In Attack on Titan, Eren and his friends have had a powerful weapon thrown into their laps. How do you plan to use it?
WARNING: The following contains spoilers for Attack on Titan Season 4, Episode 9, which is now streaming on Crunchyroll, FUNimation, Hulu, and Amazon Prime.
The political scope of Attack on Titan it has expanded enormously. What was once an oversized zombie survival horror narrative turned into an expansive tale of international warfare, and in season 4, the mighty Marley Empire has emerged as the main antagonist of the people of Paradis Island. Eren and his friends are ready to strike back with the power of Attack and Founding Titans, but in Episode 9, they find another weapon in their lap: a new set of Titan serums.
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The Titan serum has appeared in history multiple times so far. Once an Eldian is injected, it will irreversibly become a pure Titan, with the potential to become one of the Nine Titans if circumstances permit. What will Levi Ackerman, Eren, and the rest do with this extra ammo?
The history of the uses of Titan Serum
Titan serum has played an important role in the course of Attack on Titan. For one thing, the flashbacks from Grisha Yeager’s perspective made it clear that the serum was what transformed the Eldians into Titans in the first place, and the Marleyan agents unleashed these Titans on Paradis Island. Each and every Titan is truly an Eldian man, woman or child, turned into a war dog thanks to a simple needle in the spine. This serum creates “Pure” Titans who lose all human thought, desperately eating other people in an effort to try to gain the power of the Nine and thus restore their humanity somewhat. Ymir was one of those titan until he accidentally ate Marcel Galliard and became the new wielder of the Jaw Titan.
This Titan serum also allowed Rod Reiss (Historia Reiss’s father) to transform into a Titan, intending to eat Eren and gain the power of the Founding Titan. Rod was frustrated, but this sequence of events proved just how devastating an innocent-looking serum can be. Later, Levi obtained a Titan serum and had to choose between giving it to Armin Arlert or Erwin Smith. Whoever received the injection would be saved from death, and that person could eat Bertholt and gain his Colossal Titan power. In the end, Levi chose Armin, who is now the wielder of the Colossal Titan, and Erwin died because of this choice.
What does serum mean for the future?
Very few batches of the Titan serum were available on Paradis Island, but now, a complete collection has arrived thanks to Yelena, Onyankopon, and the rest of the Anti-Marleyan Volunteers, all of whom are dissidents from the Marley Empire. Many of them lost their homelands and families to Marley’s conquering armies, so they may be hoping the serum can turn their new Eldian allies into Titans who can crush Marley. As non-Eldians, these Marley dissidents cannot become Titans themselves, which could be why they act as purveyors. They’re giving Levi and Hange all kinds of information, tech secrets, and Titan serums to quickly arm Paradis Island for modern warfare.
However, will this serum be used? Who would volunteer to become a pure titan to wage a ground war against Marley? It would be cruel to impose this serum on anyone; doing so would not make the island’s commanders better than the Marley officers who customarily turned Eldians into pure Titans. However, if the islanders despair and the war turns against them, they might attempt to “recruit” pure Titans like that anyway, which could divide the Eldians to the point of losing the war. Alternatively, perhaps some of the most oppressed Eldian civilians in Marley volunteer to become Titans to unleash their pent-up frustration and helplessness in style. Yet another possibility is that Paradis Island officers will confiscate the serums and keep them sealed, unwilling to take that risk.
What if the serum makes things worse and the Titans get out of control? Perhaps the island’s commanders would prefer to win the war through manpower alone, especially when modern Marleyan technology (such as zeppelins and trains) is available. Regardless of what the Eldians decide to do with it, one thing is for sure: this serum is not to be taken lightly.
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