Fans fearing an ending as bitter and hopeless as much of Attack on Titan has been will have been pleasantly surprised by Chapter #139. “Toward the Tree on That Hill” isn’t a bloodbath but a gentle goodbye to Hajime Isayama’s beloved cast. In doing so, it also clears the air between the central trio, Eren, Mikasa and Armin, whose relationship seemed to be irreparably damaged following the infamous restaurant scene. Having accused his childhood friends of being mere “slaves” to their Titan and Ackerman bodies — Armin’s and Mikasa’s, respectively — Eren doubled down by telling Mikasa he’d “always hated her.” Inflamed, Armin attacked Eren, only to be savagely beaten down by the triple Titan threat.
With Eren gone to carry out his dark mission, Armin and Mikasa were left behind to wonder if there was any real bite behind his heartless words, and, worse still, wrestle with the inescapable idea that killing Eren might be the only way to stop him from destroying most of the world with the Rumbling. Readers can rest assured, however, that the final chapter of the Attack on Titan manga provides a peaceful resolution to the trio’s woes, confirming, once and for all, that Eren never really harbored any ill will towards Mikasa and Armin. Quite the opposite, in fact, when it comes to the former.
Eren Makes Amends With Armin
Eren makes his true feelings known at the start of the chapter, which flashes back to a previously unseen conversation between himself and Armin via the Path (while Armin was headed towards Eren’s Wall Titan army on the Azumabito ship.) The two appear as children, at first, slowly aging up to the present-day as their chat reaches its conclusion. Armin assures Eren he now understands why Eren did what he did: achieving the Titan-less world the Attack Titan’s future sight showed him during the medal ceremony became imperative, no matter the cost… Well, almost. “Did you really have to beat me to a pulp?” Armin asks, dryly. In response, Eren sheepishly confirms what many have long suspected — he deliberately pushed his friends away. However, even he doesn’t fully know why he needed to do it: “Even I found myself wondering what I was doing… I just let the moment take over… really.”
Armin fills in the blanks. In making himself the villain, Eren, in turn, turned his friends who were forced to stop him into humanity’s greatest heroes. Heroes who fought to save a world that branded them as “devils.” That was the peaceful future Eren wanted them to pass them into, and the one he achieves in the end. When their talk draws to a close, Eren tells Armin he’ll use the Founding Titan’s power to erase his memory of it, though it’ll be restored once he’s died. As the two friends part ways, Armin promises he won’t let Eren’s “error” — becoming a mass murderer — go to waste.
Eren’s Real Feelings For Mikasa Are Revealed
Though readers may be disappointed that Eren and Mikasa don’t get a proper reunion, Eren does finally make his true feelings about his adopted sister clear to Armin in the final chapter. Mikasa has never made a secret of her devotion to the boy who saved her life, and has been repaying him in earnest ever since. Eren, however, has always been a closed book on the subject — allowing Mikasa to stay by his side but keeping her, emotionally, at arm’s length. Despite Armin debunking his claim, Mikasa became despondent after Eren shot down her feelings for him as nothing more than Ackerman programming during the trio’s fallout. She even briefly stopped wearing her iconic scarf, draped around her neck by Eren when they became family, but she found closure in the end — imagining the blissful future she wished they’d found together before ending his life, with a kiss, in the penultimate chapter.
In Chapter #139, when Armin presses Eren on the subject, he eventually breaks down, admitting that he doesn’t want Mikasa to simply move on and find someone else when he’s gone. “I don’t wanna die, I want to be with Mikasa… With everyone.” Though he does want her to be happy, selfishly, Eren’s desire is to remain at the forefront of her thoughts even long after he’s gone. Armin’s a little taken back by his outburst, though nostalgically, it’s very reminiscent of Eren’s older, whinier self. Attempting to redeem himself, Eren begs Armin not to repeat any of this to Mikasa in the interest of her happiness.
As unexpectedly cheesy as it might be, the theme of eternal love defines Attack on Titan‘s ending. After all, the revelation that leads Eren and Armin onto the subject of Mikasa is that Ymir Fritz’s love for King Karl Fritz, not her anger, is what kept her enslaved to him, even beyond death. Her undying love is also what’s kept the Titan curse she instilled in her descents going for 2,000 years.
When Mikasa severed Eren’s head from the Founding Titan, Ymir merely watched on with a smile. At the time, her serenity seemed odd. But according to Eren, this act ultimately freed Ymir. It was Mikasa all along who was meant to do this, not him. Therefore, everything he did was to ensure that she made the choice to kill him, ending Ymir’s existence in the process; thus, eradicating Titans. Why? Only Ymir knows. But we can speculate that the mother of all Titans probably saw some common ground in another woman whose love took her to the ends of the earth and back.