Even though we’re only three seasons in, there has been a LOT that has happened in Attack on Titan. Because we’re a caring nerd site, we figured this is as good a time as any to catch everyone up on what’s happened so far.
To clarify, this is a recap of the anime series, NOT the manga. While the show certainly pulls from that content, it is not 100% faithful to the comics. That being said, let’s dive in!
When the show begins, humanity has already been hunted to the brink of extinction, by towering monstrosities known as Titans. These humanoid creatures use humans as a food source, and because of this, the remaining human civilizations have built giant walls around their last remaining cities. There are three rings, each acting as a line of defense for the one within it. To best understand any geographical references going forward, refer to the map provided below.
For centuries humans have lived peacefully within these walls. Titans roam around them, but for the most part, the walls have kept everyone safe for hundreds of years. Our story picks up just before the Colossal Titan emerges outside the Shiganshina district. To give you an idea, the walls are about 50 meters high, and this Titan can see clearly over the top of them (hence his Colossal labeling). He kicks a hole in the wall and Titans begin to ravage the city.
The people living here are forced to retreat inward. However, a second titan, the Armored Titan as he’s referred to, attacks within the Shiganshina district and breaks through wall Maria thus exposing the entire first ring to the Titan threat. Parts of the other outlying cities that live at or around Wall Maria are lost to the Titans or cut off from food and supplies, sadly starving to death. Half of the human population is wiped out during this incident.
The show begins to follow our three main protagonists, all of whom lived within the Shiganshina district, and not only survived but witnessed the atrocities first hand. Eren Yeager, Mikasa Ackerman, and Armin Arlert all join up with the military services once they’re of age, and all become competent soldiers in their own rights, Mikasa scoring the top of her class. Put simply, she’s an absolute badass.
The day after their graduation, they’re on guard duty on the wall of the Trost district, when out of nowhere the Colossal Titan shows up yet again. Another breach happens and almost the entire graduating class is wiped out. Eren is one of many that gets eaten. The remaining units retreat to a storage depot where they try to salvage any fuel they can for their Omni-Directional Mobility Gear, the equipment used to fight the Titans.
Just when all hope seems lost, a mysterious Titan shows up and protects the remaining soldiers. We soon learn that this Titan is none other than Eren Yeager!
Eren’s appearance allows everyone to escape. Soon after discovering Eren is this mysterious Titan he is captured and held captive while the higher-ups in society decide what to do with him. They settle on utilizing his abilities for the betterment of the human race and Eren’s life is spared.
After training with an elite group of Scout soldiers, Eren embarks on a group of missions to retake the Trost District. While the other Scouts run interference, Eren, in his Titan form, plugs the hole in the Trost District with a giant boulder, and just like that, the Titans are cut off from the second wall.
If only things were so cut and dry…
Just when things begin to look up, a mysterious female Titan appears. This bitch has it out for Eren, and her fighting capabilities are near impossible for Eren to match in his current state. Eren’s combined effort with only the very best Scouts are able to fight her off but at a heavy price.
We soon learn that this female titan is none other than Annie, a fellow student and friend from the trio’s time in the academy. A plan is designed to confront and capture Annie underground, preventing her from assuming her Titan form. Like all good shows, this plan quickly crumbles and Eren is forced to confront her within the confines of the city. After an incredible battle, Annie is defeated but encapsulates herself in a mysterious crystal-like substance preventing her from being detained by the Souts.
During the fight, one of the walls is damaged. With everything else going on, no one realizes it right away, but after the battle, the Scouts are caught off guard by what they discover. The walls are built with Titans!
Soon after these events, Eren is kidnapped by two of his former friends and classmates, Reiner and Bertolt. It is revealed that these two were the two that attacked the Shiganshina district all those years ago, Bertolt the Colossal Titan and Reiner the Armored Titan. Eren fights his way out of their control and escapes though.
Our heroes soon begin to question why there are titans within the walls themselves. They start to learn too much and a political conflict erupts within the innermost walls.
After a series of events, we learn that the acting King is actually nothing more than a puppet governed by the wealthy. To rid the city of these vile people, a false Titan attack is sent up the ranks, making these entitled bastards believe that Titans have broken through the inner walls. In response, they demand the innermost walls be sealed and shut off from the rest of the population. These commands are witnessed by the masses and the rich soon realize they have been played. A rebellion ensues, and the government is replaced by a new, less entitled group that has the best interests of the human race in mind.
Eren is kidnapped, again. He is chained up and held in this crystalline cavern underground, much like the crystal-like substance that encased Annie.
This kidnapping lets us discover that Titan’s get their powers by eating another Titan that has the desired power. Eren learns that his father forced him to turn into a Titan and eat him, granting Eren the power that he now possesses. It turns out the reason Eren is chained up is that this cult plans to do the same thing to him. He isn’t going to be eaten by anyone though, the group that took him is planning to have the true heir, and his fellow classmate, Historia, transform into a Titan and eat him to obtain ultimate power.
Thankfully none of this happens and Eren is yet again rescued by the best of the Scout Regiment. Eren ends up receiving a new Titan power in the process that allows him to change his entire body into the crystal-like material. The underground cavern is bombed and he protects his fellow comrades by turning his body into this substance. This substance is so hard, even titans have a hard time breaking it, which gives the Scouts the idea that if Eren can do this at will, they can use him to plug the holes in the Shiganshina district and retake Wall Maria!
This is essentially where the mid-season finale leaves us. Our heroes and the rest of the Scout Regiment plan one final mission to re-take Wall Maria, re-seal the Shiganshina district, and in doing so, make a better life for the rest of humanity. One of the biggest reasons Eren wants to return to his home town is the mysterious basement that’s been eluded to throughout the series. His father’s secret workshop holds something vital to their survival and information about the Titans that could seriously help humanity fight back. Of course, there is still the issue of the Colossal and Armored Titans that know they’re coming, and a new, even more intimidating Beast titan that can somehow control lesser Titans, bending them to his will.
The final push to save the human race hangs in the balance, and both sides will be giving it everything they have to pull off the ultimate victory. Will Eren and company actually save the day for once, or will the Titans become the new dominant species on this planet? Attack on Titan is back and promises to deliver some truly intense battles. Be sure to check our recap of the mid-season premiere, and check back with us each week as we continue to cover this incredible series as it unfolds!