To You 2000 From Now
Today, November 4, 2023, the Attack on Titan anime has finally finished after ten years. First airing on September 28, 2013 to November 4, 2023, and what a journey it has been.
Personally, I really enjoyed the ending, because from a big picture perspective the show wraps up and concludes every detail well. It is known that Isayama is the GOAT of foreshadowing and including little details in his work for us to find out later, so it’s no wonder why this ending felt so satisfying. Despite all the ups and downs, it’s hard not to get emotional watching this 84 minute special.
For example, both Yeagers were killed by both Ackermans.
Additionally, the character development of the main characters was immense.
- We see Armin transform from meek, loyal friend to being strong and confident in himself.
- Mikasa finally gets her conclusion with Eren and her love finally reciprocated (albeit a strange one with the death of Eren).
- Levi got his closure with all of his lost comrades and can live peacefully without fighting anymore.
- Connie and Jean go from ordinary soldiers to the “Heroes of Paradise.”
- All of the previous titan shifters no longer carry the burden of being war fighting machines.
- Eren, our main protagonist and eventual series antagonist of the series, sought freedom from the first episode and has been transformed into a “Bird” symbolically known for its flight for freedom. Whether he was actually reincarnated as a bird, or resides in Hell, is up to the readers to decide.
Although many lives were lost, they were not in vain and created this wonderful work of fiction. For it is one of the most ambitious and heartbreaking stories written this decade. The animation and soundtrack for this episode was awe inspiring.
What is the point of Attack on Titan?
Although some people may not have liked the ending or were confused by it, I will do my best to explain what I think the ending is about and trying to say:
The ending credit scenes show the complete destruction of Paradis thousands of years later, repeating the same cycle or war. We can see this as Paradis gets bombed and eventually destroyed, until nature takes over the land again, destroying all previous human civilization. It resets until a young man and a dog encounter the same tree Ymir first entered, which started this whole story. This proves Zeke’s sentiment towards life, and the past 2000 we just witnessed will repeat once again. Likewise, even after Eren got rid of all of the titans in the world, war and conflict still existed. Thus, proving that the titans was never the problem to begin with, it was humanity and human nature that led to civilizations downfall.
This may feel like everything Eren did in the entire show was pointless and meaningless, but what would have happened if he never tried? Once he destroyed all of the titan powers, there was no way for him to know what was going to happen to the future of Paradis, and it getting destroyed in the end. That isn’t to say that his actions were meaningless, because as we saw, his friends and Mikasa all got to live long lives and died at old ages. He was able to protect Paradis for thousands of years as we saw in the final credit sequence.
I am not justifying what Eren did, just that characters don’t need or have precise motivations for their actions. Most villains don’t have clear cut motives for committing the crimes they did, because even if they did, it will never justify their crimes. It’s the same reason why Anakin Skywalker turned to the dark side in the Star Wars series. Sometimes it’s just part of who they are, and we can see from the very beginning that Eren clearly cares about his friends, and was devastated by the fact that the world outside the walls was nothing like he had imagined. So, the fact he wipes out 80% of the population is obviously wrong, but for the sake of the story, it sets the climax up perfectly.
Also Eren was only able to see the past, present, and future using the Attack Titan’s memories throughout the times. He also isn’t the only one to blame, as we find out in this episode that Ymir really did “free the pigs” so she, too, wanted the massacre of humanity to occur. She was also the one controlling the titans in the Battle of Heaven and Earth to attack Eren’s friends. At this point, Eren’s head is definitely messed up, still having the memories of his 9 year old self, 19 year old self, but also his 2000 year old self? This explains his outlandish actions and final conversation with Armin before his death. He still is the same young boy from the beginning of the series.
After audiences discover that it was he who caused the death of his own mother to save Bertholdt, his morality and goals become even more ambiguous. We find out that this was the future that Eren saw in Season 3 when touching Historia’s hand. So he already knew what was going to happen from all the “Paths” and possibilities of the future of the Rumbling and that the only way this cycle would end is decided by Mikasa. This also explains why none of the main characters (in the Final Episode) didn’t die in the Battle of Heaven and Earth; he was protecting them. Besides with the power of the Founding Titan, he easily could have killed them if that was his intention.
I think the important takeaway from his actions is that killing and fighting only creates more war.
The only way to gain peace is still “fighting” for peace. That is the sin of humanity. Like Zeke said, the main purpose of “life” is to multiply and survive by any means. Eren is easily a representation of the main flaws of humanity, being blind to see only one perspective of a conflict, which is why war continues even after his death.
In fact, I believe the entire show’s message has been reflecting on the devastations and consequences of war since the very beginning. The titans themselves are a symbol for the advancements of technology, so indestructible that even bullets do nothing to harm it.
The ending acts more like a call-to-action rather than giving us a hopeful ending, because this is sadly the reality of the world we live in. Isayama never wanted to provide a solution to the war and hatred of our world, because there is none. There simply is no simple answer for how to resolve these conflicts and stop war. Especially when war and hatred can spawn from losing someone we love. But the important thing is that as long as we try, hope isn’t all lost.
What’s Next? The Future of Attack on Titan
I also wanted to mention one final moment. In the conversation between Armin and Zeke in the Paths, they discuss the meaning of life, and how simple trivial things can make living all worthwhile. I think this is the main message Isayama wanted to get out. Besides, the ending is quite open ended, with the idea of “history repeating itself,” so it’s possible Isayama may plan to reboot the series in one or another. Especially considering that the young boy in the final credit sequence wears a similar red scarf as Mikasa, so he could be a descendant? But we’ll just have to wait and see.
All in all, this was such an unforgettable journey, AOT has many flaws, but I thoroughly enjoyed all the years of getting to this point. The story, the music, and the characters are all very dear to me heart, so it’s quite bittersweet that it has finally come to an end. Truly the end of an era.
So I wanted to share some of my favorite screenshots from this episode:
Thank you so much for reading! Comment down below your thoughts on the finale.