Life Lessons From The Women Of Attack On Titan

At last, after a full decade, Attack On Titan has finally come to an end — that’s nearly as long as the lifespan of someone in possession of the nine titans’ powers (FYI for those who may have forgotten, it’s 13 years). 

Across four eventful seasons, we watched the characters go through blood, sweat, tears and inevitably — death. All for the sake of saving mankind. 

One thing that impressed me was how positively women are presented on the show as a symbol of strength. Whether they are part of Levi’s Special Operations team, a Marleyan warrior or even the literal queen, these girl bosses have taught us valuable lessons that we can apply to real life. 

Warning: Attack On Titan The Final Season spoilers ahead, proceed at your own risk if you’ve yet to watch!

1. Historia Reiss: Take on new challenges with stride

Attack On Titan WomenHistoria finally claiming her name 

As the illegitimate child of Rod Reiss and the last remaining member of the royal family who had to hide under a fake persona, Historia Reiss didn’t strike me as a character that would be memorable. After all, she entered the military service in hopes of dying in battle.

But when she finally went against her father and made the final blow to kill him, Historia gained her own agency. She managed to take on the throne — her rightful place— with stride, proudly declaring to the people: “I am Historia Reiss, the true ruler of these walls.”

Historia wasn’t just a pretty face that the military boys crushed on. Even in the years to come, she played an important role as the queen, maintaining peace on Paradis Island after the titans had been eradicated.

2. Ymir: Your birth circumstances do not define who you are

Attack On Titan WomenYmir revealing that she possesses the the Jaw Titan 

NGL, Ymir had the worst birth circumstances ever — she was a beggar with no home, was forced into a cult and used as a symbol of the founder Ymir, spent 60 years as a mindless titan and accidentally inherited the jaw titan after eating Marcel. Honestly, she was always fated to die someday. 

Surprisingly, Ymir never let her birth circumstances define her. In the manga, she even declared, “I’m going to be living proof that your fate isn’t decided by birth.”

No wonder Historia was so inspired by her — Ymir taught us that we should always make the best of our situation, no matter how bleak it may be.

3. Hange Zoe: Don’t be afraid of the unknown

Hange’s last words to Levi

Hange’s death broke me in ways I didn’t know was possible — this scene had me grabbing at my laptop screen and yelling “why her, Hajime Isayama?!” 

But one major thing Hange taught us was to never be afraid of the unknown. Though she was always described as “weird” for her strange fascination with titans, it was due to this passion and curiosity that led her so far, rising to the commander of the survey corps.

Hange’s death was strikingly impactful — she sacrificed herself to the titans at the rumbling in order to buy time for her team to escape.

Attack On Titan Women

Even in the face of death, Hange wasn’t afraid, telling a horror-struck Levi, “my turn’s come at last” and marvelling at the swarm of titans approaching her. 

Hange truly represented the heart of the survey corps — to give their hearts — down to her very last moment.

4. Pieck Finger: “As long as I’m not dead, I can keep fighting until I win”

Pieck fighting against Eren 

At first glance, the Cart Titan seemed like the weakest link out of all nine titans. Minus the creepy long face, all it could do was carry stuff on its back. 

But Pieck trained her titan’s endurance so well that she could stay in that form for two whole months — even forgetting how to walk on two legs after transforming back to human. 

As one of Marley’s warriors, she’s a trained fighter who believes in her own actions and decisions. In the final battle, she was the only one who didn’t hesitate to go for Eren’s head — she saw the bigger picture and acted accordingly.

Attack On Titan Women

Brushing off Jean’s concerns, Pieck declared, “if you think that my titan is only good for odd jobs and not fighting, you’re all wrong! With the cart’s endurance, as long as I’m not dead, I can keep fighting until I win.” 

It was physically draining for Pieck to constantly transform back and forth between human and titan, but her determination to not back down no matter what gained my respect.

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5. Gabi Braun:  We should always have empathy for others

Gabi confessing her wrongdoings to Kaya

When Gabi was first introduced, almost every Attack On Titan fan hated her. She did kill Sasha after all, a well-loved member of the scouts since Season 1. 

Personally, I thought Gabi’s character was written so brilliantly. She was just a child who was handed a gun and told to kill all the “devils” of her race in order to survive. That was all she knew of the world, and did it to survive.

Gabi’s character development had me emotional — being on Paradis Island opened her eyes to the two sides of war. We can’t help but feel sorry for her, seeing as she was simply fighting to be accepted in society.

Gabi eventually realised her mistakes and learned the true power of empathy — that everyone is human and has their own struggles too. 

It was through this understanding that led to her confessing to Kaya, “I’m the devil. I’ve killed a lot of people just to earn praise. That’s the devil within me. There weren’t any devils on this island, just humans. I finally understand how Reiner feels.”

6. Annie Leonhart: Live with no regrets

Attack On Titan WomenAnnie arriving to save the Special Operations Squad

Level-headed and unbothered Annie made her an easy girl crush on the show. But I admit — I did feel majorly disappointed when Annie refused to join the final battle. An extra strength from someone who possesses the Female Titan would have benefited the team tremendously.

But Annie surprised not just me, but the entire Special Ops Squad when she appeared just in time to save the team from falling to their deaths.

Admitting, “I’m glad I came”, Annie’s last-minute decision encourages us to be brave and live with no regrets. 

7. Mikasa Ackerman: Sometimes we have to pick choices that we don’t want

Attack On Titan WomenLevi telling Mikasa that they are the only ones left who can kill Eren

Towards the end of the final season, one decision became clearer and clearer — Eren had to be killed in order for mankind to be saved. Apologies to our morally-ambiguous protagonist. 

At first, this tough decision seemed like something Mikasa could avoid. She tried all other options to save Eren, and even when it came down to killing him, someone else was assigned to do it instead.

Of course, things don’t always go the way we want them to. When everyone else was either preoccupied or transformed into a mindless titan, it was down to only Levi and Mikasa. And unfortunately, the squad captain was so severely injured that he could barely move. 

Mikasa kissing Eren after killing him 

Facing reality, Mikasa broke down and begged to go back to a time where it was just her and Eren in their house. But ultimately, she had to cut off Eren’s head to save humanity, even if it was the last thing she could ever bring herself to do. 

While I doubt we’ll ever face such a drastic dilemma in our lifetime, Mikasa’s strength and bravery showed us that sometimes, the hardest choices are the best ones.

8. Ymir Fritz (founder): Love isn’t always beautiful

Eren telling Armin that he understands the founder Ymir

Learning about the backstory of the original titan founder, Ymir Fritz, was absolutely horrifying. And that says a lot, considering most of these characters had led terrible lives themselves. 

Ymir was a slave to the Eldian King, King Fritz, who burned her hometown, killed her parents and even pulled out her tongue. Even after she gained the power of all nine titans, she became his concubine and served him, then bore him three children.

Ymir didn’t have a peaceful death either. The king ordered their three children to consume her body whole, guts and everything. *Deep shudders* 

Attack On Titan WomenFrom left: King Fritz with his concubines, the founder Ymir and their child

Even in death, Ymir’s soul remained obedient to the Eldian royal family for 2,000 years. 

Eren didn’t fully understand her, but he eventually realised why she still served the king: she loved him. Ymir had nothing her whole life and thought that being in love would set her free, despite how she was treated.

This sick and twisted portrayal of love isn’t something that’s romanticised in the anime. Ymir’s story showed us how love isn’t always beautiful — sometimes it’s manipulative and painful. And in Ymir’s case, it can lead to something as destructive as a long-standing war.

These Women From Attack On Titan Have Taught Us Valuable Lessons That We Can Apply To Real Life

As we watched Ymir finally get her closure after seeing how Mikasa loves Eren but still chose to kill him, we all got our closure of this amazing series too, even if it might not be the happy ending we expected.

Within these 10 years, the powerful women of Attack On Titan have also grown and taken charge of their identity, inspiring us in real-life situations. 

To the characters who have battled against the war to save humanity, died or lived to tell the tale, thank you for the great end to this series. Shinzo Sasageyo. 

All images courtesy of 4anime.

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