Why 'Paths' is the most important concept introduced in Attack on Titan so far

Eren and Ymir in the World of Paths (Image via MAPPA)
Eren and Ymir in the World of Paths (Image via MAPPA)

Attack on Titan season 4 part 2 introduced, among other things, the World of Paths. It’s not the first time Paths (Michi) has been introduced, as we have seen the foreshadowing with Ymir and Eren Kruger in season 3.

However, this is the first time the World of Paths or the possibility of the Coordinate has been introduced and Ymir Fritz was seen directly. The World of the Paths is crucial in the climax of Attack on Titan and we might start to see just how important it is from Episode 77 itself.

[Minor spoilers for Attack on Titan season 4 part 2]

Episode 1 of Attack on Titan season 4 part 2 introduced the World of Paths

As per Eren Kruger’s definition, Paths connect one Titan to another, the past to the present, and even to the future. Essentially, the Paths are channels that can transfer many things amongst the Subjects of Ymir. It transfers the powers of a Titan to its successor, the blood and bones of the Titan form, the command of the Founding Titan, memories, and even the will to act.

The Paths transcend physical space and appear as auroras in the sky. Blood relationships strengthen the connection. Karl Fritz’s memory of the vow to renounce war was only passed down to his family.

The Paths in Attack on Titan anime so far

Audiences were first introduced to the Paths in Attack on Titan during Ymir’s past flashbacks. After consuming Marcel's galliard, Ymir wakes to see the aurora of Paths across the sky. Unaware of their significance, she dubs them “freedom.”

During the flashback of Grisha Jaeger’s past, we get a proper definition of Paths from Eren Kruger, the then-holder of the Attack Titan. It is revealed that the Paths carry memories from the future, as Kruger “remembers” Mikasa and Armin, who were not born before his death.

Kruger calls every Titan a part of the Founding Titan’s body and the Paths as their connectors. He informed Grisha that the paths cross at the Coordinate, equating to the Founding Titan.

The Coordinate

The Coordinate is the point where all paths cross. Essentially, it connects all titans rather than all Subjects of Ymir. The coordinate appears to be a tree made of light in the World of Paths, with Aurora-like branches that signify each subject of Ymir. It can also be interpreted as nerves extending from a spinal cord.

The Coordinate channels the commands of the Founding Titan, which can alter the memory, the genetic structure, or even the free will of all subjects of Ymir. The Founding Titan is essentially a manifestation of the Coordinate, as it is the key to the World of the Paths.

The World of Paths

In episode 76, the first episode of Attack on Titan, season 4, part 2, Zeke Jaeger recounts his experience in an unknown land, where a little girl built rebuilt his torn body from the white sand surrounding the light of an aurora illuminated the sky. This was later revealed to be the World of Paths. The girl is Ymir Fritz, the Founder.

The World of Paths is an unknown world where the Coordinate is situated. It is likely not a physical space or not a space in the same dimension. The landscape is an endless white soil or sand field, with the coordinate tree at its center.

Ymir Fritz traverses this land with a bucket in hand, building and repairing the bodies of Titans out of the sand. Every single body of every Titan, be it Titan-shifters or pure Titans, is built painstakingly by Ymir Fritz. Zeke would not be far off when equating her to a slave to her subjects in upcoming episodes.

Time is severely diluted in the World of Paths, what seems like years can be half a second in the real world. This extension of time is likely needed for Ymir Fritz to build the Titan bodies.

Why Paths and the World of Paths are crucial in the upcoming episodes

There have been many questions in Attack on Titan which can be answered by the existence and the elaboration of the concept of Paths. From the memories of Grisha that Eren inherited to the memories of Ymir that Historia Reiss, a person of royal blood, sees upon touching Ymir’s letter, are all likely due to the coordinate.

The World of Paths also answers how the Titan bodies appear out of thin air and how they are miraculously repaired after heavy injuries. The existence of the Coordinate also explains how the Founding Titan can command all Subjects of Ymir and why such importance is placed on the meeting of the Jaeger brothers.

In conclusion

In the upcoming episodes of Attack on Titan, season 4, part 2, the paths will be crucial. Not only for Eren and Zeke, but as more information is revealed about Ymir Fritz and the Founding Titan, the more essential the world of the Paths becomes.

Additionally, in the next two episodes of Attack on Titan, season 4, part 2, the Paths will be critical after the foreshadowing shown in the Opening regarding Eren’s fate.

Manga readers will know that the coordinate features heavily in both the climax of the series and the history of the Ackermans, both of which are yet to be revealed in the anime.

Attack on Titan season 4 part 2 episode 2 will be aired on January 16, January 17 for some regions, on NHK TV, Crunchyroll, Funimation, and Hulu.

Disclaimer: This article reflects the opinions of the writer.

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Edited by Srijan Sen
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