Attack on Titan: Chronicle (「進撃の巨人」CHRONICLE Shingeki no Kyojin CHRONICLE?) is the series' fourth recap movie, retelling the first three seasons of the Attack on Titan series based on the manga by Hajime Isayama.
In the fourth recap movie, episodes 1-59 of the anime are retold, compiling the first three seasons of the anime into one two hour event.
In the year 845, over one hundred years after the appearance of the Titans, humanity receives a grim reminder of the threat that the Titans pose. Under the belief that they were safe behind the Walls, a Colossal Titan peers over Wall Maria and breaks Shiganshina District's outer gate. Eren Jaeger rushes back to his house along with Mikasa Ackermann to rescue his mother, Carla Jaeger, who the two children find trapped under debris.
Carla insists that Eren take Mikasa and run, but Eren objects and continues his efforts, struggling with debris. His mother then tells him that her legs were crushed by the rubble, so even if he manages to get her free, she will not be able to run. Eren ignores her implications, yelling that he will carry her. In tears, Carla asks why he never listens to her. The argument is cut short when a Titan is seen moving closer to their position. After more pleading from his mother and the Titan still approaching, Hannes arrives. Carla begs Hannes to take the children and run. At first, Hannes refuses, vowing to kill the Titan and save the three of them. As Hannes charges the Titan, he suddenly stops, horrified at the frightening appearance of this Titan.
Hannes withdraws his blade and runs back, grabbing the two children. With Carla grateful and Eren protesting, Hannes makes a run for it. Carla screams for Eren and Mikasa to survive. Eren, looking behind on Hannes's shoulder, gasps as he sees the Titan move debris of the house away, eyeing Carla. The Titan grabs her and Eren screams for it to stop. It breaks her back with its hands, and Eren can only watch in despair as the Titan devours his mother.
As citizens begin fleeing the district, an Armored Titan appears and crashes through the inner gate, killing its defenders. The gravity of the situation dawns on Eren when he realizes he can never go home again. Seeing the weakness of humanity, he vows to kill every last Titan in the world.
Five years later, a ceremony is held for graduates of the 104th Cadet Corps, with Eren and Mikasa placing in the top five. Later, the graduates maintain the cannons atop the Wall and Eren feels motivated about humanity's fight against the Titans, when suddenly lightning hits the ground outside of Wall Rose and the Colossal Titan appears, breaching Trost District's outer gate.
The soldiers quickly begin their attempts at dealing with the Titans, not wanting to repeat the hell from five years ago. While the civilians continue their evacuation, the new recruits are preparing to head into action. Armin Arlelt panics, claiming that the Titans can annihilate them at any time, but Eren tries to calm him down.
Running through the district, the recruits find that the Titans are already inside. Suddenly, they are targeted by an Abnormal Titan that jumps at them. Thinking they have evaded it, the group realizes that the Titan had caught Thomas Wagner in its mouth. Before he can react, the Titan devours Thomas, much to the horror of his teammates. An enraged Eren then rushes forward with his omni-directional mobility gear in order to slay that Titan, but is intercepted by another Titan which bites off his leg, causing him to fall down.
Eren's teammates are in shock just as more Titans appear, killing them one after another, much to the horror of Armin, who freezes from shock. Armin is then approached by another Titan that puts him into its mouth. As half-conscious Eren sees all of this, he recalls a time of his childhood when Armin came to him carrying a book containing information about the outside world. Eren's interest grew as Armin revealed many outside world secrets from the book.
Back in the present, Eren grabs Armin's hand, throwing him out of the Titan's mouth. Using a blade as a way to keep the Titan's mouth open, Eren states that he will go to the outside world. Armin urges him to hurry, but it is too late, as the Titan shuts its mouth, biting Eren's arm off while devouring the rest of the body.
Elsewhere, Mikasa senses that something is off. She recalls the day several years ago when Eren had saved her from a group of bandits who killed her parents. Mikasa reflects on how cruel the world is, but despite that, and upon remembering Eren, she realizes she still has a place to call home. As the Titans continue to swarm HQ, Mikasa arrives looking for Eren, but finds Armin, who apologizes to her before telling her of Eren's death. Seemingly emotionless, Mikasa tells Armin they cannot afford to be emotional now and brings him to his feet, then goes to Marco Bodt to confirm that getting into the supply HQ will allow the cadets to escape.
As Mikasa is preparing to head for the HQ, the rest of the cadets tell her that she cannot make it to the supply HQ. However, she brags that she is strong and can make it there without needing the others. She calls them cowards and belittles them for giving up so soon. When some try to complain and say she will die, Mikasa acknowledges the risk involved. However, she adds that if she wins, then she will live.
Mikasa kills all the Titans in the way, but Armin notices that she is using too much gas. He realizes she is suffering from losing Eren and by fighting, can distract herself from the pain. Armin's prediction turns out to be true and Mikasa crashes onto the street below. Mikasa thinks about how she has lost her family again with Eren's death, and as she ponders what to do, a Titan begins walking toward her and reaches down to pick her up, but Mikasa suddenly cuts off its finger and evades its grasp. It continues to attack her, but she dodges all the blows instinctively and wonders what is keeping her from letting herself die.
Another Titan appears behind Mikasa down the street, cornering her. Mikasa remembers Eren telling her to fight when they were children and promises to never give up, saying if she dies she will lose her memories of him. As Mikasa raises her blades ready to strike, the Titan behind her suddenly punches the other Titan, repeatedly stomping on it. The mysterious Titan continues targeting other Titans up until it exhausts itself and collapses. As the cadets watch, a figure, who turns out to be Eren, emerges from the mysterious Titan's corpse. He is unconscious, but alive. While the others are in shock, Mikasa quickly goes to check on her friend. She is in shock, but embraces him before listening for a heartbeat, and cries as soon as she finds it.
Eren recalls being in the stomach of the Titan that swallowed him whole. Questioning why the Titans took everything from him, and refusing to give up, he again swears he will destroy them all, with his bare hands. Eren, growing even more desperate and despairing, reaches towards the Titan's throat with his missing arm. Then, suddenly, an enormous arm explodes out of the Titan's mouth, causing it to stumble stupidly, before falling face first. As the Titan lay on the ground, Eren emerges in Titan form from the Titan's back as it rips apart. Desperate for revenge, Eren decapitates the Titan that ate him with a powerful stomp before attacking a smaller Titan with one punch to its mouth, damaging its head enough to kill it. He stomps on the deceased Titan's head repeatedly, consumed with bloodlust to kill all of the Titans.
Eren wakes up, having remembered these events in his sleep, muttering his desire to kill. He then notices the frightened and misunderstanding Garrison soldiers, surrounding them and want to kill Eren, as they believe that he is a Titan. As the situation heightens, Eren appears to have no recollection of his time as a Titan. The Garrison captain gives the signal to fire the cannon at Eren and his friends, prompting Mikasa to grab Eren and Armin and tells them to flee. At that moment, Eren sees his father, Grisha Jaeger's key coming out from his shirt. Looking at it, Eren recalls his father giving him the key, telling him to keep it on him at all times, and then giving him an injection that damaged his memories of that moment. He also remembers the basement of his former home, with his father saying that although it would be an insanely dangerous journey, he must still reach the basement.
Grisha assures Eren that "their memories" will be able to teach him how to use his new power telling him that if he wishes to protect Mikasa and Armin, he must master his new power. With this, Eren instinctively bites down on his hand and appears to catch the cannonball. When the smoke partially clears, it is shown that Eren has partially transformed into a Titan, thus terrifying everyone within range. However, Eren did in fact save Mikasa and Armin by stopping the cannonball with his Titan's hand. Eren's sudden transformation comes as a shock to the Garrison soldiers and Armin decides to put his life on the line and argue for Eren's sake before the Garrison captain, but the man is unmoved. However, the confrontation is resolved with the arrival of Commander Dot Pyxis, who desires to follow the plan which Armin had devised to seal the breach in Wall Rose.
Commander Pyxis announces the plan to seal Wall Rose with a boulder in the city, but the soldiers and cadets are reluctant to follow. Given the dire circumstances, Pyxis convinces the troops to take the risk. Under the command of the Garrison elite squad, Eren approaches the boulder while the other soldiers distract the Titans. However, upon transforming into his Titan form, he suddenly attacks Mikasa. She manages to dodge Eren's punches and much to the rest of the team's surprise, she hangs herself at Eren's Titan face in an attempt to talk to him. Seeing Eren getting ready to launch another attack, Ian Dietrich warns Mikasa to get away from him just as Eren punches his own head as Mikasa manages to evade.
Armin arrives and asks Mikasa about the plan and Eren's state and she tells him that Eren is unable to control the Titan. Believing that Eren coming out of Titan's weak point back then is related to the mystery of Titans, Armin stabs the Titan's nape, leading the blade through Eren's left arm inside of the Titan. Armin manages to talk to Eren, asking him if he remembers his motives for exploring the outside world and Eren answers that it is because he was born in this world, just as he regains control of his Titan and carries the boulder. Seeing Eren heading to the breach, Jean Kirschtein tells his comrades to support him. Eren successfully blocks the breach in Trost. With tears in her eyes, Rico Brzenska is relieved that her comrades did not die in vain and shoots a yellow signal flare as a message that the mission has been accomplished.
Having to deal with the aftermath of the battle, Jean is then seen going through the corpses. Much to his shock, he then witnesses the corpse of Marco.
Elsewhere, Eren suddenly wakes up in an underground jail cell and gets interrogated by the Scout Regiment's commander, Erwin Smith and Captain Levi. Holding the key to the basement of Eren's former house, Erwin tries to confirm whether the basement holds the secrets of Titans, to which Eren replies that it is what his father said.
Erwin questions Eren about what his intentions are, and Eren sadistically replies that he wants to join the Scouts and kill all the Titans. This catches Levi's interest, as he walks forward, and says that he will take responsibility for Eren, not because he trusts him, but because he can kill him if Eren betrays them. Levi then tells Eren that he will accept him into the Scout Regiment.
Eren joins the Special Operations Squad of the Scout Regiment and they prepare him for the upcoming scouting mission next month. The next morning, the Scouts learn that Section Commander Hange Zoë's Titan test subjects, Sawney and Beane, have been killed. As the Scouts wonder who is responsible, Commander Erwin asks Eren who the true enemy is. An investigation is later held but the culprit was not found.
The 57th expedition begins and Erwin leads the Scouts outside the Wall. The mission proceeds as expected until Armin encounters a Female Titan. Joining Jean Reiner Braun, the three confront the Titan to buy the commander time. The Female Titan looms over Armin as Jean tries to attack in order to save him. The Female Titan covers its nape with its hand and Jean realizes the Titan is incomparably more athletic than the normal Titans. As Reiner watches, Jean spins out of control and realizes with horror that the Female Titan is about to grab his ODM wire and kill him. At the last moment, Armin screams out for Jean to "avenge that suicidal maniac," and the Female Titan freezes long enough for Jean to escape. Reiner rushes towards the Female Titan and fires off his ODM gear, flying up by the Titan's face but it quickly grabs him mid-air. As Reiner struggles to escape from the tight grip, the Female Titan moves its thumb over Reiner's head and squeezes. As it happens, blood splashes in all directions from the Female Titan's hand, leaving Armin and Jean completely horrified. To their relief, it turns out to be the Female Titan's blood as Reiner cuts through its hand and makes his escape. Reiner quickly grabs the exhausted Armin and starts running away from the Female Titan.
Squad Levi reaches the Forest of Giant Trees and Levi orders everyone to draw their blades just as they watch a soldier appear. Moments later the Female Titan bursts through the trees and swats the soldier behind them, beginning the chase. Eren questions Levi's decision of not engaging and the Female Titan, and his protests get stronger as he witnesses the arrival of more reinforcements, knowing that if they do not help them, they will get killed.
At that moment, Eren realizes that he does not need to depend on the squad as he can fight on his own. Just as he is about to bite his hand, Petra Rall notices it, insisting that Eren promised not to do it unless his life is in danger. However, Levi states that Eren is not wrong and he should do it if he wants to, knowing that nothing can stop him. Levi then presents Eren with a choice - either trust the squad and keep going or believe in himself and go back. Levi, however, states that nobody knows what one's choice will cause so Eren should pick the choice he will regret the least. Eren decides to trust his squad.
The Female Titan begins accelerating and when it is about to catch up, they reach the location of the other soldiers. Erwin gives a signal to fire hundreds of grappling hooks at the Titan, successfully trapping it. However, the Female Titan uses a scream to attract nearby Titans which devour its body. Erwin worries that the human pilot has escaped in the steam, and if they have enough stamina remaining, they could transform into a Titan again. When the Scouts are ordered to retreat, a cloaked figure approaches Squad Levi in the air, killing Gunther.
Eren and the squad attempt to escape from the mysterious attacker. Eld Gin concludes that there is no time to reach the horses and they head to the rest of the Scout Regiment. However, Erwin's hypothesis is proven to be correct as the attacker still has enough stamina to transform and the squad finds themselves to be chased by the Female Titan yet again. This time, Eren wants to fight it, but Eld orders him to escape while the rest of the squad takes care of it. After a moment of uncertainty, Eren decides to trust them and heads for the HQ. From afar, he watches as Petra and Oruo Bozad manage to slice through the Titan's eyes and together with Eld continue attacking its arms until they are able to reach its neck.
As Eld attempts to attack the Female Titan's neck muscles, he is suddenly caught by the Female Titan and is bitten in half. Witnessing Eld's death, Petra states that it should be impossible for the Titan to see again in such short time. She notices that the Female Titan prioritized one eye for faster healing. The Female Titan then sprints towards Petra as Oruo frantically tells her to regroup, but Petra is too shocked by Eld's death. She realizes her situation too late and can only stare as she is crushed against a tree by the Female Titan's foot.
In a desperate last attempt, Oruo grapples on to the Titan's neck and swings at its nape, but his blades are shattered by the Titan's hardened skin before the Female Titan knocks him out the sky with a roundhouse kick, breaking his spine and ribs. Seeing this, Eren yells out in horror and anger, wanting to kill the Titan and transforms. His roar is heard by Mikasa and Levi and both of them rush toward Eren's location. Eren relentlessly attacks the Female Titan, but eventually he is defeated and has to be saved by Mikasa and Levi, ending the expedition in failure. It is later revealed that while Erwin is summoned to the capital, Eren is to be handed over.
A few days later, Erwin holds a meeting regarding the identity of the Female Titan and devises a plan to capture them while passing through Stohess District on their way to the capital. Eren is horrified when he realizes they are suggesting the enemy is Annie Leonhart, but Armin gives multiple reasons as to why they suspect Annie, much to Eren's dismay. Later on, the operation to lure Annie underground fails when she uses a hidden blade in her ring to trigger her transformation into the Female Titan.
Eren gets trapped under debris with a piece of wood in his chest, unable to transform due to shock that Annie is the Female Titan. Eren thinks that is why he failed, because he clung onto his companions and his ties with them. He remembers the deaths of his fellow soldiers as well as his mother, which further infuriates him as he pushes through the wood impaling him and finally transforms into a Titan.
The two Titans fight for sometime and Eren manages to get the upper hand and defeat Annie, ripping out her Titan's nape. Eren freezes upon seeing Annie crying, and in that moment she recalls a memory of her father asking her to promise to return to him, before trapping herself inside a crystalized rock to avoid capture.
As Annie's crystal is restrained and carted away, several soldiers look up at the ruined section of Wall Sina where the Female Titan attempted to scale the Walls. In an exposed portion of the Wall, a Colossal Titan peers down at the humans below. Hange stares at it in shock until they are met by a fatigued Pastor Nick, who warns Hange and the others to keep the Titan out of the sunlight at all costs.
Twelve hours earlier, Titans appear inside Wall Rose and Miche Zacharius is confronted by the Beast Titan, which questions him about his ODM gear. Conny Springer finds a Titan atop his house that welcomes him back. Gelgar and Nanaba's teams meet later at night after circling the Wall, with both teams not finding any hole. They decide to rest at a nearby ruins of a castle, which soon comes under attack by a group of Titans led by the Beast Titan.
Elsewhere, Nick witnesses hundreds of refugees wandering the streets and decides to inform the Scouts that there is an individual who joined the Regiment in that year who has the right to speak the truths of the Walls that the Order is unable to.
Back at Utgard Castle, Ymir takes Conny's knife and returns to Christa. Ymir says that while she has no right to tell Christa how to live, she wants for her to live her life with pride. Conny's knife in hand, Ymir runs from the tower and leaps into the horde of Titans. She takes the blade to her palm and cuts, triggering the power of the Titans and transforming into her Titan form. When the battle is over, the newcomers are shocked to learn of Ymir's Titan powers. Christa comes to Ymir, her limbs missing and her body grievously wounded from her Titan battle, and she reveals her true name, Historia, and Ymir slips into unconsciousness.
Sometime before the Scouts had departed to Utgard Castle, Hange had explained the details of a report to the other Scouts. The files acquired contained information on Annie Leonhart's background and revealed that two other cadets originated from the same region she claimed to come from: Reiner Braun and Bertholdt Hoover. Eren insisted that though Bertholdt was a quiet one, Reiner acted as a big brother of sorts for the other cadets. While Armin recounted Reiner's courage in facing the Female Titan, he realized that the Female only changed its direction in the search for Eren after Reiner escaped from its grip, and Armin realized that while in the Female Titan's grip, Reiner must have carved Eren's true location into Annie's hand.
The Scout Regiment regroups atop Wall Rose. An unconscious Ymir on a stretcher is carefully raised to the top of the Wall. While Hange and Moblit discuss the possibility of a Titan that could dig beneath the Walls, Reiner pulls Eren to the side and nonchalantly tells him that five years ago, he and Bertholdt began an attack on the Walls to wipe out the human race. Reiner is the Armored Titan, and Bertholdt is the Colossal Titan. Both Eren and Bertholdt are confused at Reiner's sudden revelation, but Reiner continues to say that their goal was to exterminate humanity, but this aspect of their mission is no longer necessary. Reiner promises that if Eren comes with him and Bertholdt, the Walls will be left alone. Eren dismisses Reiner's words, claiming that he is exhausted, and goes on to point out the absurdity of Reiner asking for Eren to come with him after revealing his Titan identity. Reiner agrees with Eren, wondering if he really has gone crazy.
As Eren walks away, Reiner openly regrets the past three years he has spent "surrounded by idiots," claiming that he and his comrades had once been clueless children. If he had not heard of the others within the Walls, he claims he would not have become a "half-assed piece of shit." As Reiner's mind breaks, he removes the sling around his arm and exposes his wound. As he uses his Titan powers to heal himself, he says that he will face the consequences of his actions and stay true to his duty as a Warrior. He moves to capture Eren, but Mikasa springs forward and cuts into Reiner's arms as he defends himself and also slices Bertholdt's neck open. She tells Eren to run as she goes for a killing blow at Bertholdt, but Reiner shoves her from the Wall while Eren watches in shock. The Scouts rush to Eren's aid and Armin tells him to escape, but Eren can only watch helplessly as energy begins to surround the two Warriors. Bursts of energy explode atop the Wall, knocking everyone back as the Armored Titan and Colossal Titan emerge in the chaos.
The Armored Titan takes Eren in its hand while the Colossal Titan grabs Ymir as Historia cries out. The Armored Titan descends Wall Rose with Eren in its grip, and Eren tearfully thinks back to the days of their training together. Bitterly accepting that his two friends are traitors to humanity, Eren transforms into his Titan form. With a powerful but ineffective punch, Eren and the Armored Titan plummet to the ground below.
Five hours later, Mikasa wakes up and surveys the aftermath of the battle. She immediately questions Armin about Eren's fate and Armin informs her that Eren and Ymir were taken away by Reiner and Bertholdt. Putting on her scarf, Mikasa wonders why Eren always ends up far from his friends. Armin believes that it is natural, but Mikasa expresses her desire to simply be at his side.
Hannes arrives with some rations, giving some to Armin and Mikasa before he begins to eat one. Mikasa and Armin leave their rations unopened. Hannes remarks that they are often the ones to get Eren out of the situations he finds himself in, whether it is neighborhood bullies or Titans. Hannes recalls that Eren has always charged head-on into his fights, regardless of how outnumbered he was. However, while Hannes had never seen Eren win a fight, he never saw him give up when beaten. He insists that succumbing to his fate without putting up a fight would be against Eren's personality, and that he will be fine on his own until they can arrive to help.
Hannes grows nostalgic for the days he used to share with the others before the fall of Wall Maria, days which he believes Eren would consider a false peace. Desiring to return to those peaceful days, Hannes agrees to join Mikasa and Armin in their mission to rescue Eren from the traitors.
At the forest's edge, Reiner and Bertholdt escape on their ODM gear, searching for an area without Titans to hinder their escape. Ymir wonders why they have hastened their plans until she spots the smoke signals for herself, realizing the Scouts are approaching. The pursuing soldiers finally reach the outskirts of the forest. Noticing the light of a Titan transformation, Commander Erwin orders the troops to disperse and enter the forest. As the MPs face significant difficulties against the Titans, the rest of the soldiers avoid combat in favor of seeking out Eren.
The soldiers follow Erwin's lead as Hannes leads the recruits in pursuit of the Armored Titan. Erwin draws his sword and announces an advance, but his arm is caught by a Titan. As the Titan carries Erwin away, he continues to order the Scouts to advance and rescue Eren. Following Erwin's final command, the Scouts charge head-on into the Titan horde. Many are caught and killed in the attack, though Mikasa navigates through the Titans and reaches Reiner. Her attack against Bertholdt misses, but when he is exposed Eren's bonds are cut loose as Erwin, missing his arm, delivers a strike to Bertholdt's chest. When Eren is rescued, the Scouts immediately retreat.
Suddenly, a Titan soaring overhead crashes ahead of the Scouts. In the distance, Reiner throws Titans at the soldiers in a last resort attack, and Eren and Mikasa are dismounted in the chaos. In the distance, a Titan advances through the clouds of dust, and Eren recognizes it as the same Titan which killed his mother five years ago. It reaches for Eren and Mikasa, but Hannes comes to their side, eagerly telling Eren he will be avenging his mother for his inability to confront the Titan back then.
Historia approaches Ymir and reminds her of her own words and urges her to live for herself, admitting that Ymir's presence inspires courage in her.
Eren desperately attempts to trigger his transformation while the Titans devour the Scouts, and Hannes nearly gains the upper hand over the smiling Titan, but it catches Hannes in its grip, and Eren and Mikasa are unable to stop it as it brings Hannes to its mouth, biting him in half. Eren collapses in anguish, laughing and screaming hysterically at his inability to prevent the tragedies around him.
Mikasa consoles him, assuring Eren that he has done much for her. She thanks him for being by her side, showing her how to live, and for giving her his scarf. Finding his resolve, Eren promises that he will wrap her scarf around her as many times as she needs.
As Eren's hand finally heals, he lets out a scream as he swings his fist into the hand of the smiling Titan. Suddenly, Reiner, Bertholdt, and Ymir feel a surge of power emanating. As Eren screams, a newfound power comes forth and a Titan tackles the smiling Titan. The other Titans nearby redirect their attention from the Scouts to the smiling Titan, charging and swarming it before tearing its body to pieces. As Eren carries Mikasa away from the scene, the other Scouts continue their retreat. Understanding the situation, Ymir realizes that there may yet be a future for the Walls.
Reiner runs for Eren, recognizing that Eren indeed possesses the "Coordinate" the Warriors have been searching for, who Reiner believes he is the worst possible person to possess its power. Eren cries out to Reiner and Bertholdt, ordering them under threat of death to stay away from him. The "Coordinate" comes forth again in response to Eren's scream, and the Titans devouring the smiling Titan turn their attention to Reiner and Bertholdt, charging towards them. Armin brings a horse for Eren and Mikasa, and Commander Erwin orders for a full retreat.
As the Titans rush Reiner, Bertholdt cries out in fear as he is unable to defend himself. Ymir hears his cries and stops to look back. Turning to Historia, she gently caresses her hair and apologizes before running for Reiner and Bertholdt. As Historia looks on in confusion, Conny turns her away to join in the retreat. Meanwhile, Ymir aids Reiner in fending off the Titans. As the Scouts ride for Wall Rose through the dusk, Armin is unable to understand Ymir's choice, and Eren thinks back to his childhood with Hannes in peaceful times.
Erwin recovers from his injuries in Trost District, accompanied by Pyxis and Levi. They are visited by Hange, who brings Conny to inform the others of the Scout Regiment's recent findings in Ragako. The officers learn that all evidence suggests that the citizens of Ragako were the Titans which invaded Wall Rose, meaning that the Titans are in fact, humans. Hange says that they do not have any real proof of the claim. Strangely, Erwin cannot help but smile at the news, which disturbs Levi.
Following Pastor Nick's murder by the Interior Police, the government froze all Scout activity and arrested Commander Erwin. Meanwhile, Levi Squad makes their way through Trost when a wagon appears out of nowhere, barreling towards the Scouts. The people inside grab what appear to be Eren and Historia, but they are really Jean and Armin in disguise, while Eren and Historia are being transported in a different, enclosed wagon by Keiji.
Elsewhere, Levi joins Nifa on a rooftop where they have a good view of Keiji's journey through the city with Eren and Historia. However, even though the body double decoy was a success, Levi realizes that using such amateurs does not feel like a Military Police operation. He asks Nifa if she has heard of Kenny the Ripper and assures her that the legendary mass murderer is a real person. Levi grew up with him, and this operation feels like something Kenny would do. Suddenly Levi tries to warn Nifa, but is too late as a man blows off part of her head using ODM that has been modified to carry a shotgun instead of a blade. More soldiers appear, of a unit that has not been seen before. The mysterious man taunts Levi as he stalks up the rooftop and reloads his guns, and Levi screams as he draws his blades to retaliate: the man is Kenny himself.
As Kenny prepares to fire his guns at Levi, Levi throws one of his blades at him. Kenny deflects the blade away and fires a retaliatory shot, but Levi manages to avoid getting hit by hiding under his cloak. Levi makes a hasty getaway from the scene while being chased by Kenny and his squad.
On the wagon, Keiji hears gunshots and sees members of Kenny's squad approaching their position. He tells Eren and Historia to stay in the carriage and speeds up, but their pursuers are already in range. They fire grappling hooks at the carriage, tearing off its top and exposing Eren and Historia. Eren picks up a rifle to return fire, but both Historia and himself are hit with tranquilizers and knocked out, before Keiji is shot and killed as well. Levi arrives on the scene just as one of their pursuers takes over the wagon, and chases after it. However, he is quickly intercepted by other members of Kenny's squad and forced to retreat. With Kenny and his squad chasing him, Levi dives into a nearby bar to hide.
Thinking he has Levi cornered, Kenny swaggers into the bar confidently to confront him. The two converse briefly about their past and motivations for joining their respective factions, before Levi uses the bar owner's gun to shoot Kenny from under the bar counter, blasting him out of the building.
Sasha Braus hears gunshots from afar and tells her comrades. Mikasa relays Captain Levi's message to the rest of the squad: they will be fighting humans from now onward, not just Titans. In a windowed room at an unknown location, Rod Reiss reunites with his daughter, Historia. He gives Historia a hug and apologizes to her, while a bound and gagged Eren watches from the side. Rod tells Historia that he had no choice in order to protect her. He tells her that she is special and has royal blood. The Reiss family is the true royal family and because of that she is the only person who can save humanity. He takes her with him to the place where it all began.
Having learned the Reiss family was the true royal family, Erwin led a coup d'état. Together with Premier Dhalis Zachary, the head of all regiments, he dismantled the government in power and the nobility is arrested. As Erwin rides away in a carriage with Zachary, he expresses doubts about the road they have chosen. After all, the government had managed to keep humanity alive up until this point. Zachary tells Erwin that dying would have been the easy option and asks him why he did not do it. Erwin remembers his father and replies that he has a childhood dream.
Hange, Levi, and their squad members head for the location of a suspicious chapel where they believe Eren is being held.
Eren finds himself restrained in a large crystal cave on a raised platform. Rod arrives with Historia and explains to her that five years ago, Eren's father killed his wife and five of his children, including Frieda. Grisha possessed the Power of the Titans and came to the Underground Chapel to steal the power of the Reiss family that resided in Frieda. Eren learns that he ate his father after he turned Eren into a Titan to pass the Titan powers and remembers everyone who had died because of his father stealing the Reiss family's power.
Rod adds that since Eren does not have the blood of the Reiss family, Frieda's power cannot be properly used while it is inside him. Hearing this, Kenny interrupts and asks for confirmation that Reiss blood is a requirement. On receiving it, Kenny is upset to learn that it will mean nothing if he eats Eren himself. He climbs the stairs up to the platform where Eren is restrained and says he will no longer interfere, but he will not give the Reiss family any advantages either. Kenny removes Eren's gag and cuts his forehead so Eren is injured. This way he and Historia can fight as Titans. If Historia wins, they will have peace. If Eren wins, things will stay as they are.
Historia asks her father why the Reiss family did not do anything about the Titans in the last hundred years. Rod explains that it was the wish of the first Reiss King that humanity be controlled by the Titans, believing that it was the only path to peace. Historia remembers Ymir's words on top of Utgard Castle and her wish for Historia to live a life she is proud of. This causes her to slap away the syringe and it shatters on the crystal floor as Rod looks on in horror. He lunges at Historia, but she throws him over her shoulder and he lands on the floor with a sickening crack. Historia calls him out for being manipulative and refuses to let him kill her. She grabs his satchel and runs up the stairs to free Eren. Down below, a crippled Rod pulls himself across the floor to the remains of the syringe and laps at the spilled injection fluid, causing him to transform into a Titan.
Rod transforms into a Titan so large that it begins to destroy the cavern in the Underground Chapel as it tries to stand. Historia manages to open the locks around Eren's ankles, but is blown back by a blast of hot air from her father's Titan. Mikasa manages to catch her before she slams in the wall behind her, and shortly after, the rest of Squad Levi arrives. Levi asks for the keys, and he, Jean Kirschtein, and Conny work to free Eren. They pull Eren free as part of the ceiling collapses and lands on the platform where Eren was chained just a moment before. Squad Levi finds themselves pressed back against the cavern walls with no clear way out. Eren apologizes to everyone and calls himself useless. Jean does not accept it though, pointing out that Eren has never accomplished anything by himself. Conny chimes in, reminding him that collectively they have been through worse. Levi grudgingly tells Eren that he needs to make a choice, reminding him of the choice he had made previously on whether to trust the original Squad Levi when the Female Titan pursued them.
Chagrined, Eren grabs a bottle labeled "Armor" on the ground and charges at Rod's Titan. He breaks it between his teeth as he hopes he is allowed to believe in himself. When he transforms, pillars of crystal rise up from the ground around his Titan, reinforcing the structural integrity of the cavern around it. Levi orders his squad to get underneath Eren. Later, Jean and Mikasa break Eren out of his Titan, which has completely turned into crystal. Eren successfully managed to harden his Titan form.
It is still the middle of the night when the Scouts arrive in Orvud District, where Rod's Titan is heading. As they prepare for a strategy meeting, Levi informs Historia that under Erwin's orders she is to become the new Queen. Though the coup d'état was successful, the general public will not follow the military so they need a story about how the true heir took power back from a fake. Historia agrees, but says she will do it under one condition.
During the meeting, Carsten is dismayed to learn that Erwin will not be evacuating the civilians from Orvud. Hange explains that the Titan is Abnormal and drawn to high concentrations of people. It will ignore a small village in favor of a highly fortified city, and that if they were to evacuate Orvud, then the Titan would change its heading to follow them, which would eventually lead it to the greatest density of people in Mitras.
Dawn arrives and Rod's gargantuan Titan nears Orvud. Eren looks down into the city at a group of kids below and remarks on how they remind him of himself and his friends on that day when the Colossal Titan appeared. Armin agrees, but reminds Eren that there is a difference this time. Now there are soldiers who stand on the Wall to face the Titan, and they are those soldiers. Eren suddenly punches himself repeatedly. Mikasa and Armin are immediately concerned about his well-being, but Eren dismisses it as a need to beat a useless brat.
Cartsen orders the first round of artillery fire at the gigantic Titan. The Titan emerges through it unscathed and the Garrison fires a second round of artillery from the ground at the base of the Wall. Though they riddle its head and upper body with holes, the wind changes, causing all the hot air blowing off the Titan's body to wash over the defenders atop the Wall. The Titan's hands reach up and land on top of the Wall as it pulls itself upright. Its face and belly have been scraped away from all the dragging it has done on the ground. Panic grips the city, as Orvud's citizens see the Titan and flee for safety.
Armin and Sasha roll out the carts loaded with gunpowder and Erwin fires a signal flare to announce the commencement of their attack. They fire the grappling hooks and the triggers reel the carts and accompanying barrels of gunpowder into the Titan's hands, where they explode due to the sheer heat of its body. This causes the massive Titan to lose its grip and slump forward so its head rests just above the Wall. Erwin calls for Eren, who sprints forward in his Titan form while carrying a sack woven out of netting and stuffed with barrels of gunpowder. Following a prearranged plan, he charges at the Titan and hurls the sack into its open mouth. With the heat, the gunpowder does not need a detonator and combusts in a chain reaction that causes the entire top half of the Titan to explode, including the nape.
On Erwin's order, the Scouts use their ODM gear to leap into the air and finish off Rod Reiss's Titan by cutting up the chunks of flesh that could possibly be the nape. Historia is among those soldiers. She had told Erwin earlier that she finally understood the duty she was meant to fulfill. Though Erwin did not approve, he reluctantly admitted that he could not stop her.
Historia mentally apologizes for being selfish as she tracks a falling piece of the Titan. This is the first time she has ever had a fight with her parents. She cuts a chunk of the Titan in half and hears the cry of her father. Historia sees a vision of him in the past, arguing with his own father about exterminating the Titans, being reassured by his brother Uri and later his daughter Frieda, and lastly the corpse of his mistress and Historia's mother, Alma. The nape explodes and the onlookers below see Historia fall. She lands on a padded wagon, and the citizens of Orvud crowd around, wondering if they have been saved. They ask her if she is the one who dealt the finishing blow. Historia rises, questioning if this is what she really wants to do, and declares herself the true ruler of the Walls.
Sunset falls, and not far from the Underground Chapel, Levi finds a grievously wounded Kenny resting against a tree. Levi notes that Kenny's injuries are fatal, but Kenny smiles and shows Levi a syringe. Levi asks him why he did not do it already, and Kenny muses that perhaps he was afraid if he did it wrong, he would become a messed version like Rod. Kenny admits that he does not want to die and that he wanted power. Kenny begins to laugh and tells Levi that everyone he met has all been the same; whether it was through drink, devotion, family, or power. Everyone had to be a slave to something in order to keep going, even Uri.
As Kenny begins coughing up blood, Levi drops his gun and grabs him by the shoulders, demanding that he tell him everything he knows, starting with why the First Reiss King does not want humanity to survive. However, Kenny does not know any specifics, only that the reason is why the Ackermann family opposed him. Levi then asks what Kenny's relationship was to his mother. Kenny laughs and tells Levi that he was Kuchel's brother. He left because he was not meant to be someone's father. Kenny shoves the box with the syringe into Levi, who looks down as he takes it.
Two months later, the Scouts depart down the other side of Wall Rose and begin their ride for Shiganshina District. Upon reaching the district, the Scouts begin the operation to seal the breach. Reiner emerges from an opening in the Wall, only for Levi to dive down at him, slicing into his neck. With his other blade, Levi stabs into Reiner's torso as the two of them hurtle towards the ground. Surprised, Levi sees that Reiner is still alive. He pulls out the blade in Reiner's chest and lets Reiner hit the ground alone.
Though grievously wounded, Reiner's body contorts and he transforms into the Armored Titan. Erwin calls out for the soldiers to look for Reiner's allies when the flash of a Titan transformation thunders behind him. He turns around and sees that the Beast Titan has appeared, along with a small army of Titans.
Eren transforms to fight the Armored Titan. He creates an opportunity for the Scouts to use their new Thunder Spear weapons against the Armored Titan. Hange Squad and Levi Squad succeed in blinding the Armored Titan and destroying its nape. Reiner is partially decapitated while he is still in his Titan, but still manages to roar, signaling the Beast Titan to throw a barrel containing Bertholdt into Shiganshina. The Scouts scatter, but Bertholdt immediately transforms into the Colossal Titan. The Scouts can only watch as a massive explosion results from Bertholdt's transformation, blowing buildings and houses away and leveling the central portion of the district.
Outside Shiganshina, chunks of stone fly by Levi's face and he turns in time to see the front line of buildings being shredded and the Scouts being wiped out by debris.
Jean has Eren chase after the Colossal Titan. Jean tells Armin to stay back and observe the battle so they can find a way to beat him. The squad scatters and Eren grabs onto the Titan's foot in an attempt to shove Bertholdt back. He initially seems successful, but then the Colossal Titan pulls its leg further back into a kick that launches Eren to the top of Wall Maria. Among the recruits, Marlo Freudenberg yells at Floch for letting a horse get away, but Floch has a nervous breakdown. He does not see how horses matter when so many more talented soldiers than them have already died: no one will be riding these horses home.
Erwin reluctantly reveals that he has a plan, but it will require him and all the recruits to sacrifice their lives. As Levi had said, they are all likely to die, so Erwin will stake their deaths on the chance of victory. Given the mental state of the recruits, they will not volunteer to die if Erwin is not leading the vanguard. This means that Erwin himself will be the first to die, and he would do it without ever learning what was in the basement. He slumps against a nearby wall and confesses to Levi that everything he has done has been in anticipation of this day. Erwin feels the burden of all the soldiers who died before them, expecting that others would carry on in their place. Levi kneels before him, saying that Erwin has fought well, and that the Scouts have only come this far because of him, but now Levi is going to make the choice. Levi tells Erwin to give up on his dream and lead their recruits into hell. In return, Levi will take down the Beast Titan.
The Beast Titan prepares another bombardment, but is surprised to see the Scouts riding toward him on their horses. Erwin and the Scouts make themselves ideal targets for the Beast Titan's attention. As it prepares another barrage, the Scouts fire signal flares to reduce its accuracy.
While his comrades act as a decoy, Levi approaches the Beast Titan by using the larger Titans standing around it. Since they are positioned in a semicircle with the Beast Titan in the middle, they serve as a path for him to attack using his ODM. As Erwin rallies his soldiers, the Beast Titan's bombardment strikes them, decapitating one of the recruits. A rock tears into Erwin's horse, and another catches Erwin himself in the abdomen, causing him to fall from his saddle.
The grappling hook of an omni-directional mobility gear pierces the Beast Titan's shoulder and an enraged Levi bursts through the haze of signal flares. The Beast Titan's pilot tries to stop him, but Levi dodges his thrust and cuts a long spiraling wound around the Beast Titan's arm, tearing it to pieces. The pilot then remembers that Reiner had warned him to watch out for a single soldier; Captain Levi. Realizing who he is fighting, he covers his nape with his Titan's hand, but Levi's next attack takes out the Beast Titan's eyes, followed by its legs and remaining arm, sending the pilot crashing to the ground. He tries to harden when he realizes Levi is going for his nape, but does not have enough time before Levi tears into the Beast Titan's form with such force that the pilot is ripped out of his Titan.
Levi wonders if there could be anyone else left alive. Even if that person is dying, the Titan injection could save them and allow them to obtain the Beast Titan power. However, before he can take things further, the Cart Titan charges in behind him. Levi jumps out of the way and the Cart Titan grabs the pilot in its mouth and carries him away. Frustrated that he was not able to kill the Beast Titan, as he had promised Erwin, Levi readies his last pair of blades and engages the oncoming Titans.
On the other side of the Wall, Armin comes up with a plan. He asks the rest of his squad to draw Reiner's Armored Titan away while he and Eren handle Bertholdt themselves. Armin heads up the Wall and lands on Eren's unconscious Titan. He remarks that thinking of the outside world gives him courage, before driving his blade into Eren's Titan, calling out to wake him up. The two of them wait for Bertholdt to approach, but part of the Wall crumbles beneath Eren and he slides off the Wall, landing in a motionless heap by the gate. Bertholdt lifts an arm and swings at Armin, but dodges and grapples on to the Colossal Titan's body with his ODM, propelling himself up to its face.
Bertholdt acknowledges that Armin has fought well, up until the very end, and emits a blast of hot steam. Bertholdt is puzzled by the fact Armin has not been blown away by the steam, but is still tethered to him somehow, held up by the blast of scorching air. Armin has in fact anchored himself to the Colossal Titan's teeth, correctly concluding that they would not be consumed like the rest of the Titan's body. More importantly, while the Colossal Titan is emitting so much steam, Bertholdt is unable to move.
Despite the pain from his body roasting in the heat, Armin struggles to hold on and buy more time. Bertholdt is perplexed by the idea that getting himself cooked like this is the best plan Armin could come up with, given Armin's intelligence. He wonders what Armin is trying to accomplish and if this could be a diversion, but when he looks through the steam cloud, Eren is still lying unconscious where he landed. Bertholdt decides that if this really is the end for Armin, he can at least make it quick; he increases the intensity of his steam, causing Armin's clothes, hair and skin to burn away.
Armin holds on as best he can in the face of the Colossal Titan's increasing temperature. As his body withers around him, he entrusts everything to Eren; his dreams, his life, and his hope of reaching the sea. When he can no longer hold on to his ODM, his burned body falls to the rooftops far below.
Now that Armin has fallen away, Bertholdt looks down at Eren and realizes that where Eren's Titan was lying before, now there is only its hardened shell. Behind the Colossal Titan, a human Eren flies up on his ODM, blades out, and cuts into the Titan's nape, pulling out a shocked and dismembered Bertholdt.
In the aftermath of the battle, Eren drags Bertholdt behind him as he walks along a rooftop. He stands momentarily speechless over the burned body of his childhood friend, wondering why Armin never runs away. Eren hears the weight of a Titan landing in the distance, and turns around in time to see the Cart Titan, carrying someone on its back. The Cart Titan gallops across the rooftops to reach Eren, who quickly moves to hold the unconscious Bertholdt Hoover hostage, placing his blade at the Warrior's throat. The man looks at Eren in shock and asks if he is Eren Jaeger. He says Eren looks nothing like his father. However, the man looks up with consternation when he sees that Levi has survived his battle with the remaining Titans and has climbed to the top of Wall Maria. The Cart Titan turns to leave and the man tells Eren that one day he will be coming back to rescue him. The Cart Titan gallops away.
Levi lands on the rooftop near Eren after using the last of his gas. He demands the rest of Eren's blades and gas so he can pursue Zeke. Eren begins to comply when he hears Armin gasp for breath. Prior to beginning the operation, Erwin had laid out guidelines for the use of the Scout Regiment's one syringe of Titan injection, with the expectation that they could possibly take the Beast, Armored, or Colossal Titan's powers. Not only could the Scouts gain valuable information regarding Titan powers, but they could also revive a single soldier on the brink of death.
Mikasa arrives to find Eren bent over Armin, desperately encouraging his friend to breathe. Eren hurriedly asks Levi for the syringe so they can have Armin eat Bertholdt. Levi, after a moment's hesitation, agrees and pulls out the case with the injection. However, Floch climbs up on the rooftop, carrying Erwin on his back. Erwin is severely wounded, but still alive, and Floch has been looking for Levi in hopes that the injection could save him. Seeing this, Levi takes back the injection and announces that Erwin will receive it. Eren is horrified, and stands up to Levi. He hears a blade being drawn and turns to see that Mikasa has drawn her weapon, tears in her eyes.
Eren tightens his grip on the Titan injection, and Levi, losing his patience, strikes Eren with his fist, sending him flying. Outraged, Mikasa lunges at Levi and puts her blade to his throat. Levi appeals to Mikasa's sense of reason and the need to save Erwin so they can use his talents to save humanity. Though Eren is barely able to speak, he counters that it would be no different if they lose Armin. He discovered Annie Leonhart's identity as the Female Titan, he was the one who came up with the plan to save Trost, and it was thanks to Armin that they defeated Bertholdt. Eren believes that Armin will be the one who will save them, not Erwin or even he himself.
Hange grabs Mikasa and manages to pull her away from Levi. The rest of the squad arrives, and is able to see the choice that must be made. Levi gets up and opens the injection case, preparing to inject Erwin. However, Eren weakly pulls at Levi's leg and asks him if he knows about the sea. Despite Floch's intervention, Eren tells Levi about Armin's dream to look at the sea, and admits that, though he was only ever driven by hatred of the Titans, Armin is not like him, and has dreams of his own. Levi glances at Armin's body and then gives the order for everyone to clear out so he can have Erwin eat Bertholdt. The group relocates, with Floch taking Eren away so he cannot intervene.
Levi drags Bertholdt into position as he thinks about Erwin and Armin's respective dreams. He takes Erwin's arm and prepares to give him the injection when Erwin suddenly lifts it out of his grip and raises his hand, apparently believing himself to be back in his father's classroom. Delirious, Erwin asks his father how they can know for sure that there are no more humans outside the Walls. Levi regards him with surprise and remembers how he asked Erwin to give up on his dream, and how Kenny had spoken about how people could only keep going if they were drunk on something. Remembering Erwin's gratitude to him, Levi makes his choice.
Floch asks Levi why he changed his mind as Levi and Hange sit beside Erwin's body. Levi explains that Erwin only became a devil because that was what was needed of him. He had been set free, but they were about to drag him back, and Levi decided it was time to let him rest. Later, Armin wakes up and reluctantly comes to grips with the fact that he was chosen for survival over Erwin. Levi tells him that it was his decision for this to be the place where Erwin rests.
Eren, Mikasa, Levi, and Hange head to investigate the basement, where they find three books, one containing a family portrait with writing on its back. Hange reads that the portrait is not an illustration, but an imprint of reflected light burned onto special paper - a photograph. The journals detail Grisha's life from beyond the Walls, where humanity has not perished and technology has progressed enough to allow humans to live elegant lives.
Grisha is of Eldian descent whose ancestor, Ymir Fritz obtained the Power of the Titans, tyrannizing the people. Eighty years ago, the nation of Marley won the Great Titan War, forcing King Fritz to move the Eldian Empire to the remote island of Paradis where he built three walls. The remaining Eldians on the mainland were put in internment zones and discriminated against.
Grisha joins the Restorationists where he meets his future wife, Dina Fritz. Together they have a son, Zeke, who they plan to make a Warrior in order to infiltrate Marley's mission to recover the Founding Titan. However, they are betrayed by Zeke and are arrested. They are taken to a wall by the ocean, where Grisha finds himself facing inland at a desert when his blindfold is removed. Grisha realizes that this is "paradise." The man behind him confirms that this is Paradis Island, the penal colony for Eldian traitors, where Grisha will serve his life sentence as a Pure Titan. The Restorationists are injected with the Titan serum and kicked off the wall and land on the ground below where they turn into Titans. Then, to Grisha's horror, Dina is led out on the wall. Dina assures him that no matter what form she takes, she will come and find him.
In the present day, Eren Jaeger wakes up with a scream, realizing that Dina became the smiling Titan who had eaten his mother and Hannes. Confused, he looks around his cell, wondering who and where he is. Armin Arlelt informs him that he and Mikasa Ackermann are in the stockades for insubordination. In the cell next to him, Mikasa asks if he was having a nightmare. Eren admits that he was and it feels like he woke up from the longest dream ever, but it was actually not a dream. He was connected to his father's memories. Eren cries, tears running down his face as they had Grisha's.
Grisha is saved at the last moment by Kruger, who reveals himself to be the Owl, the secretive leader of the Restorationists. Kruger cuts his hand and transforms into a Titan, which then breaks the Marleyan ship over its back. Kruger tells Grisha that the Eldians are done if Marley ever gets a hold of the Founding Titan. Though the King threatened the rest of the world if it interfered, in truth, it was a bluff to buy a period of peace, and the King has no intention to fight.
In the present, Hange discusses Grisha's mission and how he ultimately achieved it, handing the Founding Titan over to his son, Eren. Only someone who is of royal blood can fully utilize the Founding Titan. Since Eren was able to command Pure Titans once, Hange suspects that it is possible for someone not of royal blood to use the Founding Titan's power. Just then, Eren remembers what happened when he commanded the Titans, and that he had punched the Titan form of Dina Fritz, who was of royal blood. Eren realizes that if he touches someone of royal blood while they are a Titan then he might be able to use the Founding Titan's powers. It is only a possibility, but he does not want to think of what the military might do to Historia if they knew.
In the past, Kruger prepares the Titan injection to give Grisha, and tells him to have a family again. A wife, a child or a neighbor. Grisha should love someone within the Walls so the pattern of violence does not repeat. He will have to see his mission through, if he wants to save Mikasa, Armin, and everyone else. Grisha asks who Mikasa and Armin are, and Kruger admits that he does not know, nor does he know whose memories those are.
A year after the attack on Trost District and six years after the fall of Wall Maria, the Scout Regiment is able to launch an expedition past Wall Maria to explore the land outside. They see the wall where the Restorationists were turned into Titans, and eventually arrive at the sea; a body of salt water so vast it stretches to the horizon.
Armin joyfully tells Eren that it is just like he said; the sea is a salt lake that merchants could spend their whole lives harvesting and still not get all the salt. Eren, however, is pensive. He recalls that he used to believe that on the other side of the Wall, they would find freedom. But now, having explored beyond the Walls and seen his father's memories, all Eren can think of are the enemies that await them. Eren points out into the distance and wearily asks: If they kill all their enemies on the far side of the ocean, will they finally be free?