Why Does Mikasa Kill Eren in Attack on Titan?

One of the most haunting conclusions for a popular anime in years.

by J.R. Waugh
Why Did Mikasa Kill Eren in Attack on Titan
Image: MAPPA / Kodansha

Attack on Titan is over, and this can finally be said for both the manga and anime fans alike. The divisive manga finale got a wonderful swan song sendoff via the anime this year. However, one heartwrenching moment poses the question, why does Mikasa kill Eren in Attack on Titan?

Did Mikasa Have to Kill Eren in Attack on Titan?

Mikasa made the horrendously difficult choice to finish off Eren because she knew there was no other way to stop the Rumbling from trampling humanity in Attack on Titan. Even in Special 2, you could see her hesitation, along with that of her allies, as they realized that rescuing Eren alive was no longer an option.

Related: Who Dies in the Last Episode of Attack on Titan?

As Eren tells it, he staged the Rumbling to massacre 80% of humanity outside the walls of Paradis, and 20% was all he could see being saved by stopping him. This would prevent arguably more calamities through a war of reprisal, even though the series epilogue would show otherwise.

There was seemingly no other way to conclude the events without more protracted bloodshed. With Mikasa going for the kill, he’d at least receive the closest thing to a proper burial: his head, buried next to the tree under which he liked to nap.

Did Mikasa Want to Kill Eren?

Mikasa loved Eren until the bitter end, not just killing Eren, but clinging to his memory until her passing. Despite Eren having shown disapproval of her for being a slave to her instinct to protect him, and despite him bringing about the worst tragedy she’ll ever witness, she and Eren harbored mutual feelings of love and affection. Not only did Mikasa not want to kill Eren, but she wanted to spend what was left of his life by his side.

Image: MAPPA / Kodansha

Additionally, Eren did not want to die and was incredibly upset at the prospect of Mikasa moving on after his death. But witnessing the causality loop, he knew there was no other way, and urged her to throw away the scarf he gifted to her as a child. She never did, choosing to be buried wearing it in a morose conclusion to one of the most romantic, deeply sad love stories in popular anime. The final shot of Mikasa before her passing is with her grieving at his burial site, with a bird adjusting her scarf, suggesting Eren’s looking out for her beyond the grave.

- This article was updated on November 6th, 2023

About The Author

J.R. is a Staff Writer with AOTF and has been covering gaming and entertainment in the industry since 2022. Along with a B.A. in History from the University of Cincinnati, he has studied at the University of Birmingham, UK, and part of his M.A. at the University of Waterloo. You'll find J.R. particularly at home writing about the hottest manga and anime. He is highly passionate about horror, strategy, and RPGs, and anything about Star Trek or LOTR. When not ranting about fan theories or writing guides, J.R. is streaming his favorite RPGs and other forgotten gems.