After the contentious conclusion of the Attack on Titan manga, fans eagerly anticipated the anime adaptation, hoping for potential amendments. As the anime unfolded, enthusiasts speculated on the disparities between the two endings and scrutinized the differences that emerged during the adaptation process.
The climax of the Attack on Titan series remained largely faithful to Hajime Isayama’s manga, particularly in the final arc titled “The Battle of Heaven and Earth.” This arc depicted Eldian protagonists and Marleyan Warriors collaborating to bring down Eren Yeager, who had become a cataclysmic threat.
Armin, through persuasive efforts, convinced Zeke to resist Eren, leading to the emergence of Titans from ancient times to assist the heroes in their battle against Ymir’s spawn. The confrontation resulted in the destruction of Eren’s nape, releasing the parasite known as “the source of all living matter.” The Rumbling ceased momentarily, but Eren transformed into a Colossal once again, seeking to reunite with the parasite and resume devastation.
Mikasa and Levi, faced with no alternative, maneuvered through the debris, with Mikasa ultimately delivering the fatal blow to Eren, concluding the fight. The manga and anime shared a similar trajectory, with the anime enhancing action scenes through MAPPA’s skilled artists and occasionally expanding on Isayama’s choreography.
However, the critical divergence between the manga and anime lies in the final chapter titled “Toward the Tree On That Hill.” In this conclusion, younger versions of Armin and Eren engage in a conversation in Shiganshina, mirroring the manga. Eren explains that his harsh words were intended to drive the Scout Regiment to stop him and the Rumbling, envisioning them as the “Eldian heroes who saved the world.”
The major discrepancy surfaces when Armin thanks Eren for “becoming a mass murderer for our sake,” a dialogue that Isayama later admitted to regretting. In the anime, this expression is altered to convey the gravity of the situation better. Armin partially accepts responsibility for the disaster and acknowledges that they will face the consequences together in hell.
Additional minor changes involve Eren and Mikasa’s farewell scenes, with the anime opting for a subtler version compared to the manga’s more extensive and detailed portrayal. The finale underscores the inevitability of conflict between Eldians and the rest of the world, hinting at the repetition of history. The only noticeable difference is in the depiction of Paradis buildings: the manga portrays them as imitations of modern structures, while the anime presents them as futuristic skyscrapers.
In essence, MAPPA’s Attack on Titan finale remained true to Isayama’s vision, with the anime fanbase left to determine whether it is more satisfying or equally underwhelming as the manga.