|There was time when we never even imagined humans becoming Titans. Compared to then, capturing a member of the enemy is an enormous step forward. Yes. There are more out there. And we will go after every last one. This time, it is our turn to launch an attack on the Titans within our Walls!|
|— Erwin Smith resolves to hunt the remaining Titans in hiding|
Wall: Assault on Stohess, Part 3 (壁 ―ストヘス区急襲③― Kabe -Sutohesu-ku Kyūshū (3)-?) is the 25th and final episode of the 1st season and the 25th episode overall of the Attack on Titan anime, produced by Wit Studio and Production I.G.
The battle between Eren and Annie brings devastation to Stohess, leading up to a final struggle between the Titans near a damaged Wall Sina. Before she can be captured, Annie encases herself in a hardened crystal.
While Eren and the Scouts recover, Commander Erwin answers to the mayor of the city for the chaos which ensued. Despite heavy losses and untold destruction, Erwin believes the capture of Annie Leonhart has brought humanity one step closer to understanding the true nature of the Titans.
In a church inside the Stohess District, there is a group of Wall worshipers in the middle of a ceremony. As a pastor recites the prayers, Annie in her Titan form falls on the building, killing many people. The pastor, much to his horror, witnesses a Titan running towards the Walls. While civilians are running away or hiding in fear, Eren is running after Annie. Watching this, Hange notes that this time Eren is retaining his control. Jean says that now as a Titan, Eren has to fight, however, Armin states that willpower is not enough to beat Annie. Meanwhile, the soldiers are worried that Annie is reaching an open area, being unable to use the omni-directional mobility gear there. Hange orders them to split and go from the other side. The chase continues, with many civilians dying, until Annie stops to face Eren directly. Eren recalls how Annie always seemed bored, thinking that everything was stupid, except for when she was showing off her martial arts skills. In spite of her never admitting that, Eren knows that she was lying about not caring about it. He wonders about her reason for killing all those people and charges forward, with Annie employing the ability to harden her skin as a means of defense and offense. However, Eren grabs her leg and throws her at a nearby building. He wastes no time, continuing to attack while nearby soldiers note that the whole town might be destroyed. Hange says that it is all part of Erwin's plan.
As Mikasa gets up, Hitch and Marlo can not believe that they are seeing Titans in a fight. At the same time, Nile Dawk receives a report about the fight, learning of the damage and casualties. He blames it on Erwin's plan, with the latter confirming it. Nile questions Erwin's way of thinking, but the Scout Regiment Commander simply replies that it was done to lead humanity to victory. Nile does not accept it, calling Erwin a traitor. However, when he implies executing Erwin right now, the latter tells him to assume command, letting him know of the details.
In the end, Nile decides to just handcuff Erwin, while ordering to deploy all the men. As Levi begins to move, Erwin tells him to stay put, knowing of his hatred for pointless death. Meanwhile, the soldiers reach the location of the fight. Armin realizes that Annie is surely able to sacrifice her humanity for her cause just as she uses her hardening ability to remove Eren's lower right leg with a side kick. However, Eren continues to fight back and Annie recalls her father calling out to her. She roundhouse kicks Eren in the side of his head, knocking him into a building, but he has bitten into her hardened leg. Annie repeatedly strikes Eren with her hardened right fist until he is seemingly unable to move, remembering her father telling her that he is the only person on her side. As she is running away, Eren remembers his goal. He starts chasing Annie one more time in a frenzy of rage and tackles her from behind. Seeing this, Hange stops Mikasa from approaching Eren as they do not know whether he still recognizes her. Eren grabs Annie's face, squeezing it so tightly, blood splatters surrounding buildings. Soldiers and Military Police watch in mixed emotional awe.
Annie fights off Eren and eventually attempts to escape by climbing the Wall. Eren's last attempt to catch her ends in vain as she manages to fend him off by sacrificing her lower right leg. She continues climbing and just when Armin thinks she will get over the Wall, Mikasa flies to her using the omni-directional mobility gear and cuts off the fingers on both of her hands. Stepping on her face, Mikasa tells Annie to fall, with the latter recalling about her father one more time. In the memory, her father tells her he was wrong, being too late to ask for forgiveness. He tells her that even if the whole world is against her, he is always on her side, and to promise to return to him.
Annie falls to the ground and Eren pounces on her before she can get up. He then decapitates her and removes her right arm while losing his other arm in the process. Just as Eren claims that he will destroy the world, he bites out a chunk of meat from the Female Titan's neck, revealing Annie's real body. This worries Hange and others, thinking that Eren will eat Annie. However, upon seeing Annie crying, Eren stops himself. This gives Annie a chance to use her hardening ability, encasing herself in a crystal, which causes her Titan body to start merging with Eren as well. At that moment, Levi appears, cutting Eren out of the Titan and scolding him for trying to eat their key evidence.
Later, Eren wakes up just to ask Mikasa about Annie's whereabouts. He then witnesses Jean attempting to break through the crystal, not being happy with the outcome. He is stopped by Levi who tells him that there is no use. Hange orders the soldiers to use wires to make a net and carry Annie underground. Hange wonders about the outcome as well, knowing that in spite of the sacrifices, they can not get any information. Levi approaches Erwin, stating that they can hardly consider the mission a success, however, Erwin says that they have managed to endure and that the Scout Regiment survives. Erwin is then questioned by Stohess' mayor, who asks him about Erwin's reluctance to ask the Military Police for help from the start. Erwin states that with potential allies of the Female Titan inside the military, he had to limit the operation to those who were not involved. He apologizes for the destruction of Stohess, however, the mayor does not accept a simple apology. Even though Erwin states that if the Female Titan escaped, the Walls would fall and more people would die, he confirms that they cannot get any information from Annie.
Some time later, Eren wakes up in his bed, having recovered from his injuries. He is aware of Annie being frozen, with Jean confirming that they gained nothing from the operation. Unexpectedly, Armin states that Eren is the one who let that happen. After a short hesitation, Eren confirms that upon seeing Annie, he could not move. Armin and Jean are then called for a hearing and Eren confides to Mikasa about his feelings during the battle. Mikasa expresses herself to be happy that he returned alive. Outside, Jean and Armin discuss whether becoming a monster is the only way to beat the Titans. Armin puts his faith in Eren, but states that it will not be easy to overcome. At the hearing, Erwin states this to be the moment of humanity's attack on the Titans. As Annie is being kept deep underground, a group of the former 104th Cadet Corps soldiers are nearing an unknown location, not knowing of the dangers awaiting them.
At the part of Wall Sina damaged by Annie, part of the Wall crumbles away to reveal a Titan inside.
Currently Publicly Available Information
One swelteringly hot night in the year 784, a lone miner attempted to pass through Wall Sina by going under it. A few days earlier, as he stood digging in the mines, with shovel in hand, a thought suddenly came to him - maybe I could have a better life if I go to Wall Sina. It was almost a revelation of sorts. For days after that, the miner walked until he found a spot in a dense forest along the Wall where he would begin digging. No one would pass by it, and the thick foliage overhead would obscure the watchful eyes of the soldiers standing at the top of the Wall. Knowing this, he decided to begin his operation the following night. He dug into the ground with the wide shovel he had come to know so well, and made steady progress. Before long, the hole was so deep, his entire body fit inside. When he could no longer toss the dirt he dig outside of the hole, he began shoveling it into bags. He later disposed of them by climbing a ladder. Every once in a while he would drink water, but he would only stop digging if he needed to, like when his muscles started to tighten up.
The miner had absolute confidence in his ability to dig holes. It was what he had done for 20 years straight, and during that time, he learned to dig deeper, faster, and more efficiently than any of his peers. He could dig a path in no time - through difficult tunnels that gave any other miner fits. But something felt different that day. He dug and dug, but seemed to make no progress. Every time he made an attempt to dig horizontally, his shovel was rejected by the earth. The Wall's foundation seemed to jut deep into the ground, preventing the miner from proceeding. Still, he did not give up. He had to enter Wall Sina, no matter what. Life in Wall Sina was no longer his objective; it was meaningless to him. All that mattered was overcoming the Wall. The miner made a promise to himself as he wiped the ever-flowing sweat from his brow. I'll stake my 20 years of digging on this. I will get past this Wall.
The hole had grown to four or five times the miner's own height when his shovel hit a hard floor of rock. Bedrock? he wondered. It seemed to be the same material as the Wall's foundation. Using all of his strength, the miner plunged his shovel into the bedrock. He failed to so much as scratch it, while his shovel broke from the impact. The miner let out a heaving sigh deeper than any hole he had dug in his 20 years.
"A Wall?" the miner's friend asked, somewhat dubiously, "Isn't it strange?" he replied before helping himself to a drink. "Why would there be a Wall in the middle of the ground?" The two sat around a table deep in the back of a tavern located in the outskirts of town. The man was the miner's only friend, and the two would often drink there after work. As always, no one had invited him to drink after work that day (the day after he attempted to get past the Wall), so he had gone to his usual tavern to tell his friend about what had happened the previous night. Surely the friend would never tell anyone, he thought. "What if we are not only surrounded by walls on every side, but there's a wall below us as well?" the miner asked. "So what are the Walls, anyway -" he continued, until his friend cut him off with a cough as he looked around the tavern. The other customers were busy drinking, trying to sweet-talk the tavern maiden, and hollering at one another. None were looking in the pair's direction. Still, the interruption was enough to make the miner stop discussing the Wall. If someone else had so much as heard them, it wouldn't be long until the Military Police would show up. "Oh, it's nothing to worry about," the friend said, gathering himself. "Just keep on living here as you've done until now. You'll still be poor, but you'll have work and drink. That's enough, isn't it?" "Yeah," the miner replied. "You're right. I'll go back to honest digging. It's probably what I'm cut out to do, after all." But the miner did not show up to work the next day. Nor was he there the following day, or the one after that. The miner's friend visited his home a number of times, but he was never there. As he had no close family or spouse, no one knew where he could possibly be. The friend was at a loss as to what to do, and so he decided to tell the Garrison Regiment everything, including the details of the miner's efforts. A joint investigation was launched between the Garrison Regiment and the Military Police the next day. It seemed a bit excessive - the miner may have committed the crime of attempting to dig his way past the Wall - but he was just an impoverished, lone miner. The miner's friend could not understand why they went to such great efforts. But ultimately, the miner was never found and neither was the hole he supposedly dug. Not only that, the miner's friend suddenly disappeared one day, and he has never been found since.