This review contains current spoilers for the Attack on Titan/Shingeki no Kyojin manga. Chapter 122 specifically. We are way past where the anime ended in season 3. If you are not up to date with the story, please come back at a later time if you don’t wish to know what Ymir’s Origins are just yet.
I know in my last Attack on Titan Season three review I mentioned that I wouldn’t be doing any reviews of the manga on the site but…I changed my mind. At least for this chapter. Aside from Reddit, I have nowhere else to talk about this. None of my friends are into reading manga (or reading much at all, actually. Which hurts my soul deeply) and I can tell my mom about it all day but…she doesn’t really get it.
So let’s talk about the latest chapter, and theorize! I can’t promise this will be an ongoing thing, even if we are down to the last arc of the series. For reference, I have read chapter 90 onward after the last anime season ended. If there is a certain storyline that is unknown to me from manga chapters 1-90, forgive me. I’m not purposely spouting ignorance, I am merely uninformed until I decide to re-read the series from the very beginning.
King Fritz is absolute trash.
Zeke is not as smart as he thinks he is.
Eren’s ultimate goal was the rumbling?
I am literally sitting here wide-eyed, covering my open mouth with a hand in shock. Hats off to Isayama-sensei. This man can really write a story. Especially in these endgame chapters. It’s been difficult to predict what is going to happen next – despite the abundance of foreshadowing.
So I think it would be best to start from the beginning, and tackle the chapter section by section. Before I begin, I would like to point out the irony of Gabi.
In her effort to stop the “Island Devils” and end the war, she actually triggered the events necessary for the rumbling to happen. I don’t dislike Gabi to the point of sheer hatred like (a vocal minority) of the manga-reading fandom at this point in time, but wow those Brauns sure do love eternal suffering. She’s going to have to life with this for the rest of her life. And all the little brainwashed child solider wanted was to be a good Eldian.
Geez. Poor thing. I’m shaking my head, but let’s move on, shall we?
The chapter begins with a flashback of Frieda and a young Historia. They are reading Ymir’s origin story, where she is depicted giving an apple to the earth devil. I just watched the S2 ending, and as people in the YouTube comments are suggesting, it is best to watch in reverse.
Since I’m on the video right now, the images reversed are as followed:
An ex on Ymir’s manifest destiny-esque painting depicting her as a god. (I’ve just noticed that her body resembles the tree she entered to receive the alien parasite.)
Eight titans kneel at her feet. Seems like the colossal (Armin) is at her left, then the next biggest one (is this Eren? The Attack Titan?), the female titan (Annie) with the other five on a lower pillar or step-like structure.
Below the titans is a depiction of the public kneeling at their graces. It seems I forgot to bring this point up in one of my season 3 reviews. During Squad Levi’s honoring ceremony the imagery mirrored this ending.
The sun is rising and titans are going to sleep in its wake. I don’t know if this is the sandy beach of Paradis Island’s coast. (But why would there still be titans? Are these the Eldian soldiers who drank Zeke’s spinal fluid?)
The lone bird Eren enjoys watching flies towards the rising sun. (Does this signify freedom for the Eldian people?)
The clouds that Eren saw within the walls during the first episode. The flowers nearby when he woke up from his dream in episode one.
A long line of people walking through the mountains towards the sun. (Is it safe to travel now that the titans are in a slumber?)
A closer shot of the people and their clothing. (It’s currently not ringing any bells to me on which society this could be.)
One frame shows an old man huddled forward using a walking stick, so there are still elderly in this society’s population.
Another frame shows a child clutching their parent’s hand. (So there is still hope for the future!)
White screen. Now black and white. A man’s face, looks like King Fritz judging by the attire.
Artifact on what seems like film grain. (To denote a memory? If the black and white wasn’t obvious enough…)
There are a bunch of people huddled in a circle. I wonder, who is in the middle?
The priests who worship the walls, or someone wearing the emblem of the three wall sisters and followers are praying. (Were they trying to prevent the rumbling through prayer?)
Church or cathedral walls.
Two men placing their hands up to their chins. Can’t tell if one is smiling or not.
The wall titans wander aimlessly towards the sun (or moon), their footprints have destroyed everything in their path.
Regular mindless titans eat unknown villagers, a massive wall titan lurks in the distance. The sun or moon (most likely moon) at its back.
Close up of titans eating humans as they flee in terror. Their one exit is blocked by bars, sunlight bathing the angry and desperate inhabitants. Or, it could be a window, and they have been locked in a building. Or, they were hiding in a building and got locked in. Either way, they are in an enclosed space being slaughtered.
Titans of all sizes attack and chase civilians on a street. A massive wall titan is lurking in the distance.
Oh. This may be Marley. The wall titans and other sizes are at the gates of a castle, storming defenses. They came from the sea. Soldiers are trying to push them back with lances and spears. (It reminds me of when Reiner and Bertholdt attacked the walls for some reason.)
The gigantic wall titans are emerging from the sea and standing in front of what looks like a castle. You can see the soldiers with their spears pointed toward them.
Some sort of ancient writing. Looks similar to what Ymir (jaw titan) read in that episode way back when.
Fade to black.
Maria, Rose and Sina eat their mother Ymir while King Fritz watches.
(I wonder who depicted this scene?)
Red artifact (blood?) on screen. (Signifying the first transformation?)
Fade to black. There is a face emerging in the darkness, with one glowing eye. (Eren at the end of chapter 122?)
Depiction of Ymir fighting soldiers from 2,000 years ago. Nine thunderbolts surround her. This resembles the crack of lightening when a titan is formed.
The silhouette of a large body all cracked. (The fracturing of Ymir’s original titan?)
The same depiction of Ymir offering the apple (of Eden) to the earth devil that is in Historia’s story book. Could the devil represent King Fritz using Ymir’s gained abilities for evil?
Fade to black. There is a hint of a golden ray in the darkness.
Wow that was a doozy. Back to the manga.
Frieda puts it in Historia’s head to be someone who everyone loves, hence the young queen’s later personality. She desperately wants to be loved by her peers, even to her own detriment (which Ymir points out). I wonder if we’ll ever get answers on whether or not Eren is the father of Historia’s baby.
We are shown the cruel life Ymir experienced as a slave. A tongue is being cut out a slave’s mouth, and an unspecified time later a couple is being happily married. A clear class division.
The king declares that one of the slaves must have set the pigs free. After threatening to gouge out a single eye from the lot, thirteen people collectively blame young Ymir. Is this the origin of the Curse of Ymir? Is this why no titan can live longer than she did? Or rather, her body?
Side note: Eren frequently equates humanity inside the walls on Paradis to being livestock.
Ymir is set free and the nobles enjoy a hunt a la Ramsay Bolton. In a bad horror movie cliché, she trips and falls. Ymir opens her eyes for the first and only time in her old life, and sees a flower. Flowers are always surrounding the creation of new titans.
She ventures into the gigantic titan of a tree (presumably to hide) and falls into a body of water. The tree and her manifest destiny poster look extremely similar to one another. The fall into water could also symbolize a rebirth. From the humane to the inhumane.
The Hallucigenia parasite latches onto Ymir’s spine, and the first titan is brought forth unto the world.
Ymir creates civilization for the then tribe of Eldia. This is a callback to Grisha’s inaccurate analysis of the ancient histories send by the Owl. Grisha thought it was because Ymir was a great, godlike figure. Really, she was a slave being forced to serve the Fritz king.
King Fritz rewards Ymir for all her hard work by raping her.
She bears him three daughters: Maria, Rose, and Sina.
Marley and Eldia go to war, Eldia wins. Was this the start of the genocidal rivalry?
The three girls have grown considerably. At a military meeting, an assassin tries to take out King Fritz. Ymir, in her slave mentality, takes a spear to the chest and dies.
The girls weep, while the King berates her for not getting up.
King Fritz tells Ymir that she is a slave because she was born into this world. Eren believes that he is free, as did his mother, Carla, because he was born into this world.
The flower with Ymir’s blood on it is shown again. Then she drifts off to sleep…
She wakes up in the PATHs dimension. The sands of time. A purgatory. Maybe the alien parasite is what keeps her here. What keeps her consciousness alive.
King Fritz, father of the year, forces his young daughters to eat their dead mother. No doubt traumatizing them in the process. Ymir sees the PATHs vein of light open up, Daddy dearest is on his deathbed. A new babe is born. The light vein branches out with each new titan baby created from the Fritz line. Ymir does nothing but watch, all alone in her own personal hell.
Ymir builds the wall titans. Then we are back into the present with Eren and Zeke vying for her power.
Eren…finally tells us his plan? He declares he will put an end to this world. Ymir has dead eyes in his embrace.
This scene reminded me of Eren’s meeting with Mikasa and Armin after he had gone rouge. Armin was trying to figure out what he was up to, and Eren simply said “I am free”. Eren equated freedom to destroying his enemies across the sea before chapter 90. So, does this mean that Eren had always been set on murdering the rest of the world in order to save Paradis?
First he wanted to kill all the titans, then he found out he was a titan. After he found out he was an Eldian, he wanted to do the same and kill the rest of the world that threatened his freedom. His will was so strong that it was sent back in time via his current contact with the coordinate, influencing and sending scraps of memories to other Attack Titan inheritors for this very moment.
Even Grisha was a victim to this, realizing what his visions meant just before he killed the remaining royal family.
Meanwhile, Ymir has been so lonely.
Chapter 1: To you, 2000 years from now.
Chapter 122: From you, 2000 years ago.
Eren whispers sweet nothings carried by the wings of freedom in Ymir’s ear. It’s the Grisha situation all over again. She started this story after all, didn’t she?
She is radicalized. The juxtaposition of Zeke spouting this idiotic nonsense that Ymir should obey him because he is of the royal bloodline. Clearly, Zeke was not privy to the epic flashback Eren just received because of his contact with Ymir.
Zeke’s zealot rhetoric is drawn in a way that mirrors King Fritz’s soulless grimace towards the founder.
Suddenly, we snap back into the present. The parasite that provided Ymir with power is now drawn to have extended Eren’s head to Zeke’s hand – enabling the PATHs dimension shenanigans.
With the realization that maybe Ymir lead Eren to their current destiny, 2000 years comes full circle. Time has started once more, the walls crack from the titans breaking free. Gabi brings forth the apocalypse while her cousin Reiner lays on the ground in his titan, wallowing in the misery that is his life.
I’m not 100% on the perspective, but it seems like the parasite in Eren’s body is growing into a titan. It even has the crazed, eyes glowing with the fiery passions of freedom thing going on. I’d love to know what is going on in the PATHs dimension.
Have Eren and Ymir fused into one consciousness? Could Ymir opening her eyes while Eren spoke symbolize a new era for Eldia? Does anyone else think Eren looks like a cat?
Leave your thoughts in the comment section below, I’d love to hear from you! Also be sure to follow us for more Shingeki no Kyojin when season 4 premieres in 2020! I’m not sure if I’ll make a review for the next chapter or not at this time, but things could always change!
☆ In Asian Spaces