Hello ani-bloggers and friends! Today is an exciting day as we’re embarking on a new year with of one of my more popular segments’ Women Crush Wednesday. If you’re new around here, WCW focuses on more than a celebration of these ladies in comparison to the eyecandy of MCM. I highlight female leads that stand out due to their bad-assery, they’re independent attitudes, accomplishments, and character development in a series.
In previous WCWs, I’ve written about a few other strong Attack on Titan ladies, specifically Ymir & Historia. Attack on Titan is no stranger to lots of strong females, after all the world is cruel and most of the ladies here have a story to be told.
This week, we celebrate Mikasa Ackerman of Attack on Titan. As, this week is her birthday week! Her birthday is actually this coming Saturday, February 10.
The World the Girl Saw*
This world is so cruel, and yet…so beautiful.
Like most of the girls in the world of Attack on Titan, she is no stranger to loss. Having witnessed both her parents murdered in cold blood before her eyes by some human traffickers left her in a complete disarray. Being held captive, she was void of feelings as her world and happiness were snatched away from her. Eren Jaeger comes as her savior, a fiery-spirited boy that just doesn’t take any sh*t lying down. Despite coming to rescue her, he’s still caught off guard and attacked by a straggling member of the group. Through his altercation he encourages Mikasa to stand and fight.
A switch turns on in Mikasa as she steels her self and becomes totally self-aware and in control of her body, as she goes on the offensive and lunges to kills the final bandit. The event causes a total change in Mikasa, and she knows it. Now feeling empty, Mikasa acknowledges the fact that she must now move forward alone. Until Eren steps in with his scarf to not just only offer warmth but to also to offer her a new home and a new family. (Which is indeed a very important scene to me and will be discussed further). In such despair, Eren was there to save and comfort her, so it’s only natural she feels grounded around him: Eren represents hope in a cruel world.
(As I type this, the title of the spin-off manga Lost Girls actually makes a ton of sense right now. I haven’t read it yet, but I have it in my possession, so be on the look out for that review..)
Bonds that Run Deeper than Blood
One of the most notable characteristics of Mikasa’s attitude is her bond to Eren and Armin. While she grew up with both of them, and while Armin’s bond to Eren is probably stronger, she also sees Armin as her family, and trusts him 100%. On the other hand she’s often shown as being overprotective and down right ready to kill for Eren. Eren tries to brush her off as being a mother-hen, but his actions show he’s exactly the same way. My favorite scene in the manga (and in the anime) depicts this is when Eren discovers his new titan power as the coordinate. Eren promises to wrap the scarf around Mikasa as many times as needed. I find no romantic connotation to this scene whatsoever (okay, maybe a little, but let’s be real. It’s really hard to ‘ship anyone on this show due to the survival rate). Eren protected Mikasa from the day he found her in that cabin as children and he will continue to protect Mikasa. This gesture as cheesy as it is, was to remind Mikasa of their childhood together. He’s saved her before, and he’ll continue to do it, because as long as he fights, there’s still a chance. Both Eren and Mikasa also show one another sides others have not seen. Mikasa runs a gamut of emotions in front of Eren but remains calm and stoic in front of anyone else, even Armin. But Armin is smart, he knows what’s going on through her mind. Eren also shows sides of himself to Mikasa over the others, that also including Armin. At the end of season one, Eren waits for Armin and Jean to leave before he expresses his true feelings about the event, and how it felt inside his Titan form. No one else but Mikasa would probably understand what he meant.
While Mikasa is incredibly strong, it’s hard to overlook that her one weakness is Eren. She becomes reckless and is willing to break rules if it means saving and protecting Eren. Like I mentioned earlier, Eren tether’s her to the world after losing everything; she doesn’t need a physical home as long as she has Eren by her side. He’s become a symbol for all of those things. And if that cord is snapped what is left of her? It’s unfortunate circumstances that she is co-dependent on Eren, but what other choices does she have where they live in a world shrouded in fear and uncertainty.
Will this bond be put to the test further down the road? Will Mikasa be able to stand alone without Eren, or will Eren always be the chink in her armor that prevents her from being her own person? How and can Mikasa cope with what could happen? I pose these questions because I don’t know. While I’m ahead in the manga, I’m still a few chapters if not one arc behind on the current state of things.
Humanity’s Strongest, Part Deux
No, this is not a spoiler sub-title. It’s clear that Mikasa is a strong soldier. After all she is the best student of the 104th, ranking first in her class. Have have you seen her stats? Her strength rivals at least a dozen soldiers. Humanity can only benefit from her strength; if anything were to happen to Levi (please, don’t kill him Isayama, please!) I feel like Mikasa would be the only worthy successor to replace his strength and ability.
Theoretical’s (*possible spoiler territory?*)
I mentioned earlier that a switch was turned on in Mikasa the day that Eren saved her. Her personality at attitude had changed completely. Was this reactive due to the trauma and distress she experienced. It could very well be. But my overactive/analytical brain tend to think it’s a bit more than that. I think the visuals of sparks initially going off in her brain and then in her body as the threshold she crosses to being in complete control of herself as she holds that knife in her hand attributes to a latent ability that had been dormant. Why else were these bandits after Mikasa’s family? It can’t just because she’s Asian. It must also be something about bloodlines. As we saw in Season 2 bloodlines start to become a thing, starting with Historia. This brings up my other crazy question. It is clear that they both Levi and Mikasa bear the Ackerman name. On top of they have the same fighting abilities, is it possible that their “killer instincts” are apart of this lineage that they have no clue about? There are too many similarities between the two that can’t just be ignored.
I wont give up anymore. I’ll never give up again. I’ll win, no matter what. I’ll live, no matter what. **
Mikasa’s spirit has been tested time and time again. She’s experienced the loss of her parents, and the loss of her adoptive parents. The only person left in her world is Eren; the one thing that keeps her grounded. Even then, he’s almost taken from her in several instances and although she almost succumbed to defeat; Eren’s words ring through her mind to continue to fight, to survive. Although, her reasoning for survival can be questionable. My own interpretation of this (aside from the literal subtitles given) is that Eren has imbued on her the importance of living since they were kids. It was the switch that turned on that day in the cabin. Her instinct alone should force her to survive.
Mikasa is not weak by any means just because of her confusing and complicated feelings towards Eren. Mikasa’s tenacity for survival and perseverance while keeping a calm and cool demeanor are what make her a stand out character. But while she is indeed a badass, no character, no human, is perfect. If anything, I think Mikasa has gotten more strongheaded and firm in her own beliefs. And although her ideal ending would be to beside Eren in the longrun. Mikasa continues to fight and her spirit will not be broken as she continues to survive.
*author’s note: this sub-title is the same title of episode 6 of season 1, when Mikasa learns of Eren’s ‘demise’.
**The quote has been redacted, as I feel some of it fuels too much of her co-dependent nature to Eren.
That just about wraps up the first WCW of the year! What do you guys think of Mikasa?