Attack on Titan’s New Antagonist May Have Topped Shiganshina’s Death Toll

WARNING: The following contains spoilers for Attack on Titan Season 4, Episode 27, "Retrospective," now streaming on Crunchyroll, Funimation and Hulu. 

Eren Jaeger has had quite the character arc throughout Attack on Titan, going from the pragmatic yet determined protagonist to a fierce and merciless antagonist. And he's only solidified his new role in the final season by committing terrible acts, from beating his best friend Armin Arlert to the ground to overthrowing Paradis Island's military.

However, the worst of these crimes comes when Eren unleashes the Rumbling: a catastrophic event that consists of the Wall Titans marching across the planet, demolishing everything in their path. Eren's hands were already stained in blood prior to the Rumbling, but his grand plan to wipe out the rest of the world may conjure an even death toll higher than the fall of Shiganshima.

Attack on Titan The Rumbling

While the Rumbling seems like an unstoppable force, there was hope that the remaining Scouts would stop this cataclysmic event from carrying out completely, even forming an unlikely alliance with Marley to stand a chance. After setting aside their differences, they become the world's only hope -- but the clock is ticking and the weight of their situation comes crashing down again in Episode 27.

Hange Zoe and Theo Magath determine that the Rumbling is approaching Liberio too quickly for them to overcome. Even in the best case scenario where they do stop Eren, Liberio and Marley -- which are located closest to Paradis -- are already doomed. That pretty much wipes out every familiar face the Scouts have come to know in Marley as they now fight for the lives of everyone else -- complete strangers.

While Marley is a continental mainland, it's unclear what its population is -- though it's fair to assume it's larger than Paradis, an island with a restricted population. That being said, Eren's genocide numbers may have just topped Annie Leonhart, Bertholdt Hoover and Reiner Braun's initial attack on Paradis, which devastated Shiganshima and slaughtered countless people. But even in that case, they only took out a percentage of Paradis' population with some managing to escape. After all, a portion of an island's citizens cannot amass to the population of the rest of the world.

A few episodes ago in Attack on Titan, Eren gave a message to all Eldians, including the ones living in Marley as honorary Marleyans. Following this declaration, many -- including Annie's father -- desperately try to warn Liberio's guards that Eren is coming and hellbent on disaster, but the guards are stubborn and reluctant to listen. Instead of listening to their pleas to flee before Eren arrives, the Eldians are accused of plotting an escape from their internment camps as the guards attempt to detain the group. Mr. Leonhart, determined to see his daughter again, lashes out.

It's unknown what happened to Mr. Leonhart or the other Eldians following this incident, or if he's even alive at all. But if anything's certain, it's that Marley may be too stubborn to save its own people, consequently serving to increase the death toll of Eren's attack. Marley may very well be the only nation with the necessary equipment to take on numerous Colossal Titans thanks to the people's advanced technology. But if stubbornness and ignorance is their reaction to the tidal wave of destruction currently headed their way, the rest of the world likely doesn't stand much of a chance.

The fall of Shiganshima did more than bring down Wall Maria; it enlisted a great deal of trauma in its survivors. While being the inciting incident for the larger, overarching story, it also incited Eren's extensive character journey from the moment he watched his mother, Carla Jaeger, being eaten by a Titan. Now Eren's strength and willpower outweighs that of Annie, Bertholdt and Reiner when they first attacked and infiltrated the walls, and it seems like no one can stop him.

Maybe a few Eldians somehow managed to escape Marley, or perhaps another slaughter is occurring as humans turn against humans -- Attack on Titan fans know well that fear can be a powerful -- and dangerous -- motivator. Either way, as the unlikely alliance works tirelessly to save however many people they can, Eren may just deliver the biggest body count of the series. Even if he is stopped, there is no denying that he did accomplish his goal one way or another.

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