The final chapter of the Attack on Titan manga was released in April 2021, and yet readers are still discussing the ending to this very day.
Attack on Titan has been one of the most popular manga and anime in recent years. Despite being less than a decade old, it has fans all around the world and their numbers have only grown ever since that first chapter was released.
Now, with the end of the Attack on Titan anime in sight, it’s nearly time to finally close the book on this amazing story.
But the ending of the manga still left a lot of questions unanswered and caused a lot of discussion around fans over many topics. One of the most talked about plot twists of the ending was the role Mikasa played in ending the power of the titans.
So here, we are going to be looking at Mikasa, her part in the end of Attack on Titan, and why perhaps Mikasa is the true hero of Attack on Titan after all.
We will be going into some major plot points of the Attack on Titan manga ending so if you do not want the finale spoiled for you, come back once you have read the entire manga or completed the anime.
Now – let’s look at Mikasa and why her actions were the ones that saved the entire world.
Who Is Mikasa Ackerman?
Mikasa Ackerman is one of the deuteragonists of Attack on Titan, and one of Eren’s best childhood friends.
She first met Eren Jaeger after her parents were murdered by traffickers, and she was kidnapped from her home, intended to be sold in the underground human market.
Despite being just 9 years old, Eren helped rescue her and together, they killed the three traffickers holding Mikasa captive.
After that, Mikasa was taken in by Eren’s family and Mikasa developed a close bond with Eren, promising to protect him after he showed her compassion during the worst time in her life.
Mikasa is also very special. She is an Ackerman – a race of beings that channel the strength of titans without ever transforming. This also means she is immune to the Found Titan’s mind controlling abilities and is one of humanity’s strongest soldiers.
She is also part Asian, descended from a royal family in the country Hizuru outside the Walls. She is extremely influential as she is powerful.
So ever since the beginning of Attack on Titan, Mikasa has always been one of the key players. Her strength made her almost invincible and her loyalty to Eren helped get him out of more than one tricky situation.
But when the unthinkable happened and Eren Jaeger became Attack on Titan’s final villain, Mikasa had to follow her conscience and stand up to Eren despite her love for him.
In the end, it was Mikasa who gave the killing blow and ended Eren’s life, stopping the Rumbling and ending the power of the titans for good. Mikasa put aside her emotions and saved the world – by killing the one she loved.
Why Mikasa Killed Eren
Looking back, Mikasa always had to be the one to kill Eren.
From a practical standpoint, her Ackerman blood makes her one of the strongest people alive, and she has proven again and again that she is one of the most adept soldiers in the world. If anyone had the strength and skill to kill Eren, it would be her.
From a story standpoint, her personal ties to Eren would have allowed her to get close to him, and it would have put more emotional value behind the death of Eren.
Mikasa loved Eren and ever since she met him, she always put her life on the line to save him. It was only poetic justice that she would be the one to kill him.
But why did Mikasa have to kill Eren in the first place? What motivations were there within the plot that meant that it had to be Mikasa who took down Eren?
There are two main reasons why Mikasa needed to kill Eren. The obvious one was to stop the Rumbling, but there was another reason – one that Mikasa herself was not aware of: setting the founder Ymir free.
Mikasa, Eren, And The Rumbling
The main reason why Mikasa accepted that she had to kill Eren was to stop the Rumbling.
Eren was the holder of three of the Titan Shifter powers – the Attack Titan, the Warhammer Titan, and the powerful Founding Titan. In order for him to be able to activate the Founding Titan’s power, Eren used his own half brother Zeke Jaeger and ate him, absorbing him into his titan form.
With the power of the Founding Titan unlocked, Eren awoke the thousands of Colossal Titans sleeping within the Walls.
He sent them out to crush the outside world, killing millions of people. The reason he chose to do this was because if he hadn’t, it was very likely that all of his friends would have died.
The Eldians on the Isle of Paradis were the subject of years of hatred and the rest of the world wanted them dead for being able to transform into titans.
But without the power of the titans, the Eldians would have still been at risk of genocide because they were technologically behind the rest of the world – if it came to war, the Eldians would have lost without the help of the titans.
Eren wanted to exterminate all titans, but he also wanted his friends to live and be free. So, he came up with the following plan – unleash the Rumbling to destroy most of the world, causing chaos.
His friends would side with the rest of the world and fight against him to end the Rumbling, Eren would die, murdered at the hands of his friends, and prove to the world that Eldians were not evil.
During the chaos after the Rumbling, Paradis would have time to technologically advance so if the rest of the world still hated Eldians, they would be able to fight and have a chance at survival.
So, Eren purposefully set himself up to die. He activated the Rumbling and nearly wiped out the rest of the world.
This is why Mikasa stood and fought against Eren. Although she still loved him and wanted to protect him, she could not justify killing millions of innocent people.
She also knew (and better than most people) that Eren would not stop until he had completed his goal. Even when they separated Eren from the parasite that was the cause of all titans, Eren still transformed again and tried to fight his way to the parasite, so he could continue the Rumbling.
So, Mikasa knew that Eren had to die in order for the Rumbling to stop. No matter how many times they pushed Eren back, he would always keep advancing forward.
This is why Mikasa accepted that she had to kill Eren.
No one else at the time could have done it – Jean and Connie had been transformed into pure titans, the other Titan Shifters were battling Eren and the parasite, and Levi – the only other Ackerman with the skill to make the kill – was still injured after the thunder spear explosion.
Mikasa was the only one able to kill Eren – so she did it, and saved the world.
By killing Eren, Mikasa did just more than end the Rumbling.
After Mikasa took off his head, all the titans began to disintegrate. Titan Shifters lost their titan form and those who had been turned into pure titans returned to their normal selves.
Titans and the power of the titans ended when Mikasa killed Eren. How? Because by killing Eren, Mikasa helped free the founder Ymir.
Ymir was the first person to ever turn into a titan. As a girl, she was enslaved after her country was conquered by an Eldian king. After she released a pen full of pigs, Ymir was hunted down as punishment and would have died.
She stumbled into an opening in a tree, fell down a hole and became attached to a parasitic centipede at the spine.
From then on, Ymir could transform into a powerful titan that the Eldian king then used to conquer more kingdoms and empower his own.
Ymir was then used by the Eldian king to bear his children and eventually, she saved the king from an assassination attempt and died in the process. Her body was then consumed by her three daughters who inherited the titan powers.
Over her 13 years as a titan slave to the Eldian king, Ymir developed a sort of Stockholm syndrome. She had never felt love and yet found herself in love with the Eldian king despite his abuse.
Although she had the power to destroy him and free herself, Ymir did not – because she could not put her emotions aside and do what was right.
After her death, Ymir awoke in the titan realm where she continued to serve the Eldian king by fulfilling his wishes.
She used the sands in the titan realm to build more titans, allowing him to continue conquering the real world. Ymir remained a slave in the titan realm and waited 2000 years to be freed.
This is where Mikasa comes in.
Mikasa and Ymir share a few similarities. Like Ymir, Mikasa was in love with someone and went above and beyond to keep him safe.
The difference was that where Ymir felt restrained by her love, Mikasa was able to put it aside in order to do the right thing – kill Eren and save millions of people.
Where Ymir failed, Mikasa succeeded. Ymir complied with the Eldian king out of her unrequited love for him and began a cycle of torment and misery that would last for centuries. Mikasa did not – she stepped up and stopped Eren to save countless lives, even if it meant killing the person she loved the most.
This is what freed Ymir.
She saw Mikasa kill Eren even though she loved him and realized that she could have done the same. Ymir no longer felt she had to be a slave to the Eldian king just because she loved him.
In the additional pages released after the final chapter that helped clarify certain points, Ymir appeared to Mikasa as a vision.
Mikasa revealed that all her headaches, all the visions she had had of Eren were due to Ymir. Ymir had waited 2000 years to see if someone could actually do what she did not – kill the person she loved for the greater good.
During this brief meeting between Mikasa and Ymir, we see a vision of what could have been. Ymir would have let the Eldian king die and without him, her children never would have eaten her corpse and inherited the titan power. Titans never would have continued to exist after her death.
And so, Ymir is able to free herself from her 2000-year enslavement because Mikasa had shown her that it was possible to free yourself from the restraints of love.
With Ymir free, there was no one in the titan realm to build the titans out of sand. This is what ended the titan powers – Ymir, seeing Mikasa’s actions, followed in her footsteps and did the same for herself. With Ymir gone, the titans could never be built again, and the world was free from titans.
So, after all this time, it was really Mikasa who saved the world.
If Eren’s plan had gone ahead and no one stopped him, the world would still have titans even if it was just Eldians left. If anyone else had killed Eren, then Ymir would have stayed in the titan realm and continued building titans.
Only Mikasa could have freed Ymir and ended the power of the titans. Because Mikasa stepped up and killed the one she loved for the greater good of the world, Ymir was able to follow suit and free herself from the love she had for the Eldian king. With her gone, the power of the titans had ended – all because of Mikasa.
And that is why Mikasa had to kill Eren – not only to stop the Rumbling but to end the power of the titans, and that is why Mikasa is the true hero of Attack on Titan. It was her actions that saved the world.