors of "The Battle of Heaven and Earth" find that the destruction of the Founding Titan erases the entire Titan line from the world, reverting all Titans back to their human forms. In a vision, Eren confesses to Armin that he made himself a genocidal martyr in order to provoke his friends in both Paradis Island and Marley to step up as heroes and stop him, hopefully giving the world a chance to be free of hatred and conflict, in its unified hate for him.

It's that ultimate line of logic from Eren that has a lot of fans upset with how Attack On Titan ended.

Does Attack On Titan's Ending Work?

Attack On Titan Ending Spoilers Reactions Good Bad

On the one hand, a lot of fans argue that Eren's plan didn't even work. As soon as the Founding Titan was defeated, The Marlyean and Eldian people immediately took up arms again against one another, as the Marlyeans didn't trust that the Titan threat was really gone. The same goes for Paradis Island: The "Jaegerist" group that Eren inspired becomes the ruling military force on the island, ready to go to war against any invaders. In that sense, Eren arguably fails to set the world right (despite killing off 80% of humanity). On the other hand, Eren does manage to free his friends from the cycle of violence and war - an opportunity that Armin embraces, by forming Eren's friends into a coalition of peaceful ambassadors between Paradis Island the outside world.

Attack On Titan in some ways got tripped up in its own mythology, at the end. While the war between Paradis and Marley gave things momentum and weighted stakes, the more surreal elements of the final arc may have been a drawback. The visions of the Subjects of Ymir's past, future, and the astral realm of the Titan Coordinate all colliding in Eren's head made the narrative feel jumbled at times, and there was arguably an overabundance of expositional information to slog through (about the Founding Titan, Ymir Fritz, Coordinate - even Memento-style memories that had been altered or erased. It would be a challenge to get an Attack On Titan fan (even a dedicated one) to explain how all the Titan mythos factor into the finale, and the larger final arc.

Confusion was the one thing Attack On Titan didn't want to have in its final arc - especially with the series protagonist (Eren) making the bold move of becoming the series' ultimate big bad. The narrative and thematic core of Attack On Titan chapter 139 hinged on creator Hajime Isayama being able to redeem Eren's horrific decision for mass murder as some sort of greater good. Given that the manga firmly establishes that humanity's survivors are still hellbent on violence and destruction even after the threat of Titans is gone, it's hard to gauge the outcome of Eren's actions with any certainty. None of his surviving friends ends up "happy": most of them are simply trading blades and bullets for diplomatic work, while Misaka will clearly remain lonely and somewhat heartbroken without Eren.

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All in all, the final chapter of Attack On Titan is a somber and sobering commentary on humanity and the perhaps inevitable path to destruction it remains committed to. It's not the sort of closure and ending a lot of fans want from their anime/manga or superhero stories - but this was never a happy story, and it was never going to get a happy ending. See the video above.

Attack On Titan's Manga is now complete. The anime will return for the final half of season 4 in 2022.