All good things must come to an end. The above screenshot from the very first episode will go down as one of the most iconic moments in Anime history.
A lot has happened in in the almost 10 years since then. The Manga turned Anime spawned a spinoff Manga + Anime (Attack on Titan Junior High), several prequel manga series, two live-action movies and a number of video games. Like most Manga adaptations, the Anime was put on hiatus for a few years to allow the Manga to progress enough for the story to be adapted. I have the first 20 Volumes of the Manga and do plan to eventually finish collecting the entire Manga series once I am financially stable again.
For those who have only watched the Anime or may not have watched past the first season, you may not know a lot of the backstory that’s been revealed already. You may also be a little confused if you started watching the final season to find the focus is not on Eren Jaeger or what’s going on with the Survey Corps. The story has shifted to Marley, where the history of the Titans began.
Here’s a recap of the larger story to now:
- Sometime in the past before the start of the series, a woman named Ymir Fritz awakened as the First Titan though no one knows how or why. She founded the Eldian Empire. Those of Eldian blood were granted the ability to transform into Titans. Those with Eldian blood were also known a Subjects of Ymir. Ymir used the power of the Titans to subjegate the entire continent. Eldians forced others to have children with them to increase the number of Subjects of Ymir. This can be detected with a blood test.
- 13 years after awakening to Titan Power, Ymir died. Her power was then split into nine successors who are known Simply as the Nine Titans: Founding Titan, Attack Titan, Colossal Titan, Jaw Titan, Cart Titan, Beast Titan, War Hammer Titan, Female Titan and Armored Titan.
- Like Ymir, these Nine Titans can only live for 13 years after receiving their unique Titan power. Zeke Yaeger, who is the current Beast Titan is known to have one year left to live. Its known as the Curse of Ymir. When one of the Nine Titans dies before passing on their Titan Power it is randomly given to a newborn baby with Eldian blood regardless of status, distance or class.
- The Nine Titans are different from Pure Titans in that they retain their human intelligence. The Pure Titans are the ones you’re most familiar with: Mindless, man-eating monsters. All with Eldian Blood are capable of becoming a Pure Titan after being injected with Titan Serum, which is spinal fluid from a Titan. Abnormals are in between Pure Titans and the Nine Titans in which they retain some of their human intelligence after they have transformed.
- The Great Titan War was an earth-shattering conflict between the Nine Titans in the past. The conflict abruptly ended when King Reiss–ancestor of the Reiss Royal Family–who possessed the Founding Titan moved the capital of the Eldian Empire to Paradis Island where the first three seasons took place. He erected the Three Walls using Titans and warned the mainland to stay away or he will use the Titans to “Flatten the Earth”. The King then used the power of The Founding Titan to erase the memories of everyone in the Walled City of the outside world.
- After King Reiss withdrew to Paradis Island, Marley–a territory once conquered by the Eldian Empire–saw their chance and not only regained their lost territory but most of the Eldian Empire on the mainland. They also managed to take Seven of the Nine Titans from the Eldians.
- Having regained control of the continent, the Marleyans forced the Eldians to live in Internment Zones. One of them was in the city of Liberio where Grisha Yeager–Eren and Zeke Yeager’s father–grew up. As a child, Grisha’s younger sister Fay was killed by Marleyan Military Police when they were caught tresspassing outside the Internment Zone. Grisha’s father then revealed to him the history of their people and why they are so hated and feared by the Marleyans.
- When he grew up and became a doctor, Grisha met a man who confirmed for him what he always suspected and that was his sister had been killed and her murder covered up. Grisha then decides to join the Restorationists, a faction of Eldians in Liberio who wanted to restore Eldia as a world power. Grisha married into the Fritz family and had a son named Zeke, who would later become the Beast Titan.
- Around this time, Grisha learned the Marleyans were recruiting children to be given the power of the Seven Titans they controlled to send them to Paradis Island. Their goal was to take The Founding Titan’s power to further enhance their military strength. Grisha planned to send Zeke as a mole to Paradis Island but after he told Zeke of his plans, Zeke exposed the Restorationists to the Marleyan Military.
- Grisha, his wife and some of the Restorationists are taken to Paradis Island where they are transformed into Pure Titans one by one. Grisha pleads for them soldiers to let his wife, who has royal blood go but his pleas fall on deaf ears. The cruel irony is Grisha’s second wife is devoured by his first in Titan form many years later.
- Before Grisha can be killed, Eren Krueger–a mole disguised as a soldier–steps in and saves his life. He then transforms into the Attack Titan (Shingeki no Kyojin) and lays waste to the Marleyan soldiers, artillery and the steamboat that brought them to the island.
- Krueger decides to pass on the power of the Attack Titan to Grisha, explaining the 13-year rule to him at the same time: Ymir died 13 years afrer gaining her Titan Powers. So too do the Nine Titans die 13 years after gaining their Titan Power. In Krueger’s case, he was in his final year. He killed countless Eldians to keep his cover intact including Grisha’s sister. He felt it only fitting Grisha be entrusted with the next phase: Infiltrating the walled city on Paradis Island, gaining the Founding Titan’s power and using it to ultimately help restore the Eldian Empire.
- When Grisha arrives outside the Walled City, he is discovered by the Scout Regiment and claims to have amnesia. He is imprisoned and later freed. Shortly after beginning work as a doctor in a hospital, he meets his second wife Carla. They marry and have Eren a few years later.
- When the Titans invade Shiganshina at the beginning of the series, Grisha rushes to the Reiss Family Chapel where he reveals his is an Eldian and begs Freida Reiss to use the Founding Titan’s power to stop the marauding Titans. She refuses and so Grisha transforms into the Attack Titan. Frieda transforms to fight him but he easily overpowers her and devours her, gaining the power of the Founding Titan. He then goes on to kill everyone else present except Rod Reiss (Historia/Krista Lenz’ father) who escapes.
- Remember that flashback scene of Grisha injecting Eren with Titan Serum? Right after that, Eren transformed into a Titan for the first time and devoured his father, gaining the powers of both the Attack Titan and the Founding Titan.
When Season 3 ended, the Scout Regiment–having learned the truth about their world and the past–were preparing to invade the mainland. Four years have now passed and as of this week, an older and taller Erin Yeager has been revealed as having infiltrated Marley while disguised as an injured soldier.
For those who may be wondering, the reason the story shifted to the mainland when the season began is because the story of the Walled City on Paradis Island is now over. The cover image for the final season shows Reiner, who barely escaped Paradis Island with his life facing Eren in Titan form in a Marleyan city.
Before I forget. We have seen only Eight of the Nine Titans over the course of the series so far. The only one that hasn’t been revealed yet is the War Hammer Titan. It’s currently possessed by a member of the Tybur family in Marley though Zeke recently got them to agree to bring the War Hammer Titan to Paradis Island in an effort to gain the power of the Founding Titan.
Armin inherited the power of the Colossal Titan at the end of Season 3 and we have yet to see how his Titan form looks. Porco Galliard–the brother of Marco Galliard–gained the power of the Jaw Titan from Krista’s friend Ymir when she decided to return to Marley in Season 2. Ymir unexpectedly gained the power of the Jaw Titan by eating Marco when she was roaming Paradis Island as a Pure Titan. Everyone else gained their powers in a controlled process for the most part.
Why is everyone after the Founding Titan’s power, which is currently possessed by Eren Jaeger? Because it is the “Coordinate” from which all paths originate. The Founding Titan has two abilities: Memory Manipulation and controlling other Titans. It’s not yet known if Zeke knows Eren posseses the power of both the Attack Titan and the Founding Titan but it’s unlikely.
Remember: The first king of the Walled City use the Founding Titan’s power to erase the memories of everyone in the city. As subjects of Ymir, Eldians are basically Titans in Human form. So, memory manipulation is not all that hard to believe. With that in mind, it’s not hard to understand why Marley would want that power for themselves or why the Restorationists want it too. The Eldians want to regain their former glory so…yeah.
This is the final season of the Anime and it’s sure to be a must watch. Before I forget, you can legally watch the final season of Attack on Titan in the U.S. on Crunchyroll and Funimation.
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