Attack on Titan Chapter 139

Attack on Titan Chapter 139

Finally Free (from Monthly Attack on Titan Chapters)

As you may know, the Attack on Titan manga ended with chapter 139 yesterday (April 7, 2021). And, while I hadn’t been doing reviews of each chapter, I had been reading them as they released each month. So, now that it’s over, I’d like to share some of my thoughts.

But, before I get into the actual review, there are some disclaimers that I need to make. First, none of the images in this review are going to be from the manga because I’m not trying to catch a copyright claim by reposting panels right after the release.

Second, and probably more importantly, I’m going to be spoiling the entire Attack on Titan manga, especially the final chapter in this review. If you don’t want to be spoiled, I highly suggest also avoiding the comment section of this post.

A Great Ride that Ended in Disaster

I’m about to tear this final chapter of Attack on Titan apart. So before I do that, I’d like to remind everyone that I really like this series. It was a great ride, it’s one of my favorite anime, and — aside from in this chapter — Eren is one of my favorite characters.

The biggest issue I have with the series is chapter 139. If we just ignore this chapter, I think the manga is a 9/10. But with this final chapter, I’d have to say that it’s maybe an 8/10. That’s still a really good score.

And, I get it, lowering the score of a series that’s 139 chapters long because of a single chapter may be frowned upon. However, this was the final chapter. This chapter was supposed to wrap up all the various plot points. It failed spectacularly.

The following list of my issues with chapter 139 is by no means exhaustive. I’ve merely selected some of what I believe to be the worst offenses.

Eren Invalidated Everything

One of the biggest issues with this final chapter is that Eren effectively invalidated everything that had happened previously in the series. The plot, his development as a character, everything. And for what? So some fans could get the “happy” ending they wanted?

Some birds reflected in Eren's eye from the first episode of the Attack on Titan anime
Some birds reflected in Eren’s eye

Hear me out. If you watched the Final Season of the anime, you may recall the scene towards the beginning when Eren and Reiner come face to face in a Marleyan basement. During that meeting, Eren asks Reiner why his mother was eaten. Reiner’s response was that he was to blame for the death of Eren’s mother.

However, in this chapter, Eren just casually reveals that he was the one who caused Dina Fritz’s titan to eat his own mother. Not only was there absolutely no context leading up to this reveal, but it invalidates Eren’s entire character that was built around wanting to avenge his mother.

Also, I’ve seen a lot of people saying how they like that Eren broke down and admitted he loved Mikasa. I can’t say I agree with them. Their argument is that those are his true feelings that he’s been hiding this entire time. But to me, that’s just them trying to rationalize this abrupt change in his personality.

Obviously he was purposefully pushing everyone away and making himself the villain. That’s been obvious for a very long time. But this scene just went against all of his character development.

Where did the Titan Worm Go?

I guess I also need to mention the elephant in the room, or in this case, the worm not in the chapter. Maybe you forgot, but there was kind of a big deal made about the “Founding Titan worm thing” that comes out of Eren’s body and effectively makes him immortal.

That was supposed to be one of the big points of this episode. The allies were going to have to stop that worm thing from restoring Eren’s body after he was killed. Well, Isayama kind of just dropped that part of the series and doesn’t bring it up again.

Now, to be fair, why the worm doesn’t show up in this chapter was actually explained. The issue is that the explanation is a terrible one that causes a whole host of other problems, which I’ll go into individually in the next few sections.

But basically, because that worm was the “essence” of the Founding Titan, it was erased along with all the other titans by Mikasa kissing Eren. That’s right. The power of love killed the worm.

Mikasa (Somehow) Saved Humanity

While not my biggest issue with this chapter, I think Mikasa turning out to be the savior of humanity is the most infuriating one. Her character was effectively sidelined for the previous 30 chapters, and suddenly she’s the hero of the story.

To be fair, Mikasa being the hero in the end doesn’t bother me all that much. My issue is that being the hero of the story simply involves loving Eren. So, let’s break down exactly what this means.

First of all, Mikasa loving or kissing Eren isn’t really the point. The point is that Mikasa kills the person she loves who also happens to be the one controlling the Founding Titan. If Mikasa killed Eren but didn’t love him, the curse of the Titans wouldn’t have been broken.

Mikasa wearing her (Eren's) scarf from the sixth episode of the Attack on Titan anime
Mikasa wearing her (Eren’s) scarf

And, the fact that Mikasa loves someone like Eren is why Ymir selected her as “her favorite.” I think it’s pretty funny that Ymir’s favorite Eldian is only half-Eldian, but whatever. I just hope nobody tells the pureblood Eldians.

Where this gets the most infuriating is that because the series ended due to the power of love, it means the entire series was always about the power of love. For example, Eren randomly reveals that the reason the Eldians had been cursed with Titan powers for the past few 2,000 years was that Ymir was in love with King Fritz.

You can’t honestly think that’s a good plot point. The past 2,000 years of war and suffering were all because a girl was suffering from Stockholm syndrome. And all that time, Ymir was just waiting for a girl to do what she couldn’t and kill the one they love.

Levi Lives

I know some diehard Levi fans are probably going to hate me for saying this, but Levi should have died in the end. I think that would have been perfect for his character arc.

Throughout the story, Levi has lost basically all of his comrades. Annie killed all of his squadmates and both Erwin and Hange sacrificed themselves in the pursuit of freedom for the Eldians and humanity at large. And then we have Levi, left alone.

I really liked the scene of Levi seeing all his fallen comrades in the steam and saluting them as he lay propped up and on the verge of death. That would have been the perfect way for him to die, and it would have wrapped his whole story up neatly.

Consider it this way. All of his comrades died gruesome deaths fighting against Titans. But here, as the last one remaining, Levi would have been able to die peacefully in a world that was just rid of Titans. He would have died after achieving the goal that all the Scouts before him dreamed of.

How anyone can say that it’s better that he survived is beyond me. Okay, he’s living the dream that the fallen scouts all had, I guess. But I don’t think he’s the one who needs to live that dream. The younger scouts can do that. Levi had the perfect opportunity to die in a meaningful way and missed it.

Isayama Pulled an Araki and Forgot

This one isn’t really an issue I have with the final chapter. Instead, it’s something that I think is entertaining. You may recall that back in 2018, Isayama sketched out what he planned to use as the final panel of the manga.

It features an adult with long hair facing away from us while holding a baby over their shoulder. The adult is saying to the baby “You are free” (お前は自由だ / Omae wa jiyūda).

The "final panel" Isayama drew for Attack on Titan in 2018
The “final panel” Isayama drew for Attack on Titan in 2018

A lot of people thought that this was going to either be Eren holding the baby or Historia holding the baby (which they assumed was Eren’s child). As we know, Historia and Eren were never a thing, so obviously this wouldn’t be their child and therefore that fan theory fails.

But, the funny part is that this panel doesn’t appear in the final chapter. It doesn’t even appear in the manga at all.

I’m not sure if Isayama forgot that he drew this and said it was going to be the final panel or if he decided to take the end of the series in a different direction since drawing it. Either way, though, it’s pretty funny that fans, myself included, had been using this sketch as theory fodder for the past three years and then it never appeared.

And They All Lived Happily Ever After

I almost wasn’t going to include this, but I guess I’ll mention that I think the sudden eradication of all Titans was a bit of a boring end. It was a complete Deus ex machina. The Eldian goddess Ymir just snaps her fingers and solves the problem that had plagued humanity for 2,000 years.

What makes it worse is that just in the previous chapter, many of the characters that we had grown to care about throughout the series got turned into pure titans. What was the point of that if they were just going to revert back to normal in this chapter?

They must have been pure titans for a total of 10 minutes in-universe. That’s just another example of how this chapter decided to throw everything that came before it in the trash. Reading this chapter, it almost felt like Araki told someone who had never read Attack on Titan before to write the last chapter for him.

At Least the Memes are Good

One thing I have to admit is that chapter 139 spawned a lot of good memes. Over in the DoubleSama.com Discord server, we’ve been sharing our favorite chapter 139 memes and it’s been a blast. I can honestly say that the memes have made up for how bad the chapter was.

I’m not going to share many of the memes here. However, I’ve really been enjoying the ones referencing Eren as a bird. Whether it’s manga panels in which Eren is drawn as a bird, or other bird images being used to make memes, they’ve been great.

Conclusion

What do you think of Attack on Titan Chapter 139? Was it a good end to the manga? What’s your biggest complaint after reading it? And what’s your favorite meme that it spawned? Let me know in the comments.

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