Armin: Traitors Always Die Twice – Shingeki no Kyojin Chapter 128 Review

This is a review of the Shingeki no Kyojin monthly manga, chapter 128: Traitor.

Check out my review of SnK Chapter 127 here.

Okay I’m sorry, but I simply cannot support the alliance of good.

I was weary about Marleyan and Eldian soldiers teaming up to begin with, but at this point I simply cannot not root for Eren. As you may have duly noted in my previous manga chapter reviews, I like him. I sympathize with his goal, understand it, and fully support it.

Does mass genocide sound bad? Yes.

But, have we been shown just how hard Eren struggled to prevent this outcome? Yes times a million.

  1. The peace talks meeting where the Marleyans who didn’t even know the Islanders decided that they were evil and beyond reproach.
  2. Then, Willy Tybur made his speech declaring world war on Paradis and Eren understood that it was time to act.

Those were the central catalyst to his feelings, not even factoring in the Attack Titan/PATHS memories.

No more time for peace talks. No more time for politics. No more trading of precious resources in exchange for flimsy promises and ‘friendships’. (Looking at you, Kiyomi and Hizuru.)

The Yeagerists, no matter how unbalanced, in essence retain the same goal the Survey Corps once had: freedom. The Wings of Freedom being prominently shown on Hange’s back as she looked out to the sea and saw the destruction of Marley said it all. They were now free from impending tyranny, and…the Squad Levi & Hange faction still wasn’t happy?

I had to google who Daz and Samuel were and even then after remembering I sympathized with them more in this chapter than I did Armin and Connie. I don’t know if this was intentionally done, but Armin popping up like a daisy after being shot in the mouth further cemented my feelings. In the Yeagerists eyes, especially two comrades who served with them in the 104th regiment, Armin and his crew are complete monsters.

They are the pride of Eldia, the star cadets who have survived numerous battles. Armin, Sasha, Connie, Eren, Jean, Mikasa, Hange and Levi were the sole survivors of the retaking of Wall Maria/ Shiganshina. They were the golden heroes who found what lied in Eren Yeager’s basement. Their accomplishments spurred Eldia as a society forward, opened them up to the world, and lead them to see what was beyond the sea.

What was beyond the walls, even. The Survey Corp’s fundamental goal from the start.

Years ago, (sans Levi and Hange) they were all just kids, (some) orphans left without homes. Wounded children who were scared shitless and hungry, but wanted to fight and preserve what was left. They stole meat, went on dangerous adventures, and lost a lot of comrades.

Just to see this day.

Sure – none of them could have imagined how it turned out in the end. That Eren would essentially become God. Or, a dangerous Warlord, depending on your faction.

Either way, the Eldians wanted the same things. They were all on the same page – survive to see another day. Just as they had been doing for one hundred years prior.

Just when victory is in their grasp, here comes your star heroes, the shinning gems of the nation to…side with the enemy nations? Uphold the status quo? Sacrifice the reborn Eldian Empire because…Gabi’s mom and dad might die? Annie wants to see her adopted father once more? Because Reiner is suffering again?

Did anyone give a damn about your parents dying? Your homes? Your villages you grew up in?

I mean…guys…c’mon.                              

How can I root for the alliance of good?

Who shows up to a military coup with no strategy?

With no desire to enact wartime efforts?

I mean hell, Erwin Smith was crazy but at least he always had a plan. Say what you will, but sooner or later he did always accomplish his goals. Whether that meant sacrificing his people, or even his self.

But this?

Armin’s terrible lie? Connie’s badly placed outburst? Jean looking stoically like a horse into the distance? Mikasa just charging into the building without reading the situation first?

Talk no Jutsu does not work in this world, Armin! When are you going to get that?

The fact that Annie was the only one talking sense in this chapter infuriates me! I’m not even an Annie fan.

Let’s not even get started on Magath.

Time and time again he has shown his true colors. Magath believes in his country, their ideals, and continues the cycle of indoctrinating the youth so that it never ends.

After flipping out, showing his true colors in front of the Alliance of Good Eldians once more, and breaking Chaos Goddess Yelena’s arm…he then decides to have a conscience. And apologize for being an absolute animal because Gabi looked surprised and he felt bad.

Gabi is seemingly Magath's conscience. Shingeki no Kyojin ch 128
Gabi is seemingly Magath’s conscience. Shingeki no Kyojin Ch 128

Magath then proceeds to pretend the Talk no Jutsu was effective the night before because they are really bad, and didn’t want to see it. But in the same breath says regardless, they have to save Marley.

Uh…what?

So, the known surviving top brass of Marley’s military, Magath, basically admits that he knows that his nation of Marley is in the wrong, but despite that he will disregard Eldian lives to save it?

The cycle needs to be broken another way, not by mass genocide?

Despite the world declaring to collectively put aside their differences to ENACT and COMMIT mass genocide on Eldia?

And Hange and the Alliance of Good Eldians are signing off on this?

Honestly, everyone…I’m with Yelena on this one. I just want to see the end of this…because wow are the Alliance of Good more and more disappointing with each chapter since their formation.

Chaos Goddess Yelena, always the voice of reason... Shingeki no Kyojin Ch 128
Chaos Goddess Yelena, always the voice of reason… Shingeki no Kyojin Ch 128

This is not to knock Isayama’s writing, I absolutely adore it. I adore where Shingeki no Kyojin is taking us, but man these characters are acting dumb.

Daz and Samuel hadn’t even seen the gang in years (presumably) and still knew how they would react to something of this magnitude.

Excellent writing. Excellent manga. Going to be an excellent anime adaptation in the fall.

But, tell me your thoughts.

Bessatsu Shonen Magazine Cover - May 2020 issue
Bessatsu Shonen Magazine Cover – May 2020 issue

How did you feel about this chapter? Do you think the Alliance of Good will succeed? What was up with Levi’s facial expression towards the end of the chapter?

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 in Fall 2020!

☆ In Asian Spaces            

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Author: In Asian Spaces

I write in my personal time and I haven't published much at all. I don't know if that qualifies me as a writer or not, but I'd like to change that. I have a deep passion for travel, cinema and (mainly) East Asian things, but I plan on writing various things to keep it spicy. Let's prosper together ~ よろしくおねがいします。

6 thoughts on “Armin: Traitors Always Die Twice – Shingeki no Kyojin Chapter 128 Review”

  1. I really do not understand why they are joining Marley without even a plan.

    I feel like Floch should have been Armin and then it would be more interesting. Since Armin has had almost no impact on the manga since he’s been resurrected. What does he want? He just does what he is told and never has an opinion on anything. What was the point of saving him and not Erwin? He doesn’t come up with any master plans as he did at the beginning of the series. Also he seems to completely forget that it was Eren who raged to get him saved.

    I think that Isayama wants to keep Armin “good” because of populartity surveys. If it was Armin who was at the head of the yeagerist faction then this part would be more intense, cause then I could see the desperation of the allies having to face not only the yeagerist soldiers but the colossal titan at the head of it all, as some sort of last obstacle between them and Eren.

    But as it is going now, they are going to completely kill everyone there without major loses, perhaps Connie would die ( Do I even care now? ) The only named character on that faction now is Floch, and he doesn’t seem to be that strong, and the other soldiers are probably going to die like flies by the titans.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I’m 100% in agreeance with you.

      And, I don’t know why Isayama would want to keep “Armin” good for polls at the sacrifice of his character. Not disagreeing with you on that, I just don’t quite understand it either.
      It seems like after Armin got resurrected and ‘turned’, he’s become a completely different person. Which is fine, but…then all of the (creepy) interactions with him talking at Annie in the crystal, I thought we would finally see Bertholdt’s influence over him.

      Eren pointed it out, and Armin didn’t seem to have a grip on that influence. Now, Annie is back, Armin doesn’t care, and he kind of does nothing but flounder around, yell at people because he is performing his duties inadequetly, and is currently a full-blown traitor (in my opinion).

      (I don’t care about Connie’s death either. He’s been dead since his ‘twin’ Sasha died if we’re completely honest. Guess we won’t get a follow up on his mom’s situatation, huh?)

      Like

      1. I think that, like many readers, you completely misunderstood Armin’s character from the start.

        Many people thought Armin was a cold thinker and tactician ready to do everything to win, whereas this vision is false and partial. But many forgot to amend it when after the basement the circumstances completely changed for him and revealed a side of Armin’s personality that was here from the start but not so obvious, because people used to look at the action and violence instead of focusing on character’s subtilties. Before the basement, Armin used to resort to violence and sometimes treachery to win… when the stake was still to free humanity from the Walls and to fight against an enemy who wanted to suppress humanity. In the same time, every time he could, and even when it was totally in contrast with what he was doing, he tried to talk to the enemy first. He did it with Annie in Stohess, with Berthold in RTS (and, hell,a whole sequence in Trost was devoted to his will to speak). But at last he couldn’t do otherwise than fight because humanity as a whole was more important and he couldn’t let it be endangered by Annie or Berthold.

        So there is nothing to be surprised by when, after he learned that on the other side of the ocean there was a whole planet full of human beings, he went the negotiation route. It’s totally him. Armin never changed and kept his core personality.
        Moreover, that Berthold thing Eren talked about was a lie. You said Armin doesn’t care about Annie or what Eren told him about Berthold controlling him, but that’s because there is nothing to care about for Armin, nothing to grab. That’s the point. Berthold doesn’t influence him. The only thing that could happen is Armin seeing some of Berthold’s memory and understanding better the conditions in which the children warriors were raised, and that only could encourage him to sympathize with them…and with Annie, with whom he already had a good relation. That’s why he went to see her in her crystal (by the way I can’t see how it is creepy, he is only full of compassion and need to vent a little with all he is going through, because he can’t tell all this to Eren or Mikasa, people who talk about this as creepy are the creepy persons for me).

        Of course, if you choose, like, again, many readers, to naively swallow everything Eren said as an unbreakable and absolute truth in chapter 112, you will see Armin’s character through this deforming prism and believe that what he has been doing (or not doing) was because of Berthold. That’s basically a biased reasoning that puts in relation elements that have no reason to be put in relation. When we think about it just a little, there is no proof that Berthold is influencing Armin that much, and that Armin choose to be the “pacifist” because of Berthold. In fact, there is no link at all between the two. Was Berthold a pacifist? Armin visits Annie in her crystal and then? Isn’t it old Armin interested in his enemies ways of thinking and reasons to act?
        Well, It is.
        Did this kind of influence happen with other shifters like Annie, Reiner, Sieg, Porco, or Berthold himself? Not even a mention. Why would Armin be the big exception?

        Lastly, Isayama didn’t “keep “Armin” good for polls at the sacrifice of his character ». Armin is not even so popular in Japan first. Then what Isayama does in his story is for the sake of the story, not for the fans. Armin had to stay himself, to precisely oppose Eren in his ideology. And for Armin’s character, staying himself when the stake are world peace, Paradis’s integration in the international landscape and understanding why his best friend is doing something unimaginable for him (a true nightmare for Armin who dreamed about to see the outside world and its beauty, not the outside world destroyed), staying Armin in those circumstances is ending where he is now: a character struggling to do something to avoid world’s destruction but as lost as his friends in front of the monstrosity (all the more that the one committing the global genocide he finds unbearable was his best friend he feels responsable of).
        Armin couldn’t be Floch and Isayama couldn’t have made a Floch out of Armin. His whole character is the opposite of Floch. Floch as we know it was born because he looked for someone he could burden with the charge to be the demon of Paradis that would eliminate the enemy of the Eldian Empire without thinkingtwice. Floch is Floch because of his own story.
        Armin is Armin because of his own story: a reasonable person (in a crazy word) whose resurrection caused the loss of Erwin, a raging advancing figure for Floch, and who still feel bad for this loss years after it because he knew from the start that he couldn’t (of course!) be Erwin’s replacement (Erwin was perfect and indestructible in Armin’s eyes), that his personality and tendencies to discretion and modesty (and his age) didn’t match a commanding position.
        And I wrote “figure”, because I want to underline Erwin’s interpretation by some of his soldiers (and readers) is more important than what he really was and what he would have done when it comes to judge how much Armin is the “wrong choice”.

        Liked by 1 person

      2. You know, the beautiful thing about reading any written work is that we can all see, and interpret things differently based on our own reality.

        You may not have seen it (I don’t expect many have), but during my first manga review on this site I mentioned that I’ve only read the manga from where the anime s3 ended to present.

        You seem to be a huge Armin fan and I respect that, but as you may be able to tell – I am a huge Eren supporter.

        I don’t believe it is ‘naivety’ to assume Eren, who is able to traverse time and space to influence the will of at least TWO known Attack Titan shifters (his father, Grisha, and Eren Kruger – whom he is named) and who had spent time undercover in Marley and in contact with Zeke, a member of the Royal family who had contact with Grisha & Dina’s secret Eldian histories growing up – would not learn a thing or two about the true Ackerman bond.

        Or that if a shifter is not strong enough, the will of it’s previous owner could take over and influence their personality.

        We could also look at Zeke and Tom Ksaver to aid this argument. Zeke felt shame for being Eldian and wished the race to end, as did Tom. When Zeke inherited the Beast titan that shared ideology between the two men seemed to have strenghtened.

        Or the Jaw titan and it’s history of self-sacrifice for a cause they strongly believe in.

        Either the titan personalities influence the shifter, or the previous shifter personality influences the titan.

        It is definitely one or the other.

        And “Lastly”, to use your own words, I never said anything about Isayama, Armin, and character polls.

        To be quite honest I don’t follow nor do I care about character polls and the general opinion of mainstream fans voting for their waifu or aesthetic fantasies.

        That is not to imply anything based on your statments, or make generalizations of the community, that is simply my opinion on fan polls.

        Either way, thanks for taking the time to share your thoughts about ch 129! It was a pleasure to read ☺

        Like

  2. Absolutely, 100% agree with your assessment. They also have no plan to defeat Eren besides a form of talknojutsu, and even if they asspull a victory and defeat Eren, they don’t even have a plan on how to defeat THE WORLD that is United in eviscerating them. All they have is an “assumption” that they will have time after defeating Eren to deal with it.

    Wtf, isn’t that how this happened in the first place? The assumption that you have time or can change people’s minds through diplomacy. Time and time and time again, Isayama shows us that reasoning with the unreasonable is not possible.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Which is funny, because they had an assumption that they would have a plan before Eren’s time limit ran out. They had an assumption that The Rumbling would buy them even more time to decide. They had an assumption that they knew how Eren was feeling, even after ignoring his drastic personality change and what little visions from the Attack Titan he shared with them.

      You are absolutely correct. They haven’t been able to change anything, even the accompanying Marleyan soldier’s hearts. I am so curious as to what they will now do against Eren, if they can even reach him that is…

      Like

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