Attack on Titan Reminds us to Value Our Origins

Screenshot from Attack on Titan, Season 2.
I come from a region known for ignorance and stupidity. In media, residents of the Southern United States are often portrayed as unintelligent people with thick accents. I can’t tell you how many cartoons I’ve seen with a character in overalls, a piece of wheat hanging from his mouth, driveling with an obnoxious southern drawl. Because of this stigma, in the past I’ve detested using southern words like “y’all” or “buggie.” I didn’t pick up the southern accent on purpose. Sometimes I’ve wished I was from somewhere else, so I didn’t feel like I had to continuously prove that I’m not an idiot.

Attack on Titan’s Sasha Braus felt the same way about her humble beginnings. She grew up with her father in the woods, struggling to find food that they hunted with bows and arrows. She also adopted her father’s deep southern accent. When she decided to join the 104th training corps in the military, she changed her accent, carefully choosing her words to make sure no one knew what she really sounded like and thus disguising where she came from.

The places I came from formed who we I am and will always be a part of me no matter where I go.
At one point, one of her fellow trainees, Ymir, calls her out for “acting too nice,” accusing her of covering up how she feels and being a fake. Another trainee named Krista Lenz defends Sasha, saying that she likes how Sasha talks and that “her words are her own.”

In Season Two, Sasha is forced to return to her village to warn her people of an oncoming titan attack. Memories rush back to her about her home and who she is. There she finds a young girl trapped by a titan and manages to help her escape from it. On the way, Sasha snatches a bow and a small cluster of arrows. The titan chases them and she tells the girl to run ahead, finally breaking out into her true accent and saying, “Get runnin’!”

At this moment, I couldn’t help whooping for Sasha. For so long, she was ashamed about where she came from. In that moment, she remembered her origins and she used a bow, a weapon of the past, to defeat the titan. When her father rides back with fellow villagers with the rescued girl alongside, he tells Sasha that he couldn’t be prouder of her. The character arc ends with Sasha saying to herself, “I’m home.”

Screenshot from Attack on Titan, Season 2.

I’ve tried to cover up where I’ve come from, but the things I’ve learned in my past are a part of me and I’m proud of that. I love my home. I love the people there, the culture, and even the environment, though at times the summer heat is too much for me. People come from all sorts of places and I believe each place has their own unique positives. The places I came from formed who we I am and will always be a part of me no matter where I go.

Principles I’ve adopted from my culture have helped defeat the titans of my daily life, like Sasha did with her bow. Southern politeness and work ethic has helped me get jobs. Southern positivity has helped me endure rough times. Southern hospitality has allowed me to make guests feel welcome. Southern affection has helped me sense when someone needs a good hug.

No matter where I go I will always remember the South and how it has formed me. No matter where life takes me I will use the things it has taught me to keep pushing forward and remember the first place I called home.

Victoria Grace Howell

Victoria Grace Howell

Guest Writer at Area of Effect
Victoria Grace Howell is an award-winning writer of speculative fiction and an editor for Geeks Under Grace. When not typing away at her novels, she enjoys drawing her characters, blogging, Kung Fu, cosplaying, and a really good hot cup of tea.
Victoria Grace Howell

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