|From long ago, the inheritor of the Attack Titan never obeyed others. It's all been to resist the self-righteousness of the King. Yes... for this one moment. It's why we've all been led to this memory... The Attack Titan is capable of seeing into the memories of its future inheritors... In other words, it is capable of knowing the future.|
|— Grisha Yeager reveals the Attack Titan's ability to Frieda Reiss|
The Attack Titan (進撃の巨人 Shingeki no Kyojin?, also translated as Attacking Titan) was one of the Nine Titans that could see through the memories of its past and future holders, and is said to have fought for freedom throughout the course of numerous generations.
Future memory inheritance
While all of the Nine Titans could receive memories of past inheritors, the Attack Titan could also receive memories of inheritors yet to come. Zeke Yeager described it as "the power to transcend time." These memories led those with the Attack Titan to move forward, fighting for freedom. Eren Kruger received memories of Grisha Yeager telling his son to protect Mikasa Ackerman and Armin Arlert, although he did not know whose memories they were. Grisha Yeager knew of the Founding Titan's bloodline restriction from the future memories of his son, Eren. Grisha also saw the Rumbling, and, horrified, begged Zeke to stop Eren.
Eren saw that he was able to reach the Coordinate in the unknown land after seeing the future from Grisha's memories. However, just like how memories from the past were often incomplete, memories from the future were incomplete as well: Eren did not know that Ymir Fritz only obeys those with royal blood.
The Attack Titan, like all the Nine Titans, was brought into the world after the death of Ymir Fritz. Though this Titan was presumably caught up in the conflict of houses between the eight Titans of the Eldian Empire subservient to the Founding Titan, it is said that the Attack Titan always fought for the freedom of Eldia no matter the day and age. During the Great Titan War as Marley gradually gained control over seven of the Nine Titans, the Attack Titan evidently never fell into Marley's hands and remained on the mainland while the Founding Titan remained overseas on Paradis Island where King Karl Fritz relocated the capital.
In the year 819, an Eldian spy in the Marley Public Security Authorities named Eren Kruger inherited the Attack Titan from an unknown predecessor. During the thirteen years he held the Attack Titan, it is unknown how often he used it, if at all, until the year 832 when he brought Grisha Yeager to Paradis Island. At the borderline, after the Eldian Restorationists were turned into Pure Titans and sent to wander the island, Kruger made use of the Attack Titan to destroy the Public Security Authorities and their ship before disposing of all evidence of the event. Afterward, Kruger entrusted Grisha with the mission to obtain the Founding Titan from the King of the Walls and passed on his Attack Titan.
After holding the Attack Titan for approximately thirteen years, Wall Maria came under attack by the Warriors of Marley; Grisha Yeager decided the time had come to negotiate with the Founding Titan or take it by force if necessary. Arriving at the Reiss Chapel, Grisha pleaded with Frieda Reiss for the sake of Eldia and the Walls, but his cries were neglected. Although insistent about taking the Founding Titan by force, Grisha is unable to until he is pressured to by the future holder of the Attack Titan: his son Eren Yeager. Goaded on by the memories of his family, his comrades who died before him and the mission he was entrusted to fulfill by his predecessor, Grisha used the Attack Titan and overpowered Frieda, stealing the Founding Titan and killing her along with the rest of her family, except for her father, who escaped.
Upon returning to Wall Rose where the refugees from Wall Maria were arriving, Grisha found Eren and took him into a forest where he injected him with a Titan serum. As a Pure Titan, Eren ate his father and inherited both the Attack Titan and the Founding Titan, though he could not use the latter due to his non-royal lineage.
For five years, Eren Yeager lived his life unaware of his possession of the Attack Titan and the unusable Founding Titan until the year 850, during the battle of Trost District. Upon being caught and eaten by a Titan, Eren's injuries and burning desire to slaughter the Titans trigger his first transformation into the Attack Titan. In a nearly mindless state, Eren wanders Trost as the Attack Titan, slaughtering twenty Titans throughout the day all while avoiding bringing harm to the human trainees around him. His first Attack Titan eventually exhausts itself, and Eren emerges with healed wounds.
Completely clueless as to the nature of Eren's Titan power, the Trost Garrison takes Eren into their custody and question him about his Titan nature. When it becomes clear that the Garrison soldiers present cannot be reasoned with, cannon fire is used against Eren, but he successfully accomplishes a partial transformation of the Attack Titan and protects himself and his friends from the blast. Upon Commander Dot Pixis' arrival in Trost, the military decides to make use of the Attack Titan to seal the breached gate of Trost.
Upon reaching the boulder needed to seal the breach in Wall Rose, Eren's next transformation goes awry when his Attack Titan falls into a feral state and attacks Mikasa Ackerman before incapacitating itself. Eren's Titan lies dormant for a short time before his childhood friend Armin Arlert manages to communicate with Eren himself through the nape of the Attack Titan, and Eren regains control. Carrying a massive boulder through the streets as members of the Garrison and Training Corps defend him, the Attack Titan seals the hole in the Wall, securing humanity's first victory against the Titans.
Some time afterward, Eren joins the Survey Corps after his change of custody is made official in a military tribunal. During his first month in the Survey Corps, Eren's Attack Titan is subjected to a variety of studies by Squad Leader Hange Zoë. At this time, the Survey Corps discovers the dependency of the Titan's power upon a fixed goal in mind before transformation in addition to the cause of an injury. After the month's passing, the Survey Corps sets out on the 57th Expedition Outside the Walls. However, the expedition is sabotaged by the arrival of the Female Titan. Within a Titan Forest, Eren, in pure rage, transforms into the Attack Titan to battle the Female Titan after she killed the members of Levi's squad. Eren assaults Annie with his Attack Titan but is quickly defeated. While Eren is later rescued from the Female Titan, the expedition is cut short and is considered a failure.
A few days later, the Survey Corps corners Annie Leonhart, inheritor of the Female Titan, in Stohess District, and she transforms into the Female Titan once more as a last resort. Eren battles her a second time with the Attack Titan, though the raid comes to an end when Annie uses her hardening ability to encase herself in a crystal-like substance to avoid capture.
The next day, Eren joins the Survey Corps' efforts in dealing with the sudden Wall Rose invasion. At this time, Reiner Braun and Bertolt Hoover reveal their respective identities as the Armored Titan and Colossus Titan. When the two transform into their Titan forms, Eren battles the Armored Titan with the Attack Titan. Despite initial difficulties, Eren's Titan gains the upper hand using Annie's martial arts techniques and nearly defeats the Armored Titan until Bertolt's Colossus Titan cuts the battle short in a last-resort effort to capture Eren. In the subsequent mission to rescue Eren, the Attack Titan is not used, but instead, Eren manages to unlock the power of the Founding Titan for a brief moment after making contact with a Titan of royal blood.
During the week after the invasion, the Survey Corps goes into hiding as Military Police Brigade action against them increases disturbingly. Research on Eren's Attack Titan continues in the wilderness, where they observe that repetitive transformations in a short amount of time lead to decreased physical and mental strength in the Attack Titan. Sometime later, Eren is captured by the Reiss family, who desire to feed Eren to Historia Reiss in order to regain the Founding Titan for the royal family. While captured, Eren witnesses his father's memories of using the Attack Titan against the royal family as well as the moment where he ate his father to gain his Titan. During his rescue, Eren ingests a Titan serum labeled "armor," and the Attack Titan gains the ability to harden its skin in a manner similar to the Titans inside the Wall and Annie's Female Titan. This armor ability is used to protect Eren's friends from the collapse of the cavern beneath the Reiss Chapel, and Eren uses his Titan to toss a bundle of explosives into the gargantuan Titan form of Rod Reiss.
After Rod Reiss' defeat and the crowning of Historia Reiss, Eren's hardening power is used to create an Executioner from Hell where the southern gate of Trost District once stood. The new anti-Titan weapon is a success, though it takes a heavy toll on Eren's health for a brief time after emerging from his Titan. Shortly afterward, the Survey Corps sets out for the ruins of Shiganshina District in order to reclaim the lost territory of Wall Maria. Eren's Attack Titan uses its new hardening power to completely seal the breach in the southern gate of Shiganshina, but the mission is interrupted by the sudden appearance of the Beast Titan and the Armored Titan, beginning the battle of Shiganshina District. The Attack Titan battles the Armored Titan a second time, with this duel ending in Eren's favor.
Before Reiner can be killed, Bertolt comes to his rescue and wards off the recruits of the Survey Corps before transforming into the Colossus Titan. Eren attempts to attack the Colossus, but he is kicked into Wall Maria and is briefly incapacitated. Armin once again brings Eren back to his senses, and he formulates a plan for Eren to defeat the Colossus. As Armin distracts Bertolt, Eren's Attack Titan falls to the ground near the breached north gate of Shiganshina and hardens itself. Thinking that Eren has succumbed to a concussion, Bertolt thinks nothing of it but soon realizes that he is seeing the hardened shell of a Titan and not Eren's true Titan, and in the moment of vulnerability Eren in human form strikes at the nape of the Colossus Titan, pulling Bertolt out of his defeated Titan form.
In the aftermath of the battle for Shiganshina, the survivors of the battle arrive at the basement of the Yeager family's home, where Grisha Yeager had left three books which, in addition to information of the outside world, detailed his past as well as the moment when he inherited the Attack Titan from Eren Kruger nearly twenty years ago.
Through the years 851 to 854, the nation of Marley sent a total of 32 scouting ships to Paradis Island, all of which ended up missing. This was done by an anti-Marleyan volunteer luring the ships over by wireless communication, before either the Attack Titan or Colossus Titan blocked off their escape and seized the ships along with their crews.
In the year 854, the Attack Titan deals a heavy blow to Marley during the Liberio internment zone festival hosted by the Tybur family. Having infiltrated an Eldian unit under the alias "Kruger" at some point during the Marley Mid-East War, Eren reunites with Reiner beneath a civilian building where they listen to Willy Tybur's stage production publicly revealing the truth of the Great Titan War. Sympathizing with Reiner's manipulated and subjugated life, Eren transforms into the Attack Titan as Willy Tybur makes a declaration of war against Paradis Island. In front of an audience of hundreds of multinational ambassadors, the Attack Titan crushes the Tyburs' stage and eviscerates Willy Tybur, sending his mangled body flying into the air.
The Attack Titan devours Willy's corpse, then proceeds to destroy the rest of the stage and attacks the Marleyan military. It soon notices the War Hammer Titan's transformation and charges it, landing numerous blows before it can fully generate a body. Suddenly, a large spike shoots up from the ground and impales the Attack Titan, sending it into the air. After the War Hammer Titan forms its hammer and swings it, the Attack Titan breaks free from the spike and narrowly avoids getting hit, only to be pinned to the ground by numerous smaller spikes and bombarded by anti-Titan artillery. Due to being pinned down on two sides, the Attack Titan can only harden its hands and forearms to deflect an incoming swing from the War Hammer Titan. It fails, and the Attack Titan is decapitated by the blow, though Eren survives the devastating strike.
While Mikasa runs interference, Eren figures out how the War Hammer Titan survived a blow to its nape and transforms into the Attack Titan again to sever the cable connecting the War Hammer Titan to its wielder. The Attack Titan is about to consume her when it is caught by surprise by the sudden arrival of the Jaw Titan. It jumps on the back of the Attack Titan and bites into its neck, trying to rip out the nape. The Attack Titan, along with Levi Ackerman, are able to fight it off. However, that gives the War Hammer Titan enough time to recover and impale the Attack Titan in a web of hardened Titan flesh.
The Attack Titan attempts to devour the War Hammer's crystal again, while still trapped in the confines of the hardened structure. Its teeth shatter on the crystal, and Eren is forced to eject his trapped Titan form, yet immediately transforms once more. He takes the crystal back into his hand, and watches the conflict's progression from across the battlefield. After the Colossus Titan's transformation down at the port breaks the Warriors position, the Jaw Titan attempts to charge Eren down, yet is engaged by Mikasa before it could reach him.
The Jaw Titan avoids Mikasa's attack and starts to repeatedly slash at the Attack Titan. The Attack Titan suffers considerable damage to its face but is able to divert a few strikes using the crystal holding Lara Tybur. As the Jaw Titan momentarily breaks off from its attack, the Attack Titan notices that the claw marks have caused cracks to form in the crystal. Soon after, when the Jaw Titan is brought down by Mikasa slashing its legs, the Attack Titan grabs it and tears off its arms. It then jams the crystal into the defenseless Jaw Titan's mouth, and begins to squeeze its jaw in an attempt to finally break through the crystal surrounding Lara. The strain quickly causes the crystal to fragment and shatter, killing her. The Attack Titan consumes the fluids coming out of the crystal, granting Eren the powers of the War Hammer Titan.
Eren then turns his attention towards the Jaw Titan, using the Attack Titan's strength to put an end to its struggling. Eren prepares to devour the Titan, though he pauses upon seeing a bright flash caused by Reiner's transformation. The Attack Titan swings at the incomplete Armored Titan and sends it to the ground. In the process however, Reiner manages to save the Jaw Titan from Eren's grasp. Despite the setback, Eren exits his Titan's nape, noting to Mikasa that Reiner will now be unable to stop the Survey Corps' airship.
After the Yeagerists effectively take control of the Walls, Eren returns to Shiganshina District. Coming into contact with Pieck, Eren is led to the roof of the military HQ, where he transforms after being ambushed by the Jaw Titan.
The two briefly fight before the Jaw Titan retreats. Eren ignores Yelena's instruction to escape underground and goes to engage the Marleyan forces. He soon encounters the Armored Titan and they fight a third time, with the Attack Titan gaining a slight advantage. When the Jaw Titan reengages to fight alongside the Armored Titan, Eren is forced to use the War Hammer Titan's powers to keep them at bay.
Two incapacitating shots from the Cart Titan to his head lead to the Armored Titan to pin the Attack Titan. The two then violently wrestle, until the Beast Titan arrives and knocks off the Armored Titan with a projectile thrown from the Wall. The Attack Titan attempts to close the distance between the Beast Titan and itself, with Zeke protecting Eren by barraging the Armored and Jaw Titans upon their approaches. Eventually, Zeke is sniped by the actions of General Magath and the Cart Titan, falling off the top of the Wall. Eren nevertheless continues to Zeke's position, defeating the Jaw Titan along the way by repeatedly bashing on the Titan's head. While doing so, another anti-Titan artillery round is fired into the Attack Titan's head, allowing for Reiner to catch up to him and begin grappling with him.
In the fallout of Zeke's scream, a transformed Falco Grice attacks Reiner, allowing Eren to begin escaping the Armored Titan's grip. Falco's Titan eventually breaks off to devour Porco Galliard, allowing an enraged Reiner to continue his assault on the Attack Titan. However, Eren traps the Armored Titan by hardening, and exits his Titan to begin running to Zeke on foot.
- The Attack Titan shares the same Japanese name with Attack on Titan: 進撃の巨人 (Shingeki no Kyojin?).
- Before inheriting the Attack Titan, Grisha Yeager had dark colored eyes. After inheriting the Attack Titan, Grisha's eyes became light colored.
- The Attack Titan could not harden on its own, but it could be given the ability to with a specialized serum.
- In late 2016, after watching all 6 seasons of Game of Thrones available at the time, Hajime Isayama said the series would influence his own work. The Attack Titan's ability to peer into the past and future is similar to Greensight, particularly that of the Three-Eyed Raven explored in Season 6 of Game of Thrones.
- The time Zeke takes Eren to visit Grisha's past is similar to when the previous Three-Eyed Raven takes Bran Stark to visit Ned Stark's past. Both Grisha and Ned notice the presence of their sons, signifying that Eren and Bran have influence over the past.
- Both Eren and Bran create a causal loop while in a vision of the past: Eren causes Grisha to murder the Reiss family and Bran causes Hodor's condition. (This also means that both series operate under "The past is already written. The ink is dry." One cannot truly change the past but rather changing the past causes the present.)
- Hajime Isayama noted that the design of Eren's Attack Titan was based on Yushin Okami, and the motions of Eren's punching as the Titan was inspired by Akiyo Nishiura.