Can Levi's ending in Attack on Titan be considered tragic?

Levi Ackerman, as seen in the series’ anime (Image via Wit Studios)
Levi Ackerman, as seen in the series’ anime (Image via Wit Studios)

While the Attack on Titan conclusion was divisive in many ways, one of its most uniformly celebrated aspects was Levi’s fate. More fans enjoyed his ending than criticized it, and some even said his own personal end was the best handled in the series.

Yet one matter of discussion which arose in the wake of Attack on Titan’s ending was whether or not Levi’s fate was considered tragic. Some argued that his life as a soldier led him to his destined end, whereas others argued in favor of Levi’s relatable, humane side receiving an unjust fate.

Follow along as this article explores whether or not Levi’s ending in Attack on Titan can be considered tragic.


Levi’s fate inverse to that of another soldier in Attack on Titan’s ending

Levi’s ending and its meaning

In the final scenes of Attack on Titan, Levi is seen living in Marley. He’s wheelchair-bound and escorted around a city by Falco and Gabi. Levi is implied to live out the rest of his life in a strange, foreign country, his friends either dead or an ocean away.

Humanity’s Strongest Soldier ended his life implicitly unable to continuously walk on his own two feet. It’s likely Levi needed assistance in other areas due to his injuries as well. His entire life had been dedicated to fighting, and he couldn’t even walk anymore.

Going even further, Levi now lived in a world where there was no need for his services. Even while others engaged in general combat against other humans, Levi always and exclusively sought out Zeke and Titans.

While he did technically kill humans, this was in self-defense and not an offensively-minded maneuver.

With the Titan powers gone (at least, for the rest of Levi’s lifetime), he now has no role in this world, even if he could still fight. While he is present in Marley to represent Paradis, this is a straightforward task that anyone, including a crippled Levi, could perform.

Levi serves as a somewhat inverse tale to Helos, despite the latter’s legend being falsified propaganda. Whereas he was able to defeat the Eldian Empire and save his loved ones from the Titans, Levi watched his loved ones fall one by one before his war ended.

The two’s tales also offer dichotomous morals of their stories. Helos’ tale celebrates the act of becoming a hero and war in general, whereas Levi’s tale serves as a caution to the dangers of war and the prices some soldiers pay.

The facts of the former’s falsification and the latter being actual events further establish their roles as alluring and cautionary tales of war.

Light at the end of the tunnel

While Levi’s cautionary tale may seem inarguably tragic, every sunset brings a new dawn and every tragedy a silver lining. His budding relationship with Falco and Gabi serves as a hopeful symbol of future Eldian and Marleyan relations.

This symbol is made good upon as well, with the two nations implied to be peaceful well beyond the lives of even Falco and Gabi. Although Attack on Titan’s final, full ending sees war return, the symbolic companionship of these three serves as proof that hope exists, even in the most disheartening of times.

Levi’s fate, summarized

Despite tragically losing everything throughout the events of Attack on Titan, Levi’s life is left with a faint, symbolic glimmer of hope. His budding friendships with former enemies Falco and Gabi provide a metaphorical new day for Humanity’s Strongest Soldier.

While Levi’s ending is certainly tragic, it is a cautionary tale for the sacrifices war demands. Simultaneously, the light at the end of the tunnel he’s left with emphasizes how even in tragedy’s wake, one can find future hope and prosperity.

Be sure to keep up with all Attack on Titan anime news and more as 2022 progresses.

Note: This article reflects the author’s views.