f: snk

well that was a devastating chapter wasn’t it

So everyone told Levi to inject Erwin. 

Hanji had to physically stop Mikasa, someone had to fucking pin Eren on the ground. 

Connie said goodbye to Armin, Jean is cursing. 

Levi had all the power in this situation, he wasn’t forced in any way. 

And he chose Armin. 

Because he thought about Armin and Eren talking about the ocean, and he thought of all the hell Erwin had been through, and how he was a “demon”, as Flocke had said, but he couldn’t bring him back into this hellish world. 

So he decided to give Armin a second chance instead. 

How could you call this bad writing, everything in this chapter was beautiful, the flashbacks were perfect, Mikasa crying as Hanji holds her back, Eren being held on the ground, not wanting to lose Armin, both of them crying as they have flashbacks as children, and then Levi, who ultimately thought with his heart rather than his head, making a choice he hope he will always regret, but knowing it was the right thing to do. 

Bad writing my steaming ass. 

Levi, Erwin, and the Decision to Die

I’ve heard some criticism of Levi allowing Erwin to die, and Erwin choosing to die, in Chapter 84. They claim that it was a plot device to allow main-character Armin to survive that went against their characters. To them, I would advise them to reread the manga the chapter and really take in what’s going on.

Specifically, the flashback sequence. 

Isayama didn’t include those to fill up pages, you know. Each one is a crucial memory in Levi’s development which results in the decision he made. The salvation of Armin was very much a character-driven decision, not a plot one - it was made to be Levi’s choice for a reason, and his decision resulted in the perfect resolution to Erwin’s arc and extensive growth to Levi’s.

The first of these flashbacks displays Armin’s motivation. Again, this is by no means an ass-pull; Isayama planned for this all these chapters ago by having Levi listen in on this conversation because it his decision to save Armin is crucial to his development. It’s Armin’s dream which is crucial here. Look at the genuine joy and excitement in his eyes. He really, truly wants to see the ocean for the beauty of it all. But in the next flashback…

…Erwin’s words don’t match his actions. He expresses the same determination as Armin did, but without any of Armin’s fire. Even as Erwin speaks these words his head is downcast, and he even admits that he has no idea what he will do afterwards, whereas for Armin, the idea of seeing the ocean is more of a symbolic gesture for appreciating the freedom outside the walls - one of hope for the future itself.

As an appreciative side note, the parallels between Armin and Erwin continue to be strong, and the fact that both of their fates rely on Bertholdt, their third parallel, ties in the three interconnected worlds of the Warriors, the Survey Corps, and the 104th. It is a decision to save one of three halves of the same self. For Armin, the dream that drives all his actions is to see the ocean; for Erwin, the basement; for Bertholdt, his hometown. Levi doesn’t consider the worth of Bertl’s life in this equation, given his lack of a personal connection to him and Bertl being an enemy, but panels of Bertholdt between flashbacks do, I think, imply his connection to the two.

Anyway getting back on track, Levi hasn’t realised this crucial difference between Armin and Erwin yet. It takes a very important memory to trigger that recognition… 

The death of Kenny Ackerman in Chapter 69 is perhaps the definitive moment for Levi’s character development, as well as for the vital theme of Intoxication throughout SNK. In probably my favourite scene of the series, Kenny explains how in this cold, brutal, bloody world, dreams and aspirations are existential drugs to keep the trauma and the pain at bay, and give meaning to the endless slaughter.

But there comes a point where one experiences so much pain, so much loss, that the drug enslaves you. Just like how drug addicts eventually cease to take any pleasure from its consumption yet can’t stop because now they’re addicted, Kenny no longer feels any real longing for power; but after Uri’s death, that’s all he has left.  He sets himself a goal to distract himself from the emptiness inside. If he had still truly desired power, he would have taken the titan serum himself. But he doesn’t. His dream was simply the strings animating his lifeless body.

And the same is true of Erwin.

Kenny’s words about Uri echo back to Levi to refer to Erwin. As it should, as Uri and Erwin are the respective receivers of the infamous Ackerbond. He, like Uri, like Kenny, is enslaved by this dream. Erwin practically says it himself in Chapter 80:

The answers are the only thing that drive Erwin. Aside from that, his life is empty, thus his longing to die…but he can’t. Because the addiction still enslaves him.

This is, of course, the long-awaited revelation of the question Erwin asked his father in his flashback in Chapter 55, all those years ago.

“What doesn’t exist” in this scenario specifically refers to the lost records of humanity. revealing that dream at the core of Erwin’s character - to challenge convention and find the truth of what lies beyond. This is the dream. This is the memory that reappears in Erwin’s dying moments because it is the base essence of who he is - it is what plays inside his head with every decision he makes. This question is all he is now. 

And here it is, the explicit connection between Erwin and Kenny - the two most important people in Levi’s life. You can see the shock and pain in his eyes as he makes the connection and knows that Erwin was about to make the same choice Kenny had…

…to reject the serum and die. To be free from their intoxication at last. He doesn’t know about Armin’s situation. He’s making this decision because he does not truly want to see the basement anymore. Remember that Erwin is still in a delirious state - the recollection of Levi’s words to Erwin were included to show that here Erwin is not thanking Levi for offering him the serum; he is thanking him for his actions in chapter 80 - what he wanted to say behind his sad smile. By making the decision for him, Levi liberated him from his intoxication at long last. 

At this point, Levi knows that the cruellest thing to do to Erwin right now would be to return him to its grasp. The panel showing Armin’s eyes, free from the sadness of Erwin’s, shows that he still posseses the younger dream - the innocent dream of a younger version of Erwin’s self, before it escalates into a life-dominating intoxication. Levi knows that the younger dream is the one that must be preserved.

“Hell” is his addiction, the compulsion that swallowed up his life and caused him so much pain and grief. This is what people who insist that Erwin should have seen the basement before he died don’t understand. Seeing the basement could never be a positive thing for Erwin’s character, because once he saw it, he would have been overcome with despair because it could never have possibly lived up to his expectations. His goal would be complete, but he would still be a broken man, and upon discovering the secrets of the basement he will have no choice but to see those ghosts all the time.

Seeing the basement would not have been the fulfilment of a dream. It would have shattered it. It would have been the fruition of a toxic addiction which had ruined Erwin’s life, and by allowing Erwin to die, Levi gave him the agency to wrest back control of his life from its grasp.

And Erwin, by dying, fulfilled what the dream was back when he was a child, back when it was chaste, before it was the basement and when it was a simple question. With that question, he saw beyond the illusion and defied the powers that be. In accepting death, he in turn saw beyond the drunken haze of the dream and broke free of its control on him.

Erwin Smith died triumphant, and free.

  • Girl:I'm fine
  • What she really means:Erwin Smith spent his entire existence punishing himself for a mistake he made as a child and the loss of his father, taking on the mantle of a demon and a monster to everyone else outwardly, telling himself that someone had to make the horrible choices to set aside human life on the chance that it would be enough to rescue humanity from a hellish fate and no one NO ONE outside of his tight-knit group of friends and supporters saw him as he actually was, as a courageous, GOOD man who was deeply traumatized and depressed but also incredibly hopeful and supportive of all of his subordinates and even in death people will not understand this. He goes to his grave having not achieved his final wish, still clinging to his dreams and still haunted by the past. No one in this fuckin trash world understood how much of a hero they had except for Levi and Hanji, and honestly no one else deserves him, I hope everyone else chokes.

New theory: Erwin is actually only pretending he’s dead so he can see what everyone really thinks about him. Chapter 85 opens with him sitting up, perfectly fine. He turns to the 104th and the nippleless Armin and firmly tells them they won’t be invited to his birthday party this year and that’s just too bad because it’s going to be really fun.

He chose Erwin

After Erwin’s death a lot have been saying that levi chose Armin because he heard the ocean conversation between Him and Eren.But that’s not true Levi’s choice has and will Always be Erwin, his priority is Erwin .

Here he was determinant to inject Erwin with the serum ,even called Eren a brat who needs growing up , punched him for standing in his way .

But look what happens next 

Erwin pushed levi’s hand before he could even introduce the injection in his body.

Look at Levi’s face expression , he was not expecting Erwin to open his eyes or even move but he did .Erwin opened his eyes , pushed his hand and whispered something about his dream as a kid , thanked levi and then passed away.

Erwin whispered something to levi before dying , Levi looked at him in disbelief “ERWIN?” like “GONNA GIVE UP ON YOUR DREAM?” but Erwin simply thanked him and died peacefully . 

This is not the face of someone who would choose Armin tbh , he looks rather schocked and startled by Erwin’s words. I think Erwin asked him to give the injection to Armin, and so levi had to grant him his last wish . and he was left to face the pain .

Erwin died a very peaceful and beautiful death , yet even if levi injected Armin with the serum his choice is still Erwinn.It was Erwin’s wish he granted, he needed peace after all the suffering , after all the painhe went through .And Levi gave him that peace andrest he needed .”Thank you Levi” were his last words.

special thanks to @fuku-shuu translation.

Erwin & Levi in ‘Answers’ Guidebook

[translation: @yusenki | editing: twitter@braunsofsteel ]

Erwin lost his father when he was a kid. After that, even until now, the dream that is hidden in his heart… is “to confirm with his own eyes the truth about the world”.

Since he joined the SC, Erwin kept averting his gaze from the truth until he confirmed it again during discussion with Supreme Commander Zackley. He aimed for the basement because of his own dream. (Volume 15, Chapter 62.)

Erwin’s Dearest Wish that He Can’t Abandon.

Even for Erwin, the commander of the SC, the decisive battle at Shiganshina district will be a huge turning point. His dearest wish, hidden deep within his heart,“to watch the truth of this world” can only be achieved at the basement, and he’s getting closer to it.

In order to fulfill his own dream, after re-confirming his strong motive that he made when he joined the SC along with his strong will, Erwin advanced with the soldiers. In order to change the world, he is the guy who abandoned his human nature and stood on the lives of his comrades. He can’t throw away his dream. For the future of humanity, lifting up the moral, it can be said that Erwin started to work because of his own ego.

When he arrived at the Shiganshina district, Erwin must have had strong awareness toward the basement, and then in the face of the Beast titan, who was getting in the way, there was definitely more sacrifices to be made. Is the foundation of Erwin’s decision making moral or ego? In the decisive battle at Shiganshina district, Erwin’s real value is questioned. It seems like it became a battle where human’s true nature is tested.

The Deep Trust Relationship Between Levi and Erwin is…

After knowing that Erwin is moving for his own dream, Levi’s trust toward Erwin started to change bit by bit. The decision made by Erwin as the commander—is it for the future of humanity or for the fulfillment of his own dream? In Levi’s mind now, that question must always be lingering.

Despite that, Levi told Erwin his frank opinion, but he never argued with Erwin’s decision. However, in the midst of the battle when the extreme decision is enforced, if it is not for the sake of humanity…

Levi found out about Erwin’s real intention.

- When he saw Erwin’s strange smiling face, Levi started to realize Erwin’s real intention. This is the time where the up until now trust relationship started to change. (Volume 13, Chapter 51)

Entrusted with the serum, and then toward Erwin, who smashed his way through his dream…?

- Erwin entrusted Levi with taking care of the serum and its usage decision. Erwin said that he is a wounded soldier. What kind of decision will Levi make? (Volume 17, Chapter 70)

Close Up to the Story Essence

Erwin is an extraordinary swindler?! The characters’ dual nature.

Journalist (J): From Isayama-sensei’s point of view, who is the character who grew the most after overthrowing the monarchy?

Isayama (I): I think Historia is the one who grew up the most. I used to dislike her doll-like behavior that didn’t have her own self. I was quite anxious when she started to turn into a symbolic character. However, after thinking back that in the beginning she was a character that I wanted to hold an important position, I drew her by slowly erasing my concern.

J: When did you started to think that Historia is a good character?

I: It was when I started to draw her selfish inner side. From the outside, she looks like a selfless philanthropist, but in reality…that’s about it. When she started to show the two sides of human nature, as expected, it became easier to draw her.

J: Erwin looks like he’s fighting for humanity—actually he’s chasing his own dream. You have drawn those two sides of him.

I: If Erwin’s perspective of the world or the era is different, I think he is a con man who will instigate people for his own aim, be it good or bad. Only this kind of person can do something great. It is said that in the story where the government rules forever, capable villains and incompetent good people, whichever one of them is needed, work for the government. But that might be similar. He is a character that made me think that way.

J: Levi who followed Erwin…His past is revealed…

I: I drew Levi’s childhood and family relationship because I wanted the character to have his own depth. In the SNK story, it’s a sudden change from childhood to an old man, but I think there is a story in between that. In the next development, I am thinking that it will be good if I can consistently write “why this character made this decision", like a human’s experience.

J: Speaking of which, when I attended the SNK the Real event at USJ on February 28th, 2016, you talked about Levi’s up until now unknown age.

I: Actually I misunderstood at that time, but I amended it on my blog. I drew Levi with the aim that he is in first half of his 30s.