Attack on Titan: What is The Shining Centipede?

My favorite tinfoil theory assumes that Centipede-kun is indeed the precursor of all life because that would explain why Titans exhibit both plant and animal properties. As mentioned earlier, their external anatomy is distinctly humanoid — they have hair, skin, limbs, and all the normal facial features in all the right positions, although they lack genitalia. (Abnormal Titans vary slightly from this model.) On the other hand, Titans derive their energy from the sun and are generally dormant in the absence of solar radiation, much like photosynthetic plants. Some Titans respond to mild sensory stimuli (most animals), while others don’t even perceive extreme injuries (most plants).

The Shining Centipede also possesses some kind of sentience, given that it can act on its own accord when required. However, it seems to be permanently bound to the will of the first Founder, Ymir Fritz — it vanishes only after she decides to ditch her sandy limbo for good (in the final chapter). It could be that the Centipede “chooses” Ymir as its her “partner her,” and is either reluctant or unable to persist without her, but its disappearance her is riddled with discrepancies.

Mythological References In The Shining Centipede

A few fans have suggested that the Shining Centipede’s original habitat, the subterranean pool nestled in the roots of the mega tree, signifies the hypothetical primordial soup that spawned the first life-forms on Earth. This conjecture is interesting, since Centipede-kun’s Titan-izing ability might account for the unnaturally large tree above the pool, but ultimately fruitless as there is not enough information to confirm or deny the scientific possibility.

Norse mythology offers far better support for the primordial pool hypothesis. The arcane liquid “eitr” is the source of life — Ymir, the progenitor of the giant-like beings known as the jötnar, is claimed to have originated from this substance. Interestingly, the Icelandic, Norwegian, Swedish, and Danish descendants of the word “eitr” refer to poison/venom, arguably mirroring the toxic impact of Titan warfare.


Another perspective within the same mythos mentions Nidhogg, a serpentine beast that represents chaos and suffering. This entity is found in Hvergelmir, a boiling spring located at the roots of Yggdrasil, the cosmic world tree that nourishes the nine realms of Midgard, Vanaheim, Utgard, Nidavellir, Hel, Asgard, Muspelheim, Svartalfheim, and Alfheim (the Nine Titans) . The Poetic Edda further hints that the Norse apocalypse, Ragnarök, will be instigated by Nidhogg’s destruction of Yggdrasil’s primary root system and subsequent escape.

The Shining Centipede reflects the basic beats of Nidhogg’s narrative pattern — it slithers out from under its tree and wreaks eighteen centuries of havoc, before triggering a global holocaust in the form of the Rumbling. However, the ending of the world isn’t as macabre as it sounds in either Norse mythology or Attack on Titan because it may also refer to fresh beginnings for those who come after the apocalypse.


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