Attack on Titan: 9 Sacrifices So Heartbreaking They’ll Make You Cry

6 min


Since its debut in 2013, Attack on Titan has been one of the most attractive animated films ever created. It boasts an impressive cast of powerful characters that viewers have grown to love, but it’s also just as notorious for the brutal way they can be killed off at the drop of a hat. From people being eaten alive by man-eating titans to others mercilessly murdered in cold blood, this anime has no shortage of shocking and traumatic deaths that can leave fans reeling from shock. Though some might argue that such intense violence is best avoided, Attack on Titan shows us that there’s power in pain – which could be why many continue to watch despite all the tragedy.

1. The male lead mother, Eren, is eaten by her husband’s ex-wife

The shocking death of Eren’s mother at the hands of a human-controlled Titan was a remarkable episode in season one of Attack on Titan. The image of Eren, Mikasa, and Hannes desperately trying to rescue Eren’s mother while the menacing Titan was chasing them will remain an intense TV moment forever. After the Titan came too close for their safety, Hannes had no choice but to take Eren and his adopted sister Mikasa into hiding, leaving his dear friend behind. Even though it was understandable why they had to abandon her, this tragedy will stay as a painful memory in their fragile minds.

2. Levi’s teammates are wiped out by the Female Titan (Annie)

Levi’s teammates were some of his closest friends, so their untimely deaths in season one of Attack on Titan were particularly devastating. The situation seemed dire initially; when chasing the Female Titan in the forest, Gunther was unexpectedly murdered by a stranger who soon transformed into a Female Titan. Even though Levi’s team managed to blind her successfully, it was only an act of false security as she possessed enough strength for her remaining eye to take out the other three team members. When Levi eventually turned around, he saw nothing more than carnage: all of his close friends and allies had been taken from him in an instant. At that moment, all hope seemed lost, and Levi was nearly overwhelmed with grief and despair.

3. Titan Clash Monster of “holy smell” Mike Zacharias

Mike, the second-best warrior of the squad, was a fan favorite on Attack on Titan. His trusty 3D Maneuver Gear and fearless spirit won him legions of adoring fans worldwide. Unfortunately, his courageous quest ended abruptly when he encountered a Monster Titan. This dangerous creature was capable of human-level communication and controlling other Titans. With no use for Mike, the Monster Titan cruelly ordered the attack that ended his life. As Mike begged to live, the menacing Titans ripped apart his body in a heart-wrenching display of savagery. Mike’s tragic end left viewers around the world in shock and mourning–it would take many episodes before they finally recovered from this devastating blow.

4. Grisha Yeager let her son Eren eat her

Eren’s father, Grisha, has remained hidden in the shadows of Eren’s life until his secret is revealed. Grisha has been keeping a mysterious past until the shocking realization that he is a Titan comes to the surface. When Shiganshina’s walls are breached, Grisha injects Eren with a Titan transforming solution unbeknownst to him, leaving Eren in an unconscious state as a 15-meter tall creature. However, it is not until Eren consumes Grisha that the Water Titan is transferred to him, and its power finally rests with Eren himself. This powerful legacy passed on from Grisha to Eren provides our hero with newfound strength and the opportunity to one day take revenge upon his attackers and save the world from impending doom.

5. Marco is killed by Marley’s “inner hand” to cover up clues

The horrifying truth of Trost was genuinely brought to light during the battle when Marco’s unexpected discovery made the situation take a drastic turn. After overhearing Bertholdt and Reiner talking about their true identity being Titans, they still chose to let him live, but Marco’s fate was soon revealed. Reiner disregarded Annie and Bertholdt’s worries and decided to tie up and leave poor Marco there to be eaten by a Titan, helplessly crying as he watched his impending doom coming closer. There were many reasons why no bodies were found at the end of the battle, and sadly one of them was due to Marco’s untimely death that day.

6. Uncle Hannes was killed by the Titan who ate Eren’s mother

Hannes had become a beloved fan favorite by the end of season one of Attack on Titan due to a valiant attempt to rescue Eren and Mikasa from Smilling Titan – Grisha’s ex-wife. He rushed once more to save the two injured children and paid the ultimate cost as Smiling Titan ended his life. All seemed lost until, in a moment of desperation, Eren activated Coordinates – the power of the Water Titans to order other Titans to attack their enemies. His actions stopped Hannes’ killer and gave hope for future attempts at defeating Titans. Though most viewers felt sadness and regret over his death, his legacy strengthened the survivors who aimed to exact justice and protect humanity against further Titan attacks.

7. Commander Erwin dies, and Armin is lucky to be chosen to save his life

Erwin was one of the most brilliant and wise commanders humanity has ever seen amidst the consequences of his injuries in the face of the Titan Monster. He proves that physical damage or disability need not impede anyone’s capabilities. Unfortunately, during the devastating battle with Titan Monster and Levi’s plan to rescue Eren, Erwin was gravely injured and thus unable to partake in their daring mission. At this critical juncture, with only one tube of serum at hand and faced with a dilemma of whether to save Erwin or Armin, Levi made the most challenging decision, a decision that defined Erwin’s life’s work – to dream. Thus, Armin was preserved and transformed into a Titan, inheriting titan’s powers from Bertholdt– all in vain when it came down to losing Erwin, who had given them the courage to hope for better days.

8. Little Faye Yeager – the sister of Eren’s father, was bitten to death by a dog

The death of Grisha Yeager’s beloved sister, Faye, is an incredibly haunting moment for Attack on Titan fans. It all began when the brothers were on a mission to view the attached balloon in a nearby field and were almost immediately spotted by the police force. While Grisha was beaten mercilessly, Faye was led away by one of the officers who had promised to take her back home – only for his intentions to be anything but noble. In truth, this policeman took Faye to the riverbank and let a dangerous dog bite her viciously until she died. Little did anyone know that this tragic incident would be remembered as the cause of Grisha’s later occupation in forming a resistance movement to overthrow Marley’s empire by winning against their oppressive rule.

9. “Holy eater,” Sasha dies furiously under the gun of a sly brat

The death of Sasha in Attack on Titan 4 was a heartbreaking moment for many viewers. Sasha had earlier shown mercy to the child warrior Gabi by sparing her life, never anticipating that these very acts of selflessness would be used against her. To make matters worse, Gabi ended up being the one to end Sasha’s life, causing her much cam pain and confusion in her last moments. Even the typically stoic Mikasa found themselves in tears of sorrow at the tragedy that took place before them; however, what made it even more heart-rending was the last word spoken by Sasha, which caused Eren to laugh poignantly. It takes more than physical strength to survive in this cruel world.

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With over a decade of writing obituaries for the local paper, Jane has a uniquely wry voice that shines through in her newest collection of essays, which explore the importance we place on legacy.


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