10 times ‘Attack on Titan’ made us cry

Image via MAPPA

It’s been two weeks since the long awaited one hour Attack on Titan special which expectedly left a host of fans in shambles. Often regarded as a shounen-seinen anime mix, AOT tackles a ton 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 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 10 Attack on Titan moments that tugged at our heartstrings and led us to tears. 

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, get 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 their feels, and kickstarts what becomes a thrilling series packed with severe twists. 

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. The scouts then try to find them, passing through Connie’s village as they search. The village, now decimated by Titans, is absolutely empty, save for one Titan lying down on Connie’s family home. Connie at first refuses to believe it and doubles down on the thought that his family and most villagers were able to escape, 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 to a heavy breakdown. 

Hannes’ death

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

Erwin or Armin?

Commander Erwin is mortally wounded, but there is 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 did not 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 – the woman that became the smiling Titan – 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. 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. 

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 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.