Attack On Titan: Political Divide and the Cylce of Hate Part 1 

 

 

“The first panacea for a mismanaged nation is inflation of the currency; the second is war. Both 

bring a temporary prosperity; both bring a permanent ruin. But both are the refuge of political 

and economic opportunists.” 

Ernest Hemingway 

 

  Politics have always been a hot button issue.  In the United States of America, you have two 

distinct sides and a multitude of others.  However, it is the two distinct parties, Democrats and 

Republicans, that are the ones who move the country and in a lot of ways the world.  Outside of 

North Korea, China, no other country is watched with as much attention like the United States of 

America.  And for good reason too.  Very few countries have the effect on the world like the 

United States of America does. 

 

  When I step back and examine the amount of political unrest that has transpired in the U.S over 

the last year with Qanon, Antifa, the claims of election fraud and the siege of the state capital, I 

cannot help but to draw parallels to Attack on Titan.  The manga and Anime series, which the 

former will be coming to an end April 9th and the Anime series soon there after has become a 

great analysis on politics and war.  How they begin, both sides are truly one side of the same 

coin.  How politics divide.  How politics continue a cycle of hate. 

 

  Beginning September ninth 2009, Attack on Titan starts off like a lot of mangas in its 

demographic (Shonen).  You have three characters, Eren Yeager, Mikasa Ackerman and Armin 

Arlet.  They are all ten years old and live in the town of Shiganashina which is at the edge of 

Wall Maria, the outskirts of the three circular walls that protect humanity from man eating Titans 

that are said to have killed all other humans one hundred years ago.  

 

  The year is 845 and the wall has been breached by two never before seen Titans.  The Colossal 

Titan and the Armored Titan.  Eren’s mother is eaten alive while Eren escapes.  His father is no 

where to be found.  This is obviously the first major turning point of the series as this is also 

when Eren proclaims his quest to kill all Titans. 

  

  Knowing what we all know now, this is such a genius start to the series.  Everything is hidden 

in plain sight.  From fresh eyes, you see this just as a dark start to a story.  And it certainly is.  

But knowing what is to come, you see that this is in fact only the logical conclusion to a political 

divide that has led to brainwashing and a cycle of hate. 

 

  Everyone hates the Titians in Wall Maria.  But perhaps no one more than Eren.  This at first is 

the driving factor of his life as he joins the military with Mikasa following suit to protect him and 

Armin to make sure that he is useful.  Eren at first appears as such an insufferable character.  An 

annoying Shonen protagonist.  However, what is interesting is how much he fails at the start. 

  The 3-D maneuvering gear that he has does not work, but nobody realizes that and he looks 

incompetent when trying to get it together.  While he graduates fifth in his class, he is miles 

behind Mikasa.  You would expect that he would be the best as this is his goal.  But this is how 

Attack Titan early on began to show what kind of story it is.  One not into creating badass 

characters who get what they want.  But one of creating human characters who are true to 

themselves and struggle to get what they want. 

 

  Mikasa on the outside appears to be a total badass.  She is far and ahead the best solider of her 

class.  As the story goes on we see that she is probably one of the best soldiers alive.  When her 

and Eren were children she would protect Eren and Armin from bullies.  She would finish fights 

that Eren could not finish.  

 

  The dynamic between Eren and Mikasa has always been one that has intrigued me about Attack 

on Titan.  Eren and Mikasa met when they were nine under the worst circumstances.  Mikasa 

was with her parents getting ready for Eren and his father’s arrival for a nice visit.  Then these 

men come in, kill her father, kill her mother and then decided to take Mikasa and put her on the 

human trafficking market.  Eren and his dad arrive at her home and sees that something is wrong.  

Eren, already being who he is, decides to take matters in his own hands.  He goes and finds 

Mikasa and kills two of the men.  One last man gets Eren and begins to choke him.  Staring at 

him, Eren tells her to fight or die.  Mikasa does just that, she kills the man.  Eren then gives her 

his scarf.  This began the two’s “relationship”. 

 

  That event has more weight when you look back at it.  Even at the time of seeing this I always 

thought it was wild how Eren could just kill two guys like that.  Of course, he was more than 

justified to do this.  But he was able to do this without any apparent psychological damage.  

Mikasa on the other hand, has carried that with her ever since that day happened.  She uses it to 

fuel her. 

 

  She is of course reminiscing during their first attack on a Titan (see what I did there?) and Eren 

is out in full force.  Already being called “suicidal bastard” Eren is gung-ho and ready to kill 

some Titans.  Things do not go the way that he would have liked them to go.  That is an 

understatement, it is a damn disaster.  Eren’s legs get chopped off and he sacrifices himself so 

Armin is not eaten by a Titan. 

 

  This was supposed to be his moment.  This was supposed to be where Eren comes out and kicks 

some ass.  This was supposed to be his big time Shonen moment.  And yet, it is not.  It is reality 

slapping him in the face.  And does it ever lap him hard.  His first time out and he is eaten by a 

Titan.  And this is where Attack on Titan overtly separated itself from other shows.  

 

  Typical Shonen shows have these loudmouth, but passionate characters like Eren.  Someone 

who has a huge goal and dammit against all odds they are going to achieve it.  They may have 

issues along the way.  But there is no way in hell they are not going to achieve their goal.  They 

are going to find a way to do it.  

 

  Here, Eren fails.  Here we see that while the series may be in the demographic of Shonen, it’s 

setting is more or less Seinen.  Seinen being the demographic that is for 18 and up.  Stories like 

Berserk, Monster, Elfen Lied and etc, fit into that category.  They are more in the real world in 

the sense of how the protagonists goes through harsh experiences and it is not a given that they 

will succeed.  Also, the graphic violence is turned up a notch. 

 

  However, at this point it is too early for Eren to die and we have not even gotten to the political 

aspect yet.  Just when things are looking bad for the rest of the soldiers, a Titan comes out of no 

where and begins to kill the other Titan.  Everyone notices this and begin to work with it.  Then, 

once that Titian wears out and they open him up, it is none other than Eren. 

 

  Eren was not munched up by the Titan.  He found himself in of it’s stomach.  Never one to give 

up, Eren gets out and is transformed into a Titan.  Not to anyone’s surprise, everyone is freaked 

out.  Eren wakes up to see that Mikasa and Armin are protecting him from a crowd.  He then 

shifts into a carcass to protect them. 

 

  After a back and forth on what to, Eren is taken to trial.  The government does not trust Eren.  

They are freaked out by him being at Titan.  Upon a first look I felt that this was because they 

had no idea just what the hell was going on.  But now having knowledge of what has happened 

in the past, this is a great example of political theatre. 

 

  The real powers to be know now that Eren is a Titan shifter.  But what they do not know is how 

that happened.  All they see is the end result.  All they see is someone who potentially knows 

something that they do not know.  All they see is a threat.  And in politics, any threat to your 

agenda needs to be eliminated.  

 

  So, they have this trial against Eren in hopes to have him be killed and experimented on.  In a 

lot of ways this feels like a Senate meeting in the sense that they all bring different items against 

him in hopes that people believe that he is in fact an enemy.  Eren does himself no favors when 

he lashes out at everyone. 

 

  This is when Levi comes in.  He comes in and beats the shit out of Eren.  I remember when I 

first saw this I was like “damn”.  But like Levi said, he did it for show.  And while he could have 

held back a bit, he knew that full commitment was needed.  Levi and Eren had only met once 

before, Eren being in a jail cell.  Levi had already set himself up to be someone who could 

dominate Eren.  So, this act violence allowed his sentiment of how Eren is not his enemy and 

that he willing to take responsibility for him feel believable.  

 

  It is not hard to believe at someone like Levi even so early into the story had an idea of the kind 

of political games that were afoot.  A former thug, Levi has always had this “against the 

establishment” kind of vibe.  When you look at No Regrets, you see that he became this way not 

by choice, but because Erwin forced him to be.  Instead of fighting against it, Levi uses it as a 

way to get in and achieve his goal of wiping out the Titans. 

 

  There are a lot of characters in Attack on Titan and Isayama is great at introducing them in a 

way where all of their quirks are out on display.  I have mentioned Armin, but he is the smart 

guy of the group.  He thinks a mile a minute.  He also perhaps has the purest goal out of anyone 

in the series.  He simply wants to go to the ocean.  Then you have Jean.  He and Eren have been 

butting heads ever since they began training.  A big part of this is due to the fact that he wants 

Mikasa, but she is all over Eren.  

 

  There are a few other characters, but I want to get to Reiner and Bertolt.  Those two are the 

ones who had strong political agendas all along.  Obviously they came here as the Armored 

Titan and the Colossal Titan, along with Annie as the female Titan.  But once their siege failed, 

they joined the military.  Reiner do extremely good for himself. 

 

  The three of them basically become spies.  Why?  They are so driven by the brainwashing that 

they have had that even when they befriend the people of Marley, they cannot simply let go of 

the mission.  They are there to bring them down.  Even if they can see that they are not bad. 

  Outside of this, the first part of Attack on Titan is more about the plot and the mystery.  A lot of 

things happen here that really begin to hype things up.  Over the course of this are the reveals of 

Annie being the female Titan, she kills all of the Survey Corp troops outside of Eren, Levin and 

Erwin, Reiner and Bertolt being the armored and colossal Titans.  How they caused the events 

of Eren’s mother being eaten by Titan.  But in the middle of this we also go into who Historia is. 

 

  We all know her as Historia now, but she was of course Krista when everything began.  She 

was simply this beautiful, yet frail girl.  Her best friend was Ymir, clearly a Lesbian as she would 

ask “Krista” to marry her.  On the offset it does not appear as though these two will have any 

strong effect on the story.  But as the story unwinds, they become great examples of the cruelty 

from the politics of this world. 

 

  Ymir is first revealed to be a Titan when she saves “Krista” Reiner and Bertolt.  It was after that 

that “Krista” is in fact Historia Reiss.  She then goes into her past and how she is the illegitimate 

daughter of Rodd Reiss, head of the Reiss family and the monarchs of the Walls.  Her mother, 

Alma was the servant and became Rod’s mistress.  Once she became pregnant with Historia, she 

moved away to a farm. 

 

  This is where Historia is raised, and I say that lightly.  Her mother was deliberately distant from 

her.  Her mother either just reads or leaves the farm with a carriage ride.  She never works 

around the farm but seems to earn income.  It is Historia’s parents who end up raising her.  Add 

this into how she is picked on by other children due to her social status or lack thereof.  She 

even has rocks thrown at her.  

 

  All this leads to Historia feeling incredibly isolated.  The breaks in this isolation were when her 

half sister Frieda would visit her.  She didn’t even know that Frieda was her half-sister, but 

remembers her as her big sister.  Frieda teaches Historia how to read and is someone who is able 

to bring Historia along into some nice young lady.  She would berate Historia for not being more 

lady like, yet would be displeased when Historia looked up to her as an ideal female role model. 

  Frieda would use her powers as the founding Titan to modify Historia’s memories.  Outside of 

dreams, Historia would simply forget about her interactions with Freida.  As Historia grew up, 

she read more books and after reading about a close mother-daughter relationship tried to 

become close to her mother.  To no avail of course.  Her mother beats her and expressed 

disappointment in not having the guts to kill her years ago.  Sad thing is that Historia was happy 

with this.  As this was the most her mother had ever spoken to her.  

 

  This turned out to be the last time that Historia would speak to her mother for a long, long time.  

As she grew up she began to learn about her “place” within the Reiss family.  How she is 

persona non grata.  How she is seen as a curse and a burden to the entire family.  She did alas 

find solace with the animals. 

 

  Then, after the fall of the wall of Maria, Rod Reiss comes with her mother to see Historia.  He 

wants to take her to the Reiss family estate which would have her be properly within the family 

and become the heir to the Reiss family.  But then the first squad of the Military police brigade.  

They are here to remove any negativity that could attached to the Reiss family name.  They ask 

Rod if Historia is his daughter and if he has anything to do with Alama.  He denies this.  Alama 

is killed by Kenny Ackerman as she tried to deny being Historia mother.  Her last words before 

her throat is slit are how she wishes that she had never given birth to Historia.  Historia is next to 

be killed, but Rod strikes a deal with them, saying that Historia will go away, adopt a new name, 

and then enlist as a solider, thus not needing to be killed.  The soldiers decided that this was fine.  

 That is how Krista Lenz was born. 

 

  Outside of being one of the saddest background stories that I believe I have ever come across in 

fiction, why did this all have to happen?  It should be obvious the political nonsense that was 

afoot here.  The Reiss family has an image to maintain.  With the way that Historia came about, 

that would have shatter the “good will” of the Reiss family.  In the public’s eye that is.  Better to 

have her not exist at all.    

 

  It is the first very obvious sign of how fucked up the world of Attack on Titan is.  With the deal 

with Eren you can at least chalk that up to fear.  But with Historia you have a situation that feels 

straight out of Nazi Germany.  A poor young lady who did not choose her path who is treated 

like shit her whole life because of her given circumstances.  All of this stemming from greed. 

 

  With all these things going on, Reiner and Bertolt decided to make their move.  Instead of 

trying to cause a ruckus, they simply tell Eren what their deal is and ask him to come with them.  

At this point Armin had already come to the conclusion that Reiner and Bertolt were traitors.  

While Eren did not want to believe it, once Reiner and Bertolt confuse to this truth, he has to 

come to grips with it. 

 

  Divide and conquer is what politicians do to advance their goals.  Little by little, we see this 

happen.  Little by little, the division grows.  There was of course an all out fight where Eren lost 

and is taken by Reiner and Bertolt along with Ymir.  Now they have three people who as it 

turned out, were never on their side to begin with.  

 

  As we see once Eren and Ymir and settled into this huge tree with Reiner and Bertolt that each 

side is tightly wound to their ideal.  Eren immediately sees Reiner and Bertolt as the enemy and 

pledges to kill them in the worst way possible.  Reiner and Bertolt, while still sticking to their 

guns, cannot truly defend their positions.  Still brainwashed by their side, they feel the need to 

continue on with their mission.  However, the guilt that they have about how things have gone 

down has begun to get to them. 

 

  You look at major historical figures whose politics have caused mass sufferings.  You have to 

wonder if there is any part of them that felt bad?  Any part of them that could see how what they 

were doing was causing a great deal of pain to innocent people?  That is the dangerous aspect to 

ideals.  When you stick to those ideals you tend to ignore your own humanity and therefore the 

humanity of others.  

 

  When this moment occurred, you can feel Reiner and Bertolt’s guilt and shame.  They 

understand why Eren would be upset.  At this point they have been friends with Eren for years.  

Yet, that friendship comes a distant second to their mission.  Their mission to destroy the 

enemies.  A mission that if they were never told was necessary, they would have never been 

apart of in the first place.  

 

  Eren makes a comment who they are not soldiers.  That they are warriors.  Well, what is the 

difference between soldiers and warriors?  According to tv tropes a soldier is a fighter using 

their skills and training to get a job done or a cause fulfilled, with combat simply being a grim 

task to get there. ... A warrior is a fighter using their martial spirit and personal philosophy to 

fight, typically for honor and glory. 

 

  Take a look at what happen at the Capital.  Those extremists that participated in those activities 

thought that they were soldiers.  There were some people who have been a part of the military 

there as well.  But those people were simply warriors in the general sense.  Most of them of 

course did not have martial arts skills.  

 

  What they did have was unwavering support to their personal philosophies to fight for honor 

and glory.  The honor and glory of the United States of America.  At least, this is what they 

believed when they were in the act.  On the outside what happened looked me and most would 

say that objectively it was bad.  However, when you look at how their “leader” pumped them up 

not only before the incident but really for years, what else could anyone have expected? 

 

  These were not people who were truly thinking for themselves.  These were people who have 

been looking for a leader.  People have lacked a sense of self for more than likely their entire 

lives.  They found this leader is Trump.  Trump of course knew that he could play with these 

people’s emotions and well, we got what we got.  Whether or not that was his intention, we got 

what we got. 

 

  The thing is, this is not over.  These people are sticking with their ideologies.  They believe that 

they are in the right.  Well, the majority of these people are apart of the alt-right.  So, they 

believe things such as the country is better of with a white majority, not allowing immigrants in, 

allowing for the confederate flag to be present at NASCAR races, and other radical ideas.  

 

  The problem with these kinds of ideologies is that there is little to no room for negotiation.  The 

people who belong in these communities are firm in their beliefs.  These beliefs that cannot be 

questioned.  These beliefs that are right.  These beliefs that are simply being brought down by 

socialist communists.  

 

  It is not too surprising to see how things have turned out.  You have the entire right essentially 

being wiped out on the internet at the Capital incident.  With the president being a Democrat, the 

house and senate have the majority of its members being democrat (the senate by the slimmest of 

margins) it does appear that we will have a more liberal country for at least the next few years.  

 

  It is good in a lot of ways.  But all this is doing is creating an even bigger divide.  A divide that 

no one has ever seen in their lifetimes.  A divide that has not been seen by this country since the 

civil war.  Hopefully, that is not a bad omen, but it has gotten to that point.  Yet, with he way the 

right seems to be into militancy, things are being pointed in that direction. 

 

  Which brings up back to Attack on Titan.  While technically not a civil war, you have two sides 

with unrelenting ideologies.  The Eldians at this point in story are not even aware of Marley’s 

existence.  They just want to kill off all the Titans.  Obviously, Marley is more than aware of 

who the Eldians are and see them as the devils of pardis.  

 

  Eren and Ymir being stuck up in that huge ass tree with Reiner and Bertolt is the first look at 

how there a divide.  Looking back, all the signs are there.  Reiner and Bertolt know that they 

have been shitty to Eren.  They are the reason that his mother was eaten by a Titan years ago.  

They know that they are straight up traitors. 

 

  Yet, with the big picture in mind, they are able to “justify” their actions.  They firmly believe 

that they are in the right.  That if Eren would simply open his mind to them, that he would 

understand.  And if not?  Oh well, they have him now.  They can force him to do whatever needs 

to be done. 

 

  This of course leads to that famous battle where Erwin leads the survey troops to get Eren and 

Ymir back.  It is funny how at the time this battle felt so epic both in the manga and in the anime.  

But it truly was something else.  We see how the troops are willing to fight just as hard as Reiner 

and Bertolt are.  We see that in a way they are just as dogmatic as they are as the biggest reason 

for this battle is to retrieve Eren back as Eren at this point in the story was seen as someone who 

could save humanity. 

 

  Yeah, I wonder how that aged? 

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  Part Two is coming soon.

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