Updates and *Spoiler Alert* An Attack on Titan Fan Theory

Update on Final Fantasy:

So I decided to really paint myself into a corner and make my FF8 review a video one, part of a series in fact that I’ve been thinking of doing for a while now. I’ve got plenty of good capture so far from my game on the Steam version. I plan to make a video for each section of the game based on the discs of the original PlayStation release. So the Disk 1 review is about half-captured, then I’ll finish the script and you’ll get an earful of me doing my English accent to questionable success (you’ll see why, I’m playing a character after all 😉 )

Which brings me to a bit of fan theorizing that’s been plaguing me….

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So have you all seen Attack on Titan yet? Well *spoiler alert* this is one of the greatest action/horror anime ever produced. It had me hooked on its visual aesthetic, heartbreaking story and pure awesome cathartic violence. It also is one of the more disturbing programs I’ve ever watched (and loved every second of). Basically the last surviving bastion of humanity lives behind three concentric walls to protect them from a swarm of giant, androgynous humanoids who apparently consume humans for kicks, you know—that story.

I’ve been boring the ever-loving shit out of my wife with my constant fanboy-ing over this, and being a more sensitive soul than myself she hasn’t felt like watching it yet (Soon, though, soon *evil cackling*). So I decided to share it with the internet.

**Spoilers, Spoilers, Spoilers**

So my theory comes from both the anime and much further into the as-yet-unanimated sections of the manga. Basically I think Rod Reiss—the true king of humanity—was behind the whole breach of Wall Maria and the events that followed. The evidence you ask?

Well, three things:

1st: Eren finds a vial of serum in Rod’s bag of Titan paraphernalia labeled “Armor – Braun”. As Reiner Braun is also the Armored Titan, this struck me as patently obvious. It would be one thing to find that a man from a family with a long and murky history of Titan engineering would possess a compound enabling a Titan Shifter to harden their skin into armor plating. But labeled Braun…? So, big first step there which leads me to my second point—

2nd: Rod and his brother Uri apparently went to great lengths to get their father— holder of the all-powerful Coordinate, the power to both control (and exterminate) Titans as well as manipulate the memories of most of the remaining humans—to use his power and rid the world of Titans forever. But he never did, because that power also came with the personality and will of its creator the First King (also likely the creator of Titans themselves) who apparently thought humanity belonged in its cage and the world was better off under Titan rule. Rod apparently was thrown in jail for his numerous attempts to push his father to action. Later even his brother Uri couldn’t override the First King’s will after inheriting the Coordinate. When his daughter Frieda inherited it, you get the sense Rod hoped this would be the time that a Reiss could finally overcome the First King and save humanity. But it seemed that nothing short of an apocalyptic game-changer might give Frieda the willpower to overrule her ancestors will. Which brings us to…

3rd: Wall Maria is breached by heretofore unheard of Titans whom are later discovered to be controlled by humans able to use a Titan form without going mad inside it. One of these is plated with armor, hardened just enough for him to barrel through the massive inner gate and breach the walls. The DAY this is happening, Rod and his family go to their chapel to pray. I have a feeling the prayer on everyone’s mind was “Dear God let Frieda finally wake up and do it”. It makes a certain sense. Most of humanity was complacent prior to the breach. Titan’s were seen as something that only got you if you’re one of those stupid-brave Survey Corps members who go outside. If that complacency could affect them, could it not also affect the Reiss family rulers? Rod likely assumed that a serious breach in the First King’s plan might give Frieda enough doubt and fortitude to overrule and effectively annihilate the Titans with her powers. Basically I think Rod—somehow in contact with the mysterious “homeland” or village outside the walls—gave the armor ability to Reiner Braun and likely the Colossal Titan serum to Bertholdt Hoover (and possibly the crystallization ability to Annie Leonhart, the Female Titan) with the purpose of pushing Frieda to action. Its a move both desperate and quite cruel, given that it forced three teenage children to commit an act of genocide comparable to the Armenian and Jewish holocausts, rendering one of them insane from the guilt along the way. But then Grisha Jaeger showed up…

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This is not the face of a man interested in hearing that “Humans Suck, Titans Stay, etc, etc….”

So given that we know Grisha was most likely living outside the walls prior to his being found and suffering “amnesia” outside the Walls. Also there’s the fact that his Titan, his son’s Titan and the Beast Titan all share characteristics that no Titans but Ymir’s possess. I believe Grisha was actually working with or for Rod Reiss and the Homeland to force the current holder of the Coordinate into action. His many trips to the Capital seem to indicate he’s got connections there, plus his access to Titan serum and engineering.

Grisha had just lost his wife to a Titan, went to the Reiss chapel and judging from that panel was begging Frieda (probably right after her family just got done begging her as well) to use her power and save humanity. But as we know, Frieda goes into manic depressive berserk mode whenever someone suggests doing anything to free humanity. So then Grisha decided words weren’t going to work….

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“Plan B, bitch!” Grisha Jaeger (likely). Or perhaps “My name is Grisha Jaeger. You killed my wife. Prepare to die.”

So…..yeah, Grisha hulked out into probably the brawniest Titan ever and beat the ever-loving shit out of Frieda’s Fem-Titan. Rod would claim she was inexperienced at using her power, likely true though kind of convenient given that Coordinate users also have all the memories of their ancestors, so I’m kind of wondering why they just don’t have instant downloaded fighting abilities like Neo.

And having beaten Frieda down, Grisha then ate her (the only way to pass on the Coordinate is for one to consume the holder while in Titan form so…..bon appetit).

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The FDA just announced that a steady diet of Frieda helps promote plot development, god powers and chest hair.

So this is where my digression ends. Grisha noms Frieda, steals her power, murders all but one (well, two) of her family. He later injects his son Eren with the serum and lets himself be consumed by him in order to pass on his newly acquired powers. Why? I’ve been wondering that myself.

The only plausible explanation I can think of is Grisha knew he either couldn’t wield the power himself, was weaker than Eren’s potential Titan would be, or perhaps knew something about Eren (and his ancestry) that might be the key to finally destroying the Titans.

Or maybe this is a Shounen anime and needed a teenage protagonist for all the Fanboys (and girls) to identify with. Yeah, I’m going to go with that.

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An Intimate Fan’s Retrospective: The Final Fantasy Series—-Where I got started and an Ode to Loved Ones Lost

RPGs were not something I had great familiarity with early on in my life. At one point my parents rented Super Mario RPG for the SNES when I was eight or nine. I expected your usual Mario game of jumping for power-ups, using warp tubes to find secret levels and just platforming (not that I knew what that was at the time) in general. Finding a turn based RPG with leveling mechanics just felt weird to me, so I barely played it. Would love to now though.

At that stage in my life my video-games never got much more advanced and in depth than Zelda. At least on the console. On the PC I loved games like Privateer, Warcraft, Civilization (I have played many, many hours on Civ 2, a lot of them creating maps and scenarios. Even did one for Middle-Earth at one point) Wing Commander, the Crusader series and even Aliens Vs Predator, the first game that forced me to install one of those newfangled GPUs everyone was talking about at that time.

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Nothing got you more pumped to smite Retros than hearing that stupid “Die by the very weapons you adore!” line a hundred times per dogfight. God I miss the innocence of youth, playing Privateer and being awed at its pixel art and fully voiced cast as if these were the holy grail of gaming.

So in general, except for some RPG-esque elements from game to game, I came late to the genre. It didn’t help that I was a solitary boy who had no friends for quite some time. I filled my days building and mapping and fighting my battles on computer screens (One childhood dream of mine was to be a soldier, unfulfilled for different reasons, but one that kept me coming back to strategy games).

And here’s where I start getting emotional (a trait my mother and the subject of this segue both possessed in abundance). This is my grandma Patty,

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She lived an hour from our house growing up, and when her last husband passed my mother and I would visit her  more often (the whole family come thanksgiving, and always a day I cry remembering just how much I miss her on it). Now being a young shit-for-brains, I often got bored not having my usual creative outlets at hand, not knowing this loving, sweet and giving woman wasn’t going to be with us forever. I regret that, but I’ll never forget her being the one responsible for giving me a glimpse of one of my most beloved franchises and art forms.

One hot day at Grandma Patty’s house, we went out to the local Blockbuster (we still had those at the time Netflix and Hulu), where she let me rent a Playstation 1 and a game. Seeing Final Fantasy VIII on the rack, I had heard of it and seen trailers here and there, decided to give it a shot.

I didn’t sleep for the next three days. I was hooked. The art. The combat. Those amazing GF summons (still great looking to this day), the story, the characters (brooding youth with aspirations to serve in a military gets to play brooding youth serving in an elite unit—perfect fit for me at the time) and to appease the burgeoning romantic in me following my discovery of girls, a love story that still brings tears to my eyes.

And the Card Game….oh my god, the Card Game. I could play for hours, and did…and suddenly discovered I could pretty much make my characters into walking death machines well before the end of the first disc thanks to it. Triple Triad, you rule.

Grandma never complained about the noise, never pestered me to go outside and get some sun. She let me have my fun, and all she needed was a hug and to tell me she loved me.

To this day I tear up missing her. The little mobile home in a retirement park. The smell of something cooking, free reign to watch MST3K with her last husband whenever I came over (he loved me for always adding my vote to which channel we watched). And gifts—big and small. Love can’t be measured in material exchange, but these gifts changed and enriched me as a person, and what greater expression of love can you find than that?

I was reading Dune from about age 9 much to my teacher’s chagrin (some racy content in the Dune series, particularly later), and Grandma Patty got me a copy of the new Dune prequel book House Harkonnen. She wrote a message in the jacket and signed it—and this book will never be forgotten, never be lost, never be sold or passed on..

Back on topic, Grandma Patty was reponsible for my second foray into the Final Fantasy universe—-and to this day, the game from which I derive the most simple and palpable joy playing—-Final Fantasy IX. Like House Harkonnen I will never not have this game, never lose or trade or sell it.

I can’t remember the last time I physically saw my Grandma Patty. But I remember vividly the night of her death. It was dark, I was sitting in my beanbag chair playing on the PS1. My sister told me with tears in her eyes that Grandma Patty had passed away in the hospital, complications from a blood clot or infection…I can’t remember.

I was shell-shocked, speechless. I don’t recall saying anything but “She’s gone?” to my sister. It didn’t seem possible, a world without Grandma Patty in it. We’d recently even quarreled over a stupid comment I made in exhaustion during a family trip. God how I wished I’d know better then. Known better not to fight, just to cherish the time I got with her.

My sister left and I sat there, controller in hand. And you know what I was playing?

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I don’t go looking for miracles, signs, portents or anomalies. I believe in a God. I’m agnostic about the details.

If there’s a genuine commandment to the human race I think its the simplest and surest one of all: be decent to your fellow human beings.

If anyone could merit the definition of a decent human being, it was my Grandma Patty in spades. And in that moment, playing that game, I didn’t feel empty. I felt love pass inside me, felt memory and sensation merging with feeling.

I was playing a living record of a grandmother trying to alleviate the boredom of a young boy. When I read House Harkonnen or replay Final Fantasy VIII and IX, still as joyous an experience as the day I first played it, she’s alive in my heart. And even if I cry come Thanksgiving, for 364 days a year I’m blessed.

I get to play two of the greatest games ever made and relive cherished memories of a lost loved one.