Does Eren Love Mikasa In Attack On Titan?

For every protagonist in anime, there has always been a love interest. For Inuyasha, it was Kagome. In the Naruto series, it was Sakura, at least until Hinata finally confessed her love for the boy who would be Hokage. In Bleach, the romantic tension between Orihimie and Ichigo was undeniable, even if it was pretty one-sided on Orihime’s part. 

In almost every shonen anime that features a main protagonist, you’ll more than likely find a love interest. Admittedly, there are a few exceptions to the rule, and Attack On Titan is one of them.

For a long time, fans were almost certain that the main hero, Eren Jaeger, and his comrade Mikasa Ackerman would get together by the end of Attack of Titan. Though it was obvious that Mikasa had feelings for Eren, the tragic hero never seemed to reciprocate that same affection.

Their dynamic is actually common in shonen anime, usually ending with the male protagonist realizing his love for the female protagonist near the end and the two finally becoming a couple just in time for a beautiful happy ending. Then again, Attack On Titan has never been one of those happy stories, and its approach to relationships is just as tragic as the Titans killing half of the human population.

The relationship between Eren Yeager and Mikasa Ackerman has always been strained due to the constant threat of the Titans. In the beginning, Mikasa was simply the young daughter of the Ackermans⏤a family neighboring the Jaegers⏤who Eren had rescued from bandits who had killed Mikasa’s parents. With nowhere else to go, Mikasa stayed with the Jaeger family and built a somewhat brother-sister bond with Eren. After the attack on Wall Maria and the loss of Eren’s mother, Mikasa makes it her duty to stay by Eren’s side and protect him throughout the majority of the series. 

For Mikasa, that bond becomes so strong that she begins confessing her feelings for Eren as the Scout Regiment are on the verge of getting surrounded by a group of Titans. Unfortunately, Mikasa doesn’t get a chance to finish, as Eren interrupts her to face the Titans looming over them and uses his Founding Titan’s scream to draw the other Titans’ attention away from the Scouts. After the ordeal, Eren and Mikasa never revisit the conversation and Eren never addresses how he feels about her.

At least, not until they’re both grown up and the Jagerists take over Paradis Island with Eren as their de facto leader. In a desperate attempt to dissuade Eren from his course of action at the time, Armin and Mikasa meet with Eren to discuss his motives. During the meeting, Eren confesses that he’s always hated Mikasa for following him around and doing whatever he asked, as it he sees it as a lack of free will. He even downplays Mikasa’s devotion to him by explaining that the Ackermans were warriors who were designed solely to protect, and when that power awakens, they have no choice but to obey, basically saying that Mikasa’s “love”  was nothing more than a case of her blindly following her genetics. 

After this scene, fans were convinced that Eren really didn’t have any romantic affection for Mikasa and that the Jaeger-Ackerman ship was as good as sunk⏤and they were partly right. However, before that ship drifted to the bottom of the ocean, Eren made a startling confession that was both hopeful and tragic at the same time. 

(Warning: spoilers ahead. Continue reading at your own risk!)

In Chapter 139 of the Attack on Titan manga, Eren and Armin face off for a final confrontation against each other as Eren continues to carry out his plan to eradicate the world’s population of anyone who doesn’t have Eldian blood running through their veins. Before their final battle, the two former friends converse and Eren reveals that he truly loves Mikasa and has been in love with her for quite some time. When Armin retorts that Mikasa will move on after Eren’s death, Eren loses his cool and expresses what how he really feels about the idea of Mikasa living life without him.

“I don’t want that. Mikasa finding another man? I want her to think about me and no one else for the rest of my life. Even as I die, I want to be at the front of her mind for a while. Ten years at least. I don’t want to die. I want to be with Mikasa.”

Unfortunately, Eren’s betrayal of his country and previous shunning of Mikasa’s devotion for him had already done too much damage to their relationship. Now fueled by a dedication to stop Eren by any means necessary, it’s actually Mikasa who delivers the fatal strike that kills Eren as he controls his own monstrous version of the Colossal Titan.