Many texts and essays have been written about the ending of the Attack on Titan series by Hajime Isayama. Praised as one of the best series of the 21st century, the series ended with a very controversial ending that many fans considered to be disappointing and subpar in relation to the quality of the story in general. While the ending is still debated, with fans both defending and attacking it, in this article, we have decided to focus on one specific implication from the series, and that is the final scene, which implies that the Titan cycle could repeat itself. Will it? Keep reading to find out.
How did Attack on Titan end? Why is the final scene so important?
We know that Mikasa killed Eren in the final battle and that the Rumbling was thus brought to an end. With Eren dead, the Titans also disappeared, and the world could enter a new era, seemingly one filled with peace. And while that is true, it is also not true, as the situation wasn’t really as straightforward as you might think.
The epilogue tells us that while Mikasa started a family, she continued to go to Eren’s grave often as Paradis grew into a nation. Before long, a tree began to grow over Eren’s grave. When Mikasa passes away from old age, Shiganshina is totally destroyed by a bombardment, and the battles that had been happening outside of Paradis finally reach that country as well. A forest takes over the remains many years later, and the manga concludes with a lone lad and his dog reaching Eren’s tree, which has grown enormous, just like Ymir Fritz did all those years before.
As you can see, the story of Attack on Titan, thus, ended like it began – with the giant tree. We know that when Ymir entered that tree, she received the power of the Titans, and the whole thing started. Of course, the plot evolved over the centuries, but it all began with that giant tree. And as the final scene suggests, it might begin again. That is why it disappointed fans so much; that is why the ending was so controversial, as it seemed that nothing really mattered that all the sacrifices that had been made were completely in vain, and that not one of them really mattered. Is that so?
Does the final scene imply that everything is going to repeat itself?
Well, we do not know what Isayama intended to do. It is a very strong symbol, and the boy approaching the tree is a very important narrative moment. Is he going to enter? Is he going to leave? Does the tree have the same effect as the original tree? Or are the Titans done for good? Was Ymir’s tree just another repeated cycle, and is the world doomed to live through these cycles?
These are all the questions that the final scene raised, and sadly, we do not have a precise answer for you. Sadly, we do think that Isayma seemingly wanted to imply that we’re heading towards another cycle, as it wouldn’t make much sense to add the scene otherwise. If it was just a reference, it is quite weak. Sure, this was a controversial scene, but it was also very strong and shocking, so Isayama at least achieved that, if nothing else.
But we do not know for sure. It might be just a trick, but it might be that our opinion is true. There is an extra chapter coming out in 2024, and it is going to be set after the ending, so we might be getting some answers then, but we do not know. Until then, all we can do is debate, but our opinion is that the ending really does point to a grim future for the world.
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