Was Mikasa’s answer in any way responsible for Eren’s decisions?

Attack on Titan chapter 123, especially the scene where Eren asks Mikasa what he means to her, has been one of the most anticipated chapters to be adapted into the anime.

Mikasa’s answer to this question has been treated with mostly fond exasperation in the fandom, many lamenting that she failed to get her feelings across to Eren.

However, to Mikasa herself, a sliver of doubt continued to gnaw at her even years later. Despite knowing better, she continued to wonder if she could have steered Eren towards a different path had she given a different answer. This article explores why this blame is misplaced and what the moment could have signed for Eren.

[Note: This article contains spoilers up to Attack on Titan episode 87 and reflects the writer’s personal interpretation.]

The significance of Eren’s question and Mikasa’s answer in Attack on Titan episode 87

In Attack on Titan chapter 123, episode 87 of the anime, during their visit to Marley, Eren asks Mikasa why she is so protective of him, specifically what he means to her. He asks if it’s just because she considers him family, to which she awkwardly agrees.

However, before she can elaborate further, they are interrupted by a local resident. After a night of revelry, Eren disappears, and Mikasa sees him again during the raid on Liberio.

Mikasa’s guilt and self-awareness

mikasa’s monologue is one of the most pivotal moments of the series, not just for her character arc but also in context of entire story.through mikasa’s pov, we viewers also ponder if eren has changed or not?however, just as mikasa understands & accepts both cruelty/beauty + https://t.co/BD0E1datKG

This incident is presented to the audience entirely through Mikasa’s flashbacks, in both the manga and the anime. She prefaces the flashback with a monolog about being aware of her insignificance her, in this particular case, in the development of Eren’s nature her.

Mikasa firmly states that she is aware of Eren’s propensity toward the extreme, his innate attraction towards freedom and his single-minded ferocity. She understands that no matter what answer she would have given, they would have ended up in this exact situation. She could not have done anything to prevent it, because Eren was predisposed to turn out this way.

Mikasa is still showing up to save Eren, no matter where he is. [via Attack on Titan Final Season] https://t.co/dcAyTQmGgd

While she is unaware of how tumultuous and twisted the notion of pre-destination and fate can be for the Attack on Titan universe, especially at the hands of someone like Eren Yeager, Mikasa is aware that sometimes one cannot influence the inherent tendencies of another.

She accepts Eren’s nature, however, she is no longer blind to the collateral damage that lies in his wake.

Eren’s possible reasons behind asking the question

Eren's response here indicates that he knows what will happen to the boy in future (Image via MAPPA)

‘everything… is still ahead’complete breakdown of eren’s psyche, mikasa’s role, and the battle between free will and determinism in attack on titan ep87: ‘the dawn of humanity’ https://t.co/iRIMKFZZ9Q

In such a predicament, it is impossible to say if he wanted a different answer to see if the future can be changed, or if he simply wanted Mikasa’s answer to solidify the notion that his own designs have now become inescapable chains.

Either way, this question was less about the response, and more about the fact that Eren asked it despite having probably seen this transspire several times via the Paths.

[The next section contains spoilers from Attack on Titan manga.]

A long dream

It’s been a year and only 4 words spoken but the pain “See you later, Eren” brought us lingers for a life time. https://t.co/Un2D6fTk33


Some posit that the natural conclusion to this moment and their conversation was shown at the end of Attack on Titan chapter 238, “A Long Dream.” Mikasa was shown an alternate future by Eren, where they had run away and lived his remaining four years in peace.

It is still debated within the fandom whether that was one of the timelines in the popular “See You Later Universe” theory.

At the end of Attack on Titan manga, Mikasa tells Eren, after his death, that he was someone she cherished, which many believe to be a late answer to his question. Either way, neither Mikasa nor Eren hinged anything significant onto the question or the answer. What mattered more was Eren’s reasons for asking it, and the impression it left behind on Mikasa.

Final thoughts

Eren's obsession with freedom directs his choices (Image via MAPPA)

‘i want them to live long, happy lives’masterpiece of an episode, eren is so good https://t.co/IZBWv4jgw2

Perhaps, Eren wanted to plant the seed of his machinations in Mikasa’s mind, which would result in her final action. Perhaps this was the last moment Eren deluded himself into believing that he was free.

It is equally likely that Eren was looking for a reason, not to stay and change the course of his actions, but to follow through with his plan because essentially, Mikasa represented what he was fighting for.

There’s a scene that I haven’t seen mentioned by anyone. The moment when Mikasa witnesses Eren’s abandonment. Framing the moment with a shot of Eren partially covered by the door, with a sudden cessation of all background noises to then insert a scratched sound. It’s perfect. https://t.co/sBX4xQKIcU

At the end of the day, this moment is famous or infamous in the fandom because it marks the end for Eren, and the beginning for Mikasa. They both moved forward from stagnation after this moment, Eren marched towards his goal his, and Mikasa drifted away from Eren.

Where they will meet now, and what results from that meeting, will be revealed in Attack on Titan Final Season part 3.

Edited by Sijo Samuel Paul

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