This week’s Attack on Titan gets a little wild and I’m still not sure whether that’s good or not.
Children opens in Ragako village where Hange’s assistant, Moblit, and some others find the immobile titan on Connie’s house. The same speculations we’ve heard before about whether the villagers escaped or not are rehashed again. Then one of them brings Moblit a portrait of Connie’s parents and well, seems like the titan on the house has an uncanny resemblance to his mother.
Let that sink in for a moment.
After that, we’re back with Eren, Ymir, Reiner and Bertolt. After spotting the rescue party, Reiner prepares to leave. Eren tries to stop him but that boy can’t shift or use his arms so he’s subdued in the end. He does delay them a bit though which is helpful.
Meanwhile, Bertolt asks Ymir if she remembers the boy she ate – their friend Marcel whom we’ve seen in a previous flashback. It seems that he was also a titan shifter and eating him was what made her become human again. But she can’t remember him and Bertolt says that it’s the same for them and Eren as well. None of them remember who they ate to become titan shifters. Ymir also drops the bombshell that she was a titan for 60 years and that it felt as if she was trapped in an endless nightmare. She returned to human form five years ago, which would be when Wall Maria fell.
The four of them take off – Eren’s knocked out though – and that’s when Ymir finds out about the scouts coming after them. She knows Christa (Historia? I’ll use Christa for now) well enough to figure out that she’s coming to rescue Ymir. She insists that they take Christa with them now but Reiner vetoes it, saying it’s better for Christa if they escape now and return for her later. Ymir is clearly desperate and her words imply that she will be eaten by another ‘warrior’ before she can see Christa again but Reiner’s insistence that his idea is better for Christa gets her to back down.
Or so it seems.
This is where we finally find out who and what Ymir really is.
There’s a lot of confusion about exactly where this happens and what’s going on but the basic gist is that some guy takes a little girl from the streets and gives her the name Ymir which makes others treat her like a divine figure or something. They make a cult around her and Ymir is happy to go along with the lies because not only does it allow her to live comfortably, it also makes her feel like she has a purpose in life.
Naturally, it all goes to hell one day when men with guns crash the party and the guy who made Ymir into what she is betrays her. Ymir does consider spilling the beans but in the end, keeps up the façade for her followers’ sake. That doesn’t help though – they’re arrested and stoned and eventually turned into titans. We don’t see how this happens but it’s clearly an artificial process.
Ymir runs around outside Wall Maria as a titan and then she chances upon little Annie, Bertolt, Reiner and their fourth member Marcel. She ends up eating him and later regains her human body. Ymir promises herself that she’ll never lie to herself again and also live for herself. That plan goes well and then she meets Christa whom Ymir recognizes as being similar to her as Christa is also living by lying to herself.
We already know how close Ymir and Christa are but it’s nice to see how it all began.
Back to the present, Ymir goes a bit berserk and turns on the Reiner and Bertolt. She’s willing to use her advantage among the trees to take Eren and return to the scouts. Of course, this is unless Reiner agrees to let her take Christa with them. She even admits that she’s not doing this for Christa’s sake – Ymir just wants to live and see her again. It’s clear that Ymir believes she won’t live long enough to see her if she goes with Reiner and Bertolt and is thus really desperate.
Reiner has no choice but to agree.
Elsewhere, the scouts (and also some from the other two branches) are entering the forest, breaking through the titans and suffering losses in the process. The 104 kids end up finding Ymir and go to her thinking that she’s still on their side. Connie even tries to get her to tell them where Eren and the others are but Ymir just waits for Christa to show up.
And Christa does show up, all happy to see Ymir, only to get swallowed the next second.
It’s a given that she’s alive and fine but damn, that must have been a shock.
Ymir returns to where Reiner and Bertolt are waiting with a still unconscious Eren. Reiner becomes the Armored Titan and runs off with everyone else piggybacking. The scouts give chase. The end. Whew.
This episode was one hell of a surprise. We get Ymir’s backstory which raises a hell of a lot of questions at this point in the story. Where actually is she from? Why was her name so important? Who were the people that arrested her? Why did they arrest her? And most importantly, how in all the everloving hells did they turn her (and others) into titans?
Yes, folks, we find out that titans are made from people and that it’s other people who facilitate this. We don’t know how or why.
In the manga, we find all of this out in chapter 89 (it’s only up to 93 even now) after we’ve been given enough information to figure out where and why this happens. Here, all of this is dumped on us with no context save for how it relates to Ymir’s mindset.
I can’t accurately judge whether this makes the story better or worse so I’m curious to know what your reactions to Ymir’s backstory is? Did it help flesh out her character in a good way or does the confusion hinder your enjoyment?
Other interesting reveals include the one about eating titan shifter allowing normal titans to regain their humanity while maintaining the ability to shift. That brings us to the golden question – who the hell did Eren eat and when did it happen?
My personal favorite bits in this episode were Ymir’s thoughts and feelings on Christa. I don’t know how healthy their relationship is but it was touching all the same to see the intensity of Ymir’s love for her, especially after seeing Christa herself act the same way in a prior episode. The line ‘That girl knows how awful I am and still smiles at me’ got me good. They’re without a doubt one of the most fascinating couples I’ve seen in anime.