Man, this new worldview introduced is arguably one of the most bizarre pictures Isa has ever painted.
Our chapter is set in the middle of a war zone. Torn bodies plaster the fields, soldiers desperately scramble for the trenches trying to avoid machine gun fire coming from bunkers. Taking those uniforms and weaponry also into account, its incredible easy to imagine this chapter taking place in some WWI-esque battlefield. And when we as readers in the 21st century think about the “great war”, horrible images of terror, fear, and desperation easily come to mind. War is an awful thing that does awful things to people, and those participating in it are almost guaranteed to be heavily affected by it, and not in a positive way. We can all easily picture terrified soldiers who do not wish to be part of their fight in any way at all. So those are the kind of images we’ll get to see in this new setting, right?
Perhaps these reactions are more present among the default, expendable foot soldiers, but Isa doesn’t focus on those. Instead, Isa focuses on the new kids, who look even younger than the 104th when they saw their first share of hell in 850. But instead of the horrified faces we spent so much time looking at throughout the Trost arc, we get this
Smiling faces. Normal conversation.
Casual banter between comrades.
Straight up eagerness to run into enemy fire.
These are not the kind of conversations or reactions that would be considered normal in the middle of a warzone. ESPECIALLY NOT FROM KIDS. Those guys aren’t even breaking a sweat (except Uda but thats supposed to be more comical than anything I believe).
I mean, we of course were aware of Marley’s brainwashing, but this is just…a wholly different level, and it certainly doesn’t stop there.
The probably most jarring aspect of this exchange isn’t her eagerness to leave the trenches, but her talk about the numbers at stake. Her argument is entirely based on numbers, she doesn’t even take a second to reflect on her or other peoples lives. The worst part is that she places her own life on the same level as explosives, basically mere ammunition. Of course, in war, people are basically reduced to numbers and weapons when looking at it from a larger scale, but we’re looking at the perspective of a child caught in the middle of it. What the hell.
Look at Gabi running away from the explosion. The running style, facial expression and cry create a borderline comedic scene. In the next panel she’s overly excited about finding cover, completely ignoring the dismantled corpse nearby. This scene is just…utterly grotesque.
Lets compare ch 3 and 91 for a minute here. Eren talks about exterminating the evil titans, which’ll in turn bring humanity freedom. Yay
Here, Gabi talks about obtaining the armored titan to join the anti Paradis force and wipe out the devils there which’ll in turn improve the lives of the Eldians.
Just like at the beginning of the story, the main character has an extremely black and white point of view, desiring to change the world for the better by themselves, in a fight against evil monsters. Eren then spent the next 90 chapters being disillusioned until he finally saw the ocean he desired for so long, only to realize the freedom he sought still lied far away. And I dare say Gabi will go through a smiliar experience sooner or later. This bizarre representation of the war is so jarringly weird, Isa obviously plans to throw things around later on.
The difference between Eren’s and Gabi’s viewpoint is that Eren’s viewpoint was based off personal experience and because all his life, he felt the direct influence of the titans. Gabi’s opinion of Paradis’ population stems only from the brainwashing received by Marley’s warrior program. And this can be felt throughout the entire chapter. The carelessness of the kids, their smiles and casual talk, as well as their inexistant regard for human life all seem to originate from the warrior program. Not only does she make a difference between the “good” mainland and the “bad” island Eldians, the value of the human life is entirely lost in the process, most likely to facilitate genocide
Remember Bert’s and Reiner’s shocked faces? They gain even more weight now that we actually got to witness their mental state before the attack.
If there is one thing I’m taking away from this chapter is that Marley are seriously grade A douchebags. If anything, 91 further emphasizes the fact that, even though a return of the Eldian empire is not a desirable thing, Marley can’t keep existing the way it is if we seek an ending that ultimately ends of an improved situation compared to 845.
Hey! so do we have any theories about the language Ymir was able to read? like is it the old language spoken by Eldians before the era of walls? and if so, why do you think they've changed it at all?
Ah that’s a really interesting topic and I think it ties into the couple of unanswered questions we have.
I’m pretty sure at least the writing on the can and the alcohol are part of whatever language is currently being spoken on the marleyan mainland/the continent once ruled by Eldia.
First of all, Reiner’s intense reaction when realizing Ymir was able to read the letters. He wasn’t just surprised, he was staring at her in full disbelief. Add the beautiful musical cue; Reiner was basically shook. And I’m very confident that’s because he recognized that language, and, being in his warrior mind, added two things together and realized the implication of Ymir being able to read a language not used in the walled world=she’s from outside, just like him.
Now if we consider that the language definitely comes from beyond the walls, and can be recognized by Ymir and Reiner (who are both from the mainland, albeit from different generations and backgrounds), we need to ask why boxes with supplies from outside can be found in an abandoned castle close to the wall. The obvious answer, as many have assumed since the manga, is that they are Zeke’s equipment. He’s the only one who had only recently been in contact with Marley and Paradis, and it makes sense for him to establish some sort of hideout/base of operations inside the walls, yet far from society. Castle Utgard is the perfect opportunity.
If I may add, these boxes seem identical to the supply boxes carried by Cartman during the Shiganshina battle; likely being of the same type: supplies for Zeke and allies to be used during their Paradis operations. From this we can infer a couple of things: Zeke was probably not alone during the clash arc, Cartman/Pieck probably already accompanied him back then. Zeke’s operation wasn’t just meant to last a single day; they may have spent quite a bit of time inside Utgard before launching their attack (we still don’t know the precise process of that operation as well as the reason for its rather convenient timing). But most importantly, it implies that the supplies located inside Utgard were brought from the mainland, used by the warrior teams, in official service. AKA, the language used on the can is very much in use on the marleyan side of the ocean, even in recent time.
Now, most of this is already more or less obvious, but I just wanted to emphasize that this language, although understood by Ymir, is still recent, and used by official military forces not in favor of Eldia. For me, that’s a confirmation that the can-language is not some form of ancient Eldian used by Ymir’s cultists, but rather a product of brainwashing and propaganda following the victory of Marley over Eldia and the shutting off by King 145.
The oppression of Eldians by Marley has a very racial, ethical background: Eldians are discriminated against simply because of the race they belong to, a race not seen as human. As Sgt.Maj Gross said, everyone wants the demons dead; and in order to destroy a whole race, their people aren’t just killed, their culture, history and heritage need to be destroyed too. Unfortunately I can’t think of a precise example, but I’m pretty sure these things have happened even in out human history. In order to wipe out culture and history, even language needs to be destroyed. This means banning certain vocabulary, changing expressions, even going as far as modifying letters or the whole alphabet, with the goal of wiping the Eldian culture and image off the face of the planet. It’s all part of Marley’s scheme.
Then, on the other side of things, the walled society is slave to the first kings ideology, who literally possesses the power of to short-circuit the brains and memories of millions of his subjects. I’m sure here too exists the possibility of rearranging the language to fit better into the utopia Fritz tried to create.
The two statements above are just my personal theories, but I think its fact that can-language is still very much used beyond the walls. When it comes down to it, the differences can’t be too massive either, since the warrior kids, Ymir and Zeke all seem to be able to speak and read both variants, esp Ymir who hasn’t been trained to infiltrate Paradis.
Those are my thoughts on the can-language dilemma. I’ve seen a few other posts going around about it too, namely Ghostmartyr’s, which is definitely worth checking out. Hope this helps!
If we stop huntin’, it’d be like givin’ up who we are! Why do we gotta do that for a bunch of folks who look down on us like we’re idiots?! We been livin’ the way our ancestors taught us! We don’t owe nothin’ to the outsiders!
Hi there. I have seen people saying that Levi's position in the SC was created by Erwin for Levi. Is it true? I have only seen official material saying something along the line Erwin is the reason why Levi has the motivation to become a captain. I might be wrong about these info though. Please correct me if I am :D
Hey Anon, this is a really interesting ask and one that’s got me thinking about the boundary between what is implicit and explicit in canon and how fandom fills in the blanks. I’ve had to consult with @momtaku to unravel what exactly is said in canon and to double check my facts and figures, particularly regarding the dates, which I’m hopeless with.
So, as far as we can work out, here’s what we know from canon…
Levi joins the Survey Corps, under the command of Keith Shadis, in 844, presumably with the rank of solider. Six years later, in 850, the Battle of Trost takes place and by this time Levi is captain and the Survey Corps is under Erwin’s command.
Captain Levi’s first appearance in chapter 9.5 (Sorry Levi I can’t stop laughing at your little kitty face. Bless.)
The manga and supporting material don’t actually make it explicit when Levi became captain or who appointed him to this rank. However Shadis stepped down as commander in 845 after the fall of Wall Maria and it seems unlikely that he would have promoted Levi to captain during his first year in the Corps, particularly given that Levi had by-passed the usual route to joining the military and was still basically regarded as a thug. This means that Levi must have been promoted by Erwin, though we don’t know exactly when.
It’s also clear that captain is not a formal rank in the Survey Corps. @momtaku pointed out that while the Garrison has captains, none of the supplementary canon information about the structure of the military lists captain amongst the Survey Corps’ ranks. So it appears that Levi is the one and only captain of the Survey Corps and if it was Erwin who made him captain then it must also follow that Erwin created the rank specifically for him.
(For further info on military structure @momtaku linked me to this useful post by @calorescence which collates all the relevant information from the Shingeki no Kyojin Outside Guidebook.)
It’s worth noting that we don’t see any of the other Veterans being appointed to their ranks either, but they are Squad Leaders rather than captains, which is a formal Survey Corps rank.
The Special Operations Squad that Levi leads is also not part of the normal structure of the Survey Corps, so again, Levi’s first squad, which had explicit orders to protect Eren, was presumably created on Erwin’s command. Levi created his second Squad on his own initiative while Erwin was recovering from loosing his arm.
So there you have it Anon, although a lot of this isn’t made explicit in canon, if you piece the dates and events together it’s clear that it was indeed Erwin who made Levi captain and furthermore that he created this role specifically for him. And it’s because so much of this is implicit that this period of Levi’s life has proved to be such fertile grounds for fic writers. There are so many amazing fics set between ACWNR and canon that explore Levi’s acceptance into the Survey Corps and the development of his relationship to Erwin. For many writers Levi’s promotion to captain is a pivotal point in his story because it is an outward sign of Erwin’s trust and faith in him and it also marks the point at which Levi really becomes Survey Corps. There are too many amazing fics to list them all but some of my favourites that explore this period are Black Dog by @stereobone, The Laws of Survival by pasiphile, and Audacity by shoi. And if you want a completely different take on how Levi joined the Survey Corps, there’s Gilded by Night by revai-lution.
Thank you for your fascinating ask Anon and sorry that this turned into a bit of a ramble, I have a lot of feeeels about this.
Thanks again to @momtaku for her infinite knowledge of all things canon.
It was cold outside, the wind howling against the bricks of her home and seeping in through what cracks it could find. Her nose was runny, eyes watery, and she wrapped herself up so tight in her blankets she couldn’t move a muscle. A fire crackled in the living room and a tea kettle sat brewing on the stove.
She kept a book opened on her lap and turned its pages with the tips of her fingers, which she pulled back into the confines of her cozy cocoon whenever she could. She sniffled once, smiling to herself in her contentment.
But the shrieking kettle and a brisque knocking on her front door stole the peace right out of her. She set aside the book and extracted herself, unwillingly, from her blankets. She immediately felt the difference, rubbing her arms all the way to the front door to open it.
“I’m cold,” was the first thing he said, followed by, “May I come in?” He wore no more than his uniform and a pair of mittens, nose and cheeks and ears bright red. He was shivering and, as the wind swirled in behind him, so was she. She stepped aside to allow him into her home, shutting the door quickly and latching it shut tight.
She pulled her shawl close around herself as she walked around him to the stove, where the kettle continued to scream. She moved it aside and blew out the flame, picking out two cups to pour into. “Make yourself at home,” she said.
He was sitting down on the couch, kicking off his boots and pulling off his jacket, making work on his harnesses and setting them on the coffee table. “Is that tea I smell?” he asked, stretching out his long limbs with a grunt.
“Mint,” she said, walking slowly with the full cups in hand. “Good for hungry stomachs.”
“You don’t have food?”
“You take what I give you.”
He took the cups from her as she moved around him, letting her sit down and throw the blankets around the both of them. “Were you doing something before I barged in?”
She bundled herself up beside him, taking the cup he offered. “Just reading. Nothing important.”
He sipped carefully, sighing softly as warmth spread through him. “Good for warming up, too.”
She hummed in agreement, sliding her feet under his leg and wiggling her toes. “Hot chocolate works much better, I’ve found.”
He rested one arm around the top of the sofa, allowing her the space to rest her head on him. “Why didn’t you make some?”
She smiled against the edge of her cup sheepishly. “Ran out.”
He set the empty cups on the table, and then tugged the blanket up to cover the upper half of his body. She fit herself in the circle of his arms, shutting her eyes. “I think this works best,” he murmured quietly against her hair.
She nodded slowly. “Why were you out tonight?”
“Had a lot on my mind. Took a walk.”
“In this weather?”
He shrugged, shaking them both. “The storm didn’t hit until I got to your neighborhood. Didn’t see it coming.”
“Even with your sharp skills?” she teased, tucking the corner of the blanket over his shoulder. “I find that hard to believe.”
She felt his arm shift under her head a little, the muscles flexing, and moved her weight more toward his side to give him the space to move. “My senses are less than amazing when I’m distracted,” he admitted easily. “But it does have its perks.”
The material of his shirt was softer than she had imagined, and she picked an edge to gently play with. “Oh? How so?”
His fingers tangled into her hair, tugging gingerly until she tilted her head back. She opened her mouth in confusion, hands reaching up to pry his from her hair, but then his face was right there, nose nudging her cheek. When his lips skimmed across hers, she froze, eyes wide and hands still, granting him the opportunity to press his mouth fully onto hers.
He moved slowly, carefully, his other hand making its way up cradle her face tenderly; his callouses scraped against her softer skin, but his skin was warm and she felt herself sigh against his lips. He lingered, for just a moment, before pulling away. His eyes were gentle and his smile was small and he said, jokingly, “For one, I ended up here.”
She laughed a little. “I guess that is a perk.”
Her cheeks burned and the sensation of his mouth still singed her own, but he was pulling her back into his arms, tucking her under his chin, and she decided she wouldn’t question him just yet.
She just wanted to enjoy the moment.
Well. This was requested. Hope you liked it and thanks for reading.
The italian version of OUTSIDE (SNK Guidebook) literally translated one of Marco’s sentences in the Marco x Jean interview with “Cos'è, una dichiarazione d'amore indiretta per me?! (ride)” which can be translated to “What is this, an indirect declaration of love to me? (laughs)”