Attack on Titan: Here Is How Time Travel Works

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In Attack on Titan, one of the things that allowed Eren to see that there was no other way for him to protect his friends from the wrath of the entire world was the fact that he could see into the future and could even send his memories down to the previous inheritors of the Attack Titan. That is why Eren could see what would happen to the world. And this is where it might get confusing to a lot of fans.

To a certain extent, there is time travel in Attack on Titan, but not at the same level as the time travel that we see in sci-fi anime. Trying to understand how time travel works in Attack on Titan can get confusing because it differs from the conventional way of traveling through time. That is why we are here to make this concept easier for those who have trouble understanding how time travel works in Attack on Titan.

Is There Time Travel in Attack on Titan?

Those who read the Attack on Titan manga would know that Eren’s actions were fueled by his visions of the future and how he understood that there was no other way for him to save his friends and destroy the Power of the Titans. That was why Eren had to launch the Rumbling, which destroyed and killed 80% of the world. And it was this act that prompted Eren’s friends to kill him, as he knew that this was the only way for him to keep them safe from the wrath of the world while erasing all of the titans from the face of the planet.

Of course, Eren knew all of this because there is, to some extent, an element of time travel in Attack on Titan. Eren already saw everything that happened in the future when he touched and kissed Historia’s hand, and that was why Eren was shocked upon touching Historia’s hand as he saw things that left him speechless.

eren historia hand

When Gabi decapitated Eren’s head through an anti-titan rifle, Zeke caught his head before Eren died. That was when both of them were transferred to the Paths, a world transcending time and space. It was also where Ymir’s spirit resided and the convergence point of the minds of all the Eldians in the world. As such, we could see Eren and Zeke traveling back to the past to see the memories of their father, Grisha Yeager.

Using the same power to travel through time, Eren could see Ymir’s life and what led to her becoming the Founding Titan.

That means that, to some extent, time travel does exist in the world of Attack on Titan. But some people don’t understand how this concept works. But the point is that it all boils down to the Power of the Titans and the abilities of the Attack Titan.

How Does the Attack Titan’s Power Work?

We know that every titan shifter in Attack on Titan can see the memories of the previous power holder. Armin believed he had feelings for Annie because Bertholdt, the previous holder of the Colossal Titan’s power, was in love with her. Of course, there’s also the fact that each titan in Attack on Titan has a unique ability.

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But the one thing that people wondered about Eren’s Attack Titan is its special ability. It doesn’t have the armored exterior of the Armored Titan or the massive size and nuclear explosion abilities of the Colossal Titan. Even the Female Titan can adapt using the powers of the other titans. But the Attack Titan initially looked like an average titan shifter with no special abilities.

Later in the final season of Attack on Titan, the powers of the Attack Titan were finally revealed. While it doesn’t have the combat-oriented special abilities that the other titan shifters have, it is capable of not only seeing the memories of its past wielder but also the memories of future users. That means that future users can pass down their memories to past users.

This was why Grisha Yeager attacked and killed the Reiss family. Eren knew that it was important for him to kill the Reiss family and take the Founding Titan’s power from Freida at the time that she was still not acclimated to the abilities of her titan. That was why he spoke to his father through the power of the Attack Titan, as he convinced Grisha, the previous holder of the Attack Titan’s power, to kill the Reiss family and take the Founding Titan’s powers.

It was also through this that Grisha was able to see Zeke’s future self as he was looking at Zeke’s older version through the eyes of Eren, who took Zeke with him when they both visited their father’s memories through the Paths.

eren grisha zeke

That is why Attack Titan has that name. It was meant to always move forward into the future due to its ability to see the memories of its future holders. As such, Eren used this power to “time-travel” into the past and talked his father into killing the Reiss family. 

How Did Eren See the Future?

The thing about the Attack Titan is that it can see the future through the memories of its future holder. However, Eren was the final one to use the power of the Attack Titan. So, if that’s the case, how did he see the future where he used the Rumbling to kill almost the entire world?

Eren could see the future through the power of the Founding Titan, a titan capable of seeing through time itself using the Paths, which is the convergence point of history and the memories of all the Subjects of Ymir. And when the Paths cross, that is called the Coordinate, as this is what the Founding Titan is often called because it is the very foundation of all the lives and memories of the Subjects of Ymir.

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Because the Paths is a place that exists outside of normal time and space, Eren was able to use Ymir’s Founding Titan powers to see the future the moment he made contact with Historia, an Eldian with royal blood.  

In that regard, the way that time travel works in Attack on Titan is not the same as how time travel often works in sci-fi anime and other shows and movies. Instead, time travel allows Eren to view past and future events using the Paths. He doesn’t travel both in body and in mind whenever he views memories because what happens is that only his mind is sent to different periods in the history of the Eldians.

Zeke was surprised that Eren could talk to Grisha when they traveled to the past using the powers of the Coordinate. They were supposed to only view Grisha’s memories instead of traveling to the past. But because the Attack Titan can send memories to its previous users, Eren could affect Grisha’s actions even though he only viewed his memories. 

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