Attack On Titan's fourth season has seen Eren Jaeger break from the plans of Eldia's military for the first time, throwing in with his older brother Zeke to enact a plan that would "free" his people from the tragedy of the world thanks to the "Euthanasia Plan". With the series set to end its run in the pages of its manga in only a few days, we decided to take a look back and diagnose how Eren was always doomed to his current trajectory from the very start of the anime juggernaut created by Hajime Isayama.
Though anime fans will have to wait until early 2022 to see how the story of the Survey Corps will wrap thanks to the creative minds at Studio MAPPA, the manga is set to wrap its tale on April 9th, giving us a very short time frame before Eren Jaeger's story comes to a close. With Eren having committed some truly unforgivable acts in his role as an arbiter of the "Euthanasia Plan", Isayama made a big decision in transforming the youngest Jaeger from a hero of the Scout Regiment to a troubled soul that is considered by many to be a villain.
Do you think that Eren Jaeger was doomed from the start? Feel free to let us know in the comments or hit me up directly on Twitter @EVComedy to talk all things comics, anime, and the world of the Titans.
Tragedy From The Start
When we first are introduced to Eren Jaeger as a child, we see an optimistic child who marvels at the actions of the Scout Regiment while attempting to protect his friend Armin from the threat of bullies. When the walls fall thanks to the actions of Reiner and Bertholdt in their respective Armored and Colossal Titan forms, Eren witnesses the death of his mother as she is devoured by a Titan who has made their way through the opening in the wall.
The tragedies don't stop here for Eren however as he is forced to now grow up in a world that is coming apart at the seams, especially when it comes to the hierarchy of society, as the poor are fighting for resources and Jaeger throws himself into the one-minded resolution to get revenge on the Titans. It is in these events that we are able to witness Eren being molded into a personality that is more than willing to make hard decisions with simplistic answers, as is the case with the Jaeger we see during the fourth and final season. Losing his mother and his father so early meant that he lost their influence, and while Armin and Mikasa were always with him, it was clear that they weren't able to ultimately point him in the right direction.prevnext
As we learn throughout the history of Attack On Titan, the power of the Nine Titans links the past and future users together. With the case of Eren, we see a pivotal moment in the final episodes of Season Three, when he kisses the hand of Historia and sees something so shocking that his face contorts as a result of the reveal. While it isn't revealed what Jaeger saw, in our minds, Eren saw everything that was going to happen in his life and has stayed on course to make these events a reality.
Jaeger's personality seemed to have shifted following this event, even when the Survey Corps made their way to the ocean, as the final moments of the third season showed Eren tragically looking across the sea, realizing that the world at large was against him. With that being said, Jaeger perhaps saw the events as being the best-case scenario for what was going to happen in his life.prevnext
The Only Way Out
With the events he saw thanks to Historia, perhaps the "Euthanasia Plan" is something that Eren truly believes is the best and only way to move forward. On paper, it certainly seems like an option that would cause the least amount of death, as Eren and Zeke are seeking to stop Eldians from being born, but it is another example of stealing freedom from denizens of the world against their wills. Eren traveled to Marley not just to attack the citizens of the nation that had been troubling him and his people for so long, but as a way to bring Zeke back to Paradis.
Though Armin and the Survey Corps' plans were to utilize the power of "The Rumbling", Eren is seeking a far more permanent solution but is undergoing cutthroat tactics in order to do so. On top of this, Eren bore witness to how the original plan had essentially taken the freedom from Historia, placing her into a position wherein she was forced to bear children and it seems these series of events have pushed him in his nefarious direction.prevnext
Death Around Every Corner
Attack On Titan is a universe where you can't quite become attached to characters, as death truly does sneak around each corner. With Eren losing a number of comrades and family members due to the structure of the war between Paradis and Marley, it doesn't justify the actions that he has taken, but it helps us to understand why he is falling into such darkness. On the opposite side of the spectrum, Armin was able to exhibit his dealing with tragedy by nearly losing himself, expressing his vulnerability and empathy early on in the series, as Mikasa let her emotions essentially wash over her as long as Eren was still alive.
Eren, unfortunately, saw every death and every slight against his people with anger, falling into a deeper well with each encounter. In the fourth season, when Sasha dies, both Armin and Mikasa lose themselves to tragedy, crying over the loss of their friend, but Eren laughs and expresses no such emotion, proving that the years of war have had a negative effect on him.prevnext
Who Is The Enemy?
When Eren first appeared in Marley, he had a sit down with Reiner wherein he explained that he would "crush his enemies and keep moving forward", but Jaeger doesn't necessarily say who his enemies are. Before blasting forth as the Attack Titan, Eren seems to empathize with Reiner, believing that he is doing the same as his former friend had done. It was in Reiner and Bertholdt's manipulation of Eren that we perhaps see more of his character, and sanity, warp as a result. In his mind and his heart, Jaeger believes what he is doing is right, attempting to break the shackles of war that have plagued Eldia, Marley, and the world at large, but it's a plan that is riddled with problems and does make Eren into quite the complicated antagonist.prevnext
Eren's Relationship Within The Trio
In one of the final episodes of the first half of season four of Attack On Titan, we witness Eren verbally assaulting Mikasa and throwing blows against Armin, and while it certainly seems as if Jaeger has gone off the deep end, this might be his best way to distance his friends from himself. Mikasa and Armin had always been there for Eren when he needed them most, but they simply weren't able to apparently push him into the right direction, more so perhaps due to them not giving him the answers that he wanted, which he instead found from Zeke. With the Beast Titan having a different perspective, and perhaps a comfier life as a member of the Marleyian army, his presence is what Eren turned to and it's clear that the relationship of the trio simply wasn't enough to ultimately save Jaeger from a demise of his own making.prev