Attack On Titan 139 a bad ending, Shingeki no Kyojin ‘Snyder Cut’ of anime’s final season needed, claims petition

Attack On Titan Manga Ending Eren Yeager
In Attack On Titan 139, manga fans finally saw what happened to Eren Yeager and his friends according to creator Hajime Isayama. But can or should Studio MAPPA change the ending in Shingeki no Kyojin Season 4 Part 2? Pic credit: Studio MAPPA/Hajime Isayama

Was Attack On Titan Chapter 139 a bad ending? Manga fans who read the final chapter are divided, with many fans thanking creator Hajime Isayama for his 11-year effort. But others believe that Studio MAPPA should change the ending by essentially having a so-called “Snyder Cut” of the Attack On Titan Season 4 Part 2 anime TV series.

There are multiple petitions making the same claim. Some of the petitions are very simple and claim, “Fellow AoT fans, we all read chapters 137, 138 and 139. I believe most of us are unsatisfied with the plot holes, character arcs, and the ending, overall. Sign this petition to make MAPPA do an anime original ending.”

READ: Attack On Titan Requiem manga is a Shingeki no Kyojin alternate ending by fans

But one petition that has already garnered over 5,000 signatures goes into detail in analyzing the story. The petition’s creator, Dr. Vibenari, claims the Attack On Titan manga’s ending came off as “very rushed” and “feels very thematically different, giving a lot of fans tonal whiplash.”

Before discussing the petition, it should be noted that Isayama himself has already tweaked the ending. The Attack On Titan Volume 34 release date is scheduled for June 9, 2021. The final volume will have two editions that include 8 additional pages not included in the magazine release, but it’s currently unknown how these pages will impact the ending.

Attack On Titan Final Volume
The Attack On Titan Volume 34 cover art. While it’s possible the extra pages will give more details there should not be any major changes to the conclusion of the story. Pic credit: Hajime Isayama

READ: Hiroyuki Sawano interview with Attack On Titan: The Final Season OST music composer

Warning: The following contains major spoilers for the Attack On Titan 139 manga chapter. This article purposefully doesn’t reveal all of the details but anime-only audiences should consider themselves forewarned.

The petition creator starts off by pointing how disturbing it was that Founder Ymir’s motivations for her actions were essentially Stockholm Syndrome. Despite King Fritz burning down her home, killing her father, tearing out her tongue, and continually raping her as part of a forced marriage, Ymir was truly “in love” and that is why Ymir’s restriction persisted for thousands of years.

It was Ymir’s hope that she could be freed from the pain of her love. And, eventually, someone arrived who could do so.

“Something just feels off about romanticizing something like that,” Dr. Vibenari writes.

Another creepy message was that Eren told Mikasa in Attack On Titan 138 to “forget him,” but then in manga Chapter 139 Eren admits to Armin that he doesn’t want Mikasa to move on and love another man. Instead, Eren wants Mikasa to “hold [him] in her heart for a long time!”

The petition creator also criticizes how Attack On Titan 139 changed Eren Jaeger’s goals and motivations, rendering “everything in the story … rather pointless.” It’s claimed that “characters like Mikasa Ackerman and Historia Reiss now feel sort of wasted [since] everything feels far too different from the story that we’ve come to know.”

“This doesn’t feel thematically correct with everything that has occurred within Attack on Titan, the ending very feels out of place. The romance itself could fit perfectly if Eren was a tad bit less creepy about it. It’s just odd he wants her to love him for years even after he dies, he doesn’t even want her to find another man. That seems more like obsession which didn’t sit right with some.”

The petition writer also criticized how certain characters seemed to have plot armor even though Isayama had no problems killing off others in past chapters. Eren is considered a “victim” of Attack On Titan 139 and somehow he was the “cause of his own mother’s death.”

Shingeki no Kyojin Manga Ending
A teaser image for the Attack On Titan manga’s ending that was released beforehand indicated that Eren Yeager would not receive a happy ending. Pic credit: Kodansha
  • Updated April 30, 2021: Added number of extra pages for final volume. Added Volume 34 cover art.

Was Attack On Titan Chapter 139’s ending influenced by Kodansha’s manga editors?

The petition writer believes the ending battle against the final antagonist was too easily achieved and asked, “Throughout the whole story of Attack on Titan the power of ‘friendship’ has never prevailed, so why is it different here?”

The petitioner claims that Attack On Titan 139 essentially used the “Talk no Jutsu” trope, a “technique” from the Naruto series where the protagonist can change the ideology of evil, depressed, and twisted people in a matter of mere minutes.

It’s also believed that the ending left several plot threads hanging, including questions like, “What happened to the Titan Parasite?”, “Did the Titan shifters in the paths die? Because it seems they can survive death,” and, “Why didn’t Eren control the Titans he made?”

The petition insists that “a very large portion of the fandom from what I’ve witnessed believes that Kodansha or Isayama’s Editor has heavily influenced the ending to perhaps [make it] fit a more ‘shounen'” type of ending.”

The petition writer doesn’t cite any evidence for this assertion. By contrast, in early 2021 Isayama is quoted as saying, “The editorial team never rushed me to finish the series, but I’ve been continually asked, ‘When will it end?’ Thank you for waiting for me. I will do my best until the last page so you will feel satisfied with what you’ve read.”

In January 2021, Isayama was also asked if the ending would be “unpredictable” and he replied, “We will see!”

The manga creator was also asked if Attack On Titan 139 would contain a “happy ending” and he said, “I’ve never thought about whether the ending is happy or not.”

It’s notable that the entire series has references to Scandinavian mythology. Essentially, the Attack On Titan manga’s ending was Ragnarok, where the world is destroyed in the war between the gods, and now humanity’s story can begin.

Attack On Titan Final Panel
“You are free.” The original final panel for the Attack On Titan manga’s ending as colorized by fans. Pic credit: amanomoon

Attack On Titan’s final panel for the manga’s ending changed

Way back in Fall 2018, Hajime Isayama revealed to the world that he knew how the entire story was going to end and teased the so-called “final panel” for the manga series. It showed a long-haired man holding a baby saying, “You are free.”

This final panel was shown off in exhibitions and caused plenty of speculation amongst the fandom. Some thought it was Eren with Historia’s child. Others thought it might be future generations of Eldians free of the Titan curse.

Everyone was wrong. Instead, it was a flashback to Grisha holding baby Eren that was revealed in stored memories from the Founding Titan powers.

The petition points out that Grisha mentioning to Eren how he is “free” would not make sense as “Grisha quite literally forced Eren into being a Titan from what it seemed.”

One aspect that stood about the Attack On Titan manga’s ending in Chapter 139 is that the final panel was not, in fact, the real final panel. Instead, the final panel implied that Eren had reincarnated as a bird that visits a grieving Mikasa.

Shingeki no Kyojin 139 Bird Eren
Attack On Titan’s ending goes full circle by having Mikasa sitting under the very tree that Chapter 1 opened with. She finds herself surprised by a bird wrapping her scarf around her neck just as she was wishing she could see Eren again. Pic credit: Hajime Isayama

It’s possible that Isayama’s plans for the ending evolved over time. Or, Isayama intended the so-called “final panel” with Grisha to be a red herring to throw manga fans off, so they were surprised by the actual ending.

After all, the scene from the original “final panel” did still play a role, but it was relegated to a minor note in the first third of Attack On Titan 139 rather than a triumphant happy ending.

While Eren reincarnating as a bird seems bizarre at first glance, keep in mind that birds are the embodiment of the wings of freedom. Birds symbolize freedom since they have the freedom to roam the earth and fly the skies. In Japan, birds can also symbolize love.

In retrospect, Isayama kept including panels with birds flying overhead during the last several story arcs. So, this heavy foreshadowing seems to indicate that Isayama did, in fact, plan out this ending several years ago.

Attack On Titan: Final Season Part 2 release date set for Winter 2022

Whether or not Studio MAPPA could make some tweaks to the ending at the direction of Isayama is unknown. What is certain is that FUNimation has officially confirmed that the Attack On Titan: Final Season Part 2 release date is scheduled for Winter 2022.

The anime TV series will pick up the Final Season again in the winter with Attack On Titan Episode 76 (or Attack On Titan Season 4 Episode 17).

The petition ended by stating that “the main problem was that the story’s conclusion felt very unsatisfying and too tonally different from the story the fandom and I have grown up with.” The petition also asks that the fandom should not harass Isayama for how he chose to end the manga series.

Do you think the anime’s ending should tweak or change the ending provided by Attack On Titan Chapter 139?

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