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Attack On Titan: Tropes G to L
Attack on Titan tropes: A to F || G to L || M to R || S to Z


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    G 
  • Gaussian Girl: Mikasa is portrayed this way the first time Jean sees her, resulting in Love at First Sight. Krista also occasionally gets a more low-key version when she's being particularly kind to people.
  • Gender Is No Object: Female soldiers are treated exactly the same as their male peers, held to the same standards and serving in the exact same capacity. They also wear the same uniforms, which have a decidedly unisex look (i.e. the female soldiers don't just wear male uniforms). Whether this complete and utter equality extends into society as a whole is unclear. Most of the political leaders, priests, and military top brass seem to be male, though.
  • Gender Neutral Writing: A common occurrence in the series. Fan translations often substitute in gendered-insults, to replace the more neutral ones used in the original.
  • Genghis Gambit: Discussed within the series, in a conversation between Dot Pixis and Eren. Pixis tells him about an old story from the time before the Walls, and the idea that if people had some greater threat, the wars that plagued humanity would cease. He then jokes that this doesn't seem to be true, as humanity continues to fight with each other in a barely-maintained order. Eren dismisses this story as nonsense.
  • Genre Shift: Starts off as the disturbing combination of "group of friends fights monsters to protect humanity" and "humanity fighting a futile war against extinction to an outside threat". Ends up heavily adding elements of the flesh-and-bones version of Humongous Mecha as the Titan Shifters brawl it out with each other along with Ontological Mystery and a dash of sinister Ancient Conspiracy and Government Conspiracy though the aforementioned is still a prevalent theme throughout.
  • Gentle Giant: Team Dad Reiner, who towers over his fellow trainees and is built like a linebacker. His Heterosexual Life Partner Bertolt may also count, being incredibly tall, noted to be The Quiet One and a follower at heart. Horribly subverted, when it turns out both are not only Titan Shifters sent to infiltrate the human ranks... but the two Titans responsible for breaching the Walls in the first place. Though things are more complicated, as it's revealed since that neither of them actually wanted to do it, and they're both struggling with crushing — and in Reiner's case, mind-breaking — levels of guilt; and that their affection for their comrades was genuine.
  • Get a Hold of Yourself, Man!: Happens often, especially from Mikasa to Eren. Understandable that so many people lose their cool considering the stress environment that they live in.
    • At one point, Eren headbutts Mikasa and tells her to pull herself together when she tells him she would disobey their superiors' orders to look for him during the Battle of Trost.
  • Ghibli Hills: Though it's a Crapsack World, it sure is a beautiful one. Might be justified beyond Wall Maria, since humans haven't lived out there for a century and Titans don't appear to do much to the land, but even within the Walls, humans haven't had much environmental impact for it to leave a scar. It goes to show that the world isn't a nightmare world in itself: the Titans just make it so for humans exclusively.
    • We later learn that Titans exclusively hunt man. They ignore all other potential prey and do not do anything unwarranted to the environment. Humans have been brought to the brink of extinction, but the rest of the planet is probably better off.
  • Gilded Cage: In Eren's opinion, the human city is this. Most of his peers are content to live inside the Walls indefinitely, but he repeatedly compares it to a birdcage and is determined to see the outside world.
  • Glowing Eyes of Doom: A pack of Titans briefly demonstrate this after receiving orders from Eren to kill Reiner and Bertolt. Results in an Oh Crap moment for the latter.
  • Godzilla Threshold: Things get so bad by Episode 8 that the best plan Armin can come up with is using a Titan to kill the rest of the Titans. The very idea of a plan using Titans is completely crazy to the humans except that he's sharp enough to pick up on how this particular one really is only targeting Titans, not humans. Later on Pixis (with Armin) comes up with another absurd plan to retake Trost: use Eren's Titan form to seal off the Wall when it's not certain he can control himself. Again, things are so bad that this is their best possible option.
    • In Chapter 48, Erwin's plan to stop the Armored Titan is to lead a herd of normal Titans towards it so that Eren can be rescued in all the confusion.
  • Goggles Do Nothing: Subverted. When the main form of combat is high-speed aerial acrobatics, goggles are pretty much the only way to keep from losing one's vision-correction apparatus. They also serve much in the same way as pilot's goggles (although that raises the question of why more characters don't wear them).
  • Good Parents: Grisha and Carla Yeager. They are shown to have been very loving parents and their son and daughter both adored them. It was the death of Carla that kick-started Eren's desire to join the Survey Corps and kill every Titan that he can.
    • Mikasa's biological parents as well.
  • Good Thing You Can Heal: The Titans are regularly blown apart by cannon fire, sliced and diced by swords, and even injured themselves on a regular basis. But since they Feel No Pain and regenerate, very few things slow them down for more than a moment. Literally the only way to kill them is to do sufficient damage to the nape of the neck.
    • Eren, Ymir, Reiner, and Bertolt all suffer pretty horrific injuries and recover from them quickly. It contrasts starkly with how easily and horrifically humans are torn apart in battle.
    • During the savage beating Levi gives Eren during his trial, he knocks out Eren's tooth. To everyone's surprise it grows back in no time at all.
    • Eren, in his Titan form, tends to rely more or less on simply smashing his opponent to death. The beatings are so fierce that they frequently leave his own limbs horribly mangled, but luckily his healing factor repairs them in no time.
  • Gorn: Human-Titan battles get messy fast.
  • Gory Discretion Shot:
    • Happens to Eren's mother in the first episode. While the audience doesn't see everything that happens, both Eren and Mikasa get to witness it in full as Hannes runs away with them. In the manga however, her death is shown alot more graphically.
    • Also happens to both of Mikasa's parents in Episode 6's Flash Back.
    • Happens again in Episode 7. A soldier turns his gun on himself and fires, horrifying his fellow soldiers who are splattered with his blood. Another random soldier being eaten later in the episode is given this treatment as well, and viewers can hear the cries of fear from another one.
    • In the anime, soldiers who are caught in a Titan's grasp are usually killed offscreen, although we may see blood splatter as well as hear their screams.
    • Averted in Episode 13. After the battle, Jean sees Marco half-eaten, and lying on side of a building.
    • In Episode 17, we only see the spray of blood from the Female Titan's fist when Reiner allegedly gets popped like a grape. Includes a bit of Bait and Switch, as the Female Titan is actually the one bleeding.
    • Averted again in Episode 21. The remains of Levi's squad are shown at least twice after they've been killed. It's not too pretty either.
    • Mostly averted in Episode 22 during the messy fight against the Female Titan (except for its eyes getting stabbed through).
    • Played straight in Episode 25, when Eren crushes the Female Titan's skull with his bare hands. Her eyes are seen bulging out briefly before the scene cuts away to blood splattering on nearby buildings.
  • Government Conspiracy: Oh, yes. The noble Reiss family are the true rulers of the Walled cities, using the Wall Cult and the Military Police Brigade's 1st Squad to guard their secrets and enforce their will. The Wall Cult serves to protect the Walls, preventing the populace from learning that the foundations are dormant Colossal Titans. The 1st Squad quietly disposes of anyone that causes issues — intellectuals, inventors, explorers, the overly-curious, and anyone who happens to get in their way. They have intentionally stagnated technology, preventing the invention of better firearms, hot-air balloons, or any inquiries into the pre-Wall past. Erwin's father was murdered because he had discovered signs of how far the conspiracy went, theorizing that a Mind-Control Conspiracy was responsible for the lack of knowledge about the outside world.
    • Mind-Control Conspiracy: The memories of the entire population seem to have been altered when humanity entered the Walls, removing all knowledge of the world outside the Walls. When Erwin let slip his father's theories in public, the 1st Squad murdered him.
  • Grappling-Hook Pistol: A pair of these attached to a full body harness is standard equipment for the soldiers, being all that keeps them alive against the Titans.
  • Gratuitous German: The first line of the anime's opening theme: "Sind Sie das Essen? Nein, wir sind die Jäger!"note 
    • The second theme is even worse about this, since practically every line is half German, half Japanese.
      • more specifically "O, mein Freund! Jetzt hier ist ein Sieg. Dies ist der erste Gloria." note 
    • Both opening songs have German names: "Feuerroter Pfeil und Bogen" & "Die Flügel der Freiheit" are Title Dropped within the lyrics.
  • Green Eyes: Used to subtle effect, both in terms of conveying something important about the character, with variations on the hue also used to express something about them.
    • Hotblooded hero Eren has vibrant turquoise-colored eyes, inherited from his mother. In his Titan form, they glow bright green.
    • Team Mom Petra has a soft, earthy shade of green.
    • Extreme Doormat Bertolt's eyes are a muted, dark shade of green.
    • Clever, selfish Hitch has cat-green eyes.
    • Close examination reveals that the Colossal Titan has green eyes, oddly enough. The exact same muted, dark shade as its' human form, Bertolt.
  • Green-Eyed Monster: Jean, who maintains a rivalry with Eren because of his crush on Mikasa.
  • Grey and Gray Morality: Chapter 55 drives this home repeatedly, showing just how blurred the lines have become. Ultimately, every group seems to believe their actions are necessary or justified, and getting their hands dirty for the sake of the greater good. Hange and Levi brutally torture a captured enemy for information, while Erwin and Pixis plot to overthrow the rulers and install Historia as a Puppet Queen. Armin openly considers the advantages of a False Flag Operation, and reminds the others that from here on out they will have to kill people for nothing more than because they are from another Branch — stating that they are no longer "good people".
  • Grievous Harm with a Body: The Titan that attacks other Titans tends to favor this method of fighting groups.
  • Grotesque Gallery: Titans are a seriously freaky-looking bunch.
  • Guilt-Free Extermination War: The goal to wipe out the Titans. Subverted when members of the 104th have trouble turning their blades on their former comrades.
  • Guns Are Worthless: Played with. While huge cannons rip through Titans easily due to them being Made of Plasticine, the Titans' Healing Factor doesn't let it keep them down for more than a couple of minutes. It is somewhat averted, as cannons are pretty effectively used for slowing the Titans down to give the civilians time to evacuate. Furthermore, high-explosive shells are used to wipe out Titans in Trost towards the end of the battle. And after Titans are sighted inside Wall Rose, the Garrison uses cannons to bring Titans down and let elite soldiers like Rico finish them off.
    • Subverted in Episode 8 where Military Police Brigade rifles are ineffective at killing Titans alone, but are effective at temporarily blinding them.
    • Played completely straight with the Armored Titan, whose armor plating is so strong that cannon shots do nothing to slow it down.
    • Further played with later on in the series: The Anti-Human Suppression Squad wields dual pistols to devastating effect, slaughtering several veteran members of the Survey Corps in an instant.
  • The Gunslinger: The Military Police's Anti-Human Suppression Squad turn out to be this, using special maneuver gear and dual pistols. They especially dispatch three veteran Survey Corpsmen in an instant, establishing themselves as a serious threat.
    • Guns Akimbo: The Anti-Human Suppression Squad dual wields pistols instead of swords, since their targets are other soldiers.
    • Gun Fu: They combine wrist-mounted Maneuver Gear with pistols, allowing them to pull off aerial maneuvers and take on soldiers armed with swords.
  • Gut Punch: The audience is given a good punch in the innards during the very first episode. The overwhelming fear and despair present in the atmosphere make the first two episodes particularly hard to watch and imbeds a constant reminder of how bad humanity's situation is in our minds.

    H 
  • Hair Contrast Duo: Krista and Ymir. Reiner and Bertolt. Jean and Marco.
  • Hair Color Spoiler: Plus Eye Color Spoiler. Attentive viewers will notice that the Rogue Titan and the Female Titan have the same hair and eye color as Eren and Annie. Not a coincidence!
  • Half the Man He Used to Be: Marco, to the extent that it's become a fandom meme.
  • Head-in-the-Sand Management: The government tends to take this approach, only humoring the Survey Corps but primarily being concerned with maintaining the Status Quo even while humanity is slowly dying off.
  • Healing Factor: An ability inherent in all Titans until they're put down for good.
    • This was the deciding factor in the first battles between Titans and humans, as humanity had possession of weaponry that could easily blow off Titans' heads but they just kept growing back.
    • Titan Shifters in human form benefit from this ability, too.
  • He Didn't Make It: In Episode 7, Mikasa meets up with Armin. She asks him what happened to Eren, and although he doesn't say anything at first, his tears clue her in that he died.
  • "Hell Yes" Moment: An epic one occurs in Episode 24, after Eren shifts into a Titan and then punches the Female Titan right in her face.
  • Heroic BSOD: Armin suffers one during the first half of Episode 6, after being the sole survivor of his squad, and watching Eren get eaten by a Titan right in front of him.
  • Heroic RROD: Eren seems to get this from overuse of his Titan form, getting a nose bleed and looking feverish after blocking a cannonball (which may be connected to him being trapped in a Lotus-Eater Machine the next time he tries) and Reiner pretty much telling him that they are physically unable to transform too many times. This is proven when Eren later tries to shift and fails, being too worn down by battle.
    • A much more severe version of this happens later during Hange's tests with Eren to mimic the Female Titan's hardening ability. The third time he transforms, his Titan form is missing about half of it's flesh and is causing Eren to fuse with it. By the time they cut him out, he is missing his eyes and parts of his skull are exposed. Thankfully, due to his healing factor, Eren heals up in about a day.
  • Heroic Sacrifice: Eren dives into a Titan's mouth to pull Armin out. He succeeds at the cost of being swallowed whole (minus an arm).
    • The concept of this trope is very thoroughly deconstructed. A lot of characters attempt to bravely sacrifice themselves, so that their comrades and loved ones may live on. When they get to the "sacrifice" part, however, they suddenly start desperately clinging on to life, realizing that they would do ''anything'', so that they may survive. Unfortunately for the cast, folks usually reach this epiphany, mid digestion...
    • Furthermore, the very conceit and morality of sacrificing your life is repeatedly attacked. There's one character who's called out for not asking for help, in the hope she might die and be remembered as someone who went down helping others. Her critic even admits that she might have conscious noble goals, but is still doing it for selfish reasons as well.
  • Hero with Bad Publicity: The Survey Corps are fighting and giving their lives for humanity. To the general public however, they are typically seen as dissenters who only manage to get themselves eaten and are wasting the people's tax money. Later, the Survey Corps are framed with murder and are outright seen as fugitives and villains to the public.
  • He Who Fights Monsters: Discussed extensively within the series, both by the narrative itself and the characters. Leaders such as Erwin and Pixis embody the belief that throwing away human compassion is necessary to win against the Titans, ruthlessly sacrificing the lives of their soldiers for even the smallest chance of victory. Armin comes to believe that throwing away one's humanity is the only way to win against monsters, while Jean expresses to him doubt over whether such methods are truly worth it. Mikasa has honed herself into a ruthless fighter for the sake of Eren, even going so far as to threaten the lives of her own comrades. On the other hand, Eren is a far more literal example: becoming a Titan in order to fight against the Titans, but also struggling to embrace the ruthless actions others ask of him. Finally, there are the other Titan Shifters, who play with this trope in an interesting fashion: their own humanity comes back to haunt them, causing them to make critical mistakes. Annie spares Armin, and finds her mercy repaid with being exposed and trapped by the military. Reiner is unable to cope with the guilt of his actions, suppressing his memories and creating a false persona in order to cope. Bertolt internalizes considerable remorse and self-loathing, unable to act on his own even to prevent Reiner's Sanity Slippage and when his own emotions boil over, he makes reckless mistakes that allow Eren to be rescued. Finally, Ymir fell In Love with the Mark, and is successfully blackmailed.
  • Hidden Depths: A major part of the story. Almost every single character of some note gets a flashback or a bit of a shared flashback to show how varied and distinct the characters are, with many having a darker side to their outwardly noble intentions and actions or a more sympathetic origin for their flaws. This heavily ties into just how often characters are forced to confront traumatic experiences that can break them psychologically. It's also important to note that a good chunk of them, especially those who've displayed a keen and sympathetic knowledge of the human condition or justice, are nonetheless infiltrators sent by the Titans, forcing them to be completely reevaluated.
  • Hidden Agenda Villain: A staple of this series. Aside from the normal Titans, whose goal is to just eat people, there are three villainous factions whose end goals are unclear. These are the Titan Shifters, the Beast Titan, and the Government Conspiracy. It is possible to make some inferences, however.
    • The Titan Shifters goal was at first to bring down the Walls, letting humanity be devoured by the Titans. Later, one of them states they can abandon that goal if they take Eren back to their homeland. A similar sentiment is expressed towards Ymir, the Beast Titan, and Krista which combined with their obvious guilt suggests that they really just want to go home, but require something of value to justify them going back. What this home is, who sent them and why, and why they could abandon that mission with certain hostages, is all unclear.
    • The Beast Titan is a complete enigma. He takes an interest in the 3DG and can turn humans into Titans but why he does either is unknown. He organizes an attack on Castle Utgard and cheerfully allows a survey corps member to be eaten, so he's not on humanity's side. He's also a target of the Titan Shifters but the reasons for this, and exactly how he's a target, are unknown. Basically, he shows up, demonstrates that he has unclear connections with most major players of the story, is radically different from anything else we've seen, and then vanishes.
    • The Government Conspiracy is trying to maintain the status quo within the Walls. It's clear there's more to this than maintaining civil order and their connection to the Wall Cult means they know about the Titans in the Wall. One member keeps silent even when told that silence will result in the end of humanity, which the heroes take to mean whatever they are hiding is more important than the annihilation of the human race.
  • High Concept: Dual-wielding steampunk spidermen child-soldiers fight man-eating giants bent on wiping out mankind. Holy shit. There's something in my eye.
  • Hold the Line: Happens often, usually to give the civilians time to evacuate.
  • Hopeless War: Humanity has gained absolutely nothing from the various battles against the Titans, so much so that joining the Survey Corps is considered outright suicide. They're not entirely wrong. The Battle of Trost is literally the first triumph in human history.
  • Hope Spot: In Episode 5, things look hopeful even as the Trost gate is smashed. Triumphant music plays as the Garrison vanguard rushes to intercept the first wave of Titans, the Trainees get ready to test their mettle as soldiers, the civilians look like they have enough time to evacuate, and in general humanity looks much more ready than last time. Then we find out that the experienced vanguard was routed, the Titans made it into Trost, and the forward group Trainees get decimated, including Eren's own squad followed by Eren himself.
    • In Episode 21, Levi's squad takes on the Female Titan. It seems to go rather well for them, as they manage to blind her, and then shear off enough of her shoulder muscles that her arms fall down from her neck. Then she suddenly grows back one eye, and manages to kill all three of them in less than a minute. And moments later, she seems rather scared of Eren in Titan mode, but barely manages to defeat him, as well as capturing him.
  • Hot-Blooded: Eren's biggest strength and weakness, as he sometimes crosses into Leeroy Jenkins territory, particularly when he was trying to avenge Thomas — his single-minded pursuit of the abnormal Titan that had devoured him made him blind to the other Titans nearby, losing a leg and getting his team killed in the process.
  • Huge Guy, Tiny Girl: Reiner and Bertolt, the two tallest members of the 104th Trainee Corps, may have romantic interests in the two shortest girls in the Trainee Corps. Like most things in the series, things are still unclear.
  • Humanoid Abomination: Titans. A recap: They are large, fast, mindless and came out of nowhere. They have a healing factor, which means that destroying their heads does not really slow them down. The grossest part, is they probably do not need to eat humans. They have no digestive organs and after filling their stomach with humans, they just vomit it all out and eat more. They were able to eat most of the human race to extinction, to the point there is only one race of humanity left.
  • Humans Are Flawed: A major theme of the series, exploring how humanity deals with extreme circumstances like famine, land shortages, floods of refugees, and of course giant monsters that want t eat them.
    • Humans Are Bastards: Even with the ever-present threat of Titans, famine, and disease.....humanity still has plenty of time to lie, cheat, steal, and murder. For every heroic character, there are plenty of cowards and criminals ready to show the worst of humanity.
    • Humans Are Morons: Explored, with people questioning whether humans need to be ruled to survive and Eren outright comparing society's complacency to livestock. This may even be intentional on the part of the government, as interest in lost knowledge from the outside world is considered heretical and banned. In fact, the 1st Brigade is charged with murdering intellectuals and scientists, to prevent too much free-thinking.
  • Humans Are Warriors: Deconstructed. A human society under constant threat of extinction will naturally value its soldiers and military. In the world they live in, being in the military is well-regarded and the only way to advance socially; those that choose manufacturing or hard labor are considered cowardly. This leads to a lot of ordinary young men and women enlisting to save face and are hoping to make something of their lives (Jean enlisted because it's the only way for commoners to get into Wall Sina, Connie wants his village to think highly of him, etc.) even though a lot of them frankly have no place being on the battlefield. Even if they're physically capable of passing training, most lack the mental fortitude to actually fight in traumatic and stressful situations, leading to their quick deaths. Most of the Garrison and Military Police Brigade members freeze up and falter in combat, with only a few (mostly in the Survey Corps) being both brave and skilled enough to fight Titans on a regular basis. Possibly Reconstructed with Armin, who isn't very suited for soldiering but still remains valuable on the battlefield because of his intelligence.
  • Humongous Mecha: No really. The Shifters' Titan forms are a flesh-and-bone version of this, with some fight scenes sceaming Neon Genesis Evangelion.
  • Hunter of His Own Kind: All the Titan Shifters are this, to one degree or another. Eren plays it absolutely straight, using his Titan form to fight for humanity, while Ymir eventually reveals herself and fights to protect Krista. On the other hand, Annie, Reiner, and Bertolt kill Titans in order to maintain their cover.
  • Hypocrite: Reiner and Bertolt, if not all of the enemy Titan Shifters, went through traumatic events in their past in which loved ones were eaten by Titans. Yet they consign countless hundreds of innocents who were once living in peace and safety to the same horrific fate, and intend on doing so to the entirety of the humans in the Walls. The motivations behind this, though, remain a mystery.

    I 
  • Identical Stranger: Ilse Langnar is this to Ymir.
  • "I Know You're in There Somewhere" Fight: In Episode 12, both Mikasa and Armin struggle to get through to Eren when he loses control of his Titan form and is stuck in a kind of Lotus-Eater Machine. Eventually, Armin manages to snap Eren back to his senses.
  • I'm a Humanitarian: Titans. Human eating is their common activity. They seemingly don't have any digestive organs nor derive any actual nutritional value from eating humans, and whatever's left of the remains is eventually just regurgitated back up.
    • How can you tell a Titan Shifter from normal Titans, other than their intelligence? None of them have any interest in eating humans. Even when he goes berserk, Eren tries to smash Mikasa with his fists, but never attempts to grab and devour her, as a normal Titan would. The one exception to this is Ymir, who ate a childhood friend of Reiner and Bertolt before their horrified eyes. This seems to have before Ymir regained control of her senses, however.
    • Hange also mentions a clan of human cannibals in Episode 15 when conducting research on captured Titans.
  • If We Get Through This: Happens before the trainee's first mission in Trost. Sasha got her hands on big 'ol slab of meat (a luxury since so much land was lost to the Titans) and decided to stash it away for safekeeping. All the recruits decided that they would all share the meat once their duties were done with. Unfortunately, it wasn't Sasha's meat that ended up getting eaten later.
    • Ymir jokingly asks Krista to marry her if they survive the battle.
  • Ignorant of Their Own Ignorance: Enforced by the government. Books and other recordings about the outside world have been banned so long that people have completely forgotten about it. Armin and Eren get a hold of a book and they're amazed at the idea of deserts, mountains, and the like existing.
  • I Got You Covered: Elite soldiers cover Eren's attempt to seal the gate of Trost.
  • I Just Want To Be Free: An important theme for Armin and Eren since The World Is Just Awesome to them, though the rest of humanity seems to have forgotten about the world outside. Best exemplified in Episode 13.
    Armin: (earlier) So why do you want to go to the world beyond the Walls?
    Eren: From the time we are born, we are free... it doesn't matter how strong those that would deny us that freedom are... flaming water... frozen earth... I don't care what it is!... The person that sees them will be the freest person in the world! Fight... I'd gladly give my life for that! It doesn't matter how terrifying the world is! It doesn't matter how cruel the world is! Fight... Fight... Fight... FIGHT!!!
  • Impending Clash Shot: This features Eren in mid air with the 3DMG Dual Blades about to clash with the Colossal Titan in volume 1's cover. also present in a different angle in the form of a Hit Stop in the anime's opening,
  • Inelegant Blubbering: This happens often to several characters, especially Armin and Eren.
  • Infant Immortality: Children are most definitely victims of Titan attacks, and Episode 25 clearly shows rocks falling and crushing both children and women as a consequence of the Stohess incident. We also get to see Bertolt and Reiner's friend Berik die in the manga.
  • Inherent in the System: The major flaw of the military. Those who score the highest in things like 3D Maneuvering in training, and are thus best able to fight the Titans, get preferential treatment in becoming part of the highly coveted position of Inner-Wall Military Police Brigade to protect the interior and the king, and are thus the furthest from any actual combat where they could put their skills to use. Furthermore, Annie points out that while the corrupt and selfish soldiers may be immoral, they are normal, and any system that expects and depends upon the vast majority of its soldiers to be moral paragons is doomed to fail. No specific entity or organization blamed for the situation: it's just what happens when one's position in the organization is based upon who has the most skill in combat and a society is lulled by a hundred years of general peace.
    • Furthermore, those savvy enough to figure this out prioritize their training, slacking off on the hand-to-hand combat skills that aren't graded as highly as 3D Maneuvering. Thus, those placed in the Military Police Brigade, and therefore the most likely to actually need to fight human sized opponents, would be less capable at doing so.
    • However the competition for the top spots may make the people who end up fighting the Titans much better trained.
  • Inter-Service Rivalry: Between the three army branches: Survey Corps, Garrison, and Military Police Brigade. The three view each other with suspicion to the point where the (corrupt) Police Brigade think that the Survey Corps wants the Rogue Titan in order to seize power of the inner circle from them. It doesn't help that there's a strong disconnect between who gets highly regarded (Police Brigade) and who actually does most of the fighting (Survey Corps).
  • Instant Armor: Titan transformation is essentially a particularly bizarre and extreme version of this, conjuring a colossal organic 'suit' around yourself out of thin air.
    • The Female Titan has a more advanced version of this and can temporarily harden it's skin making it essentially invulnerable to a soldier's attacks. Disturbingly, it can also do this with it's only weakpoint!
  • Interrupted Cooldown Hug: Jean and Connie attempt a verbal one on Reiner and Bertolt, though how successful it ultimately might have been remains unknown because Erwin interrupts with a suicidal Zerg Rush.
  • Invulnerable Horses: Although Titans ignore all other organisms, horses are vulnerable to injury or death since escape on horseback offers the best chance for a human survival, yet it's still no guarantee since Titans are that damn persistent to get at humans.
  • Irony
    • Eren has an all-comsuming hatred of Titans but is a Titan Shifter himself, and several of his friends turn out to be the very Titans he hates. Furthermore, Eren has the ability to command regular Titans.
    • The Armored Titan is a villainous Bruiser with a Soft Center.
    • The Colossal Titan is really an Extreme Doormat with an officially ranked Self-Esteem of a 2 out of 10.
    • Four of the top five recruits in the 104th Trainee Class, trained to fight and kill Titans, are actually Titans themselves.
    • The human characters struggle with becoming monsters to fight effectively. The monsters (Titan Shifters) struggle with their humanity, which decreases their ability to fight effectively.
  • It Can Think: When Eren first engages a Colossal Titan in battle, he notices that it purposely attacked the gate (the weakest point of the Wall) and took out the mounted cannon atop the Wall, and he realizes that the Titans must be intelligent.
    • A similarly surprising moment comes when the Rogue Titan puts its fists up in a boxer's stance, and then scores a One-Hit Kill on an enemy with a carefully-aimed left hook to its weak spot.
    • The Female Titan, when she lifts up Armin's hood gently to see his face. She also specifically protects the back of her neck when Jean attempts to attack it, something they've never noticed a regular Titan doing. When it runs off later, Armin notices she's heading towards the likely location in the formation Eren is located.
    • The Beast Titan can not only think, it speaks in an utterly polite fashion, and removes Mike's equipment with the intention of examining it later.
  • It's Personal: Eren when he sees the abnormal Titan who ate Thomas while in Titan form. He suddenly gains the strength to overpower the numerous Titans pinning him and charges the abnormal one uncaring of the fact that his arms are being torn off in the process. He then proceeds to bite the Titan's weakspot and throws him at the other Titans while simultaneously decapitating the one he was biting.
    • Eren's feelings towards the Colossal and Armored Titans who destroyed his hometown. It's the same as his feelings towards all Titans, but turned Up to Eleven.
    Eren: I'll do everything in my power to make your deaths as excruciating as possible.
  • I Want Them Alive: A few examples, both heroic and villainous:
    • After Eren is revealed to be the Rogue Titan, the other Titan Shifters make it their mission to capture him, such as the Female Titan when the Survey Corps does their 57th Expedition outside the Walls.
    • After Eren is ordered to go into the innermost Wall, Armin finds Annie and begs her to help them in to assist Eren's escape, since him being handed over to the Military Police Brigade meant certain death. She is reluctant to do so at first, but then ultimately agrees. When they're about to go through an abandoned underground tunnel to get closer to the Wall however, Annie is very hesitant to go down there. Mikasa then directly accuses her of being the Female Titan, and several Survey Corps members hiding nearby ambush her, and attempt to capture her before she can bite herself to transform. Unfortunately for them, the ring she had put on earlier had a hidden barb, and she is still able to wound herself and transform even without biting her hand.
    • Subverted after Reiner and Bertolt are exposed and transform to fight the Survey Corps. Hange recognizes that there's no possible way to capture the traitors alive, and gives explicit orders to Armin and the other soldiers present to kill them if they see a chance.

    J 
  • Japanese Spirit: Each of the three main characters exhibit strong examples of all three virtues, although with their own failings in some ways.
    • Eren is flat out stated in the story to be more Persistent than anyone. Unfortunately, his ego writes checks that his body can't cash. He's an example of a character who has strong willpower but not the raw talent or insight to go with it, and as a result, he repeatedly suffers injury, failure and setback, which makes even his strong willpower constantly falter. True to the Japanese Spirit archetype, he has a number of hidden "talents/powers" which only work if he holds on to his persistence even in the face of death. His Evil Counterpart, Reiner, is initially stated to be a soldier that possesses incredible willpower. However, it is his wavering conviction that causes him to slowly lose his mind.
    • Mikasa is described as one of the most Talented soldiers of all time. But she's somewhat lacking in the resolve and persistence departments. While, yes, she will do anything to save Eren from danger, this is due more to him being a Living Emotional Crutch and not because she has any particular goals of her own. If nothing else, she's the epitome of what women traditionally used Japanese Spirit for (helping the man they most treasured above all else). Bertolt is also noted to possess exceptional talent, but he lacks the resolve necessary to make the most of it. Instead, he rarely acts on his own and depends too much on others to make decisions for him.
    • Armin's Insight is pretty much the ray of hope that our protagonist holds onto. He's physically weak, but he's called one of the most brilliant soldiers, and his strong idealism to see the outside world still motivates his friends. Annie is incredibly insightful about human nature and shares this with Eren on several occasions. But her resolve ultimately falters, when she is unable to kill Armin and later emotionally manipulated into a trap by him.
  • Just Before the End: Very possibly. What with the constant threat of the Titans, and the very real possibility that another Colossal Titan could show up at any time and knock down the remaining Walls, the end of the world feels very imminent throughout the series.

    K 
  • Kaiju: The Colossal Titan. 60 meters (roughly 200 feet) of skinless steaming monstrosity.
  • Kick the Son of a Bitch: Eren when he kills the first two traffickers that kidnapped Mikasa. It establishes that Eren was never completely... normal but the victims really had it coming to them.
    I merely put down some rabid dogs. Sometimes they just happen to look like people.
  • Kill All Humans/Super-Persistent Predator: Titans explicitly target humans alone, ignoring any other animals they come by. It's not even because they're hungry; they don't need to eat.
    • Kill All Humans is eventually subverted. Armin states that Titans don't want to kill humans, they want to eat them. While there is a lot of rather obvious overlap between the two, the distinction becomes important when the Female Titan is very pointedly killing humans, not at all trying to eat them, indicating it is a Titan Shifter. And later it's implied that eating isn't what the Titans are really after, they're instinctively trying to regain their humanity by eating a Titan Shifter, like Ymir did.

    L 
  • Laser-Guided Amnesia: A side effect of the serum that Eren was injected with. Levi points out how (in)convenient this is.
  • Last of Her Kind: Mikasa Ackerman whose mother's race, Asians, was wiped out by the Titans. Makes sense given that the Walled City's region seems roughly analogous with northwest Europe, so East-Asian analog humans would have been for the most part much too far away to take refuge there in time.
    • However, they may just be referring to the Asians who had been living in the region at the time the Titans appeared. It's possible that they were "wiped out" not by the Titans, but simply through centuries of mixing with the more numerous Central European analogs.
  • Last-Second Chance: Jean and Connie desperately try to talk Reiner and Bertolt down, using The Power of Friendship. After this triggers Bertolt's Villainous BSOD, Mikasa calms down from her previous murderous rage and asks him to give Eren back. He regrettably responds that he can't, and after several more casualties, the group ultimately manages to rescue Eren, leaving Reiner and Betholt behind.
  • Laughing Mad:
    • In Episode 23 of the anime, Annie starts laughing after Mikasa calls her out as the Female Titan.
    • In Chapter 50 of the manga, Eren laughs manically as he watches Hannes being devoured by the same Titan that ate his mother.
  • Law of Conservation of Detail: The anime compresses a lot of manga into 25 episodes, so even seemingly insignificant details are likely to be important or hint at future reveals. For example, paying very close attention to the actions of Annie, Bertolt, and Reiner reveals some subtle foreshadowing about their true nature.
  • Left Hanging: Chapter 44 offers a flashback of Annie and Mikasa about to square off in a training fight, causing all the others to flock around them in excitement over who the winner will be. We're never told however, as that's where the flashback ends.
    • Word of God later confirmed that their fight got interrupted and ended in a draw.
  • Le Parkour: Some soldiers pull off a bit of parkour in Episode 23 as they tumble and somersault their way to restrain the Female Titan.
  • Let Them Die Happy: Levi at one point comforts a dying soldier that he fought well and helped the cause. It is unclear whether this was the truth or simply kindness.
  • Lightning Bruiser: Titans are far faster to move and react than their size might suggest, especially the human piloted ones.
    • To put in in perspective, small flying insects, if they could think, might think we're slow and ponderous due to our size compared to them... but most of us are more than quick enough to slap them aside easily. The same applies to the Titans who do not move slowly simply because they are large, which makes them all the more terrifying to fight. The only thing that makes the strategies humans employ work is how stupid they are. The Human-Titans are almost impossible to kill thanks to having human intelligence, speed, and strength, only scaled ten times in size.
  • Line in the Sand: Erwin to the 104th Trainee class when it comes time to choose their branch. Most leave but those that stay behind join the Survey Corps, including many of the top 10.
  • Like an Old Married Couple: Eren accuses Franz and Hannah of this, which they vehemently deny. Turns depressing when Armin finds Hannah trying to revive Franz, or rather, Franz's upper half.
  • Living MacGuffin: Everyone wants Eren in some way, whether it be to dissect him for information, use him as humanity's ultimate weapon, influence others and hide dirty secrets, or to kidnap him and bring him back to his fellow human-Titans.
    • Later on, he and Krista become this to an unknown faction within the Walls with a lot of connections to both the military and the Wall cult. Their goals are as-of-yet unrevealed. All we do know is that they're likely the ones who vied for Eren to be taken in by the military police and killed Pastor Nick when trying to get information out of him.
  • Living Emotional Crutch:
    • Eren to Mikasa. Mikasa is completely loyal to Eren and only joined the military to protect him; her dependency stems from how he saved her from human traffickers who murdered the rest of her family.
    • Krista to Ymir. Darker example, though, as Ymir is willing to side with the villains and take away Krista's future if it means having her to herself.
  • Locked Out of the Loop: During the 57th expedition beyond the Walls, the Survey Corps runs into many problems once the Female Titan shows up. After it's captured, Eren and a few others discuss what happened, and he realizes that even some of the more veteran troops were unaware of the plan to capture her. However, he quickly realizes that the plan was made in such a way because of the high possibility that there was a spy within their ranks informing the Titan Shifters of things the humans were planning on doing. This also explains why different groups were told different things before they headed out, such as where Eren was in the formation, so that it could narrow down who was leaking the information.
  • Lotus-Eater Machine: Eren loses control of his Titan form during the Trost counter-offensive, as his consciousness enters a dream-like state of being back home with his family in Zhiganshina. Armin breaks him out of it.
    • Ymir states she was trapped in an "endless nightmare" during her time as a Titan. Bertolt implies this may be the norm for all of them, which leaves absolutely horrifying implications about the true nature of the Titans.
  • Lovecraftian Superpower: Titan shifting.


Tropes A to FManga/Attack on TitanTropes M to R

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