I’ve been thinking about this since that latest episode dropped, Eren Yeager’s declaration of War on the Marley empire. Was he right or should he have chosen a different path?
Don’t worry, I won’t be going into manga territory, as I myself have not read the manga. I’m just going to discuss the implication of Eren’s decision and why I felt he was justified in his action to some extent, despite the outcome. Now, I have to point out that I’m looking at this from both a subjective (personal lens) and objective point of view so what I’m saying isn’t necessarily the law or anything. Anyway, let’s get started.
So after many episodes, and many dying at the hands of the titans, Eren Yeager finally declares war on not only the Marley Empire but the entire world. I’ve seen some arguments that the decision that Eren made was foul and that vengeance is never the right answer, to which I actually slightly disagree. See, the reason why I like Attack on Titan so much is that it shows you that war has no “right side”, that when you look at things from both sides’ perspective, you can always see their justification for their action. Fear, Power, Control & Survival are the common themes that one can find in these situations is one of the many reasons you’d wage war on another nation. I also like how it perfectly illustrates the effects and pain of racism without making it blatantly obvious. From the Eldians asking themselves why they’re so hated, to turning some of their own against themselves to be liked by their oppressor, to the hatred that manifest in the hearts of the oppressed, and the hopelessness that one feels when you realize that the whole world wants you dead, it did it all so well without it feeling like a lecture.
Look at it from Eren’s point of view, his entire way of life was dictated by people who hated his very existence. He was never given a choice from the start. How could he care for a world that wanted him and his race dead? It’s in fact the purest form of that racism that drove Eren into the man we saw attack Marley and kill hundreds of innocent people. It’s racism that turned Eldians against one another and view themselves as demons, all because the world told them so! Yeah, the Elidans weren’t innocent for sure, and it’s also their ancestor’s discrimination that drove the human race to vilify them. However, since we don’t have all the pictures, I’m going with what they’ve shown us so far!
It affected the psyche of the Eldians within the walls of Marley, who wanted nothing more but to be accepted into the world, and the only way they knew how was to condemn themselves. It shows that being discriminated against isn’t’ always about feeling bad or inferior, it can also manifest into pure hatred for your oppressors and anyone that may support those ideals. It shows that when pushed, the oppressed will fight back.
We got to see the agony in Eren’s face when he found out about how the world viewed his people, and that agony shaped his worldview. He knows that as long as they exist, the world will hate them and want them dead. So what other possible option did Eren have? Try the peaceful protest route? Not in this world, that would never work. Too much blood has been spilled, and even while they never attacked after King Fritz tried the peaceful route, the world has shown that they’ll never be left alone. Eren was basically forced into making this choice. Dammed if you do, dammed if you don’t and he chose the former.
I mean, what do you want the Eldians from Paradise Island to do? The world wants them dead, they want to live! So it’s either they die or the world dies, and Eren made his choice! This why I like anime a lot because it doesn’t shy away from these types of heavy topics and explores them in a way that you’d normally wouldn’t find here in the west. They say revenge is never the answer, but what happens when the other side won’t let up?
Honestly, the moral of the story is, be nice to everyone!