This article is about the third chapter of the manga. For the fourth episode of the anime, see The Night of the Closing Ceremony: Humanity's Comeback, Part 2.
|Hello there. It's been five years, huh...?|
|— Eren faces off against an old foe|
As the members of the 104th Training Corps graduate and are disbanded, they are faced with the decision to join one of three military branches. While many of the top 10 graduates are relieved to join the Military Police Brigade and live in the safety of the inner Walls, Eren is determined to exterminate the Titans by joining the Survey Corps. Mikasa, equally determined to protect him, and Armin, not wanting to be a burden to others, make the same decision. A brief exchange with Hannes triggers Eren's memories of his father's mysterious disappearance. The next day, Connie Springer and the other graduates reveal that they, too, will join the Survey Corps. Hopes for the future of humanity are high when the Colossus Titan suddenly appears out of nowhere, just as it had five years before.
At the graduation ceremony for the 104th Training Corps, a military official explains the three branches from which they can choose: the Garrison, who reinforce the Walls and protect the towns; the Survey Corps, who readily sacrifice their lives outside the Walls to engage the Titans on their home turf with the hopes to gather information; and the king-controlled Military Police Brigade, who regulate the population and maintain order in the interior. The graduates are told to apply for their assignments the next day and with that, they are all dismissed.
In the mess hall, Jean and Marco are celebrating that they made it to the top ten and are therefore eligible to join the Military Police Brigade. While Marco fantasizes about the honorable opportunity to work close to the king, Jean is bluntly realistic. He maliciously states their real, unspoken motivation for joining the Military Police: to escape the "shitty, suffocating, front-line town" and to be able to live in the peace and comfort of the Interior. As Jean boasts some more, most of the trainees look away, shamed into silence. Bertolt and Annie say that they will apply for the Military Police too, but the latter makes it clear to Jean that their similarities end there. Jean's outburst rubs Eren the wrong way, who then points out their difference in motives and military paths. While Jean is pessimistic yet highly realistic, Eren remains firmly behind his vow to exterminate the Titan and leave the confines of the Walls to explore the outside world. Jean's defeatist view and Eren's optimistic view clash, and a fight erupts, until Mikasa, who is the best at hand to hand combat among the trainees, breaks it up and hauls Eren outside, to his utter embarrassment.
A brief conversation between the two reveals that, whatever division Eren applies to, Mikasa will do the same. Eren insists that she apply to the Military Police, as she is the top in the class, but Mikasa says that he will die very quickly if she is not around and that she does not want to lose any more of her family. She also believes that she is in debt to Eren because he brought her back to life, and it is something she will never forget. Armin joins them outside and firmly tells them of his intention to join the Survey Corps. Despite Eren pointing out that his skill lies in theoretical classes, not physical battle, Armin expresses his resolve: "If I died it wouldn't matter!"
Soon after, they spot and salute Hannes, who expresses his unending regret for not being able to save their parent but is happy to see them after five years nonetheless. Hannes then reveals that before any of them were born, his wife along with many others in the town had fallen ill. Dr. Yeager delivered the antibody that saved everyone, and he had wished to return the favor. At Hannes's request, Eren attempts to remember his father's last known location, as he was the one who saw him last, but immediately collapses with a splitting headache. A short flashback shows Dr. Yeager trying to inject something into the arm of a struggling and terrified Eren. The memory ends and Eren wakes up in his bunk, unable to recall what had happened since his collapse and with his friends standing over him, asking if he is alright.
In the outermost town, life seems to be bustling, to Eren's amazement. Hannah and Franz remind him that life has been peaceful for the past five years and hope aloud that the Colossus Titan is gone for good. Eren responds to their foolish optimism with his usual fiery temper, calling them a "stupid couple." Hannah and Franz blushingly deny being romantically involved. Afterward, while on top of the Trost Wall, Eren finds out Connie has decided on joining the Survey Corps as well, though he asserts gruffly that it was only because he did not want to be in the same division as Jean, not because he was motivated by Eren's speech. Thomas Wagner assures him that lacking the courage to do what must be done is nothing to be embarrassed about. In the following humorous scene, Sasha joins them on the Wall and shows them a ration of meat she stole from the officers' provisions, offering to share it with them later. Despite initial hesitation and fear of potential consequences, Thomas, Samuel, and Mina Carolina take her up on the offer after speculating about the surplus of cows and sheep that will be available once their land is reconquered.
Eren thinks back to the day at the water with Armin and Mikasa, remembering the conversation of venturing into the outside world. He vows to himself that, after losing one-third of its territory and half of its population, the time has come for humanity to strike back. Seemingly out of nowhere, the Colossus Titan appears and Eren and his companions are blown off of the Wall. They are able to recover using their vertical maneuvering equipment, with the exception of Samuel, who suffers a forehead wound from a piece of debris and is knocked unconscious. Quickly, Sasha saves him with her vertical equipment grapple, lodging it into his calf.
With the Colossus Titan breaching yet another district Wall, Eren recalls the day his mother died and the vow he made to wipe them out. Mustering his courage, Eren takes charge and coordinates the group for a counter attack on the Colossus Titan: it is the only Titan capable of breaking the Wall, so humanity's future depends on their next actions. He quickly maneuvers up the Wall, leaving his friends frozen in fear, and meets the Titan face to face.
Current Publicly Available Information
Weight-shifting Equipment for Vertical Maneuvers
Complex weight-shifting technology that employs full body-encompassing fixed belts is required to make vertical maneuvering possible.
Vertical maneuver device: attached to waist
The lightweight equipment is designed for high-speed, three-dimensional mobility.
Operating device: normally stored in the side holder Scabbard: attached to thigh
The person shifts their entire weight to either side of their hips. The majority of that weight is applied to the bottom of their opposing foot. Though the maneuvers give the appearance of effortless flight through the air, it's a system that only works through the strenuous use of the muscles throughout the user's body.