The Attack on Titan manga has finally ended after 139 chapters. But a lot of people were left puzzled by the ending. This is because the main protagonist Eren Yeager got decapitated in chapter 138, but did he really die for good? Eren has survived getting beheaded before, so why not now?
Eren died at the end of Chapter 138. He allowed himself to get killed to break away from the destiny of bringing about humanity’s extinction. He also fulfilled his ultimate goal of eradicating the Titans.
Since he allowed himself to die, why did he make it hard for the others to do it? Was he even aware that he needed to die for the Titans to disappear? I’ll try to explain why he had to die the way he did in the story.
How Does Eren Die in Attack on Titan?
In chapter 138, while Eren transforms to the founding Titan, Mikasa swoops in to deliver the killing blow. She tightens her scarf and decapitates him with her blades, effectively killing him in the process.
He was confirmed dead when the unresponsive head was brought towards Armin, and the two childhood friends mourn for the loss of their friend. Eren’s head is later buried under the same tree he used to nap on as a child. If you recall the first episode of Attack on Titan, it was the tree Mikasa found him under.
What Was Eren’s Plan?
It was revealed in Chapter 139 that Eren could not find a way to eradicate the Titans without sacrificing too many people. He was also going to die one way or another. This is why he allowed himself to get killed by his friends.
He played the antagonist in the story, so his friends will be viewed as the heroes who saved the human race from extinction. With him dead, the people who are left can enjoy a Titan-free world.
Was Mikasa Killing Him Part of Eren’s Plan?
It was never revealed, but in the manga, it was heavily hinted that he knew Mikasa would be the one to kill him. Going back to chapter 1 of the Attack on Titan manga, right before Eren wakes up when he was a kid, he sees a short-haired Mikasa say, “See you later…Eren.” Then the panel changes to Mikasa as a kid with long hair.
He asks Mikasa, “When did your hair get so long?.” Now, Mikasa has always had long hair during their childhood, even before Eren’s dream, so when did Eren see her with short hair? By the time they joined the Survey Corps, Mikasa had kept her hair short.
Thanks to Eren’s power, he can peer into memories of the past and the future. He might have gotten a glimpse of his final moments alive and the last words Mikasa said to him before the final blow. Mikasa’s “See you later” might have meant “See you on the other side when I die.”
In chapter 139, it was also stated that it was Mikasa’s choice that would ultimately free Ymir from her love for King Karl Fritz. Perhaps Ymir had to witness someone let go of their love for the greater good, which is precisely what Mikasa did when she chose the rest of humanity over Eren.
Why was Ymir smiling at the end of chapter 138 when she lost?
Smiling when you lose a battle that has been going on for ages is a weird thing to do. Eren and Ymir both lost, and humanity was saved thanks to the Alliance members. So what reason did she have to smile? This panel initially confused me since it looked like the fight wasn’t over.
But the fight was over, and the creepy-looking smile was actually a smile of gratitude towards Mikasa. It all makes sense once I’ve read chapter 139. In the chapter, it was revealed that Ymir was doing everything out of love.
Eren stated that despite all the King’s wrongdoings to Ymir, the host of the Founding Titan still had strong affection towards the King. Even when the King died, Ymir still tries to please her King.
Ymir has wanted to be free for a long time, and she knew Mikasa would be the one to finally free her. When Mikasa let go of her love to deliver the killing blow, this allowed Ymir to let go of the love she had for King Fritz. The strike allowed both Ymir and Eren to be free from their destiny and stopped the creation of more Titans.
What Was Eren’s Goal?
Eren’s goal seems to be the only constant thing in this series. Since he witnessed his mother get eaten by a Titan, Eren’s goal was to eradicate all titans. He manages to do this by sacrificing himself. But not without 80% of humanity getting killed due to his actions.
He seemed fine with painting himself as the villain as long as his friends played their part as heroes and successfully kill him. But the truth is, he has tried to escape his destiny, but in doing so, he can no longer return to his friends’ side without being killed.
Eren tells his friends his plans in “Paths” individually. He reveals his true intentions to make them heroes to gain the favor of the nations outside their home. According to him, his death will stop the Titans Powers, even reverting the other titans back to regular human beings.
What Happened after Eren’s Death?
Humanity is saved, and the pure Titans were turned back to humans. In addition, the Titan Shifters lost their powers but regained their normal life span. And the Alliance members who survived are now heroes of the world.
The world is still hesitant to open up to each other, so tension still exists among the nations. Hence the Alliance members are now Ambassadors of Peace. However, whether they succeeded was not shown, as the additional pages hint that peace doesn’t exist in the world.
Perhaps the Alliance succeeded for a while, but maybe after their deaths, no one was there to keep the peace. The additional pages show that the world is currently facing war. The tree where Eren’s head was buried now resembles the tree in Ymir’s backstory.
Hajime Isayama never confirmed if the Titan curse reappears due to the tree being there. So at this point, it’s up to us how we’ll interpret the ending. But at least, it seems like Eren’s friends were able to enjoy their life without having to deal with the Titans.