This time we are not going to talk about the deceased character, but about his murderer: little Gabi Braun. She has earned the hatred of all viewers of the series, a hatred that seems justified due to her actions. However, I want to argue that anger over the murder that has occurred is not letting us see the big picture.
This article contains ‘spoilers’ for Shingeki no Kyojin ( Attack on Titan ) episode 8 , but does NOT contain information about the manga or future events of the series.
We have known Sasha Blouse since the second episode of the series, aired in 2013. She was one of the few ‘comic reliefs’ that existed in a story marked by cruelty and violence. This is why it was so valuable not just for the narrative, but for the fans that we had to endure the deaths of so many beloved characters and the revelations that left us in despair. His cheerful demeanor and obsession with food always brought us a smile, even in the worst of times.
That makes Sasha’s death at the hands of Gabi so tragic. To make matters worse, this occurred at a time when Paradis’s troops believed they were already safe.
It is normal to be sad and angry. It is normal to feel anger towards Gabi Braun for “taking her away”. What should not be normal is the way we are ignoring the murderer’s background when reacting.
Minutes after the publication of episode 8 of Shingeki no Kyojin ( Attack on Titan ), social media, forums, and comment sections were filled with hateful messages against Gabi. Some expressed wishes to see her die painfully and even be tortured. A good example is this video. They edited a scene from the chapter to show Gabi beaten to the rhythm of Mr. Blue Sky for an hour .
Who is Gabi Braun?
Gabi, of course, is a fictional character. These kinds of reactions are not serious nor can they be compared to the insults and threats that real people receive on social networks. Still, they are a worrying indicator of the way we understand stories and neglect the nuances that exist in the actions of their characters.
Because Gabi Braun, despite being the culprit of Sasha’s death, is more than a murderer. His troubled decision to fire on Paradis forces is more than grounded in a background that we cannot ignore when we think about what happened.
Gabi Braun is an Eldian. As such, she is considered less than a second-rate citizen in the Kingdom of Marley. In the past ofShingeki no Kyojin ( Attack on Titan ), Marley was subdued by the ancient Eldian Empire, but broke free from its yoke during the Great War of the Titans, when King Fritz of Eldia decided to isolate his people from the rest of the world. This allowed Marley to become a world power. He began using the Titans as weapons and relegated the Eldians who stayed on his territory to ghettos and concentration camps.
The Marleyan segregation policy against the Eldians is clearly inspired by the anti-Jewish campaign of Nazi Germany. The bracers they wear to differentiate themselves from other city dwellers are also based on the horrible tragedy of the Holocaust .
As in reality, Marly’s horrible actions have been successful thanks to the propaganda and indoctrination they have used against their own Eldian inhabitants. Over many decades they have led you to believe that your very essence is evil. The victims have internalized these messages so that the Eldians hate themselves for their past and for their race. Marley manipulates them into believing that the only way to “purify themselves as descendants of demons” is to die in war in Marley’s name.
Gabi, who is only 12 years old at the events of Shingeki no Kyojin ( Attack on Titan ), has completely believed everything she has been told about her own people. How can it not be like this if it is the only story you know? On several occasions he has said that he wants to hold up the Eldians’ name, redeem them, and show that his people are not evil. He is too young and innocent to know that a manipulative narrative like the one they have used against his race cannot be fought.
Is Sasha’s death justified?
The problem is that the invasion of the Exploration Corps and the Titans of Paradis Island seem to confirm to Gabi that everything they have told her is true. The Titan Attack Eren Jaeger not only ended with members of the army of Marley. He also murdered dozens of innocents including Eldians, children, and Gabi’s friends like Udo and Zofia. How can he not see the Eldians of Paradise Island as the demons they have always told him they are?
From Gabi Braun’s point of view, her sense of justice and grief for her dead friends, the bullet she fired that killed Sasha Blouse is fully justified.
This season has made it difficult to side with Eren and his friends, as much as we want to. His “preemptive strike” against Marley is morally and ethically complicated. Not in vain it began by presenting a new group of protagonists (not secondary characters, protagonists), because they want us to be able to look at this conflict from different perspectives and discover the shades of gray that exist in it.
I don’t know what will happen in future chapters of Shingeki no Kyojin ( Attack on Titan ) nor have I read the manga, so I don’t know how the conflict will evolve, how Sasha’s death will affect others or how Gabi will change. We may see her become an absolute monster or a martyr to Marley’s Eldians. Her future actions may lead me to regret having “stood up for” her.
But up to this point, I understand what Gabi did. Taking a life is inexcusable, but I understand the state of mind that brought it to that point. I honestly think Shingeki no Kyojin ( Attack on Titan ) doesn’t want us to hate Gabi for what she did. Seeks us to reflect on the world the characters inhabit and the series of events that led a 12-year-old girl to become a murderer.