Anime Only Ending for 進撃の巨人 (outdated site!)

What is the AOE?

In essence, the Anime Original (or Anime Only) Ending is a prediction by many Attack on Titan/Shingeki No Kyojin fans that the anime adaptation (set to air its final part next year) will have a conclusion that differs dramatically from the source manga. There are 2 typical branches in online discussion: some believe that Hajime Isayama masterminded a complex, multi-timeline story; others believe that MAPPA will simply choose another way to conclude after seeing the chaos that occured after chapter 139. This site focuses on theories of the former, but the latter, while less exciting, is still on the table.

Purpose of this Site

The main goal of this site is not to prove beyond a doubt that an AOE will happen, but rather show that these theories are not just insane ramblings of dissatisfied manga fans. It's a repository of evidence. Also this is not going to focus on bashing or praising the manga ending. EDITOR'S NOTE: I will try to keep this site up-to-date with the latest developments in theories as much as possible. If you wish to contact me with new information or corrections or any comment, scroll down to the bottom of this page for a public guestbook. Site last updated July 16, 2022.

Preliminary Info:

The 2 Theories: The two most popular theories are the timeline theory and the AnR theory (see below). Both theories compliment each other, but we may only see 1 of the 2 animated. The basic jist of the timelines theory is that there are a few unique divergences that lead to different endings. Characters like Mikasa and Eren, who have special abilities, can glimpse into these different timelines, and thus can see where things went wrong. The AnR (Akatsuki no Requiem) ending is a specific ending which could occur as part of the timelines theory or simply be a standalone AOE.


Manga Spoilers Ahead

////// THE GOOD STUFF //////

Eren's Berserk Titan

I'll destroy the entire world!
At the end of season 1, while fighting Annie, Eren becomes enraged and his titan reflects this with fiery skin and increased power. (Video). While beating the Female Titan into the ground, Eren says, "I'll destroy the entire world!" and "I am free." The key fact is that this NEVER HAPPENED IN THE MANGA. Did WIT decide to sprinkle a bit more shonen into their adaptation or did Isayama suggest this change? What's important is that Eren seems to be saying this to himself rather than anouncing it to the world like in season 4. Perhaps in the anime timeline, Eren is determined to 100% complete the rumbling.

Lost Girls OVA

Butterflies are living in our walls!
In the Lost Girls OVA, Mikasa sees some butterflies and other things not shown in the main anime, like the MIRROR MAN, and that OVA is probably canon. The video above explains it well. It is possible that Mikasa is somehow a key that connects the different timelines. Maybe her headaches are from getting timeline visions confused in her mind? Butterflies appear in stories that involve time travel, referencing the butterfly effect. As you will read in many theories, they are a common AOE signal

MAPPA Shows Other Reality

Goth Mikasa my beloved...
Attack on School Castes is a seemingly unrelated parody of AoT characters, written by Isayama, portraying them in a modern day high school environment [pic 1]. (More). In a very interesting move, MAPPA included a brief image of Goth Mikasa and Nerd Armin in season 4 episode 3 [pic 3]. These two odd figures seem to be in the actual manga as well, in one of the shard panels [pic 2]. Isayama actually requested that they be included in that sequence, oddly enough. [Source]. Coincidence? Just an easter egg? Or a subtle hint that there are multiple timelines or alternate realities?

Linked Horizon

Sind sie das essen? Nein, wir sind der Jäger!
In this 2017 Linked Horizon cover, we see a man, Revo, spreading his arms like Eren's pose in the "Freedom" manga panel. Around him are 2 birds, one white and one black. The man's shadow on the sea also takes the shape of a bird. Birds are a very common symbol in AoT, symbolizing freedom. There are instances where the manga shows white birds - that get adapted into the anime as black birds
This one is even more loaded. Firstly, there are many butterflies in the scene. Second, the 2 different birds can be seen in the top right corner. Third, if the man is representing Eren, it could be him grieving for his friends that he might have to kill in the AOE. Third, at the bottom of the gold logo in the middle, as pointed out by Tensa on Twitter (see links below), looks like butterflies stomped in the footprints of the rumbling (also see Final Season Part 3 Teaser below).
The above music video was made by Linked Horizon to the tune of the season 3 part 1 ED. Apparently it depicts an ending that Isayama originally intended for the story(?). This is the most popular theory, known simply as "AnR." Elements of this ending include Eren completing the rumbling and Historia's child being Eren's, though some elements vary depending upon who is theorizing. Linked Horizon probably worked closely with Isayama and the animation studios. EDITOR'S NOTE: I could write many more paragraphs about this theory, but I'm lazy so please read about it more in the resources listed further below.

Inspiration From Muv Luv

Parallels between AoT and a visual novel that inspired Isayama.
"Isayama mentioned in an event that he got inspired to write [Shingeki no Kyojin] after he played the visual novel 'Muv Luv Alternative' and it had a huge influence on him, he played it during highschool... Isayama also stated that he wanted Shingeki to be similar to Muv Luv, a story with an endless depth." [Reddit Source] and [Interview]. Muv Luv is a story that has multiple timelines, and there are numerous similarities to AoT, for example: humanity in both stories is struggling to fight an invading force (titans and aliens), both stories involve the MC seeing the future, etc. Read even more interesting stuff here on this Reddit post.

The First Scene

Where do timelines diverge? Right at the beginning, possibly.
The left picture is the VERY FIRST time we see Mikasa and Eren, in chapter 1. The right picture happens just before Mikasa de-caps Ereh in chapter 138. Some proponents of the timelines theory argue that there is a 3rd timeline in which Mikasa and Eren ran away and Eren dies in peace at the end of his 13 years. This is shown as a vision that MIKASA AND EREN BOTH EXPERIENCE SEPARATELY. It might be a real alternate reality. The official Story section of starts with "prologue" and shows the long dream panel. This timeline probably happens before the manga timeline, which happens before the anime timeline. Now it ties into the AOE specifically:
Eren in the first episode of the anime DOES NOT EXPERIENCE THIS VISION but rather sees some horrifying elements of the future. Why would WIT and Isayama switch the first scene up like this?
"You could not remove a single grain of sand from its place without thereby ... changing something throughout all parts of the immeasurable whole" -Johann Gottlieb

The Extra Pages

I mean, just think about it...
The extra panels that Isayama added to chapter 139, portraying the conclusion-after-the-conclusion, actually support the idea of multiple timelines. Here's how: we can establish that the extra pages show that Eren's plan went south. Sure, he managed to buy some time for his friends, but some years later it appears that Paradis is getting bombed and destroyed. It is also implied that he failed to get rid of titan powers, shown by the regrown titan tree that the unnamed boy approaches. What did Isayama mean by this? It all makes sense if one understands that this 'bad for paradis' ending was seen by anime timeline Eren, making him try another plan, like 100% rumbling. Another analysis by me.

Final Season Part 3 Teaser

The characters in this frame from the part 3 teaser were observed to be in the shape of a butterfly, similar to the broken butterfly seen at the very end of OP 7, "The Rumbling."
Will the alliance get stomped in the fight against Eren in the anime? Anyway, read more [here].

Mr. Jaeger's Countenance

A subtle detail that could pan out to be significant.
In chapter 121, while struggling with Zeke in the Paths, Eren recounts how he first saw the future when he kissed Historia's hand. He saw the rumbling, to which he blissfully says "and what a sight it was." In the anime version of this scene, Eren looks more determined/stern/unsettled. At first glance, it seems like a very minor detail, but some fans guessed that each of the 2 Erens are seeing each-other's separate timelines at this moment. See a post and discussion here.

Season 4 Part 2 ED

Besides being a good ending sequence, there might be some hidden meanings in Akuma no Ko.
Theorists watching the ED for season 4 part 2 noticed a myriad of hints. These include how an abandoned Paradis is seen, the symbolism of birds, scarfs, and cages, and how 2 different Erens are seen (?). Check out this great Reddit album.
Ending 7, Akuma no Ko, lines up a little too perfectly with ending 4, Akatsuki no Requiem, when synced at 13 second delay. (Significant because of the AnR theory and the 13-year titan curse). Watch the short video above for a live comparison of the 2 endings. First, the Akuma bird flies over and the Akatsuki Historia looks into the sky at it. Second, Akuma Eren and Akatsuki Ymir turn around at the same time. Third, the footsteps through the flowers. And lastly, Akuma Eren seems to parallel Akatsuki Frieda, with Historia longingly watching.

Comments by the Sound Director

They be acting a little sus fr tho 😳
Watch a clip of the event here. At an interview event, Masafumi Mima, the sound director for Attack on Titan posed a question to the voice actors about if there will a different ending. Later, the voice actors brushed away the question.
"Not necessarily different."
"I think there is no such thing like that at all."
"Don't view it as foreshadowing."
"Mima probably didn't think through saying that."
"Don't think too much about it."
Watch the video linked above, which is an improved translation from the original video, to understand. Maybe Mima knows what's up.

The Inversion

The manga ending is an obvious opposite of the AnR ending.
The ending hinted at in the ever-relevant Akatsuki no Requiem music video contains scenes that contrast with how the manga actually concluded. Seen above, Paradis is bombed in the manga, yet the complete opposite (it's even flipped upside down) happens in AnR, where the city looks more advanced. In the manga timeline, Mikasa grieves for Eren, yet in AnR, Eren is the one grieving. In manga, Mikasa is aluded to have a husband and child. In AnR Eren is seen with a wife and child. In general, AnR is about how Eren is forced to kill his friends in order to move forward with his plans, hence all the graves. In contrast, the manga has Eren get killed by the alliance. There are a ton more inversions in this 9 minute compilation.

The Coat & Scarf

Is MAPPA just inconsistent... or...
Ripped from this post. In the final episode of season 4 part 2, a familiar scene is shown in a memory flashback. Except, as some theorists noticed, young Ereh's coat was different than it appeared in the original WIT scene. In MAPPA's version (which they went out of their way to make because they have the option of reusing WIT footage) Eren has a black jacket with a hood, SAME AS MANGA EREN. In the anime, Ereh is mostly seen with a brown/red jacket. This is another hint at Erens from the 2 timelines seeing each other's memories.
A shot from season 4 part 2 episode 3 shows Mikasa with a black scarf (even before the filters were added). Manga Mikasa has a black scarf as evidenced by the manga's colored volume covers; Anime Mikasa normally has a red one. If MAPPA did this purposefully (how could they mess up the most iconic clothing article in all AoT) then it means anime Eren saw manga Eren's memories.

Hajime Isayama's Anime Involvement

The author seems to be playing an active role in the adaptation of his work.
The article in question. It's no secret that Isayama has worked closely with the animations studios that produce Attack on Titan, having enough influence to have things added at will, such as the Goth Mikasa/Glasses Armin reference, or maybe even Eren's coat in the section above. EDITOR'S NOTE: I think this is pretty major. This 100% means that if Isayama is planning a timeline twist, then MAPPA is in on the game.

The Importance of Falco

There is evidence that Falco will play a more critical role in the anime.
The video above is 5 minutes of some very convincing observations. There is another theory that Eren can use the founding titan's power to manipulate birds, and by comparing the manga to the anime, some have noticed that Falco has a connection with birds. For example, at the beginning of season 4 episode 1, Falco reaches up to a bird. In the manga there is a memory shard that Eren sees from the perspective of the bird. There is also the odd anime-only scene where Falco has a dream about being on Paradis and using ODM gear to fight titans. EDITOR'S NOTE: That video is very interesting, one hundred percent worth the 5 minutes.

Deeper Reading

Here is a list of in-depth and very interesting theory sources. Check them out! Most of the ideas on this page originated from these people.
‣ANRime Subreddit - an online community all about AOE brainstorming/hoping.
‣The Shiganshina Project - Very detailed and expansive AOE theory.
‣AnR theory explained.
‣Muv Luv, and how chapter 139 is not a retcon.
‣Another analysis of Akatsuki no Requiem, the "ultimate breakdown" even.
‣Hints from MAPPA.
‣Tensa Twitter - check this person's threads out for sure!
‣AOE Theory Twitter
‣Instant Hopium Refill
‣Instant Hopium Refill 2
‣My own big theory

Deeper Watching

These YouTube channels and videos have some good AOE stuff.
‣All AOE Theories in Order - Playlist by ZeroKay
‣Always TRYHARD Channel
‣SuKS Channel
‣Eren Jaeger AMV
‣Slightly Outdated Video Compilation of Evidence - MUST WATCH
‣Alternate Realities instead of Timelines

The Signs are There

To the reader:
I started this simple website because I saw an opportunity to add something interesting to the theory community. If the evidence presented here comes across as disjointed/unorganized/insane please watch some videos on the subject, they might make more sense. Also, I tried to give credit and cite sources as much as possible, but sometimes it's hard to tell who deserves credit for a particular theory or found evidence because many say the same things.
I hope after reading this page you have begun to consider the possiblity that the Attack on Titan anime is not just an adaptation, but a parallel continuation to the Shingeki manga. At the moment AoT is a Schrödinger's anime. No one in the public knows what will release next year. Will it end the same as the manga? Will there be slight modifications? Will there be timelines? Was Akatsuki no Requiem meant to be the anime ending all along? Will MAPPA invent an entirely new ending? If you have read through this entire page, followed all the links and detailed theory posts and watched the videos, then surely you understand the intrigue of our theories. The AOE possibility does not rest on the romantic shippings of fools or the coping tears of let-down fans. No. There is precious Hopium, found in even the darkest of places. If you are one who liked the conclusion of the manga, never fear, for both are valid endings in light of the timelines theory. The anime's ending might make the manga ending even better. If you are a Doomer, I hope this page re-kindled a lost flame.
And for those who this website is really intended for - the fans who have just finished the manga and have never heard of an AOE - Our battle is only getting started!

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LEGAL NOTICE: I, the author of this site, am only intending it for educational and entertainment purposes. All copyrights for 進撃の巨人, Attack on Titan, and Linked Horizon reside with Hajime Isayama, WIT Studio, MAPPA Studio, and Linked Horizon, respectively. This website is not monetized and my main personal social media accounts are not advertised. This website is also not intended to insult any real life people. Thank you.