aot / snk Chapter 139 Spoilers
so I finally read 139 and I have thoughts™
this’ll probably be just a rehashing of what I’m sure is already floating around, but a girls gotta vent so buckle up
- Overall, decently satisfied. I don’t feel it was a catastrophe, but there was things I wish would’ve been done different. I really feel it would’ve been better split into two or three more chapters so things could’ve been expanded upon
- Was very glad my boys Jean and Connie came back, actually sobbed when they turned into titans last chap. When Sasha’s spirit appeared to them, I bawled
- Wtf happened to Ymir? The giant centipede spinal cord? They just poofed without any explanation besides ~mIkAsA’s LoVe~ And now that titans aren’t a thing anymore, what about the Paths? Are they still a thing? Are the past titan shifters still stuck there?
- On the topic of Mikasa, god damn what a let down for her character. Last chapter felt like such a big development for her in terms of her relationship to Eren. It felt like she was finally able to come to terms with the idea of loving someone and recognizing that they’re not a good person and disagreeing with their actions, and that she came to a point where she would no longer just follow Eren’s every word with blind devotion. I was so glad she finally decided to kill him, like yes girl, he needs to die!! (still coulda done without the weird post murder kiss tho) BUT THEN THIS CHAPTER WAS A TOTAL 180. Like ok yes, go give him a proper burial, I get that part. But all we ever see from her after is her still stuck on Eren. Like jesus Isayama, let us finally see Mikasa doing something that doesn’t involve him. But no, even after death, all she does is pine after him
- Eren’s sudden confession to Armin in the paths vision was also...weird. All shipping aside, it felt like it came out of nowhere. Throughout the series, he never acknowledged her feelings, one way or another, despite it being completely obvious to literally everyone else how she felt for him. It just felt misplaced, and I wish if Isayama was going to confirm that Eren returned her feelings, he would’ve hinted at it throughout the series rather than just dropping the bomb right at the end for dramatic effect
- I liked that we got to see Armin’s talk with Eren like we did with Mikasa, but parts of the exchange also bugged me. Armin (and pretty much everyone Eren talked to) seemed to just suddenly be ok with Eren’s actions. Before it was all “wtf Eren, genocide is literally the worst possible thing you could’ve done, why would you ever do this,” but now its like “aw man, I can’t believe he did all of that just for us because we’re his friends.” Like why does it seem like you’re all suddenly fine with it???? Do you know how much more tragic and interesting it would’ve been to see all the different characters grappling with that realization?? All the guilt they must feel that Eren specifically chose to commit atrocities for them? To protect them? Fuck we were robbed.
- I don’t think it would add anything to the story per say, but I would kill to see all of the different character’s talks that they had with Eren in the paths. Someone write a fic, asap
- I like that Levi ended up with another trio. I think Falco and Gabi are the best people for him to be with, and it’s good for him to get away from Paradis. My baby deserves it. Let the man rest. Open a tea shop. Be an adoptive uncle to two maniac child soldiers
Overall it was fine. I really do wish Isayama would’ve have stretched it out a chap or two because while things didn’t feel rushed in terms of pacing, there’s way too much unanswered or left vague that he really could’ve and should’ve answered
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I am so very sick and tired of the toxicity that’s been poisoning the snk fandom as of the last couple years. I gave myself time to digest the ending and my feelings on it, before embarking in a journey to debunk many misconceptions and critiques I’ve seen floating in the fandom.
By the way, by no means I think this ending is perfect. I think this is textbook execution by Isayama to tie together every loose end left behind in an orderly manner, and I think that it was a bit rushed and oversimplified. I would’ve wanted more of Eren and Armin’s conversation, more of the squad realizing what his true goal had been, and some narrative choices I don’t 100% agree with. But still, what I saw in other fans’ critiques post 139 frankly appalled me, so I feel the need to make this. Also, this obviously are my own interpretations, I am not Isayama himself lol
“Ew, so Eren did pull a Lelouch after all”
No, Eren did not pull a Lelouch. While his action and the final result may seem similar, I find very different nuances between the two. Lelouch wanted for the whole world to be united in fighting against him, and thus he made himself the world’s greatest enemy. His will to turn himself into a monster was selfless. Eren didn’t give a damn about the world, he had no noble intentions whatsoever. He said it in chapter 122, his goal was to protect Paradis and, more specifically, his closest friends. He turned himself into a monster, killed 80% of human population, and endangered the lives of those very friends he wanted to protect, so that by stopping him, those friends could be safe. Eren had no intentions to break out of the cycle of hatred or unite the world against himself, he just wanted to give his friends a chance to survive, and that is not selfless, it’s selfish. Eren’s goal was incredibly selfish, and biased, and driven by his feelings instead of rationality. Nothing like Lelouch!
Now this, this I myself am not the greatest fan of. I feel like it makes that great scene in chapter 122 loose a bit of its strength, Ymir obeying the king for 2000 years just because she loved him. Honestly, I always thought there was a bit of Stockholm Syndrome going on, but I didn’t think it would be the only reason. However, like it or not, it’s undeniable that it makes perfect sense in the narrative that aot has always strived to tell. Love has been a theme strongly woven in the story, and it also draws a great parallel between Karl Fritz/Ymir and Eren/Mikasa. Ymir was a slave to her love for King Fritz, just like Mikasa was a slave to her love for Eren, in that she struggled to accept reality until the very end despite the atrocities that Eren committed. Ymir stayed bound by her love for King Fritz, until she saw Mikasa break from her own poisoned love, aknwoledge it, and kill Eren despite of it, or maybe because of it. Only Ymir knows that one, heh. But the point is, Mikasa showed Ymir that she could break free of a toxic love, she was that someone that Ymir had been waiting for to finally free her of her burden.
“What? But that makes no sense!”
Now, on my first read, I simply thought that Eren had ordered Dina to avoid eating Berthold, and that he had made her walk down that road unaware that his mother was trapped (because we know that the Attack Titan’s future memories aren’t infallible, there are still gaps), killing her indirectly. I’ve since then read some theories stating that Eren willingly killed his own mum in orther to give kid himself a reason to feel enough hatred to kickstart the whole story. Honestly, I like this version maybe more! But let me explain to you why this is not a plothole, like many people think. In this same chapter, we have Eren explaining how the Founder’s power works in synergy with the Attack’s: “There’s no past or future, they all exist at once”. This means that time travel in aot doesn’t work in a manner where Eren extracts himself from time and space, and from a separate realm he operates on the past. The way I understood it, the mechanics works kind of like Tokyo Revengers’ time travel. MInd you, I only watched episode one, so my understanding might be jackshit.
Spoilers for Tokyo Revengers’ episode one. In the show, the main character loses consciousness and finds himself reliving his past. He interacts with someone in this “new” past, and when he wakes up again in the present, past events had been over-written by the changes he made. I think this is how aot timetravel works, with the exception that, since past and future (and present, of course) all happen at once, side by side, there is no old past to be rewritten, neither a future to return to, and present Eren wouldn’t be aware of the changes that his future self would make. It creates sort of a time paradox, yes, in the sense that there’s a loop where present Eren’s mom has been eaten because future Eren, in the future, operated on the past by causing past Eren’s mom to be eaten, but all these Erens are one and the same, as all timelines exist at once.
“Boo-hoo they ruined Eren’s character, he’s such a wimp!”
I have to confess (isn’t this appalling, that this is a thing that I have to confess, what the actual fuck), I am an Eren stan. I absolutely do not consider myself a Jaegerist, I think Eren’s option was better than Zeke’s, yes, but it was morally wrong and awful and he absolutely was not only in the wrong, but also if he wasn’t dead I’d want him to be punished for his crimes. I didn’t particularly enjoy him pre-timeskip, and I started to like him because I found his evolution fascinating. I wanted to understand his motives, what was going on in his head, he was a puzzle that I wanted to solve. Maybe because I’m a psychologist, who knows. Anyways, if you’re an Eren stan only because he acted like a chad and now you cry his character was ruined, I’m sorry to say, you never understood him. Eren was not a god, he was not a strategist playing 5d chess with perfect rationality, Eren was the same he has always been. He was a young man spun along by his passions. Eren feels things with burning intensity, he lets himself be driven by his emotions. He almost flattened the world because he was disappointed that he and his friends weren’t the only human beings inhabiting it, for fuck’s sake, he’s always been irrational, selfish, and immature. Of course he doesn’t wanna die, of course he want’s to live with all of them. You really expected a 15 year old hot-headed brat to become Thanos after he suddenly found out he killed his own mum and all his dreams had been crushed? Of course he felt conflicted, of course he suffered, of course he wanted to live, “because he was born in this world”. Honestly, when I read his meltdown, I felt relieved that his character hadn’t been turned on its head, it was heartbreaking to see that he really was the same brat he’d always been, that he’d tried to steel himself to do horrible shit for his friends’ sake and that he felt bad about it! It made me appreciate his character a lot more, I felt nostalgic towards the times when I was irritated by his screaming and pouting. Suffice to say, this is also my answer to all those people that believe his internal monologue to convince himself the Rumbling was what he really wanted were bullshit since he “pulled a Lelouch”. How can it be bullshit? Maybe he planned to be stopped, but he also said that he thought he would’ve still done it if they hadn’t. He also said that killing a majority of the population was something that he wanted to do, not a byproduct of the alliance not stopping him early enough, because with the world’s militaries in shambles Paradis would’ve had time to prepare accordingly. Anyways, of course he needed to convince himself to do this awful thing even if he knew he wasn’t gonna succeed completely, can you imagine how horrible it would be to know your only chance is to kill thousands?
I also maybe think it was because of the spine centipede thingy? When Eren says “I don’t know why I did it, I wanted to, I had to”, he gets this faraway look on his face and we get a zoom in on one of his eyes, which is drawn very interestingly and kinda looks like the Reiss’ eyes when they were bound by the War Renounce Pact? So maybe it was also the centipede’s drive to survive and multiplicate that forced Eren to do the Rumbling so that its life wouldn’t be endangered. I don’t know how much I like this, I feel like it takes some agency away from Eren and also makes it feel like he’s not as responsible for the genocide he committed that we initially though, which mhhh maybe not, let’s have him take full responsibility for this. As I said, I’m not defending Isayama blindly, I do have some issues myself with what went down.
“What the fuck, did he say thank you for the genocide?”
Guys c’mon, this is like,, reading comprehension. Yes, it was poorly worded and a bit rushed, but by now you should have full context to make an educated guess on the fact that no, he didn’t thank him for committing a genocide what the fuck you guys. Armin started bringing up the idea that maybe they should have Eren eaten because he was doing morally questionable things ever since the Marley Arc, which for manga readers was like what, 2018? Isayama has been showing for three years how not okay Armin was with Eren’s actions, how could it make sense for him to thank him for a genocide? You see some poorly worded stuff, and your first instinct is to ignore eleven years’ worth of consistent characterization to jump to the worst interpretation possible? Let’s go over this sentences and reconstruct what they mean.
“Eren, thank you. You became a mass murdere for our sake. I won’t let this error go to waste”. Armin recognizes that Eren had no other choice, but does not condone it. He clearly calls it an error, which feels like an euphemism but for all we know the japanese original term used could’ve been harsher. Point is, he clearly states he think what Eren did was wrong. But he recognizes that Eren’s awful doing opened up a path for Paradis to break out of the cycle of hatred. Not a certainty, but an opportunity. He thanks Eren for giving them this chance, and promises not to waste it, even if it was born out of an atrocity. He thanks Eren for sacrificing himself for their sake, even if he doesn’t agree with the fruit of his labor, so to speak. He’s thanking Eren for the opportunity that his actions gave them, not for the actions themselves! Where the hell do you read “thank you for the genocide” guys, sheesh. I’m mad at y’all.
“How could Eren send MIkasa memories if she’s an Ackerman and an Asian, and their memories can’t be manipulated by the Founder? I call plothole!”
Now, here we’re going into speculation territory, so you’ve been warned. I don’t think that that information they gave us was true, about Ackermans being immune to memory manipulation. We know at least that the clan is in some way subject to the Founder’s power, or Mikasa and Levi wouldn’t have been called in the Paths by Eren multiple times. Stories never being entirely true or false, or relativity, better said, has been a strong theme in the story, we know this by Marley’s and Eldia’s different accounts of history compared to the actual Ymir backstory we got. So who’s to say that the belief that Ackermans aren’t manipulable is the truth? Maybe they’re just hard to control, not impossible. We know that by the Founder’s ability Eren experienced past and future happening simultaneously, so he could’ve very well been trying to send those memories into Mikasa’s head ever since the beginning of the story, only just succeeding in chapter 138. It would at least explain Ackerman’s headaches as Eren trying to manipulate their memories and failing. Of course, we’d need Levi side of thing to know for certain, as he had headaches too and we weren’t shown in the chapter if Eren spoke to him in paths like he did with the rest of the squad. We know he didn’t talk to Pieck, but he even went and spoke to Annie who he basically hadn’t seen since Stohess, so I hope he spoke to Levi too. Who knows, maybe he even spoke with Hanji, but she died before she could remember. I wish we were shown that, honestly, I’m sad that it was skipped, especially after Levi said in an earlier chapter that “there was so much he wanted to tell Eren”. Fingers crossed for the anime to expand on it.
“So Historia’s pregnancy was useless”
What? No, it wasn’t useless! Eren told her to get pregnant to save her life, so that she wouldn’t be turned into the Beast Titan. If she became the Beast Titan, then Eren would’ve had to enact the plan with her instead of Zeke, and yeah, Ymir brought the power of the titans with her, so theoretically Titan Shifter Historia would’ve had her time limit removed, but we saw that the only way for the Alliance to stop the Rumbling was killing Zeke, so Historia would’ve had to die. Useless to say, when Eren talked to her about his plan, she was very vocally against it, so I don’t think she would’ve helped Eren with his plan. It was Zeke or nothing, and the only way for Zeke to keep his titan was for Historia to be unable to be turned, hence the pregnancy. Did y’all read the same thing I read? Anyways, she could’ve definitely been handled better, but she wasn’t necessary to the plot anymore, and her being removed from it in such a way was sad, yes, but it made sense.
“They massacred Reiner!”
Yeah, can’t really say anything about this. I definitely understand the sentiment behind this scene, which I appreciate. It’s to show that thanks to his Titan being removed and the times of peace approaching, Reiner was finally able to shed the weight he bore on his shoulders and “regress” to his more carefree persona he had when he thought he was a soldier, instead of a warrior. I am very happy for him, and I think it’s a nice conclusion to his arc, that he’s finally happy, but it could’ve been portrayed in a less comic relief-y way. It just sledgehammers all his characterization. Feels surreal that we saw him attempt suicide a couple month ago in the anime and now he’s sniffing Historia’s handwriting.
Guys, this absolutely sends me. There are people who unironically believe Eren actually reincarnated in a bird? Guys. It makes no sense, it violates every rule that Isayama established for his universe’s power system. How could he even reincarnate in a bird? Guys, c’mon, this is symbolical! Birds have been heavily used in aot to portray freedom, and this is a nice, poetic, symbolic way to show that Eren who lived his whole life chasing freedom and never actually got it, is finally free, like a bird, now that he’s dead. It’s also a pretty explicit nod to Odin, I think. Aot is heavily inspired by Norse Mithology, and I think there were some pretty clear parallels between Eren and Odin/Loki in the later arcs of the story. Eren has been shown to “communicate” through birds like with Falco in chapter 81, or with Armin in chapter 131. Emphasis on “communicate” because again, this is symbolic, I don’t think he actually spoke through the birds, he simply talked to them via paths, but birds are associated with Eren’s character (see also the wings of freedom, y’know?) and the shots were framed so to give the impression that he was talking through the birds, but he wasn’t. Symbolism. Anyway, I really think they were supposed to be a nod to Odin’s crows.
Aaaaand that should be it! Even though I most definitely forgot some other criticism on the chapter, it’s crazy the amount of negativity floating around. Hope I didn’t bore you!
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