Attack on Titan has officially ended with the release of chapter 139. If you’re currently reading this article, then it can only mean one of two things. You’re either satisfied with the ending and are just curious what the internet has conjured up as an alternate ending. Or, you’re like me who isn’t happy with the ending, and is trying to find ways to cope. My coping mechanism was me creating my version on how Attack on Titan should have ended after hours of bashing my head against a wall.
Yes, you read that right.
This isn’t an official alternate ending, and you can find many other fan-made endings of Attack on Titan scattered across the internet.
Why I did not like the ending of Attack on Titan
- Eren’s character was ruined
- Ymir’s motivations did not make sense
- How the power of the titans got destroyed did not make sense
- Isayama didn’t provide a solution or clear thematic resolution to his own story
Alternate Ending: Eren’s Freedom
After the disappointment and being high on copium, I was thinking what else could have been done and managed to find an ending that satisfied me at least. It might not be the ending you’re looking for, and I will say that there might be some plot holes as well, but I feel it fits more thematically with the story that’s been presented so far up till just before the rumbling arc. My ending deviates from the story starting from the moment Eren and Zeke are in the paths and Eren said “Because he was born into this world.”
Before I get into my ending, I’d like to present my solution towards the cycle of hatred/violence which is the obvious cycle of love. I believe that the main reason people do bad things to one another, and ostracize people from different races/groups is because of fear. Fear is the biggest driving force that leads people to carry out heinous acts. This fear is due to one’s defense mechanism of self preservation. Everyone wants to be make sure that the individual, their race, the group that they’re in are safe from the dangers of this world so they do questionable things. I’ll give out a real life example.
I’m from a multi-racial country, but even after so many years of independence and so called unity, the aborigine race of the country still practice systemic racism because they believe that if equal rights exist, they wouldn’t be able to compete with the other races, or that their privileges will be taken away from them. They don’t hate the other races by any means, but they fear the idea of something that might harm their self preservation. So how do we counter this mindset? Obviously, with love.
The idea of the cycle of love comes from the saying “Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself.” We’ve been conditioned —due to how cruel reality is— that the world is out to get us and that we have to protect ourselves by any means necessary. Let’s change that way of thinking a bit because we know that history repeats itself so what goes around comes around, right? So if we interact with the people around us adopting this mindset things should eventually change. At least I hope that it will. Our actions should be based on the thinking that ‘If I was in their shoes/position, how would I want a stranger to treat me’. Because if we love ourselves and want the best for us, we’d treat others in the best way possible knowing that our actions will come back to us in some shape or form. Basically, karma. Anyway, I’ve rambled on for too long. Now on to the ending.
The time when Eren and Zeke are in the paths. Eren is still conflicted with his feelings because all this while he’s been following the predestined future that he saw when touching Historia’s hand. He didn’t know why he did it as he stated in chapter 139, but he did it because he thought that was the best solution even though it was not by his own free will. In my version, instead of carrying out Ymir’s plan and initiating the full rumbling that would eventually lead to his death, Eren does a partial rumbling instead. Only the colossal titans from Shiganshina are freed. He does this because he realizes that even if there is a predestined future, he will still try to break free from it and be free no matter the cost.
Eren commands the colossal titans on the doorstep of the other nations but doesn’t attack. He allows the other nations to attack his colossal titan, but they fail miserably. Eren then tells them that he has the power to destroy the world and this is just a glimpse of it. He then tells them that he won’t be harming the other nations even though he could end his enemies here and now and bring peace to Paradis Island. Even though the world has set their sights on them, and their race has been ostracized for a century, he still won’t harm them. Why? Because if he was in their shoes, he wouldn’t want someone doing the same to them even though it’s been done before. He says that he wants to end the cycle of hatred and aim for some sort of peace between nations. At least, a truce. He then asks Armin to act as an intermediary between him and the other nations in order to negotiate peace terms.
Eren then sends out a warning to the other nations and tells them to remember this day. The day he spared the lives of the world. He also says that if you want someone to hate /or someone to blame, then they should look at him and not the Eldians race as a whole. He also says that he will end the power of titans with him by eating every titan shifter that currently exist when they’re term comes to an end and that he will seal himself for the rest of time. If one day there comes a day where the peace treaty or war is broken out again, then Eren will end the world leaving everything to ash even Paradis.
In the end, all the nations agree to peace. I mean it’s either that or they die because even they saw that their military couldn’t do anything to the hundreds of colossal titans. Eren goes back home and allows all the titan shifters to spend their remaining time with their friends and family. On the day their term is over, Eren eats them and keeps their power. This is to ensure that no new born inherits the power of the titan and it ends with Eren. All the titan shifters became warriors knowing that they will die so this is the sacrifice they have to make in order for peace. Armin who will live outlive Eren will have to die earlier before Eren’s term comes to an end.
After eating all the Titans, Eren seals himself in a crystal sleeping like how Annie did. Since it’s never stated whether Annie would have died if she remained in the crystal when her term was over. Also, the colossal titans in the walls remained sealed for a hundred years so I’m going to assume that someone who is sealed won’t die when their term ends. Annie also didn’t age at all so I’m going with the route that they don’t age and their time stops.
This will be Eren’s sacrifice for freedom. He might not be free physically, but he was free in the sense that he did things from his own free will and ended the titan curse in a logical way. To add some nostalgic feel to it, we can see Mikasa visiting Eren’s crystal as she grows older and tells him stories of the world. People from all over the world will be able to visit Eren’s crystal as he acts as a reminder to the world of how the world could have ended but did not because Eren decided to bear the weight of the world’s hatred on his shoulders and make this sacrifice. And yes, Eren did not manage to save Armin in my version but this is the sacrifice all the Eldians have to make in order to gain peace. Also there’s a reason why Historia had a baby. The reason is that Eren told her to keep the royal bloodline alive to lead and unite the country as well as to allow him to do the rumbling in the case that war does break out again in the near or far future.
So that’s one way of ending it without ruining Eren’s character as well as many others of the cast. It’s a logical way to end the power of titans instead of them suddenly just disappearing due to reasons. This ending also serves a purpose to Historia’s child even if it’s not a good one. No genocide occurs. People will live in fear of Eren Yaeger but they will remember that he could have destroyed the world but he didn’t. He will act as a symbol and reminder. To make it poetic there’s another ending to my ending.
One day after 500 years it seems that humans even after trying to break the cycle of hatred still can’t manage to do so. People will forever have differences and war will always break out. That day, war breaks out in the world and Paradis, and the last scene would be Eren waking up from his crystal and the story ends. So, it’s implied that he destroys the world. I think that’s a poetic way of saying that things could never change even if we tried.
Please do keep in mind that I’m not against anyone who appreciates the ending. Everyone has their way of enjoying or interpreting a piece of fiction, but I however do not condone the behavior of harassing the author or any other individuals just because they don’t share the same opinion as you do.
Even being disappointed by the ending of Attack on Titan, I will not dismiss how great it is and consistent it’s been up to that final arc. The writing was phenomenal and I was about to label it as a modern classic, but with this ending I can’t find myself to do so. I would just be lying to myself. Still, Attack on Titan is a great show, and is a must read/watch for anyone who is into anime.
Anyway, thanks for reading what I have to say. If you’d like to discuss any of the points, or your point of view on the matter, then do leave your comments down below.
Are you interested in romance anime with happy endings? If so, I have the ultimate list for you here. Are you interested in the deeper meanings of that’s portrayed in shounen anime? I wrote an article on the lessons we can learn from All Might vs All for One here.