|Entrust it all to Eren. My dreams, my life, everything. The only thing I have to give is this. I know Eren can make it to the ocean. He'll see the ocean for me.|
|— Armin accepts his fate|
With Eren finally awake, Armin concludes their discussion of a plan to defeat the Colossus Titan. In the city below, Jean, Mikasa, Sasha, and Connie plan to defeat the Armored Titan, but Reiner flees. Mikasa cripples him with her Thunder Spear, and the others start the attack. Reiner is dazed, having lost his memory of everything after his farewell to Bertolt. Bertolt laments at his failure to kill the recruits and wonders what Armin is planning.
Before executing their plan, Armin reminds Eren of their promise to see the ocean. Eren pretends to fall to the ground in defeat while Armin jumps to the Colossus Titan. Mikasa and the recruits continue their attack on Reiner, and Sasha is injured. Armin manages to grapple onto the Colossus Titan's teeth, causing Bertolt to send out great amounts of steam. Seeing Armin's perseverance, Bertolt increases the power of his attack to kill Armin quickly. As Armin is burned alive, he remarks that Eren must see the ocean in his stead.
As the plan to defeat Reiner is on the verge of failure, Hange returns to assist as Mikasa lands the final blow to Reiner, sending him flying out of the Armored Titan's nape. As Bertolt inspects Eren's fallen Titan form, he realizes that it is only a hardened shell. With his vertical maneuvering equipment, Eren strikes at the Colossus Titan's nape, pulling Bertolt out. He lands on the roofs next to Armin's corpse, noting that Armin was the bravest of his comrades.
As Eren regains consciousness atop Wall Maria, Armin explains his plan to trick Bertolt. To try to buy time for Eren and Armin, Squad Levi tries to distract Reiner but are shocked when he chooses to ignore them. In order to stop Reiner from reaching Eren, Mikasa chooses to attack him with her Thunder Spear, blowing apart his knee and leaving him crippled. As the Squad moves in to engage Reiner, Reiner is left bewildered at what was able to penetrate the armor covering him. He also finds himself unable to remember anything that has happened since he and Bertolt split up, save for Bertolt's instructions to lie on his back to save himself from Bertolt's transformation. Unsure of what is going on, Reiner comes to the conclusion that they can still win as long as he and Bertolt escape with Eren, and prepares to fend off his attackers.
Bertolt observes Reiner preparing for battle, and notes with some displeasure that he would have liked for his transformation to have killed all of them, before turning his attention back to Armin and Eren, curious to see what they will do in their final moments.
As Bertolt approaches, Armin absent-mindedly notes that the success of his plan will depend on "how much" he can take. Noticing that his words have concerned Eren, Armin hurriedly reassures him that he will not die before he can see the ocean, and orders Eren to stick to his plan no matter what happens. However, as they prepare to face Bertolt, Eren slips off the Wall and falls to the ground below. Seeing this, Bertolt notes that Eren likely has a concussion and will not even be able to stand. Bertolt attacks Armin, but Armin dodges the attack and attempts to get close to Bertolt with his vertical maneuvering equipment. Commenting that Armin has fought well, Bertolt begins expelling steam to repel Armin.
Mikasa notices Bertolt's attack, but forces herself to focus on fighting Reiner, as she gets into position for the fight. Jean attacks first, acting as bait to draw Reiner's attention while Connie and Sasha use their opening to strike Reiner's jaw with their Thunder Spears, and force it open. However, they are caught off guard as Reiner destroys a nearby house, sending debris flying in their direction, and only Connie's Thunder Spear finds its mark while Jean and Sasha are incapacitated.
As Bertolt continues to attack Armin with his steam, he is unable to discern why Armin's anchors have not yet lost their grip on his Titan form. Armin, on the other hand, is glad to know that his hypothesis that Bertolt's bones, which he fired his anchors into, would not disintegrate with the rest of the Titan's muscle, was correct. As Bertolt watches Armin attempt to withstand the heat of his steam, he is awed by the fact that the best plan Armin could think of was to simply let himself be burned to death. As Armin continues to endure the steam, Bertolt decides that if Armin truly has no other plan, then he will simply put Armin out of his misery quickly, and lets out one last burst of steam. As Armin is burned alive, he orders himself to keep going, and not to let go. He will entrust all of his dreams to Eren, as the only thing he has left to give is his life. As his anchors are burned away and he falls, Armin notes that he is sure that Eren will make it to the ocean one day and fulfill both of their dreams.
Although Reiner's mouth is not completely open, Mikasa decides that she will have to carry out her part of the plan anyway. However, she and her comrades are all shocked by the return of Hange, who quickly uses her Thunder Spear to destroy the other side of Reiner's jaw, and force his mouth open completely. Seizing her opportunity, Mikasa quickly moves in, and fires her Thunder Spear directly into Reiner's mouth, blowing the shocked Warrior out of his Titan's nape from the inside.
Gazing at Armin's scorched body on a building below, Bertolt notes that their battle is over, before turning to Eren. However, he is shocked to see that Eren's Titan is only a hardened shell, and fails to notice Eren's human form behind him. As Eren ferociously cuts him out of his Titan's nape, Bertolt realizes that Armin's strategy had been to distract him while Eren flanked him and attacked his exposed nape. Dragging Bertolt from his Titan, Eren immediately rushes to Armin's body, which has been scorched beyond recognition. Remembering Armin's promise to go see the ocean together, Eren remarks that Armin was always the bravest of his comrades.
Characters in order of appearance
- Two weeks before the release of the chapter, the Attack on Titan editor asked the fans on Twitter to re-read Volume 1 "for a better experience on the upcoming issue." Indeed, that volume contains several parallelisms with the events of this chapter, including:
- Eren's stance when he attacks the Colossus Titan from behind is an almost carbon copy of the one seen on the cover of the volume, as a clear reference to their long-pending showdown.
- More specifically, these references hail from Chapter 4, the final issue of Volume 1 (similar to this chapter which is the 4th and final issue of Volume 20), which contains the aforementioned event and some other connections:
- In this chapter there is a quote by Armin where he states his willingness to give up his life in combat and his vision of bravery: "Making an inefficient choice that disregards your strengths? I wouldn't call that courageous. If I died it wouldn't matter!."
- This is also the chapter where Eren and Armin's wish to see the ocean is revealed.
- Armin's self-sacrifice holds several similarities with Eren's self-sacrifice at the end of that chapter, as they put themselves in danger to save the other's life, and mentioned their dream just before being demised by a Titan (although in Eren's case he would later be saved by the awakening of his Titan powers).
- Mikasa's last words to Reiner before defeating him, "Reiner. C'mon out.", are a parallelism to her last words to Annie before her defeat: "Annie. Fall."
- Armin's plan was more or less the same strategy used by Erwin Smith in Chapter 80, as Erwin let himself be freely attacked by the Beast Titan in order to allow Levi Ackerman launch a sneak assault on him.
- June 8th, date of the release of this chapter, is celebrated as World Oceans Day and Best Friend Day; both holidays which relate to Armin (the best friend of the protagonist whose dream of seeing the ocean was seemingly broken in this issue). It is unknown whether the author Hajime Isayama intended this coincidence on purpose or even if he was aware of it; although making events of an issue coincide with specific dates is not uncommon among mangakas.
- This is the first chapter in almost 3 years not to feature Levi Ackerman, since Chapter 50 in October 2013. It is also the first not to feature Erwin Smith since Chapter 66 in February 2015.
- In September 2013, Isayama stated that he planned to end the series in Volume 20, which means this would have been the final chapter of the manga if he had continued with his original plan (he later stated that the series will continue at least until 2018).