A person wrote that “Historia needs to get her shit together.” That “Levi is wise” and fighting for the greater good so what he did was justified since ~humanity is at stake…and that is so sickening.
Stop defending his actions. Stop immersing yourself in the fantastical circumstances of a fictional work to justify his unrepentant and consistent abuse of his young subordinates—behaviors that have real world analogues that affect real people. Stop letting your fondness for this fictional character and this series willfully blind you to the unjustifiable harm a young woman has endured.
Look at Historia Reiss’s expressions while this man threatens her physically, tells her she can never escape, and systematically strips away her agency and selfhood by exacerbating her trauma and terror. Look at this young woman, really look at her, and reevaluate everything you and your fandom have been bleating about how Isayama Hajime treats his female characters ~so well. Look at this choreographed sequence of gendered violence wherein a grown man abuses his young female subordinate and is framed by the narrative as a righteous, courageous soldier fighting for humanity as his latest victim is on the floor fighting to catch the breath he almost choked out of her, terrified for her life, and ask yourself if his female characters are treated “well.”
Think back to how Isayama Hajime enthusiastically endorsed an adaptation of his work that reduced Annie Leonhart to an oversexualized yandere archetype so damaged by her traumatic circumstances she could not foresee her downfall at the hands of her own feelings until it was too late, and then had the young man she mentored—a young man who admires and respects her—viciously assault her, falling into all manner of suggestive poses in between squeezing her face so hard it bursts and punching her so hard the force dismembers her while she screams and cries and thinks of her father and the background music swells and conveys just how righteous his vengeance upon the murderous traitor is. Think about how Mikasa Ackerman, a young soldier easily worth 100 regular soldiers, had to have her competence and professionalism pathologized by her superior officer wondering “what made her this way” and the subsequent flashback to the traumatic murder of her parents and kidnapping by sex traffickers, and is thusly and regularly depicted as an obsessive, glorified babysitter who subsists entirely on a diet of “ErenErenErenEren” by her fans due in part to her lack of a clearly defined character arc since the Defense of Trost narrative arc. Think about how Sasha Braus, a brave young woman who grew up in poverty and has thus internalized a great deal of classism she expressed by hiding her accent and abandoning her native dialect out of shame, is consistently flanderized into “the potato girl” by the peer anointed by his martyred best friend and narrative as “most likely to be a good leader” for the food-hoarding behaviors she developed as a response to the trauma of enduring starvation conditions as a young girl—the very same conditions that prompted her to courageously join the military in search of a better life—for the sake of comic relief the fandom just eats up so much you hardly see art of her where she’s not holding a potato. Realize that Chapter 56 is just the last example in what is rapidly becoming a nasty pattern.
This series may not be the series we have been talking it up to be. You cannot look at Historia Reiss’s expression and seriously consider the ramifications of what was done to her and believe that, and no amount of claiming that “SnK is a dark realistic series! what did you expect?” can cover up the repulsive narrative choices Isayama Hajime has made, the true nature of “humanity’s strongest soldier,” or—most. importantly.—the unjustifiable trauma it’s all inflicted upon Historia Reiss.
Judging by so many of the fans’ responses to what Historia has been subjected to, of which the paraphrased comments above are just a few among many, a lot of you don’t mind. This is just the series you wanted. So keep going along with the mangaka’s lionization of an abuser and perpetrator of gendered violence; keep overlooking Historia Reiss and blaming her for the egregious actions she was subjected to for horrifiedly expressing her visceral apprehension at being forced into yet another unwanted role at the demand of a man.
This is exactly the kind of series you deserve.