The Most Brutal Deaths In Attack on Titan
Through four seasons and counting, Attack on Titan has presented some of the goriest deaths in anime history.
This article contains spoilers for the Attack on Titan anime.
Attack on Titan is spattered with gore. Both humans and Titans are decapitated, ripped apart, burned and left to bleed. Some even explode.
Spoiler alert: many of the fatalities in Attack on Titan are humans who are able to transform into Titans but meet their end when eaten by other Titans. Some willingly give up their powers while others have them stolen. The thought of being eaten alive is already high-grade nightmare fuel, but in a world that runs on battle and brutality, there are more ways to perish.
Humans who can morph into Titans can regenerate in their Titan and human forms. There is only one way to obliterate a Titan. The nape of its neck has to be hacked by a blade, which brings anyone trying to kill it dangerously close to the mouth, and soldiers who fly to that height with their ODM (Omni-Directional Mobility) gear stare death in the face. Sometimes, that death ends up being their own.
While many horrors appear from the first battle through the intense final season, these casualties might have had it the worst. Read on to experience the most brutal and tragic fatalities that Attack on Titan has to offer.
Ymir’s entire life is brutal. She is a slave to the Eldian king, gaining Titan powers when she flees from being executed and ends up merging with a mysterious creature. Ymir then becomes his concubine (and is still enslaved for her powers). When political unrest erupts in Eldia, there is a public assassination attempt on the king, and Ymir leaps in front of him to stop a flying spear, only to be skewered instead. She is even brutalized in death. Her three daughters are ordered by the king to eat her corpse immediately and preserve the power of the Titans.
If you inherit a Titan, you only have thirteen years to live from the time you powers awaken. When your time is running out, you need to find someone to cannibalize you to pass on those powers. For Uri Reiss, Histioria’s uncle and a member of the true royal family, this was his niece Frieda. He is chained (much like Eren was later on) in the bowels of the Reiss chapel and meets his end after Frieda injects herself with Titan spinal fluid and morphs. In Titan form, she eagerly devours his upper half, gaining the powers of the Founding Titan.
Frieda inherited the Founding Titan after eating Uri, but not for long. Grisha Yeager invades the Reiss Chapel after Wall Maria falls to a horde of Titans. They have, to say the least, different ideas about whether humanity should survive or perish. Grisha is bent on eating the Founder even though that power supposedly only works on those of royal blood. They both transform, and in a true clash of the Titans, Grisha pins her to the ground and sinks his teeth into the nape of her neck, killing her and taking on her powers before she could fight back.
What is known as the Smiling Titan is one of the many who break into Shiganshina District as Eren and other terrified citizens can only hide or run. In the midst of this chaos, the Yeager house is wrecked and Carla is trapped beneath the debris, her legs broken and unable to move. Garrison captain Hannes swears to kill the titan looming ahead but is frozen by his own cowardice (he pays for that later). Carla is snatched up by the Titan, which proceeds to crush the rest of her body before biting off half of her and raining blood below.
Seeking vengeance after he finds out that a Titan has made a meal of his wife, Grisha feels the only thing he can do for vengeance is pass his powers on to his successor before it is too late, and that successor is Eren. He tells his son that he must avenge his mother. Injecting Eren means he is going to be eaten, and eaten he is by a Titanized Eren, who then inherits the powers of both the Founding and Attack Titans. Grisha’s last moments looking straight into the jaws of his own son as a humanoid monster are nothing short of terrifying.
Let this be a lesson that the thing you ran from once is literally going to come back and bite you in the end. Hannes has toughened up enough to save an unhorsed Eren and Mikasa from the jaws of a Titan, which he then realizes is the same Titan that freaked him out enough to let it devour Carla. Driven by guilt and vengeance, he slashes at the thing, boasting that he will destroy it. He is instead seized in its fist—much like Carla—before he can get to the nape. Also like Carla, he is then mercilessly bitten in half, and his blood stains the ground.
Marco happens to find out too much at the wrong time—and that might as well be his death sentence. He overhears Bertholdt and Reiner talking about how they, in their Titan form, punched a hole in the wall of Trost. After he confronts them, Reiner chases him onto a roof, with Bertholdt close behind and has Annie remove his ODM gear to keep him from escaping. Unarmed and screaming, Marco is left to the mercy of the Titans. The three of them fly to safety and watch as a Titan crunches down on him, oozing blood like barbecue sauce.
Much like Hannes, Bertolt’s overconfidence also proves to be his demise. The traitor who fights his own comrades in Titan form only thinks Armin and Erin are either dead or incapacitated when a human Eren hacks off his arms and legs and knifes the nape of his neck. The armless, legless human Bertolt is torn from his smoldering Titan body and faces death from Eren’s blade, but something worse is waiting for him. After Armin is injected with Titan spinal fluid, he morphs and shoves a screaming Bertolt into his mouth, biting down hard enough to spray blood.
Kenny entangles himself in too many fights, and this becomes his undoing. He barges in to save a chained Eren from being fed to Historia, who is about to be turned with a syringe, and cuts Eren’s head to Titanize him so he can fight her. Historia instead smashes that syringe. Her father licks the spinal fluid from the floor, morphing into an abomination with half its innards exposed. The heat his Titan generates leaves the intrepid Kenny covered in fatal burns. He also suffers immense blood loss from falling debris during his escape, and coughs up blood with his last breaths.
When his daughter Historia refuses the Titan injection that will allow her to take the Founder back by eating Eren, Rod Reiss sees an opportunity. He wastes no time in lapping up whatever he can of the spinal fluid before it vaporizes. His hulking Titan manages to crawl far enough until being bombarded with cannon fire. Eren then carries out Levi’s plan of decapitating Rod by shoving barrels of gunpowder into his mouth to blow off his head and neck. Gobs of Titan flesh are sent flying. It is Historia who finds the piece from the nape of his neck and kills him with her blade.
It seems Marlowe has a chance at survival in the face of the Beast Titan by going with Erwin’s plan, which involves charging at it while Levi swoops in from behind. What he isn’t prepared for is the onslaught of rocks the Beast hurls at them. This creature’s hands are so huge it can take a rock, smash it to pieces in his fist, and wipe out an entire battalion. Marlowe dodges the first barrage, but when the Beast makes it rain rocks a second time, half his face is smashed and he falls from his horse, another corpse on the battlefield.
You do not mess with Eren Yeager or his Attack Titan. This must be something Porco Galliard doesn’t take seriously enough when he tries to save the Beast Titan from attack by using his Jaw Titan’s formidable strength to chomp on Eren’s leg. That gets him pelted with punches to the nape of his neck from the Attack Titan’s fists, which have now received an upgrade from his hardening power. Galliard’s Titan falls to a smoking defeat. The human Galliard who climbs out realizes he is beyond saving. He offers himself up to Falco’s Titan, who eats him and takes on the (almost) unbreakable jaw.
The brutality in Sasha’s death has more to do with intent than gore. Gabi and Falco know exactly what they’re doing when they sneak aboard the airship Sasha and the rest of the Scout Regiment are flying back to Paradis in. This is not just a random attack but premeditated murder. Gabi is out for revenge after watching two of her friends die by Sasha’s hand, and as soon as she spots her, she shoots to kill. With no Titan spinal fluid injection on board to save her, Sasha bleeds to death as her horrified comrades can do nothing but try to squelch the bleeding in vein.
If anyone is going to go out in a blaze of glory, it has to be Hange. Earth is being trampled by the Rumbling that Eren set off. The military scientist who has always been fascinated with Titans decides it is her time and, before anyone can stop her, powers up her ODM gear and flies directly into the masses of Colossal Titans marching forward. As she leaps from Titan to Titan in the air, deftly taking each one down with the slash of a blade or a thunder spear to the nape of the neck, she catches fire from their heat and her own speed. She is soon incinerated.
There are two important deaths that have gone unmentioned. If you know you know, meaning you read the manga to the end, but for those who haven’t, you will have to wait for the final episode, which should be released sometime during the second half of 2023. No official release date has been given yet. Just read the manga.