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The Fall of Shiganshina
- Armin is being bullied by three louts who have been listening to the Wall Cult too much. Eren charges them down in defence of his once only and oldest friend and he has done this many times before.
- Sasha offering Keith Shadis "half" of her steaming potato, after admitting that she took it and ate it because she didn't want it to go cold. The instructor is so confused that, although he punishes her for stealing food by running laps, he appears genuinely a bit touched.
- Reiner and Bertholdt taking Eren and Armin on the head-clearing moonlit hike into the mountains. Just lads being good lads, taking in nature, sharing motivations and reminisces while bolstering each others resolve for the training to come. Though later reveals make this warm scene where Armin encourages Bert not to be ashamed of his fear and Eren holding new-found esteem for Reiner as a role-model become so much more painful.
- During Jean and Eren's fight in the mess hall, Mikasa steps in and tries to ease tempers. All she does is grab Eren's hand, and he calms down. This says a lot about their relationship. Eren was furious at Jean's selfishness but Mikasa's touch calmed him down immediately and he backed off just because she wanted him to. He even looked ashamed of himself for getting so worked up. This proves that Eren doesn't really consider Mikasa a bother like some fans think, and he really does care about and listen to her.
- In Chapter 17, Eren tries to impress Annie with his kick to which she teases back that he's hopeless at it. When he asks her about her technique, it's the only time in the manga to date that we see her sincerely smile. Also heart-warming because it signifies the beginning of an unlikely friendship.
- The trio meeting Hannes again after graduation. They greet and joke with each other at first, and then Hannes tells Eren that Carla's death still haunts him. Eren reassures him that it wasn't his fault, apologising for his naivety and how they will endeavour to defeat the Titans.
Battle Of Trost
- The little girl thanking Mikasa for saving her during the evacuation of Trost. Made even sweeter by Mikasa's reaction; she smiles and salutes, making the girl gasp with admiration.
- In the flashback where Eren rescues Mikasa from human traffickers, Mikasa, still in shock from the whole ordeal, mentions that she's cold. Eren immediately takes off his scarf and wraps it around her in as comforting a gesture as he can manage, being Eren's only arguably Adorkable moment in the series.
- This is the same scarf that Mikasa continues to wear as an adolescent and symbolises the red string of fate that joins two souls forever along the same destiny.
- We also see that Grisha was far more worked up about his only son risking his life so recklessly rather than the fact that Eren had just committed double homicide at the tender age of nine! When Eren cries that he simply didn't know how else to save Mikasa, his father stops his admonitions cold and can only stare at his son with a faint mixture of pride, worry and awe that Eren's actions didn't stem from bloodlust but from a fanatically genuine desire to protect innocence and freedom.
- The fact that after the deaths of Mikasa's parents, the Jaegers took Mikasa in without a moment's hesitation. And judging from what we saw of her interactions with Carla and Grisha, it's clear that they treated her with the same love and care they gave their own son. Though it came on the heels of one of the darkest times in her life, it is rather nice to know that Mikasa spent the aftermath of that horror in the care of genuinely good people.
- Right before Armin and Connie find Mikasa, she's about to give up and let a Titan eat her but then we get this beautifully tear-wrenching, life-reaffirming soliloquy.
Mikasa: Why? I was sure I'd given up... Why... am I standing? Why... am I struggling? What for..? After all... I've lost any reason to live. ... So what's driving me?Past!Eren: Fight! Fight! Fight!Mikasa: Eren...Past!Eren: Fight! You have to fight! FIGHT! FIGHT!Mikasa: I'm so sorry, Eren. I won't give up anymore. I'll never give up again. Because if I died... These memories of you will die with me. So... I'll do whatever it takes to win! Whatever it takes to live!
- As she takes strength from her remembrance of Eren's rare happy moments. We see a flash of what Mikasa was doing in the first episode while Eren was sleeping under a tree, looking uncharacteristically at peace. Mikasa for a moment watched him slumber closely with a look of utter adoration on her cherubic face!
- When Armin gives Mikasa his remaining gas and plans to commit suicide to avoid being Eaten Alive, she tosses his remaining blade over the roof edge, and tells him to come with her because she'll never leave him behind.
- Marco assuring Jean that he galvanised the troops properly and would make a good leader because he can empathise with the weak-willed; knowing what it was like to still have some of that lingering frailty.
- The stern-faced Mikasa crying when she finds Eren alive and well. The fact that he was found controlling the body of a Titan, and began killing other Titans after said Titan's body disintegrated, doesn't subtract anything from this.
- Additionally, when Armin sees Eren's regenerated arm and leg he remembers that they were trying to reach for each other when the Titan snapped its jaws shut and swallowed him; Armin crouches down and laces their fingers together sobbing in gratitude to see his best friend returned whole to him. Making up for not being able to take his hand before.
- Levi's introduction initially makes him seem like a cold neat-freak who gets pissed when he gets Titan blood on him, but when his subordinate is bleeding to death, he ignores all the gore on the injured soldier's hand in order to grasp it in comfort and solidarity and reassure him that his sacrifice was not in vain; that his death and every other will bolster his own spirit in order to end the war for good.
- Neither Armin and especially not Mikasa have a moment's doubt before being shown to be willing to sacrifice their lives, social standing, and everything to run off with Eren after the military and pretty much everyone turns against him. It isn't even a plot point, it isn't discussed. Their support to Eren is a given and completely unconditional. That, my friends, is a true bond.
The 57th Expedition
- During Eren's trial, one merchant makes the mistake of assuming that Mikasa is a Titan too, because he's operating on panicked mob psychology or something. Eren takes offence to this, yelling that though he may be a monster, Mikasa has nothing to do with it.
- Remember: Eren has... a bit of a temper. You would assume that he snaps long before they accuse Mikasa, like when they suggest he be dissected. That part would usually be when anyone would protest in their own defence. But he doesn't. He remains calm. (Well, as calm as he can be under the circumstances). He snaps only when they threaten Mikasa, and he realizes that he needs to come to her aid. This shows that the loyalty and protectiveness in their relationship doesn't just go one way. He does care deeply about her, he just doesn't show it as overtly.
- And during the same trial, when Levi begins kicking the shit out of Eren (as part of the plan to get the court to give the responsibility of handling Eren to the Survey Corps), Mikasa begins to walk over, getting ready to beat Levi up, Armin grabs her by the arm and tells her to wait, and Mikasa lets him hold her back. She could've easily broken out of his grip anytime she wanted to, but she doesn't. It really says how much she trusts him and values his way of thinking.
- When Squad Leader Hange Zoë talks to Eren about her experiments with Sawney and Bean, the rest of Levi's squad leaves the room, knowing what's going to happen. From her chipper defence-reflexive attitude, you get the impression that Hange is aware of how she comes across. Eren, wanting to make a good impression with the eccentric senior officer, gladly asks to hear more about her experiments anyway. Which absolutely delights her.
- Hange's bizarre interactions and personality fascination with captive Titans is also astonishingly compassionate considering the state they've reduced humanity to. She even admits she still holds a great deal of hate in her heart but decided that she needed to cast it away for a fresh perspective. The mark of a dispassionate scientist but when it comes time to test Titans for further weaknesses, (often in the form of torture), Hange is beside herself at causing them to suffer.
- When all of Eren's friends in the 104th decide to become members of the Survey Corps, Christa starts crying out of fear of fighting the Titans again. Ymir tells her, "If you're gonna cry, you shouldn't stay." But the way she said it wasn't really "If you're gonna be a big baby then go home." It was more, "If you're scared, you don't have to stay. It's okay if you wanna leave." Which is really nice coming from someone like Ymir.
- During the outset of the 57th Expedition, Eren sees two little children staring at him from a window and talking about how cool the Survey Corps are. The genuine smile on his face is enough to make your heart melt. This poor kid has been through so much, he deserves something to smile about.
- Eren unknowingly transforms into a Titan and Levi's Special Operations Squad assigned mainly for his protection immediately turns on him. After Levi explains their reasoning to Eren and they find out that he really did transform unknowingly, Eld and Gunther admit that they acted too rash. The squad members nod at each other knowingly and simultaneously bite their hands like Eren does when he transforms into Titan (even Oluo), Eld remarks to Eren that it's impressive how he can bring himself to inflict such self-harm. Then, a clearly guilty Petra apologizes to him for being rash and asks Eren to have faith in them from now on, as they will try to have faith in him as well.
- After their failed mission against the Female Titan, Levi takes the badge off of one of the deceased. We cannot confirm who it is, but it is believed by some to be Petra Ral's badge. After another soldier risks himself and others attempting to recover the body of his dead friend, Levi gives him the badge, telling him that it belonged to the man's friend. Doubles as a Tear Jerker.
Clash of The Titans
- Sasha rushes to a village to evacuate people. She finds only a woman being eaten by a Titan while her child sits there with a blank look on her face. When it becomes clear that she can't kill it, she grabs the child and runs. Along the way, she tells the child to keep running and not stop until she finds people. After successfully blinding and escaping from the Titan, she rushes on to find the child only to discover that she's already been picked up by villagers, Sasha's father among them. Her father relates to her what the girl told them and comments that Sasha has become a splendid person.
- Reiner saving Connie's life in Utgard Castle by shoving him aside and nearly dying in his place. Then attempting a Heroic Sacrifice to save the others.
- Historia cradling a bloody and dismembered Ymir in her arms after the toppling of the castle tower and telling Ymir her real name as she promised. Ymir falls into a healing coma with a genuine smile of contentment instead of her usual snidely cynical smirk.
- It is sweet to see that Hannes still looks out for the Shiganshina Trio, he offers to get Armin some food and water while he is watching over Mikasa and ruffles his hair affectionately.
- Hannes' talk with Mikasa and Armin, sharing army rations and reminding them how they would always help Eren whenever he picked fights.
- Ymir becoming terrified that Christa will hate her for the choices she's made to keep herself safe, and Christa assuring Ymir that, no matter what she does or whose side she ends up on, Christa will always stick by her.
- Doubling as a Crowning Moment of Awesome, Historia boldly correcting Connie about her name and then tearing Ymir a new one for lying to her once again. Followed up immediately by declaring that from now on, they should live for themselves only and that she will never fear anything as long as they can be together.
- Mikasa smiling and thanking Eren for everything including the scarf that he gave to her while being surrounded by Titans with all hope lost.
- Eren replying that he'll always wrap that scarf around her, promising her that they will make it out of this seemingly hopeless situation alive.
- The beauty amid cruelty scene that Eren and Mikasa share in the finale. A fellow on YouTube put it best.
This moment in both Manga/Anime is beautiful. Mikasa believes these are her final moments alive, so she decides to be herself, no more anger, no more violence, just she and Eren. And Eren realises that this is his ultimate wish, he wants to see Mikasa smiling everyday; but not there, not in a world with Titans, he won't give up. He can't. For he will make this dream a reality.
- There's also Ymir, in Titan form, stroking Christa's hair and face as a means of saying goodbye to her, before murmuring a warbling "So-rry" to her as she makes to aid the traitors.
- A couple of extra pages were added to chapter 50 after it was collected in tankōbon form which show what happened to Reiner, Bertholdt and Ymir after they escaped from the Titan horde which provides a lot of insight into their feelings.
- Reiner tells Ymir that, if she wants to escape now is the time since he and Bertholdt are exhausted. Ymir declines saying that she is too tired and that the two of them will be in trouble if they don't bring someone back with them to their Homeland. It really shows the depths of Reiner's character that he was willing to let his only hostage go in gratitude for her saving them.
- Bertholdt asks Ymir why she came back and saved him when she could have escaped. Ymir admits that, while it may not have been intentional, the two gave her back her life after she ate Marcel and that she owed them. Ymir also admits that she is the only one in the Walls who can understand their pain and vice versa. Bertholdt is clearly touched by this, especially since he voiced doubts about Ymir's trustworthiness earlier in the arc and can only thank her in tears and apologise for what she will have to endure. Ymir tells him not to worry about it and, after raising her hand to the moon, comments that being a goddess isn't so bad after all.
- In Chapter 52, although it's a minor one, when some Military Police members start physically harassing Hange after she starts questioning them about Pastor Nick's death, Moblit grabs one of them by the wrists with a glare that could melt the sun and very firmly states their positions in a way that demands respect from them.
- Relatively minor, but Hange comforting an obviously rattled Levi after it's revealed Titans may actually be humans in Chapter 51 with a firm, "Didn't I say that it wasn't confirmed yet?" that goes against everything she had said up to that point. Then, Levi returning the favor in the next chapter when she is noticeably upset about Pastor Nick's death and her part in it, and as a result is too afraid to try anything else, although it's more of a What the Hell, Hero? speech. Point is, it's obviously tailored to her needs at the moment, and at the end he gives her the choice of what they should do next (not to mention he calls her by her name and nothing else throughout the entirety of it, a rarity up to this point in the story).
- In the beginning of Chapter 51, Connie has collapsed in tears following the horrific mission, and Jean takes a moment to get him back up. It's quick but helps to reinforce how much Jean cares for his teammates.
- In Chapter 54, Eren admits that he always found "Krista" to be a bit creepy and unnatural, but he thinks that Historia is a sincere and normal person.
- Jean handling the Dirty Old Man for Armin, who previously molested him in the last chapter. Later on, we see Jean consoling him after the whole ordeal.
- In Chapter 56, Reebs spoiled apprentice/son Frager, who told humanity's strongest to get him a drink in the most obnoxious way possible, said that he would make Levi airborne with one punch if he ever saw him lay a hand on Historia again. While the outcome of such an action is obvious, the sentiment was very sweet.
- Captain Ackerman calling Levi "his pride". Harsher in Hindsight, but still...
- In Chapter 58, Mikasa shows worry when Jean is about to be shot. It's a small but shows that Mikasa has friends in her troop outside of Armin and Eren.
- Hitch turning out to be nicer than she initially appeared in Chapter 59, being genuinely upset over Annie's disappearance, and fighting to save Marlowe rather than running away when she thinks he's in danger.
- Fleigel Reeves' declaration to protect the citizens of Trost from retaliation by the Military Police in his father's place.
- Chapter 61's spread of President Reeves, Fleigel, the reporters Roy and Beaure, and everyone else who contributed to the success of the revolution against the corrupt monarchy. It shows that violence and brute force was not the deciding factor at the end of the day; it was those who chose to overcome their fear and complacency and make a difference, even at the cost of their social standing or livelihoods and in the case of President Reeves, his life.
- Mikasa going to Historia instead of Eren in Chapter 66 is pretty nice to see.
- Armin reaching out his hand to take Eren's is really sweet.
- As is Historia reassuring Eren that his father did what he did for the sake of humanity.
- In ACWNR. When meeting Levi, Isabel, and Farlan for the first time Hange tells them they were amazing taking down their first Titan and how “it was sincerely awe inspiring”. This meeting leaves an impression on the trio, as Farlan later points out that even Levi was beginning to get attached to the other members in the legion. It’s fitting that this chapter is called “the Heart”.
- The trio's friendship in general is this. Even sweeter is that they don't act so much as friends as they do siblings.
- In a strange way, Kenny (of all people) telling off Rod for being a self-absorbed jerk who doesn't actually give two craps about his own daughter is this. It's clear he even feels bad for Historia since it's obvious to him that her dad is just using her to get what he wants. It's enough to disgust even him.
- The final two pages of chapter 69, which begin as a Crowning Moment of Funny: Eren and the others are shocked that Historia actually goes through with her "revenge" by punching Levi in the arm, but all of them, Historia included, are absolutely floored when Levi reacts to this by smiling and thanking them.
- The reason why he thanks them takes a trip to the Fridge to get, but adds to the moment; Levi is reeling from a particularly heavy revelation about his past, and probably really needed cheering up a bit. Luckily the rest of the group are on hand to do just that (albeit unknowingly), possibly by reminding Levi that he's not as alone as he might be thinking right at that moment.
- Chapter 71, Keith had long realized that he wasn't meant to accomplish anything important. But in a meta sense, he really did- think how different everything would've been if he'd never met Grisha and brought him to the place Carla worked. Keith was the indirect cause for much of the good in this series, that's not too shabby.
- It wasn't the right thing to do, but trying to sabotage Eren's gear, way back in the beginning is a nice gesture, considering he knew what Eren's mother would've wanted.
- He has a funny way of showing it, but chapter 72 makes it very clear that Levi is deeply concerned for Erwin and wants him to survive.
- It also makes it even clearer that Levi truly does care for Eren, Mikasa, and Armin. He eavesdrops on them as they reaffirm their dream to see the outside world for themselves; his eyes are on them as the push for Shiganshina starts up. The look on his face really sells it; this is a guy who would do just about anything to make these kids' dreams come true.
- Connie snaps Eren out of a flashback by reminding him of all the progress they've made as soldiers in their short time in squad Levi. Eren responds by calling him a genius and giving him a pat on the head.
- The dinner scene, while hilarious, is also rather warming since it's been a long time since everyone could be that relaxed and lighthearted. Even the fight between Eren and Jean is oddly enduring since it comes across as more of a friendly squabble rather than antagonistic (Both of them actually smirk a bit before the fight starts as if to say "oh, we're doing this again. Alright, bring it on ya bastard!" and Eren doesn't use any of the dirty tricks he learned from Annie to end the fight, like he did in earlier chapters).
- When the people of Trost come out to cheer the Survey Corps, the older Corps members don't know how to respond at first; no one has ever cheered for them before. Connie, Sasha, and Jean of all people cheer back, but they're at first looked at as a little unprofessional. And then Erwin Smith, Erwin Smith, smiles for the first non-creepy time in the entire manga and ROARS a cheer back to the people as if he's a fresh new recruit again. It's terribly hard not to get caught up in the moment.
- In Chapter 78, Bertholdt notices Reiner's injured condition. He disobeys direct orders from Zeke, the man who threatened them with being Eaten Alive, and held off transforming to go to Reiner and check on him. He asks Reiner for a sign of movement to say he's alive, and gets it. He holds his hand over Reiner's heart and embraces him while promising to end this mess. The tender scene, even in the midst of all the chaos, brings a tear to the eye.
- Also in Chapter 78, when Bertholdt nukes the area by transforming into the Colossus Titan, there are a couple of panels of Eren, in titan form, holding the rest of the corps in his arms, shielding them from the blast, and he makes sure not to move until he's sure the explosion has ended. It actually looks like a parent, hugging their children. He's truly cares for his comrades, and will give everything to protect them
- Armin's final thoughts were about entrusting everything to Eren, even his own life, and their dream to see the ocean.
- In Chapter 83, Levi is faced with a moral choice: use the Titan Serum on Armin (who's actually Not Quite Dead) or Erwin. He decides to use it on Erwin, but Eren reminds him that he said he would use it on Armin. Levi responds that the serum will be given to the one who will save humanity, obviously meaning Erwin. This prompts Mikasa to pull out her blade, and seems to be seconds away from killing Levi for his callousness. Now THERE'S a dedicated friend.
- In Chapter 84, Hanji holds Mikasa back from attacking Levi and hugs her from behind, sympathizing with her outrage and tells her that she also has people that she wants to bring back from the dead. However, signing up with the Survey Corps means inevitably being separated from the people you love and that no matter what you do, people will end up being killed and die.
Hanji: "I also have people I want to bring back... hundreds."
- Though it's also very sad, Levi choosing to give the Titan serum to Armin and not Erwin, primarily because he knows how tired Erwin has become and doesn't want to force him to continue living as "the Devil" for humanity.
- At the very end of Chapter 84, a revived, unconscious Armin emerging from his Titan form is surrounded by his friends, crying their eyes out. It's a pretty fucking powerful way to end what was already a gloomy chapter.
- Not only that, but Eren and Mikasa are supporting him.
- Chapter 85 has Eren running and hugging Armin after he wakes up, telling him that he's so relieved he's alive again.
- To add to that, a closer look shows that Eren gave Armin his jacket to wear.
- Chapter 87. When Eren wakes up screaming from his nightmare, both Armin and Mikasa are immediately there to ask what's wrong. However, take a look at the context. Eren and Mikasa are in two cells, being disciplined for their recent actions against Levi. Armin, who was innocent in the whole affair, is sleeping right outside the cell. In other words, he must have specifically requested that he be allowed to do so, just to be near his friends.
- Chapter 88. After Owl/Kruger saves Grisha from being killed by being fed to a Titan, he promptly destroys the soldiers, their ship and sits down to explain things to Grisha. As well as tell Grisha his real name. Kruger's first name? Eren.
- Chapter 90. The Survey Corps made it to the ocean! We get a few scenes of the Corps shock and awe at the sight. Sasha, Jean and Connie even get to play in the water, like ordinary children at the beach. Given the foreboding nature of future events, its a nice respite for them to be normal.