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13 times ‘Attack on Titan’ made us cry

Titans, twists, turns, and lots of tears.

Warning: This article contains spoilers for the final episode of Attack On Titan.

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After what feels like forever (it’s been a whole decade since season 1), Attack on Titan is finally over. The release of THE Final Chapters Special 2 on Oct. 4, marked the end of the greatest anime of all time.

Predictably, the final episode has left many fans in shambles. Often regarded as a shounen-seinen mix, AOT tackles a lot of mature themes which have left many viewers extremely emotional. As a series that essentially deals with the end of the world, there are a ton of plot twists and devastating scenes that trigger a tear or two from fans.

While there are a lot of heartbreaking deaths, many more events in AOT pack a huge punch, and while action is the main course of the day, the dramatic elements make it a much more powerful anime than others aimed at younger audiences. From the scenes that left fans speechless, to the ones that had us bawling our eyes out, here are 13 Attack on Titan moments that tugged at our heartstrings and led us to tears, including bits from the finale. 

Eren apologizes in advance for The Rumbling

You and I knew The Rumbling was coming. Eren knew The Rumbling was coming. However, the world did not. In a gut-wrenching scene in the penultimate episode of Attack On Titan, the Colossal Titans have begun to march, and a little boy named Ramzi can’t help but recall a moment he shared with Eren. In the gripping flashback, Eren squeezes Ramzi tight and apologizes to him over and over again. He breaks down apologizing to the boy over and over again after foreseeing his gory death. It’s an extremely painful scene to watch.

Carla Jaeger’s death

Right at the start of the series, Eren Jaeger and his adopted sister Mikasa Ackerman are helpless and forced to watch as their city, Wall Maria, gets destroyed by the Colossal Titan. As Titans ravaged their city, destroying everything and eating everyone, Eren and Mikasa were rescued by Hannes, a lifelong family friend of the Jaegers.

Unfortunately, a devastating blow is dealt to viewers early on, as Eren’s mother, Carla, is eaten by a Titan as the kids watch in agony. While there are no heavy sentiments towards the characters this early in the anime, it definitely hit many in the feels, and kickstarts what becomes a thrilling series packed with severe twists. When we learn in the final episode that Eren was the one who diverted the Titan to his mother, the initial pain hits even harder.

Mikasa’s horrific childhood

The audience has to watch how Mikasa’s parents were killed by human traffickers in their family home. She would have been sold off if not for the late intervention by Eren, who aids her in killing the traffickers and eventually brings her to his home to live with him and his family. In the manga, it is shown that Mikasa’s mother had a baby boy at the time of her death. No child should go through this, and while it served to unlock Mikasa’s latent strength as an Ackerman, it’s still a gruesome watch. 

Connie’s mother’s Titan form

After Reiner has revealed that he and Bertholdt are the Armored and Colossal Titan respectively, they battle with the scouts and manage to capture Eren. Connie’s village, now decimated by Titans, is absolutely empty, save for one Titan lying down on his family home. Connie at first refuses to believe it, but the laying Titan bears a striking resemblance to his mother. Unfortunately for Connie, it is revealed his mother has been turned into a Titan, leading him to break down terribly. 

Hannes’ death

Hannes had been a good guardian to Eren, Mikasa, and Armin during their childhood, though he felt guilty for not being able to save Eren’s mother Carla when the Titans first invaded Wall Maria and springs into action when a similar situation arises many years later. But history would repeat itself: Hannes is met with his untimely end by the same Titan that killed Carla in the series’ pilot episode. 

Related: All Characters Who Died in ‘Attack on Titan’ on Attack of the Fanboy

Erwin or Armin?

Commander Erwin is mortally wounded, but there’s only enough spinal fluid to turn one person into a Titan. Luckily Bertholdt is also gravely wounded so there is a chance for someone to become the Colossal Titan and firmly shift the battle in the favor of Paradis Island. During these events, Armin has also been mortally wounded and now, Hange and Levi have a choice to make — save Erwin, or save Armin. Erwin ultimately orders them to keep the next generation alive, and while Armin is saved, fans said their goodbyes to Erwin. It’s an extremely bittersweet moment in the entire series. 

Grisha’s tragic life before Paradis Island

Upon entering the basement rumored to be the holder of vital secrets, we see the life of the man who lived in the basement and brought all the information of life outside the walls — Grisha Jaeger. Grisha was a naïve young man that didn’t understand the discrimination Eldians received from the Marleyans. One day, Grisha and his sister Faye went through the internment zone after a blimp caught their attention. They were caught by the Public Security Officers, and this led to Grisha getting punished and his sister being abducted. Later, he married Dina Fritz and they gave birth to Zeke Jaeger. They, as well as other Eldians, began to plan an uprising against the Marleyans, only to be reported to the authorities by their own son, Zeke. As punishment, Dina gets turned into the Smiling Titan, and Grisha is fortunately saved, although forced to leave Marley in permanent exile.

Sasha’s death

Sasha Blouse, famously known as “potato girl,” had been a fan favorite since the start of the series. In contrast, Gabi Braun rubbed many fans the wrong way since her introduction. As Eren began the raid on Marley, Gabi is forced to hide as everyone around her is murdered by the “demons of Paradis.”

As the scouts begin to retreat, rejoicing in their successful attack against Marley, Gabi and Falco sneak aboard their ship. With everyone’s back turned she fires a shot from a rifle and kills Sasha instantly. Often regarded as the most devastating loss in all of Attack on Titan, Sasha’s death hit many hard, and Gabi earned her spot among anime’s most hated characters of all time.  

Ymir, the Founding Titan

Ymir was a slave girl trying to earn her daily bread, but unfortunately angered the King, who ordered her to be hunted and executed. As she ran for her safety, she found an unusually large tree with a chasm at its base. Seeking a place to hide, she stepped in and fell into a pool of water.

There, a mysterious spine-like creature fused with her and made her the first-ever Titan. She then marries the King and brings prosperity to Eldia, devastating the forces of Marley and the rest of the world. 13 years later, she dies protecting her King, but her corpse is cannibalized by her daughters, Maria, Rose, and Shina. 

Eren betrays Mikasa and Armin

Before The Rumbling, many viewers still held out hope that Eren was redeemable, but began to worry after he rips into Mikasa. As they return to Paradis to come up with another strategy against the Marleyans, Eren confronts Mikasa and Armin. In this conversation, he harshly dismisses Mikasa’s love for him as mere mind control for being an Ackerman.

Eren says a lot of hurtful statements to her and while Armin attempts to call him to order, Eren beats him and tells Mikasa that he has hated her since their childhood. While some fans argue that this was a necessary evil to protect them, it’s still one of the most uncomfortable scenes to watch. 

Onyankopon’s touching message about diversity

It’s no secret that Onyakopon was the only Black character in Attack of Titan. However, his message about the source of diversity was a truly heartfelt one. His homeland (presumably somewhere in West Africa) was invaded by Marley, and thus, he spent the bulk of his life there. However, he never shared the Marleyan sentiment that Eldians were to be ostracized and demonized.

When asked (out of curiosity) by Sasha why his skin was dark, he responded with a beautiful, kind message. “Because our creator thought, ‘It’s more interesting with a mix of people.’ You, Subjects of Ymir, are the same. We exist because we were wanted.” It is in this moment that he becomes a fan-favorite, and gains a strong adoration from the crew, particularly Armin.

Hange’s sacrifice

With The Rumbling fully active and Marley and Paradis Island having to form a truce, all focus is now placed on saving the world from the destruction of Eren and a hoard of Colossal Titans. Unfortunately, Floch shoots the fuel compartment of the plane they wish to fly, stranding them as many Titans approach. The Eldians have no choice but to delay their plans and try to repair the holes in the plane, and the beloved Hange volunteers to slow the Titans down and buy some time.

While they take off and display some of the finest skills from a soldier in the entire series, they still meet their end. As one of the most beloved characters, Hange’s death hit many viewers hard. There is some solace, however, as they are greeted in the afterlife by Commander Erwin Smith and their other comrades, giving Hange a very bittersweet farewell. 

The End

Whether or not you’ve been following for an entire decade, or you picked up on Attack on Titan somewhere along the way, the fact is saying goodbye hurts. The final episode of the lauded anime packed so much emotional weight that it was impossible not to say goodbye. Between Mikasa’s parting kiss to Eren, Armin’s emotional breakdown, and just the idea that we will never see the characters again, the entire episode was a punch to the gut. After millions of deaths (literally 80% of the world died in The Rumbling), Attack On Titan is finally over. That’s enough to shed a couple tears.

All Attack On Titan episodes, including THE FINAL CHAPTERS Special 2 are now available to watch on Crunchyroll.

Related: Every Attack on Titan Opening, Ranked on The Mary Sue

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Demi Phillips
When he’s not out exploring the underground music scene, Demilade Phillips covers entertainment news and other exciting topics for We Got This Covered. He scored his Bachelor’s in International Relations and has been writing for almost a decade on the things he’s most passionate about: music, black excellence, anime, and pop culture.