“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.”
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
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
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?
Read my new book, Peace: The Pursuit of Happiness
Download my newest single, Ocean Waves
Follow me on Instagram: misan_akuya
Part Two is coming soon.