This article contains spoilers for ATTACK ON TITAN: THE FINAL CHAPTERS (PART 2).
After four seasons, the brutal anime adaptation of Hajime Isayama’s Attack on Titan has come to a bloody and heartbreaking end with a concluding television special. Featuring the death of many longtime characters, including the show’s tortured protagonist Eren Jaeger, the Attack on Titan series finale did not hold back with its signature intensity as the heroic Scout Regiment battled the carnivorous Titans for humanity’s survival. However, the story didn’t end with the devastating war’s conclusion nor its denouement as humanity picked up the pieces from its showdown with the Titans.
An end credit sequence offers the audience an epilogue mirroring the final scenes in Isayama’s manga series, bringing the story and its themes to a bittersweet close. Here’s what happens during Attack on Titan’s end credit sequence and what it suggests about the wider implications of this fan-favorite anime world.
What Happens in the Attack on Titan Series Finale?
Attack on Titan revolves around a war between the fantasy steampunk kingdoms of Eldia and Marley, with Titans, towering figures that can easily crush and devour any humans in their way, employed in the escalating conflict. The only vulnerable point for a Titan is the nape of the neck, where they human hosts lay dormant inside them. Eren is manipulated by his father Grisha to become the ultimate Titan warrior in revenge for the death of Grisha’s younger sister to Marleyan soldiers when they were both children.
After years of being deceived, exploited, and weaponized, Eren decides to lead an army of Titans to exterminate humanity as any semblance of the heroic young warrior he once was dissipates from the prolonged trauma. Eren and his Titans launch a cataclysmic event known as the Rumbling, an extinction-level incident that is only stopped when Eren’s lifelong best friend Mikasa Ackerman personally beheads Eren. With Eren dead, the Rumbling stops, the Titans permanently revert to their human forms, and humanity is saved as peace is finally restored.
What Do the End Credits Reveal About Mikasa?
Even after everything Eren caused, including a near-apocalypse that would’ve cost her her life, Mikasa continues to see Eren as her best friend long after she killed him. After burying Eren’s head under a tree where he rested when they were children, Mikasa visits this quiet grave for the rest of her life. As the end credits progress, Mikasa gradually grows older and passes away, presumably from natural causes, with her own grave seen as the end credits sequence continues.
Over the years, Mikasa is accompanied by an unnamed man in her regular visits to Eren’s grave. It is never specified if this man is a spouse or someone else close to Mikasa, but it does suggest she finds life outside of Eren’s legacy over time. Given this dedication to visiting Eren, it is clear that Mikasa always felt close to him after death, with their deep friendship enduring armageddon itself.
What Happens After Mikasa’s Death?
After Mikasa dies, the Eldian city of Paradis develops around Eren’s grave, seemingly ignoring the historical figure laid to rest under the tree. It is unclear how much time passes since Mikasa dies, but the buildings around the tree grow taller and take on a futuristic aesthetic. All of this advancement quickly becomes moot, as a new war apparently breaks out and Paradis is bombed into total rubble.
As more time passes, the ruins of Paradis are gradually overgrown with plants, with the fallen civilization reclaimed by the forces of nature. In this verdant wasteland, a boy and his dog are seen exploring the ruins of Paradis where they find the tree on top of Eren’s long-forgotten grave. The tree itself sports an opening at its base and resembles the tree that served as the original source for the Titans’ powers, with the boy and his dog investigating what’s inside.
What Happens to Paradis and the World at Large?
Before the end credits sequence, Attack on Titan finishes on a more hopeful note, with peace finally achieved and the surviving characters celebrated for saving humanity from total annihilation. The end credits give this conclusion a dark and bittersweet coda, not only is Mikasa haunted by the loss of Eren for the rest of her life to a certain degree, but humanity can’t seem to resist its more violent impulses. The destruction of Paradis presents war as something of an inevitability, leveled more definitively and with more advanced weaponry than the Titans or Scout Regiment ever unleashed.
The boy and his dog represent a more innocent, primitive version of humanity, back to fighting for survival amidst the wilderness instead of taming it. But even more darkly, the boy discovering the tree housing Eren’s grave and the twisted power within suggests history will repeat itself once again, complete with a new generation of Titans to prey on humanity. Through fire and flames humanity will persist, but its oldest and most wicked ways will persist right along with them.
Attack on Titan is available to stream in its entirety on Crunchyroll and Hulu.