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Attack On Titan: What Was The Point Of Sasha's Death?

Though "Attack on Titan" is already plenty grim and dark from the start, as a series, it only gets progressively heavier as the story continues. From the conspiracy that leads to the rise of the titans on Paradis in the first place to the relatable reasons why Reiner Braun (Yoshimasa Hosoya/Robert McCollum) and Annie Leonhart (Yu Shimamura/Lauren Landa) betray humanity, few anime have had the gall to be as unflinching and morally gray in their storytelling.

Still, one of the biggest pivots in "Attack on Titan" is the death of Sasha Braus (Yu Kobayashi/Ashly Burch) in The Final Season. Long known as a bright light of hope and humor throughout the series, Sasha is one of the only characters who bring legitimate joy and happiness into the Scout Corps. However, one Redditor questioned the purpose of Sasha's "Attack on Titan" death on the r/attackontitan subreddit. "The death contributed nothing to the story and was really rushed," they wrote, suggesting Sasha was killed just for shock value. 

u/SnooRobots281 immediately laid out some points to the contrary, though, explaining how important and meaningful Sasha's death really was. "Gabi's whole character arc is contingent on Sasha's death," they said.

There are some key reasons why Sasha had to die

The Redditor went on to point out how impactful Sasha's death ends up being. "Sasha's family, literally episode 11 revolves around Sasha's death and episode 13," they said. As with Eren Jaeger (Yuki Kaji/Bryce Papenbrook), Gabi's entire character arc is built on a hatred of her enemy and anger at what they've taken from her. This is why it's so important for her to murder an unarmed Sasha in cold blood in front of her closest friends. Furthermore, this point is reiterated when Gabi happens to meet up with Sasha's family and learns what good and kind people they are.

Though Gabi was initially hated by many, fans have applauded her well-written character arc as the series has continued. Truly, one of the biggest points that "Attack on Titan" is making throughout its grand, sweeping story is that just because you're told someone is your enemy, that doesn't necessarily make them a bad person. This is something even Eren realizes, despite his choices, when he tells Reiner, "I'm the same as you." 

The user also pointed out what Sasha's death signified in "Attack on Titan." "It showed the tonal shift of the show, as the main source of happiness and comedy has now been removed from the show, which signified how dark the story will become," they explained. "... Plus, we lost a character we loved."

Sasha was a source of light in an incredibly bleak world

The user made another great point by mentioning that Sasha's death makes the series as a whole a much darker place. In the first few episodes of "Attack on Titan," as viewers are getting used to how nasty and brutal the world of the show is, Sasha is there to add a human element to the story. Lest we forget that she is commonly referred to as "Potato Girl" after she is caught eating a potato during basic training. Thus, it becomes common for Sasha to lighten the mood from time to time in "Attack on Titan," something her quick and shocking death snuffs out for the remainder of the series.

In fact, it could also be argued that this is the reason why "Attack on Titan" has a new commander in Part 3 of The Final Season. With Sasha gone, it's notable that the quirky Hanje Zoe (Romi Park/Jessica Calvello) is the only source of humor left and that this is why they have to die as well before the final conflict.

Of course, there is also a layer of irony to consider here. Sasha is known to be a top-tier markswoman and makes several incredible shots in front of Gabi during the assault on Marley in Season 4. This makes it extra meaningful that Gabi kills Sasha with a rifle and helps to show that nothing is by accident in Hajime Isayama's cruel world.