With the Attack on Titan anime on a hiatus after Season 4 Part 2, 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, recaps, and reactions to these amazing “episodes.” Today we’re reviewing Attack on Titan’s manga Chapter 135, “The Battle of Heaven and Earth.”
This article has spoilers only through Attack on Titan Chapter 135. This is a MANGA-focused article, so it has SPOILERS if you’ve only watched Attack on Titan through Season 4 Part 2.
WOW. That’s my first impression of this chapter. Talk about mind-blowing. I don’t think this emoji 🤯🤯🤯🤯🤯 ever fit a chapter better. I can definitely say that I never predicted anything that happened in this chapter, except for the very first panel.
Ymir Released the Pigs
The chapter starts out by looking back in time nearly 2,000 years, to Ymir’s childhood. It turns out that as many of us had suspected, she really was the one who let the pigs out of the gate. Her eyes aren’t shaded as they typically are. It looks like that in those moments when she chooses freedom, when she chooses to rebel, her eyes become unshaded.
So she wasn’t wrongfully accused all those years in the past by her own people. I’m now wondering if they made her the scapegoat or if they really did know, but no one wanted to lose an eye in order to protect a child.
Either way, this whole saga started with her decision to release the pigs. (More accurately, it started when the pillaging Eldians invaded her village and conquered them, while all they were doing was being peaceful.)
I posited in the last chapter review that she might still be following the Eldian King’s original orders, which were to conquer the Marleyans and then conquer the rest of the world. Even the Rumbling itself can be viewed as a form of following that original Eldian King Fritz’s orders to her.
In the next panel after it’s revealed that she released the pigs, we see her on Eren’s Founder body, observing everything that’s happening. Did she release the pigs out of pity for them being caged, or to lead to this very moment? Because if it was the former, they’re trampling on a lot of pigs now.
Zeke Was Just a Distraction & Ymir May Still Be in Control
When reading last week’s chapter, I couldn’t decide if Zeke was really there and being forced to move by Eren, while hanging from a rib, or just a distraction. It turns out that he wasn’t really there, and he was just a husk — a “stand-in” for the real Zeke. Levi and the others assume Eren is using the Warhammer’s powers and Zeke is in a shell somewhere. Without a Jaw Titan, there’d be no way they could get to him and kill him anyway.
Jean rightfully realizes that this leaves them with no choice. Armin agrees — everyone needs to try to flee and he will transform in an attempt to destroy Eren. However, even Armin realizes this likely won’t kill Eren, but simply give them a better chance at locating exactly where Eren and Zeke’s bodies are.
Armin flashes back to Erwin and realizes that sometimes the only way to win is to be willing to throw everyone, including those you love, away. So he must do this, even if it kills his friends.
But Armin’s own freedom is quickly stolen from him when some weird Titan with a tentacle-like tongue grabs him and seals his mouth so he can neither speak nor bite down and transform. (I sure wish he had Annie’s ring right about now!)
We see Ymir observing all of this, perhaps even orchestrating it.
Mankind’s Last Stand
Meanwhile at Fort Salta, Onyankopon’s plane crashed and the Warrior’s families rush to help him. He’s unconscious as Annie’s dad yells at him about her daughter. It’s a little awkward and kind of funny, to be honest. What does he expect an unconscious, injured man to say?
Even though it won’t help much, the troops will do all they can with their last cannons to try to help Armin, Levi, Jean, Mikasa, and the rest of the gang.
This Chapter Is Insane
This chapter is completely insane, and I almost pity Mappa for having to illustrate this into an episode in the future. Eren/Ymir has the ability to create Titan after Titan after Titan. Some are hanging from Eren’s rib bones and others are free to move about as they want. They’re mindless automatons doing Ymir’s (or Eren’s) bidding.
But they’re not acting like dumb, pure Titans either. As Jean says, “They’re waiting for an opening and attacking in concert.” Even Levi admits that this is so bad, if he was in his peak form he probably couldn’t take them all on in an frontal assault. This is serious if even Levi doesn’t think he could take them on.
Pieck chimes in, somehow figuring out what they’re seeing. She says they are seeing the “nine Titans from throughout the ages… All the people who’ve ever inherited the power of the nine Titans. … The Founding Titan can probably resurrect them again and again.”
It’s insanity. Pure insanity.
She said she doesn’t know if they have control of their minds, and my guess is that they do not. But they can be resurrected again and again, creating an endless battle that can never be won.
Some of the Titans we see in this chapter include:
- A gator Titan (maybe a form of the Beast or the Cart?)
- A strange armored Titan who looks very different from Reiner
- The Tybur Warhammer
- A deer Titan
- Porco Galliard’s Jaw reanimated
- Cow or Bull Titan with Antlers (some form of the Beast perhaps)
Pieck makes a super smart move and grabs the explosives, determined to go Eren’s nape and take him out. “I was never any friend of Eren’s,” she proclaims. They need someone who won’t hold back to do what needs to be done. I’m honestly surprised no one else came to this point yet.
But while she gets the explosive wrapped around his neck, she can’t detonate it. The Warhammer spears her before she can. The detonator is just left hanging there, like a Checkhov’s gun. Will anything come of it?
After this, Reiner is attacked by a reanimated Porco Galliard. This by itself is enough to know that they are not in control of their own minds. They’re mindless fighters controlled by Ymir/Eren. (This explains why they’re fighting well but not that great. I honestly think if they had their own minds and wits about them, they’d be better fighters.)
For some reason, Levi and the others decide they need to travel to Eren’s butt (haha) to save Armin. No one seems to be going to help Pieck, which is a big mistake.
As Armin struggles to stay alive, he realizes that the Founder, Ymir, is the one who is resisting them so strongly and sending the Titans after them, not Eren.
“If Eren is only moving forward like he said he would, then this resistance is Ymir’s will,” Armin realizes. “Which means the Founder want to massacre all of humanity too.”
But it’s sobering. He can’t absolve Eren of his choices. Eren wants to massacre humanity. But Founder Ymir has the exact same mindset, and is actively fighting on his behalf.
“The Founder Ymir is invincible,” Armin thinks to himself. There’s nothing they can do.
That’s when we get a strange panel showing BErtholdt watching Armin and crying from one eye. It’s highly similar to the dream that Armin woke up from right after he gained Bertholdt’s Titan, where he saw the face of the Colossal crying from one eye.
Bertholdt appears in his Titan form, but it doesn’t destroy Eren. Since he’s working on the Founder’s behest, I’m going to guess his Colossal form is not nearly as powerful as an independent-minded, non-reanimated Armin would be.
In his reanimated form, Bertholdt seems to almost float as he grabs Reiner and tries to take a bite out of him. This proves, once and for all, that these resurrected Titans are mindless automatons controlled by Ymir. (And they, too, aren’t granted the freedom that Eren craves for at least some people to have.)
It’s hard to tell in the panels, but I think Reiner is saved at the last moment from being eaten.
Conny gets knocked out in the fight, and another form of the Jaw titan tries to eat him. And Levi looks like this battle is too much for him and he’s coughing blood.
Jean and Reiner (ok, he did live) both notice that their maneuvering equipment is broken.
Levi manages to save Connie, but falls, exhausted, and Conny catches him.
In the end, only Mikasa is left to fight. She takes a stand like she did at Trost when she thought Eren was dead, baiting them all to come after her at once. “I’m strong!!” she proclaims.
In that panel, you can see wings behind her. At that moment, a sweet Dues Ex Machina sweeps into the scene in the form of Falco with wings, securing all the crew and ferrying them away to brief safety.
I normally don’t like these last-minute saves, but we were told Falco was working on flying last week. I’m ok with it this time.
Annie and Gabbie are there with him. Annie says she had to come because she never imagined a Titan really could fly, and Falco does. She couldn’t miss this moment.
And that’s where the chapter ends. We know they’re not safe and things will likely get even worse. But they have a brief respite to gather themselves up again for another fight.
This was an amazing chapter. It was INSANE, with the Founder having abilities I never dreamed she’d have. I’m not really sure where the Founder’s will begins and Eren’s ends. I’m not sure if Zeke is dead (and just being resurrected like the other Titans that were fighting) or if he’s really alive somewhere. There are a lot of unanswered questions, but this chapter was amazing.