It’s been a decade since the beginning of the Attack on Titan anime, but now Eren Yeager’s journey is over. With four seasons and a couple of long specials, the series has no shortage of memorable moments, so we’re celebrating by picking our favorite scenes that made the show one of the best the genre has ever seen. These are our 10 best moments from Attack on Titan.
10: Annie Revealing She’s the Female Titan
One of the biggest and earliest betrayals of the series is the moment where Annie finally reveals that she is in fact, the female titan, right in front of Eren, Mikasa, and Armin. The Scouts were in a state of disarray after a losing battle that saw the first appearance of the Female Titan. The Female Titan alone devastated the scouts, and we take that experience with us up until the eventual tense confrontation where Annie confirms to be the traitor. This leads to a major battle in the inner walls and is the first time the Scouts experience true betrayal from a former comrade. The battle is world-shaking, causes massive damage, and ends in a hollow victory, as Annie cocoons herself rather than be captured like a regular prisoner. In the aftermath of the battle, we see the start of the political and physical battles the Scouts are fated to face. Seeing this unfold in the very first season set the precedent that there is more than meets the eye with these bumbling titans, and that even close friends couldn’t be completely trusted.
9: Beast Titan Speaks (And Miche’s Death)
After learning about the Female and Attack Titan, the worldview changed for the Scouts and us, the viewers, as we begin to learn more about the mysterious demons beyond the wall. Enter the Beast Titan, who not only looks drastically different from what we’ve seen up to this point but he drops a huge surprise and speaks to Miche on the verge of his death. The titans can speak! This is such a big knowledge bomb that we never thought was possible at this point in the series. The presence alone of the Beast Titan instills fear as he sits there and observes quietly with a grin. That single shot of the Beast Titan is the stuff of nightmares. Even though Miche is literally in the jaws of a smaller Titan, he can’t help but stare at the Beast Titan frozen in terror as he waits to see what he does. To pile on the surprises, the Beast Titan shows interest in the ODM gear and proceeds to take it before letting the surrounding titans devour Miche in one of the most gruesome deaths of the series. To have this moment tee up the beginning of Season 2 set the bar for how crazy the rest of the season could be!
8: Eren Manipulating Grisha to Kill the Reiss Family
For the longest time, Grisha Yaeger was an enigma. We knew very little about him outside of the fact that he’s got a secret in the basement, and he left Eren and his mom before the Titans struck. Then in Season 4, we learned everything – Grisha’s storied past, his role in the demise of the Reiss family, and… most shockingly, Eren’s role in the demise of the Reiss family. You see, it turns out that when Grisha set out to kill the Reiss family and take the Founding Titan, he actually wasn’t initially able to go through with it. He would have to become a murderer of children, which is a line he didn’t want to cross. And who was it that made him cross that line? Yes, none other than Eren from the future, through the newly revealed special ability of the Attack Titan, that allows its bearers to experience past and future memories of those who wield its power. Eren reminded Grisha of his little sister who was left to be eaten by dogs by two Marley officers, of his first wife who was turned into a Titan for treason, of his comrades that were slaughtered. Eren’s extra push drove Grisha to murder the Reiss family, all except for Rod Reiss, who was spared under Eren’s orders. All this time we had been led to believe that Grisha had been manipulating Eren, when in fact, it was the other way around. Eren was manipulating Grisha the whole time.
7: First Appearance of the Colossal Titan
The sight of an unbelievably high wall with a giant, skinless face looking over it has to be one of the most evocative images in modern anime, and it’s an incredible tone-setter for a brutal series. After living in relative peace for over a century, with only the occasionally mangled returns of the Scouts as a reminder of the brutality of the outside world, Shiganshina is thrown into chaos just as Armin is musing about the walls not keeping them safe forever. The Colossal Titan’s destruction of the wall opens the floodgates to allow horrifying not-quite-human monsters with permanent rictus grins to begin eating people with impunity. It sets the precedent that nowhere is safe, and the only reason these people haven’t been wiped out in the last hundred years is that someone out there hadn’t decided to do it yet. Their walls weren’t a fortress to keep the enemy out, they were pens to keep the livestock in.
6: First Appearance of the Attack Titan
Everything leading up to the first appearance of the Attack Titan at The Battle for Trost had been a wild roller coaster of emotions considering it’s Eren and the gang’s first major battle. There’s the utter devastation when Armin watches Eren get eaten by a Titan, Mikasa’s impassioned speech in front of her peers to continue the fight, along with her struggle between giving up or living on after learning of Eren’s supposed death. It all culminates in Mikasa hearing Eren’s voice to fight on and the Attack Titan doing a Superman-punch to an enemy titan. Not to mention, we see the Attack Titan square up and decapitate another Titan in an amazingly flashy way. After what seems like an impossible fight, this is the first time we’ve been given hope for the end of all this chaos. It is at this moment that everything changes as humanity gains one of their biggest allies in what will be a long fight for survival.
5: Eren Transforming in Liberio
Eren’s explanation of his actions to Reiner, his sudden transformation in Liberio, and the killing of Willie Tybur just as he declares war on Eren’s people all culminate in a moment that’s both horrifying and extremely cathartic. This series started with a Titan invasion of Eren’s homeland, planting an unstoppable seed of anger in Eren’s heart. After spending the first four full episodes of season four with the other side of the conflict, and with only a few characters that we recognize, the entirety of “Declaration of War” is a pressure cooker that slowly builds for 22 minutes until the final explosive moments. Eren finally understands where his enemies are coming from. He knows why they did what they did. He knows he’s just as guilty, probably even more so. And he’s going to kill all of them anyway. This is the beginning of the end in one of the most tragic anime finales ever.
4: Sasha’s Death
Attack on Titan is not a show that’s shy about killing off major characters. But usually, when that happens, it’s in the midst of battle, or it’s a brave sacrifice, or it’s the culmination of a big plot line. Sasha’s death was none of those things, and that’s one of the reasons why it was so shocking, heartbreaking, and memorable. After retreating to the airship following the Battle of Liberio, Sasha, Jean, and Connie all celebrate a job well done. Little did they know, a very angry Gabi Braun, furious at the Survey Corps’ surprise attack on her home that led to the deaths of her friends, managed to hook onto the airship. She only took one shot before getting subdued, but that was all it took to take out one of the most beloved Attack on Titan characters of all time. It’s only natural to lament the fact that Sasha died so suddenly and without putting up any sort of fight, but few can argue that it was an unforgettable moment in a series that was chock full of unforgettable moments, and that her death made a profound impact not just on her friends, but on Gabi as well. One that she would have to come face to face with later in the story.
3: Erwin and Squad Charge at the Beast Titan
“We die trusting the living who follow to find meaning in our lives. That is the sole method in which we can rebel against this cruel world.” Erwin’s final words to his soldiers, most of whom are barely adults, speak greatly to the strength of his character, but also to a driving theme of the entire series. As he explains his suicidal plan, soldiers freeze, vomit, question the entire meaning of their lives, and quietly resign themselves to their fate. He doesn’t lie, or hedge, or sugarcoat his words. He explains that they are all riding to their deaths. And they will never see a shred of meaning to their mission. But because of their sacrifice, others will live on and keep striving. And while it would be easy to send them out to die while he stays behind, Erwin instead leads the charge so that he can pass his dream of learning the secret of the Titans to Levi. Yes, it’s an incredibly cruel moment, but it’s also a beautiful reminder of what humans are capable of when their backs are against the wall.
2: Zeke Turns Eldians Into Titans During the Marley Surprise Attack
When we learned about Zeke’s ability to force transform Titans with just a roar, we never thought it would be used in such a devastating way that would lead to some characters we know and love turning into the very things they hated and feared all these years. In the lead up to the massive three-way battle between Marley, Paradis, and the Scouts, the duo of Zeke and Eren executed a plot to poison the Paradis military with Zeke’s spinal fluid. Despite the threat of Zeke’s scream turning everyone into obedient pure Titans, Commander Pyxis and the MPs head into the battle to protect Paradis from the invading Marleyan army. In the midst of the battle, we see Colt pleading with Zeke to stop his mass Titan creation so that his brother, Falco, can live a normal life. The struggle in this scene is heartbreaking because it’s ultimately a brother’s love that hopes to win in the end. Even though Zeke understands that bond, he continues his attack leading to one of the most epic moments in the series. Zeke lets out a bellowing scream as the Beast Titan leading to dozens of thunderous explosions within the battlezone. We see all of the MPs turning into Pure Titans bringing chaos to a charged battlefield. This scene brings a full circle moment of horror as the Marleyan soldiers see what it’s like to face Pure Titans on the battlefield for the first time. The cycle of warfare continues, and it’s between fellow kinsman who have been misunderstood and misled all these years.
1: Reiner and Bertholdt’s Betrayal
And finally, our pick for the very best Attack on Titan moment is the one that we believe really sent Attack on Titan into the upper echelons of anime. It’s the reveal of the identities of the Armored and Colossal titan. It’s our top moment because of the palpable tension that this scene brought and the fantastic direction all throughout. It came right after what we thought would be a lull in the action; in the aftermath of an intense battle at Utgard Castle. Part of what makes this moment so memorable is the fact that it’s such a bombshell announcement, and yet Reiner just reveals it with the calmness of someone talking to a friend about the weather. From there the tension just ramps up to dangerous levels as Reiner’s mental state continues to decline, Eren nervously attempts to pass Reiner’s announcement off as him just being tired, and Bertholdt is visibly panicking at the situation Reiner just thrust themselves into. All of this while the rest of the Survey Corps watch on ready to pounce the second things go south. Which they inevitably do, as It all culminates in an incredible moment where Reiner and Bertholdt are forced to transform right in front of the scouts, and we as the audience are left glued to our screens wondering why and how.
And that’s our list of the best moments Attack on Titan has to offer! What moments were your favorite? Let us know in the comments! And if you want more anime, check out our list of the top 10 anime of all time, and the latest drop of new anime from the Fall season. For everything else, keep it here on IGN.