WARNING: The following contains spoilers for Attack on Titan Season 4, Episode 22 “Thaw,” now streaming on Crunchyroll, Funimation and Hulu.
Attack on Titan has proved time and time again that it does not shy away from killing its characters, no matter how loved they are. The entire story started by tragically making protagonist Eren Yeager an orphan, and life didn’t necessarily get better for him after that. The anime has continued to kill one character after another, just as fans started getting attached to them.
The obliteration of Levi’s former squad is a perfect example, but one of the most — perhaps the most — tragic is the death of the potato-loving Sasha Braus. Episode 22 of Attack on Titan Season 4, titled “Thaw,” revisits one of Sasha’s most badass moments in an intriguing way.
Also a member of the 104th Training Corps, Sasha was a close friend of Eren, Mikasa and Armin and fought countless battles with them. She also took part in the attack of Liberio, where she shot and killed numerous Marleyan soldiers. Although she performed well and managed to regroup with the rest of the Survey Corps, she fell victim to a commando attack when Gabi armed herself with a rifle and boarded their airship. Sasha saw the young girl aiming a rifle at her but was shot before she could react, much to Attack on Titan fans’ sorrow.
Gabi’s actions earned her the hatred of numerous characters, including the very people who protected her in Paradis. However, recent episodes of Attack on Titan seem to be trying to redeem her. With Zeke’s mass Titanification and Eren’s sinister plan taking off, chaos has ensued in Paradis. The military took action but there were too many man-eating behemoths running amok to eliminate all casualties — which the Braus family almost became part of.
A Titan noticed them and immediately charged forward. The family ran for their lives, but Kaya failed to hit a turn as she was paying too much attention to the monster. As she fell inside a hole and down the stairs, the giant lunged at her and broke through the wooden grill, temporarily stunning it. Being alone with the Titan reminded Kaya of her tragic past experience. As if on cue, Gabi of all people appeared with a rifle in hand and eliminated the Titan. Kaya looked at her savior, but she didn’t see Gabi; what she saw was her older sister Sasha holding a bow and arrow — a nod to a scene Attack on Titan fans can never forget.
Sasha was stationed near her home village when Wall Rose fell, so she immediately ran to check on it. There she saw a three-meter tall Titan eating a woman inside a house. Since she wasn’t equipped with her combat gear, she could only attack the Titan with an axe to no avail. She grabbed Kaya, the petrified child watching the gruesome scene, and ran outside.
However, their horse ran off before they could climb on, so they could only run from the Titan on foot. However, Sasha soon realized they could never outrun it and decided to face it head-on with a bow and a handful of arrows. Through monumental grit and effort, Sasha survived the encounter and managed to escape with the help of her father.
Gabi has undeniably become one of the most hated characters in Attack on Titan, and deservedly so. However, she does still retain some hope of redemption. Saving Kaya and the Braus family can never erase what she did to Sasha and isn’t enough to redeem her character, but it is an act worthy of praise — especially since it reminds fans of one of Sasha’s most epic moments.
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