Attack On Titan's manga ending was about as somber of a finale that fans should've expected. Regardless, the end of Eren Jaeger's story has sparked a fair amount of controversy with anime/manga fans, as Attack On Titan and Eren's story arc were a major draw to the genre during the series' run. The final arc of Attack On Titan was certainly as dense as it was upsetting, and fans are still unpacking man of the finale's deeper connections and meanings. Case in point: the character arc of Mikasa Ackerman has been one of the more abstract endings in the series, and fans may have missed one big connection.
Warning: Attack On Titan Manga Ending SPOILERS Follow!
One of the last chapters of Attack Of Titan revealed one of the most pivotal origin stories in the series: that of Ymir Fritz, the first human to obtain the power of the Titans.
Thanks to the memories of the Founding Titan, Eren learns that Ymir had one of the hardest lives imaginable. Her tribe was murdered by the Eldians in ancient times, including Ymir's parents; the young girl and the rest of her surviving people had their tongues cut out and were enslaved to King Fritz. One Ymir let some pigs escape from a pen, and the rest of the slaves turned her into Fritz to avoid punishment themselves. Fritz's men hunted Ymir for sport in the woods - which is where she came into contact with the parasite-like entity (the "Source of All Living Matter) that transformed her body into a Titan.
Rather than destroy Ymir, King Fritz made her his prized weapon, using her destructive power to make Eldia a technologically advanced and conquering Empire. To keep the power of the Titans going, and in his control, King Fritz took Ymir as a concubine and produced three children with her: Maria, Rose, Sheena. Here's the rub: It's revealed that despite a life of cruelty and enslavement, Ymir truly did come to love Fritz. It's why she ultimately chose to stay with him and serve him, despite all the cruelty he showed her.
The connection between Mikasa and Ymir's stories is pretty obvious: it's all about the mystery of love. Despite what Eren Jaeger told Mikasa in their last real face-to-face conversation, she didn't always jump to save and protect him out of some Winter Soldier-style "programming" in her head. Mikasa simply truly loved Eren, and couldn't help to act on it, even if she didn't acknowledge it.0comments
Of course, the thematic connection of Ymir and Mikasa and their unshakable love only complicates the discussion over what Attack On Titan's ending is about. On the one hand, the end scene of Mikasa encountering Eren reincarnated as a bird is supposed to suggest Eren has achieved some kind of spiritual ascendence in an almost holy way. On the other hand, equating Eren and Mikasa to Ymir and Fritz's relationship makes it even harder to argue that Eren ended up as the "good guy" in any way. Becasue it's unlikely that even one Atttack On Titan fan has any sympathy for King Fritz.
Attack On Titan's anime will finish its final arc of episodes in 2022.