snk 16

SNK Readthrough: Volume 16 Part 19

“I can’t be a good girl, and I don’t want to be a God. But when I see someone crying, saying no one needs them, I want to tell them it’s not true.”

As I reflect on the two most important people in Historia’s life, I’m struck by their similarities.

There have been hints that Ymir, like Frieda, is royalty. Both were sacrificed at a young age. Frieda gave up her life when she became a pawn of the King Titan; Ymir when she died to bring happiness to many people (ch 40). 

Both women loved Historia. Both sought to protect her. The Wall Cult considered Historia an abomination, a stain that needed to be blotted out. Frieda thought the solution was for Historia to be a good girl, to make everyone love her. Ymir’s advice was the opposite: stop being a good girl, determine your own fate!

The difference in attitude might be the result of life experience. Ymir was granted a second chance.  I wonder if Frieda was given a do-over what her message to Historia would be.

In the end, both women were successful in giving Historia what she needed to survive. Frieda did so by giving Historia a past, revealing to her that she was never truly alone. And Ymir by giving her a future, by showing Historia how to live.

SNK Readthrough: Volume 16 Part 12

Chapter 65 confirmed something many of us had long suspected, namely, young Kenny Ackerman was hot.  It also confirmed something we couldn’t possibly have known: Levi has his grandfather’s eyes. 

Levi’s mother was Kuchel. She worked in a brothel. He and Mikasa are distant cousins. And while Kenny is undoubtedly a psychopath, he has a bit of a soft spot for his family. 

So yeah, nice details. But it all felt more “ahh” than “OMG!!!” to me.

Perhaps the biggest reveal in this most recent expository dump was that the Asian bloodline is also immune from the King’s mindwhammy, making Mikasa some sort of unholy hybrid of rebellion for the monarchy. 

SNK Readthrough: Volume 16 Part 6

“All right everyone. Ready to get your hands dirty? Looks like you are.” - Proud Papa Levi, Ch 64

Upon arriving at the chapel, Levi looks at his young squad. Just three days before, Sasha and Connie had been ready to abandon him. Three days before, Jean had said he’d never be able to kill a person. Three days before, Armin was in agony over firing the bullet that saved Jean’s life.

A lot has happened in three days.

Levi asks them, “Ready to get your hands dirty?”. From the fireside chat of the night before, they know this is Levi-speak for “are you ready to kill humans”.

They don’t say a word but the look on their faces gives Levi confidence. And I am at once proud of how far they’ve come, yet horrified at what they’ve needed to become.

SNK Readthrough: Volume 16 Part 4

For those of you thirsting for the Ackertalk, you have my sympathy. You’ve patiently waited and have gotten nothing more than Levi’s simple confirmation that he, Kenny and Mikasa all bear the same last name and have freaky deaky magic-blood powers. It’s hardly the heart-to-heart any of us hoped for. 

But you know who did get the Ackertalk? Little Mikasa. 

She thinks back to her childhood and a lovely, relaxed moment complete with snacks and tea. Her parents explained how they met and why they lived in such a remote location. Even though her parents were outcasts, persecuted by society, they didn’t want to frighten their young daughter. They strove to protect her  - while not shielding her from the truth of her existence.

I contrast that with Levi and Historia (and possibly Eren) whose identities were hidden from them, whose childhood were built on lies. I think of all the emotional turmoil that resulted.

Mikasa was spared that burden. She was raised by good people who dearly loved her. They left her with a solid foundation to build on -  a capacity to love and a model for healthy relationships.

SNK Readthrough: Volume 16 Part 3

“Unlike you, Erwin, I’m not a betting man. And also unlike you, I care more about the number of surviving humans than my own life.” - Dot Pixis, Ch 63

Ouch, man. I thought you were Erwin’s friend. Way to kick him when he’s down. 

I’ve read this scene a dozen times to try to understand why Pixis is so harsh with Erwin.  I’d like to chalk it up to stress since it’s been a rough week for the both of them.

Pixis has shown he doesn’t rush into decisions. As it turns out, he had long suspected the government’s corruption and also knew of Zackley’s dark side. He was planning on handling both in his own time, in the least destructive way possible. So maybe he’s angry that Erwin forced his hand prematurely. Or maybe Pixis was an unseen passenger in the carriage ride and overheard Zackley’s harsh assessment of Erwin’s character.

Whatever the reason, it makes me sad.  

Pixis and Erwin have been together a few times since these scene. I haven’t noticed any lingering hostilities. So I’m hopeful that these hurt feelings have passed and my favorite  bromance is back on track.

SNK Readthrough: Volume 16 Part 15

Historia stands ready, needle in arm, a thin line of blood leaving the injection site. Her thumb is on the plunger but she pauses. Something is very wrong. Eren isn’t fighting. Eren who never stops fighting. Something is very wrong.

 It’s like I’m watching a gameshow. Historia is the contestant. She spins the wheel and I watch breathlessly as the options tick by. Rod. Frieda. Ymir. I wonder if the wheel will stop and leave her bankrupt or with the grand prize. Rod, Frieda…

Ymir. Beautiful, glorious Ymir standing atop the tower at Utgard with the sun rising behind her. Her slight smile betrays her nervousness. She’s about to reveal her true identity to the person she loves. She says what may be her final words.

“This is just a wish of mine. Live your life with pride.”

Jackpot! 

At once, Historia is able to focus on the question that matters most, the one we’ve all been asking: In the hundred years since humanity was trapped by the titans, why didn’t a single member of the Reiss family ever free them? 

SNK Readthrough: Volume 16 Part 8

I have nothing to say about this panel that hasn’t been said a million times before. I just really want it in my readthrough. If I ever print out all 200+ of these posts, I need this to be one of them.

It was a thrill seeing Levi and Mikasa Ackerman perfectly synchronized, fighting in harmony, and taking the MPs by storm. Literally by storm – Levi they expected, Mikasa was an unknown. They were blown away by her by her abilities. 

The question is why. Kenny knew the significance of the Ackerman name and Mikasa was publicly known from Eren’s trial. So either Kenny didn’t do his homework, or Isayama left a tiny plot hole. 

SNK Readthrough: Volume 16 Part 17

“…the first king believed it was the way to true peace. I don’t know why though. It’s only known to those who see the memories of the world.” - Rod Reiss, Ch 66

I feel like if I read the whole manga again from start to finish, gather all the tiny clues, close my eyes and think really, really hard I might be able to piece this story together. 

We have a few large pieces of the puzzle. Pixis told Eren that before the walls mankind was on the verge of extinction. People were constantly murdering each other over tribal disputes and ideologies. 

The solution? "If a powerful nonhuman enemy appeared, humanity would probably unite and stop fighting itself.” - Dot Pixis Ch 12.

Now we are finding out from Rod that this is pretty much what happened. Except where Pixis calls it a “nonhuman enemy”, Rod prefers the word “God”.

Taken at face value it means that one hundred years ago the first King Reiss appeared with a plan for peace. He gathered the people to him, transforming some of them into walls. He then erased all memory of the event. 

The tiny bits and pieces?

  • According to Historia, the first King calls the people “sinners”. He gets really mad when people try to leave. 
  • From the unfortunate noble in Zackley’s maison d'art, we learn that most of the people within the walls have “slave blood”.
  • Berthold refers the people within the walls “Children of the Devil”.
  • According to Grandpa Ackerman, a few bloodlines are immune. That’s so scary to the First King that he tries to exterminate them.
  • Uri and Frieda didn’t always agree with the First King but were powerless to fight his ideologies.
  • People from outside the walls are desperate to retrieve the Coordinate Power (I wonder if it belonged to them in the first place).
  • Grisha was willing to die to get the Coordinate power away from the Reiss family. 
  • The titans wandering outside the walls were once human. There seems to be a constant supply of new ones.
  • At least one of the Titans knew Ymir.
  • There’s a significance to “2000 years”.
  • Something is in the basement.

It all paints a sinister picture of the world within the walls. But no matter how hard I squint, I still can’t make sense of it all.