Attack On Titan: Why Does Eren Hate Mikasa? The Series' Greatest Lie Explained

"Attack on Titan" is a fascinating epic that explores a destructive and exhausting war against the titular monsters. For nearly a decade, the action sequences have enticed fans across the globe, as well as demonstrated how a never-ending conflict can affect the psychology of characters such as Eren Yaeger (Yûki Kaji) and Mikasa Ackerman (Yui Ishikawa). Raised in the same household as children, both decide to join the fight against the Titans after Eren's mother dies at the hands of one. But as they grow older, mature feelings make their relationship even more complicated. 

Season 4 contains the ultimate revelation that Eren has always hated Mikasa because of the power of the Ackerman bloodline. Mikasa has self-defense abilities that are far beyond those of the average human because she can experience the combat skills of every previous Ackerman. But this conditioning also has a downside as it compels her to always do what needs to be done. In Eren's mind, this makes her a slave to her instincts and tells her that is why he hates her. Mikasa's heart breaks as she has always loved her friend implicitly, and it shakes the very foundation of the entire series. A Reddit poll asked the one question everyone wants to know: Does Eren hate Mikasa? Most participants agreed this was a lie, but the lie is so ingrained in the DNA of the series that it affects the rest of "Attack on Titan."

Fans continue to debate Eren's reasoning

For many fans, actions speak louder than words. In adulthood, Eren may say that he hates Mikasa, but the entirety of the series contradicts that. u/Mikasahisu listed the ways Eren proves his affection for his adopted sister over the years. After their first meeting, where Eren saves her from a gang of sex traffickers, the two are inseparable. When she joins the Survey Corps, he seems visibly concerned, wanting her to join the Military Police where it will be safe. u/TheLuiz argued that it was true that Eren despises the Ackermans' subservience, but that doesn't mean he hates Mikasa. Other Redditors like u/TitanChad attributed this conflict to separate feelings. Many believed that Eren harbored resentments since they first joined up to protect the world from Titans. 

"After rewatching season 1 there is a lot of time where Eren seems to be jealous because Mikasa is too strong," the post read. "There is also [a] moment where Eren is bored because Mikasa is too protective." The poster admitted that they weren't sure either way if Eren truly hates Mikasa or not. But what became conjecture for such a long time was eventually explained at the tail-end of the series. At that point, Eren had already become resigned to his fate as an antagonist. There is no doubt what a long way the main character has fallen since the beginning of the show. But the manga later gives context for Eren's harsh words.

Eren set himself up to be the villain

At the end of the "Attack on Titan" anime, Eren seems past the point of no return. Fully intent on enacting genocide through The Rumbling, he forces Mikasa's and Armin's (Marina Inoue) hands into a final confrontation. But unbeknownst to them at the time, this is all part of Eren's final plan. The final chapters of the manga expand on this as he reveals his true feelings to Armin. To save the world, Eren understands that he has to become the villain. By enacting The Rumbling, Mikasa and Armin can be the true heroes and end the plague of Titans for good.

Eren's main concern with this plan is that his friends wouldn't be able to let him go. Only by spewing hate at Mikasa and beating Armin mercilessly would he be able to push them in the direction they needed to go to save the world. True to his plans, they do exactly that. Mikasa's ultimate fate is to kill Eren and she does so by decapitating him. Eren confesses this to Armin in the manga, admitting he never wants Mikasa to love anyone else. His feelings never wavered, despite the things he said to her. Eren wanted his friends to be able to accept his death and they do, to a degree. But Mikasa never forgets him. She keeps his scarf wrapped around her neck and buries him beneath the tree he loved so much.