With the Attack on Titan anime on a hiatus for nearly a year, we’ve decided to continue reading the manga past where the TV show left off. One chapter at a time, we’ll be providing reviews and thoughts on these amazing chapters. Today we’re reviewing Attack on Titan’s manga Chapter 132, “The Wings of Freedom.”
This article has spoilers only through Attack on Titan Chapter 132. This is a MANGA-focused article, so it has SPOILERS if you’ve only watched Attack on Titan through Season 4 Part 2.
After the last chapter’s gut-wrenching closeup of the Rumbling — a horror so great that Eren had to disassociate himself from it — I wasn’t even sure what to expect in the new chapter. And while the abject horror was a bit less than Chapter 131, this chapter was no less heartbreaking.
The new chapter focuses on the crew’s story as they try to reach the mainland and fix Hizuru’s airship before the Rumbling can reach them.
Everyone Is Struggling with Intense Loss
Lady Azumabito’s only request is if the plan works and they are able to get the airship airborne, would they try to save Hizuru somehow? It’s a perfectly reasonable request, which of course they will try to honor. But nothing can be guaranteed in this apocalyptic hellscape.
Falco, meanwhile, is having a breakdown realizing that all his loved ones in Liberio are already dead. In fact, Pieck acknowledges that most of the Marleyan continent was already flattened by the Rumbling. (I just can’t believe how fast this is all happening.) Even she is overwhelmed, and really can’t say anything to comfort Falco. Everyone with loved ones in Marley have already lost pretty much everything.
Annie, meanwhile, has decided not to join the fight to stop Eren. Humanity was never kind to her. All she knew in life was persecution, and the only person she cared for has died. And she realizes that even if they were to stop the Rumbling, Eldians would be doomed at this point. There’s simply no way the rest of the world would accept keeping them around. So she doesn’t see the point in any of this.
Her reaction is similar, in some ways, to the feelings that Jean struggled with several chapters ago in the “Long Night” episode. But unlike Jean, Annie has never cared for anyone else but her father (by her own admission.) So she just doesn’t see the point in continuing to struggle.
The reaction from Mikasa is interesting to me. She gets very angry, and then calms down, asking, “When’d this start?” But then she just says “Never mind” and states that she gets that Annie has suffered enough. (But has Annie really suffered to the degree that Mikasa and the Paradisians suffered? I doubt it…) Still, she does tell her that Armin is going with them (I’m guessing because she’s picked up on the simmering feelings between Armin and Annie.)
Mikasa Still Is Convinced She Won’t Kill Eren
I’m not surprised Mikasa doesn’t fight harder to get Annie to join them. Annie already told her that she would kill Eren if it came down to it, and in the next panel Mikasa admits that she has no intention of killing Eren. Still. She flat out says she’s not killing him and is simply going to bring him back.
It’s interesting. Mikasa just killed so many of her own comrades when she fought the Jaegerists. And she only had to kill them because they were following Eren. But it looks like no matter how things shake out, she won’t cross the line and kill the man she loves. That’s a red line for her, apparently. She’s also no longer wearing her scarf, but carrying it with her. Does she plan to bring the scarf to Eren to try to remind him of who he was?
There’s an interesting scene next where Levi is getting up and walking again, struggling to regain his strength, and he tells Armin that Yelena’s fever broke and she can talk again. We were never told prior to this panel that Yelena was even sick, so I’m wondering if there was some editing done to the manga at some point and some panels were cut?
(And let me just take a moment to say that I’m so glad Levi is back. He even later determines he can still hold his weapons even when he’s missing fingers. I’m eager to see the role he’s going to play in the showdown with Eren.)
Despite my doubts, it appears that Yelena really does have an idea of where Eren would go next. When she thought Eren was on her side, she told him that they would need to use a small Rumbling to destroy not just Marley’s, but other nations’ military fleets and prowess. This would keep them away from Paradis long enough for the last Paradisians to leave their lives in peace.
Would Things Be Different if Erwin Had Lived?
However, she told him that the biggest holdout might be a fortress in the mountains of Southern Marley that was doing airship research. She believes that Eren will head there next with his Rumbling, in order to destroy any air power that might threaten him. It’s interesting, because I had pictured the Rumbling as simply moving across the entire world in one direction. But it appears to be more strategic than that, and Eren chose to hit Marley (including that little boy) first before going anywhere else.
Yelena still idolizes Zeke and the plan he has, and really wants the others to admit that Zeke had the best plan. (This is a really tough world that Isayama has created. There’s no solution for potential peace that doesn’t require the cost of many deaths.) Hange admits that she didn’t really have a good plan for a future to show Eren that would convince him to go on a different path.
This leaves me wondering… Would things have been different if they had saved Erwin instead of Armin? Would Erwin have found a way, since he was so much better at strategizing than Hange ever was?
Lady Azumabito (and later Annie) are tasked with watching Falco and Gabi and keeping them on the ship. It’s a strange request to me. Gabi has already proven herself to be a formidable warrior, and Falco is now a Titan. And they’re already losing Annie in the fight. These children have proven their worth, and I believe they should have been given the choice of whether or not to ride on that airship.
Annie’s goodbye with Reiner was more heartfelt than I expected. And the glances that she and Armin exchanged spoke volumes. Could they have been something? Or was Armin just reacting to Bertholdt’s feelings within him? These “what if” questions will likely never be answered.
I Loved the Callback to Early Manga Hange
As they’re getting ready to set out, even Hange admits misgivings about their decision. She knows that if they stop the Rumbling, the Eldians will always be persecuted. Pieck tells her that Magath’s last order was to work together to do what must be done.
Then Hange goes right back to being Hange, and suggests that she ride Pieck’s Titan form when they’re in battle. 😅 And Pieck calls her out for being gross. 😅 I had never been a Hange-Pieck shipper before, but in that moment I really was, especially when Levi joked that her love would always go unrequited. It was nice to see a callback to early-season-Hange who had such an obsession with learning about Titans. That obsession was lost when she had to step in and take Erwin’s place. And once again, I can’t help but think how much better off they would have been if Erwin had lived and Hange was able to stay focused on her science passions.
Floch lives?! I gasped out loud when I read this part of the manga. My husband was reading at the same time, and he also exclaimed at the revelation. I was convinced that Floch had died. Yet somehow, he’s been hiding all along and took one last ditch effort to stop them.
He shot holes in the fuel tank, so their departure is slowed down just a bit until they can fix it.
But the Rumbling is HERE.
The panels where they show how close the Rumbling is sent shivers down my spine. It is SO well drawn.
Floch begs them to turn back. “This is our only hope,” he says with his dying breath.
We can see that the inner core of his motivation was to save the Eldians. Of course, once he had a taste of power, he began to go mad with it and almost enjoy torturing others. So I’m really divided on how he’s presented at the end. There’s simply no black-and-white with Attack on Titan.
They’re not sure if the ship and the airship will have enough time to escape the Rumbling. Armin volunteers to buy them some time, but Reiner insists he’s their only shot at stopping Eren. So then Reiner volunteers, but Hange tells him that they’ve lost too many Titans already and need his power when they reach Eren.
In the end, Hange is the one who volunteers to try to slow them down.
I’ll admit, this seemed strange to me. I could see an Ackerman being able to hold them off for a bit, but Hange doesn’t have that type of power. It’s a suicide mission that will, at most, buy them a couple of seconds. (At this point, I also wondered if the Ackermans were originally created as a failsafe in case the Titans got out of control. Imagine if the Ackermans hadn’t been persecuted by the Royal Family, but allowed to grow in numbers and in training. A huge army of Ackermans might, in theory, have been able to stop the Rumbling.)
Dedicate Your Heart
Before Hange goes into battle, she names Armin her successor. (Why not Levi? Why does no one ever consider Levi?)
She says that to be a Survey Corp commander, is an “unyielding desire for a broader understanding,” and she, Erwin, and now Armin all possess that quality.
Abruptly she says, “Speech over. Bye, everybody.” That line made me chuckle a bit.
And then Levi said as she passed: “Dedicate your heart.” Which Hange pointed out was the first time she ever heard him say that.
My eyes got watery at that point. 🙁
Hange marveled at the Titans’ magnificence as she began to battle the Rumbling, knocking down a few here and there that were closest to the port. In the end, she was only able to buy them a couple of seconds, but it was enough.
As she died, she saw the images of all her fallen comrades, including Erwin, with her. Erwin asks her to tell him all about what happened. And we are left to assume that Hange died, as she joins all those who died before her.
I can’t believe this was the end of Hange’s story. And the ghosts of her fallen comrades was the perfect way to end the chapter. Were they really there? Was it a hallucination from the Founder? We will never know. But it was a beautiful and haunting ending. I can only imagine how this will play in the anime, and the tears that viewers will have as they watch this final scene.