Characters: Attack on Titan: The Survey Corps
Branch of the military in charge of exploring and reclaiming territory lost to the Titans. They are noted to have an exceptionally high mortality rate, with only a 50% chance of surviving their first mission. However, those that become veterans are considered the most skilled soldiers humanity has at its disposal.Back to the main characters index.
Tropes that apply to the Survey Corps as a whole:
- Badass Army: If a recruit manages to survive several missions, it's not luck. They're officially Badass.
- A good example is how Survey Corps members keep going for the Female Titan without hesitation and are willing to give their lives just to slow it down, long after it's known that it is both highly dangerous and impossible to kill. Some call it bravery, some call it suicide, but no one can deny that it takes balls to even consider it.
- Nearly all of the Survey Corps are Badass, not just the named characters. In Episode 9 a no-name soldier gets chewed on by a Titan but instead of pathetically begging for his life he spits defiance and boasts that humanity will wipe them all out and proceeds to stab the Titan in the face as he gets munched on.
- Badass Longcoat: The short cloak variant, colored dark green and embroidered with the Survey Corps emblem for easy identification. These are worn whenever they go beyond the walls; soldiers are shown to still wear their standard brown uniform underneath.
- The Big Guys: Due to the nature of the Survey Corps, they are this in terms of actually fighting and killing Titans. They may suffer heavy losses, but their branch's Titan Kill count completely dwarfs that of the other two branches combined. Unfortunately, they're out on a mission when the Battle of Trost starts, but do appear in Big Damn Heroes fashion once Eren and co. have saved the day and ensure that all of the remaining Titans are swiftly cleared out of Trost. This was almost certainly because Reiner, Annie, and Bertolt waited until the people who were the best at fighting Titans were gone in order to launch their attack.
- Bold Explorer: They know their craft and try their darndest to be this but ultimately a lot of expeditions don't find out enough to justify the sacrifices made. Even when they do, the heavy losses are difficult to swallow and people wonder whether it was worth it.
- Bunny-Ears Lawyer: The elite squad members all have at least one quirk but each has more than ten Titans kills and are the best humanity has to offer. They also collectively agree (wordlessly) to bite their hands hard to apologize for getting extremely close to killing Eren out of panic after he accidentally Titan-shifts. It's fitting, but a bit odd.
- The Cavalry: When the Garrison and Military Police have to Hold the Line, they're usually counting on the Survey Corps to bail them out.note
- The Survey Corps is also the branch most associated with horses, using them for their extensive travel, though they switch to 3D Gear for combat.
- Determinator: They've gone on 57 expeditions and still haven't given up on trying to find out more about the Titans even though it's implied that most (if not all) of these went badly. Their detractors view this as them being stubborn and refusing to admit that they're wasting their time. One young boy gave this as the reason why the Survey Corps is awesome ("They get the crap kicked out of them, and they still fight!") though he's too naive to realize how horrible of a prospect it is to fight on in spite of more and more losses.
- Doing Research: Their job is to learn more about the Titans and to scout out territory beyond the walls.
- Dude, Where's My Respect?: It's mostly unstated, but one of the reasons they aren't too fond of the other branches (Police Brigade especially) is that they get less respect despite doing most of the fighting.
- Dual Wielding: It's standard issue in the military.
- Gondor Calls for Aid: They're on the receiving end when they're called back to help out at Trost by a Garrison messenger.
- Hero with Bad Publicity: They're the branch most active in the war against the Titans but they're not very highly regarded by the rest of the military and even worse with civilians. From their perspective, already hungry people are being taxed to fund a constantly-failing army and good men/women are dying for no gain at all.
- Mauve Shirt: Titans seem to find the Survey Corps members that were recently introduced/characterized especially tasty.
- Redshirt Army: They say their job is not to win, but to die bravely.
- To put this in perspective, the commander bluntly states that about half the recruits will die, and eighty percent of those will be on their very first Survey Corps mission. And this is after the Commander developed a new strategy that decreased casualties by 30% within the whole branch. When Eren initially shows interest in joining the Survey Corps, his mother claims it's little more than suicide, and not without good reason.
- Ragtag Bunch of Misfits: Justified, since most recruits enlist in the other two Branches. Only the most brave, determined, or insane sign up to become Red Shirts.
- Rule of Symbolism: The wings on their crest represent the wings of freedom; fitting, since they spend the most time outside the walls scouting the world for humanity.
- Sacrificial Lion: Plenty of top-notch members are shown to be killed just as the audience thinks that things are going well.
- Science Hero: Goes along with being the branch responsible for researching Titans and new ways to combat them, though much of the science part comes from Hange Zoe. Notable inventions are Commander Erwin's improved travel formation for minimizing casualties and explosion-propelled barbed hooks-on-wires to be used hundreds at a time when Titans need to be taken alive.
- Senseless Sacrifice: Several of their missions end this way. Although, considering the state of humanity, investing human resources in suicide missions in hopes of learning something is better than being holed up and eventually delaying the inevitable.
- Spell My Name with an S: The branch's name: the official translations for the manga, at least, translate it as "The Survey Corps," but it has been alternately translated as "The Recon Corps" as well as "The Scouting Legion."
- The Unfavorite: The Branch held in the lowest regard, with people alternately calling them a waste of resources and a bunch of lunatics and weirdos.
- The Worf Effect: Squads of experienced veterans are regularly killed off by the new biggest threat. Justified since each new discovery throws everyone for a loop that renders their experience and skill moot and they end up dying like anyone else caught off guard.
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"What do you think the enemy is?"
The Commander of the Survey Corps. He is noted for his brilliant and resourceful mind, having created new tactics that greatly reduced losses during operations. However, he has the capacity to be exceptionally ruthless in pursuit of the goal to protect humanity. He uses the recruitment ceremony and subsequent expedition outside the Walls to lure the Titan Shifters infiltrating the military into making a move, and aggressively hunts for them within the Survey Corps.
"The only thing we're allowed to do is to believe that we won't regret the choice we made."
A Captain in the Survey Corps, rumored to be the strongest soldier alive. He has a harsh and unsocial personality, but is well-regarded by his subordinates. He is injured in the aftermath of the first encounter with the Female Titan, and forced onto the sidelines during the subsequent battles.
- The Ace: Widely considered the most skilled warrior among the human forces, and for good reason.
- Asskicking Equals Authority: One does not become Captain of the Special Operations Squad by being an ordinary muppet.
- Badass: The biggest badass in the entire series. He is humanity's strongest soldier, after all.
- Badass Boast: Claims he and he alone can put Titan!Eren down like a dog easily if the situation deems it necessary. Going by the fact that he wrecks the Female Titan, who's even tougher than Titan!Eren, this is definitely no bluff, although it should be noted that she was worn down by the time of their fight.
- Badass Normal: The character databook has his combat skills at 11 out of 10. And he can hold his own against Titan Shifters.
- Badass Baritone: The World's Strongest Man deserves no less.
- Blatant Lies:
Levi: Don't be stupid. I'm always this talkative.
- Bunny-Ears Lawyer: Just like nearly every high-ranked member of the Survey Corps. He regularly shows disrespect to his superiors and has Super OCD as his personal quirk, to the point that any squad assigned to him is liable to do a lot of cleaning outside of expeditions. No one says a thing, since he's the World's Strongest Man.
- Brains and Brawn: The brawn to Hange's brains.
- Broke Your Arm Punching Out Cthulhu: Fractures his ankle shielding Mikasa from the Female Titan's fist. He's still able to use his gear and walk on it, but limps badly and ends up sidelined during the next crisis.
- Brutal Honesty: Says whatever's on his mind when he sees fit, politeness or dangerous circumstances be damned.
- Casual Danger Dialogue: You wouldn't think he realizes he's in a dangerous situation by his flippant comments. When he's engaging 2 Titans without any backup, all he has to say is "You guys make such interesting faces" before proceeding to dispatch them with ease.
- Classy Cravat: Played with. He wears one always, whether he's in dress uniform and attending a military tribunal or in the field cutting down Titan after Titan. He himself, on the other hand, is far from classy, as his coarse speech patterns and blunt snarkiness are quick to remind.
- Cold Equation: In the anime. While being pursued by Titans, Levi orders to abandon the bodies of those who died during the mission so that those who are still alive can escape.
- Curb-Stomp Battle: Delivered this against the Female Titan. Suffice to say, it was no match for him in the slightest.
- Deadpan Snarker: To an absolutely amazing, and occasionally crude, degree.
- "Maybe he's taking a shit and the shit just won't come out."
- Delinquent: He's rumored to have been one before. Eren even expresses surprise that someone so seemingly-cavalier would follow orders from the chain of command.
- Drama-Preserving Handicap: Gets his ankle sprained by the Female Titan and gets subsequently sidelined. As a result the military and the main characters can't just rely on him to deal with each great threat for a while at least. It's likely that the second encounter with the Female Titan would have been *much* shorter if he had been sent after it.
- The Dreaded: To the degree where even the Female Titan is terrified of him when he tells her he wants revenge, after its initial capture.
- Establishing Character Moment: The first time we see him fighting, he's annoyed at having to wipe Titan blood off his hands - being a neat freak and all - and then immediately afterwards, he doesn't hesitate to grasp the bloody hand of a dying subordinate in order to comfort him. A Father to His Men indeed.
- Everything Is Better With Spinning: Most notable in Episode 9 and Episode 22, the latter of which makes it look like a human buzzsaw.
- Expecting Someone Taller: Many people are surprised to see how... vertically challenged the World's Strongest Man is. Considering that he swings in midair with surgical precision, being bigger probably wouldn't help with that.
- Face of a Thug: There's something slightly "off" about his eyes. Possibly justified if the rumors about him being a Reformed Criminal are true. And they are.
- A Father to His Men: The only thing he really cares about are his teammates. He knows that many of them will die but he still despises unnecessary casualties. He's also prone to putting his men before himself, though never before the mission, as he shows in the anime when he gives Dieter Petra's Survey Corps emblem and tells him it was Ivan's. To another nameless soldier that asks if he was of any use to humanity as he dies, he clasps his bloodied hand and says:
You have done a great deal. And you will continue to do so. The resolve you leave behind will give me strength. I promise you... I will obliterate the Titans!"
- Game-Breaking Injury: His injured ankle, which leaves him sidelined and unable to do more than guard Pastor Nick during the crisis with the Wall Rose Titans and later, Eren being kidnapped by Reiner and Bertolt. He expresses his frustration at being useless.
- Gender Neutral Writing: In Japanese, he is prone to using Japanese gender neutral pronouns for pretty much everyone. As an impersonal and rude Japanese speaking style, he uses the pronouns as a form of insulting people and to highlight himself as being a Jerkass. Among those he uses this are his superiors such as Erwin Smith, and other Survey Corps members such as Hange ZoŽ.
- Heel-Face Turn: The first glimpses of his backstory reveals he joined the Survey Corps with the intention of murdering Erwin. He's now Erwin's most loyal subordinate.
- Good Is Not Nice: He fights because he's humanity's most experienced and proficient warrior and because he cares about his men. He also happens to not give a damn about anything else and will tell you this and other truths with all the subtlety of a sledgehammer to the face.
- Hidden Depths: His first two encounters with Eren have him either insulting him or beating him up. And then we find out that it was to protect Eren by ensuring that he wound up with the Survey Corps and not with the Military Police Brigade, who planned on killing and dissecting him. Eren himself realizes and acknowledges this, and holds no ill will towards Levi. He's still gets startled when Levi simply sits down next to him at one point, though. And this is a kid who can turn into a freaking Titan, for crying out loud!
- I Did What I Had to Do: His initial cruelty towards Eren was a large part of what kept him from winding up with people who were dead set on dissecting him. The same goes for initially choosing to not fight back when the Female Titan was chasing down his unit. They were baiting her into a trap that would have allowed them to catch her alive were it not for the fact that she had an ace up her sleeve.
- Ineffectual Loner: Averted. Talented as he may be, he certainly isn't a team player (his Teamwork was rated 2 out of 10 in the guidebook). His style is to kill Titan after Titan by himself without relying on others, even to the point where he can take on the Female Titan solo without a squad backing him up.
- It's Personal: Taking heavy losses is nothing new for the Survey Corps and Levi takes it in stride. Then his own elite squad sent after the Female Titan is annihilated and he's noticeably distraught about it.
- Jerkass Has a Point: Goes with Brutal Honesty: even when he's being an asshat about it he usually is right. During Eren's trial he belittles the merchants for being greedy pigs, rude, yes, but it's true that they care more about their own safety than land to feed the starving refugees.
- Jerk with a Heart of Gold: He is rude, mean and in general unpleasant to be around. But he cares for his men.
- Kick the Dog While It's Down: Beats on Eren pretty hard during his tribunal as part of Erwin's plan to get him into the Survey Corps. He still takes it farther than necessary and belittles him as a dog who needs to be trained. And he had no problem with beating on a chained-up boy, even pausing to note how easy it is to kick someone on their knees before resuming.
- Leitmotif: The second intro theme Jiyu no Tsubasa (Wings of Freedom) is stated to be Levi's theme.
- Lightning Bruiser: Every soldier is a Fragile Speedster, that's a given. He deserves mention as one of these, though, due to not only being scarily fast at manuvering and killing Titans, he's tough enough to take a hit from a human Titan, survive, and still win.
- Motivational Lie: In the anime he takes a break from his trademark Brutal Honesty when his men need him to. During Episode 22, he gives Dieter a Survey Corps emblem, saying it was Dieter's friend's and it proves he was alive even without the body, even though it is implied to have actually belonged to Petra, making it a Tear Jerker to realize Levi's giving up the last shred that remained of his squadmate after her body got dumped too.
- Muscles Are Meaningless: Played with. Quite short for the World's Strongest Man, but surprisingly well-built for his height (not so much in the anime though). Though not particularly bulky, he's way more heavy than a man his size should be, suggesting he has a lot of muscle packed away in his frame. This immense physical strength, coupled with his advantageous size for maneuvering, is probably what makes him so dangerous.
- My God, What Have I Done?: He briefly looks distraught when he comes to terms with evidence that the Titans they have been fighting may once have been people.
- Mysterious Past: Rumors float around about who he is and what he did before joining the military. The prequel mini-series focusing on him intends to delve into his past.
- The Napoleon: Stands at 160cm or 5'3, making him the second shortest male character in the series, only two centimeters taller than Connie.
- Neat Freak: Hates getting blood on him despite spilling plenty of it.
- Nerves of Steel: Titans? Just another day on the job. A hostile Human Titan that freaks everyone else out? Doesn't bat an eye. When he later engages the aforementioned threat, he does it in the same collected demeanor (with a bit of Tranquil Fury) despite knowing just how dangerous it is.
- Nobody Poops: Subverted, when he suggests their commanding officer is taking so long because maybe he's having trouble taking a dump.
- Not So Different: He himself mentions that he and the Female Titan are somewhat alike in their ruthlessly efficient killing methods as he coldly explains exactly how he's going to chop its limbs off (not the Titan's limbs, the human's) and enjoy it.
- Number Two: Erwin's. Erwin is also one of the few people Levi fully respects, although that still doesn't exempt him from Levi's rudeness.
- One-Man Army: Others claim he's as effective by himself as an entire brigade of regular soldiers.
- This claim is proven in his battle with the Female Titan, which he takes on alone and inflicts serious damage, while entire squads of highly skilled soldiers died fighting against it and failed to even injure it.
- Older Than They Look: Levi's appearance is almost as youthful as Eren's. His actual age has not been specified, but Word of God vaguely mentions he is "older than you may think".
- Possibly retconned by the spinoff that shows Levi joining the Survey Corps only a year before the first wall breach. If he's anywhere near Hange's age (who had just joined the Survey Corps herself) he'd only be in his early to mid twenties.
- Only One Name: His last name (if he has one) isn't given.
- Perpetual Frowner: He does not smile.
- Pint-Sized Powerhouse: Despite his midget status, he slays the behemoth-sized antagonists of this series better than anyone else. Him being so short (lower centre of gravity), and having such a well-developed physique (weighs 65 kgs at 5'3") probably has something to do with it.
- Power Trio: He used to be part of one, along with Farlan and Isabel.
- Put On The Bus: He sprains his ankle while saving Mikasa from the Female Titan, while he was able to incapacitate her, rescue Eren, and flee from her before she regenerated, he is left behind to recover and protect Pastor Nick while the rest of the Survey Corp go on the 58th Expedition, thus leaving him out of very important battles in the series and he shows irritation about being injured and left behind.
- Reasonable Authority Figure: He's Badass, cares deeply for his subordinates, isn't afraid to put selfish nobility in their place, and his initial cruelty towards Eren was a farce meant to keep him from getting dissected and ensuring that he wound up with the Survey Corps. All while seeming like an indifferent jackass most of the time.
- Recruiting the Criminal: Erwin originally recruited Levi into the Survey Corps after witnessing his skills with 3DMG as a hoodlum.
- Red Eyes, Take Warning: In episode 22 of the anime, after slicing up the Female Titan's arm, he launches himself at her and his eyes become red for a moment before continuing his attack; take warning indeed.
- Reformed Criminal: Rumored to have been an infamous criminal prior to being recruited by Erwin. This rumor is verified in his Spin-Off.
- Restraining Bolt: He himself is Eren's bolt to ensure he doesn't step too far out of line. Considering how he's being tasked with putting down a Titan Shifter if necessary, it's just a testament to his badassery.
- Reverse Grip: He switches his right-hand blade to this to facilitate his Spin Attack fighting style.
- Roaring Rampage of Revenge: Notably averted. Even though it'd be perfectly understandable for him to try to slay the Female Titan for killing his elite squad, he still keeps a realistic grasp on the situation: the circumstances would likely not let him get a killing blow off and retrieving Eren alive is a more important priority. He does give it one hell of an ass-whooping regardless.
- Shout-Out: Isayama has stated that his name comes from a boy in the documentary Jesus Camp, while his physical model is Rorschach from Watchmen.
- Shrouded in Myth: No one really knows who he was before he joined the Survey Corps.
- Smug Super: Can sometimes seem somewhat arrogant about being humanity's best warrior. With good reason.
- Speedblitz: Does this every time he is fighting. Even Mikasa can't keep up with him.
- Spell My Name with an S: His name is also commonly spelled Rivaille. The French edition writes it LivaÔ.
- Spin Attack: A staple of his fighting style. Taken Up to Eleven and beyond in his fight against the Female Titan. Sonic himself would be impressed.
- The Spock: Completely emotionless during an operation and never loses sight of the objective. He's even more levelheaded than fellow stoic Mikasa who momentarily forgets about the main priority (keep Eren safe) in favor of trying to kill the Female Titan in a fit of rage. Levi has to stop her, secure Eren, then retreat without killing it, lecturing Mikasa about keeping their objectives in mind despite having every right to lose it himself.
- The Stoic: To the point where he doesn't change expression or tone once despite a hostile Human Titan pursuing his squad, something that causes everyone else to freak the hell out.
- Not So Stoic: The closest he gets to showing major emotions is his borderline Tranquil Fury versus the Female Titan, which he has good reason to hate. After the death of his teammates, he's visibly affected when he zips by their dead bodies. Eren even says: "Corporal... Today... You are kind of talkative".
- Upon witnessing Erwin's creepy smile, his face was lined with fear.
- He's also noticeably distraught over the fact that all those Titans he dedicated himself to killing may once have been humans.
- Super OCD: A total neat freak. His first order when they reach the old Survey Corps HQ is that everybody spend the day scrubbing it clean.
- Super Reflexes: In the time it took for a human Titan to turn around and swipe at him, he dodges the attack and spins fast enough to enter buzzsaw mode onto the exposed arm.
- Thousand-Yard Stare: As Levi returns from the mission that the Female Titan sabotaged, Petra's father greets him, wanting to discuss the future of his beloved daughter. Levi's face is completely frozen — he doesn't speak, he doesn't even blink. It's genuinely disturbing.
- Tranquil Fury: He shows so little emotion that basically the only way to tell he's this is the shadowing around his eyes and his tone of voice.
- When talking to the bound Female Titan his tone is rather icy, and it's clear he's at least ticked off talking to the thing that killed his soldiers.
- Later on when he sees that his own squad was killed by the Female Titan his eyes are shadowed almost completely black.
- Finally, when he faces the Female Titan he shows the most emotion he probably ever will while still containing himself, managing to balance this trope and a burning desire for revenge.
- World's Best Warrior/World's Strongest Man: He makes Mikasa look like a plebian Red Shirt.
"I tried fighting the Titans with hatred for decades. Now I want to try looking at them from a different point of view than everyone else."
Leader of the 4th Squad. She is deeply involved in Titan research and regarded as something of an eccentric
as a result. She is badly burned during the battle with the Colossal Titan, and forced to remain behind. When Nick is murdered, she uncovers the first hints of a conspiracy against the Survey Corps, and suspects elements within the Military Police Brigade and government have been aiding the enemy all along.
- Admiring the Abomination: She does not seem to fear Titans in the slightest. In particular, she gives Eren a lot of (mostly unwanted) attention because she's so fascinated with the process of Titan Shifting. Hange's response to seeing Eren transformed for the first time is to rush towards him, arms flailing, begging to be allowed to touch him.
- Ambiguous Gender: Due to looking manly for one questioner in an interview, Isayama was asked what Hange's gender was despite said questioner thinking also that Hange was a woman. Isayama responded by stating that since he'd been asked, he wasn't going to answer. However, Kodansha has officially stated the character is female, and Isayama later drew her wearing female clothing. This isn't the case in the anime, since a less ambiguous design and an obviously female voice make her gender clear.
- Gender Neutral Writing: Confusion has been fueled by Isayama's tendency to use gender-neutral pronouns in his writing.
- Badass Boast: Gets a somewhat creepy one when she's talking to the captured Female Titan for the second time.
Hange: Here, you're too far in to get Titans to devour you like before. But don't worry. I'll be the one devouring you instead. I'll devour all the information we can drag out of you.
- Badass Bookworm: A highly-skilled soldier, but also a brilliant scientist that has been accurate so far in her guesses.
- Beware the Nice Ones: Pastor Nick learns it the hard way.
- Blood Knight: Once upon a time, but eventually realized that fighting the Titans with hate wasn't working and adopted a more...unique approach. She still shows some particularly disturbing glee at the prospect of trapping the Female Titan for the second time- Moblit even lampshades how her giggling and the look in her eyes make her look crazy.
- Boke and Tsukkomi Routine: The guidebook "Outside" refers to her relationship with her assistant, Moblit, as one of these. She's obviously the Boke.
- Brains and Brawn: She's the brains to Levi's brawn, though Hange is a pretty lethal fighter herself.
- Brainy Brunette
- Bunny-Ears Lawyer: A skilled fighter, but also... quirky. She is always eager to be around Titans, seemingly unmindful of how dangerous they are.
- Casual Danger Dialogue: "Whoa, that was dangerous!"
- Cleopatra Nose: Her nose is big, and it is awesome.
- Cloud Cuckoolander: She's eccentric but still grounded in reality most of the time ... except when she's doing her experiments. Then she needs several assistants that keep her from getting chomped on as obliviously gets too close to her test subjects. This gets lampshaded by Levi as the Survey Corps is about to embark on their 56th Expedition:
Hange: (excitedly) The Titans are right outside... what kind of Titan are we going to see this time?! It would be so great if we saw an Aberrant!~
Levi: *puts his hand on her head and brings her to face him* Right here.
- Creepy Good: She's highly important to the war effort and well-intentioned but the way she creeps everyone out is played for laughs. Except when she gets genuinely creepy, particularly with the first and especially the second encounter with the Female Titan.
- The Cuckoolander Was Right: Remember how anguished she was about having to torture Sawney and Bean For Science!? Fast forward about thirty chapters, it is revealed that Titans are actually innocent humans unwittingly transformed into man-eating giants. Suffice to say, she isn't too pleased about this.
- Establishing Character Moment: In the anime, fawning over a Titan then swiftly killing it once it gets too close.
- Everyone Has Standards: Is horrified when she learns that the Titans she was experimenting on were once Human
- Exact Words: During her Establishing Character Moment, she promises the Titan she's admiring that she won't hurt him. Once it tries to attack her, she kills it one blow, saying to it "See? That didn't hurt at all, now did it?".
- Fluffy Tamer: Well, she's got the mind for it, but Titans have proven to be quite the problem children.
- For Science!: She's willing to stick her head in a Titan's mouth for this very reason.
- Forgets To Sleep: Research is always top priority to Hange, as Eren finds out.
- Genki Girl: An adult example. Becomes particularly apparent when you get her talking about her favourite subject, Titans.
- The Glasses Come Off: We've seen her without her glasses exactly twice, and both of these times are the only instances when her eccentric personality collapses and shows the cold professional mind underneath. The first was when she performed a High-Altitude Interrogation on Pastor Nick and the second is when, after she was wounded in battle with Reiner and Bertholt, she crawls to where her teammates are discussing strategy and accurately predicts the location of the enemy.
- Good Is Not Soft: She is generally a polite, funny, kind person. But any senior officer in the Survey Corps is not someone to make angry, as Pastor Nick learns the hard way.
- Heroic Resolve: She is wounded after the fight against Reiner and Bert but even with her wound she crawled to help her teammates and succeeded to predict the location of the two traitors.
- Hidden Depths: Don't let her funny and quirky persona fool you, she's quite capable of sitting down and talking earnestly about the Titans as the threats they are as well as showing some genuine creepiness with her obsessions. These three states are not mutually exclusive.
- High-Altitude Interrogation: When questioning Pastor Nick about the Titan found inside the wall.
- In-Series Nickname: Levi calls her "Kuso megane"note
- Jump Scare: The way she suddenly slams her face and hands into Eren's jail cell bars freaks out both Eren and likely the audience too.
- Mad Scientist: Her Titan obsession may be extremely useful to the war effort, but it freaks everyone out.
- Messy Hair: Doesn't bother to keep her hair tidy. The androgynous way it's drawn in the manga further fueled the Ambiguous Gender issue.
- Motor Mouth: She talked from dusk to daybreak non-stop about all her research to poor Eren. About things he already knew, no less.
- My God, What Have I Done?: Her expression, upon realizing that Titans are human. The silent, three-panel reaction takes her from merely uncomfortable, to horrified realization, to grim acceptance.
- The Nicknamer: She gives a name to any Titans they capture.
- Nightmare Fetishist: Has a noticeably unhealthy fascination with Titans. When she's naming captured Titans she talks about Real Life cannibals a bit too eagerly (and in enough detail to make the others feel sick).
- Obfuscating Stupidity: As soon as she pieces together that Pastor Nick was likely tortured then killed by the Military Brigade Police, she gives up trying to press the presiding MP for details and immediately pretends the aforementioned person is her friend, feigning ignorance of everything she knows about him in order to not draw any further attention to herself.
- Older Than They Look: During the discussion of her research with Eren she casually mentions that she has fought Titans for decades before she became the Science Hero she is today.
- Plucky Comic Relief: Initially, though as time goes on we're reminded just why she is a Squad Leader and senior officer in the Survey Corps.
- The Pollyanna: Subverted then played straight. She hated Titans with a burning passion but is now able to talk about them enthusiastically.
- Say My Name: Played for laughs when Sawney and Bean are murdered.
- Scary Shiny Glasses: One shot in the second intro frames her like this. Considering how this is right before the shot of the exploding barrels and how both actually happen during the second Female Titan encounter, there is good reason to be afraid of her.
- Science Hero: Basically all knowledge about Titans past "they eat people" came from Zoe's experiments. She's also looking for new ways to subdue or even communicate with Titans, although the second goal has had nonexistent progress.
- Sherlock Scan: Able to deduce how Pastor was murdered and who murdered him, from a quick glance and briefly holding the hands of one of his murderers while pretending to be a grieving friend.
- Shout-Out: She names her test subjects after real life cannibals, even telling the legend of Sawney Bean before naming her newest test subjects. The previous two were named Albert and Chikatoni.
- Slasher Smile: Sports one in the second opening◊ while covered in blood.
- Smart People Wear Glasses
- Spell My Name with an S: Crunchyroll spells her name as Hanji, while Funimation uses Hanzi. And for some reason, Kondansha USA spells her name as ZoŽ Hange even though her name is actually Hange ZoŽ.
- Squee!: It takes a very special kind of Nightmare Fetishist to have this reaction to encountering abnormal Titans or a partially-formed Human Titan arm rather than horror or fear.
- Tomboyish Ponytail
- Too Dumb to Live: Discussed, as people are amazed that she survives considering how she behaves around her precious test subjects. (Hint: That would be the job of Moblit who's always yanking her out of the way and complaining about how unsafe her experiments are.)
- You Won't Feel a Thing: Cheerfully promises Titans this before killing them. Hange's adoration is not always a good thing.
"We will have lost only the moment humans give up fighting."
A highly regarded officer, considered second only to Levi in terms of strength. He has an unusually sensitive nose, allowing him to detect the stench of Titans over a distance. He's placed in charge of guarding and observing the new recruits suspected of being The Mole. However, during the attack within Wall Rose, he goes off alone to buy the others time and ends up being killed after encountering the Beast Titan.
- An Arm and a Leg: His leg is partially severed when a Titan bites him, and it dangles at an unnatural angle afterwards.
- Badass: Mike is one of humanity's best fighters. He utterly destroys the Titans inside of Wall Rose until the Beast Titan takes his gear from him, leaving him to die.
- Break the Badass: Mike, one of the Survey Corps' best leaders and a hardened veteran, is scared speechless when he is cornered by the Beast Titan.
- Bunny-Ears Lawyer: He greets people by sniffing them, something people tolerate because he's an exceptional soldier.
- Chekhov's Skill: His finely attuned nose is mentioned when he's introduced by sniffing Eren out of the blue. It comes up later when it is revealed his sense of smell is strong enough to detect incoming Titans from great distances.
- Cleopatra Nose
- A Death in the Limelight: He's been in the background as one of the major officers, but suddenly gets serious focus and significant Character Development just in time for him to encounter the Beast Titan and die horribly.
- Deer in the Headlights: When the Beast Titan speaks to him, he's so shocked and terrified he cannot move or speak.
- Do Not Go Gentle: States that humanity has not truly lost until they stop fighting.
- Face Death with Dignity: After the Beast Titan takes his gear from him, Mike recalls his earlier statement that humanity's defeat is not certain as long as they keep on fighting, and then raises his blade with a determined glare. Which is promptly subverted when he is overwhelmed with terror as the Titans charge at him from every direction and he dies weeping hysterically and pleading for his life.
- A Father to His Men: A capable and inspiring leader, perfectly willing to make himself a decoy to ensure the escape of those under his command.
- Forgotten Fallen Friend: Seriously, has he been so much as mentioned since he's died?
- Hidden Depths: He's weird but he's noted to be rather perceptive of the true goal of Erwin's plans (though not as bright as the man himself).
- The Nose Knows: Is said to have a nose so sensitive that it can track Titans further than human sight.
- Rousing Speech: Gives a brief one to shake Nanaba out of despair, stating that humanity will only lose once they give up and stop fighting.
- Super Senses: His sense of smell is so keen he can tell which direction Titans are coming from even when the sound of them drowns out trying to tell the same information by hearing.
- We Hardly Knew Ye: Introduced as one of the strongest members within the Survey Corps, but dies shortly after his introduction and without having accomplished much on screen.
Special Operations Squad
Levi's handpicked elite squad, composed of Petra Ral, Eld Jinn, Oluo Bozado and Gunther Schultz. When the Survey Corps is given custody of Eren, Levi charges them with keeping him in check.
- Attack Pattern Alpha: Petra, Eld, and Oluo perform one to gradually cripple the Female Titan.
- Badass Crew: They have a total kill count of over two hundred Titans. Petra, Eld and Oluo do extremely well against the Female Titan, who had, until then, destroyed anyone who tried to attack her with little effort. Unfortunately, she heals from one of her injuries sooner than anticipated, which ends up being more than enough for her to turn the tables on them.
- Changing of the Guard: The remaining members of the 104th Trainee Corps' Top 10 eventually form the new Squad Levi.
- Dies Wide Open: All of them, and the anime never lets you forget it.
- Four Is Death: The squad consists of four, skilled and tested soldiers, hand-picked by Levi.
- The Gwen Stacy: Eren blames himself for their deaths. In the anime, remembering what the Female Titan did to them is enough motivation for him to get up and fight her again.
- Hero Secret Service: Their job is not only to guard Eren on missions, but also, if necessary, to kill him.
- Sacrificial Lion: The entire squad is killed in battle by the Female Titan as icing on the cake as to how deadly she is.
- Self Harm: After initially having difficulty trusting Eren, they show their willingness to have faith in him by biting down on their own hands, mimicking the technique Eren always puts himself through.
- The Squad: With Petra serving as The Squadette.
- True Companions: They are very devoted to each other. This makes them very effective in battle, able to perform deadly, synchronized attacks without even speaking because of the strong bond between them. The squad is still composed of True Companions as the top 10 104th Trainees take over, and Eren despairs to see the stark resemblances between the first and second groups as both goof off in the middle of doing Levi's cleaning.
Voiced by: Natsuki Aikawa (JP)
A member of Levi's squad, she is kind-hearted and devoted to her comrades. When Eren joins them, she takes him under her wing and encourages him to place his trust in his new comrades. She is killed in battle by the Female Titan.
- Action Girl: Despite being the smallest and one of the youngest of the squad, with 10 solo Titan kills and 48 kills as a team, Petra has taken part in the most Titan killings in the elite squad, barring Levi of course.
- Adaptation Dye-Job: Manga illustrations give her light blond hair and blue eyes, while the anime gives her hair a slightly reddish tone (and eyes to match.
- Badass Adorable: Look at her face and try to deny it.
- Bring My Brown Pants: Eld reveals that she cried and pissed herself on the first mission. Cue Freak Out.
- Cool Big Sis: She teaches Eren a lot about the life in the Survey Corps and is genuinely nice to him.
- Cruel and Unusual Death: Annie leaps across a clearing and crushes her against a tree with her foot.
- Curtains Match the Window: In the anime. She is blond and blue-eyed in the manga.
- Daddy's Girl: She writes frequently to her father, and has a very close relationship with him. He comes to greet the soldiers returning from the expedition, and talks to Levi about how he believes she is too young to marry, unaware that his daughter had been killed.
- Despair Event Horizon: Her death was avoidable, but she was completely shocked and in despair from Eld's sudden death.
- Dies Wide Open
- Due to the Dead: Averted in the anime. Petra's body, among many others, is abandoned so that the surviving Survey Corps may escape from pursuing Titans.
- The Heart: Knows her teammates better than anyone and helps Eren integrate with them (and their oddness).
- Implied Love Interest: The letters she sent to her father reveal she intended to "devote herself" to Levi, and she used phrasing that implies romantic feelings. Her father briefly speaks to Levi about this, expressing that his daughter is too young for marriage. Levi's feelings are left completely unknown.
- The Knights Who Say Squee: She's pretty obviously a huge fan of Levi. See Implied Love Interest.
- Nice Girl: The guidebook gives her a 10/10 in Kindness, and it shows.
- Only Sane Woman: She's the first member of the Survey Corps to be introduced that doesn't have an obvious quirk or weird habit (besides Erwin).
- The Power Of Trust: She requests that Eren place his trust entirely into his comrades. Horribly subverted, as this results in Annie murdering the entire squad while pursuing Eren. He later blames himself for their deaths, and his own failure to act sooner.
- Redheaded Hero: In the anime.
- Retirony: The variant where her father wants her to retire from soldiering to start a family.
- The Squadette: Only female in Squad Levi.
- Team Mom
- Trampled Under Foot
Voiced By: Shinji Kawada
A member of the Special Operations Squad, handpicked by Levi. He seems like a comical and incompetent man, but is actually an exceptional soldier with an incredibly high kill count. He is killed in battle by the Female Titan.
- Arrogant Kung-Fu Guy: Though he doesn't go around challenging people, he's kind of obnoxious and annoying regardless. Then we see that he really can back his bragging up.
- Beware the Silly Ones: Silly he might be, but he is actually the best out of Levi's Special Operations Squad when it comes to taking out Titans solo.
- Big Ego, Hidden Depths: Despite his arrogance, Oluo greatly respects Levi and is quite attached to his teammates.
- Bunny-Ears Lawyer
- Butt Monkey: All throughout the OVA. Oluo starts off acting like a jerk as usual, but is immediately manhandled by Hange in retaliation. Then he needs rescuing from a Titan, sobbing hysterically the entire time, and finally gets manhandled by Hange once again in the end.
- Crouching Moron, Hidden Badass: He's loud, obnoxious, and kind of pathetic most of the time. He's also got 39 solo Titan kills to his record, while most of the Special Operations Squad's kills are as part of a team.
- Despair Event Horizon: Watching Petra die at the han-... feet of the Female Titan was too much for him and he charged blindly to his death.
- Dies Wide Open
- Irritation Is the Sincerest Form of Flattery: He tries to copy Levi's look and speaking style, much to Petra's constant annoyance.
- Jerk with a Heart of Gold: He can be quite rude and insolent, but he'll apologize if he realizes he's crossed the line.
- Massive Numbered Siblings: A montage in the anime reveals he has five younger siblings at home, all under recruitment age.
- Miles Gloriosus: Subverted. He's an obnoxious and loud-mouthed jerk that gives Eren a hard time, so it's easy to think he's all talk. He's not.
- Running Gag: He tends to bite his tongue whenever he attempts to talk and ride at the same time.
- Senseless Sacrifice: His death borders on this. He had a chance to escape after the Female Titan wiped out his squad, but despite seeing the multiple failures this has brought about, goes right for the Female Titan's neck, no fancy tactics, no team work, just heads for and fails completely, not even slowing down the Female Titan.
- Smug Super: The most boastful soldier in the series about his abilities, though with dozens and dozens of solo Titan kills he can get away with it.
- Spell My Name with an S: "Auruo Bossard"
- Wrecked Weapon: His swords are broken when he slashes in vain against the Female Titan's hardened neck. Left in shock of his adversary's defenses, Oluo is quickly killed a moment later.
- Younger Than They Look: Despite his design, he's in his late teens, only a couple years older than the main cast even though he could pass for being in his thirties.
Voiced By: Susumu Chiba
A member of the Special Operations Squad, handpicked by Levi to guard Eren. He is killed in battle by the Female Titan.
Voiced By: Kouzou Mito
A member of the Special Operations Squad, handpicked by Levi to guard Eren. He is killed in battle by the Female Titan.
- Dies Wide Open
- Not so Above It All: While escorting Eren through dangerous territory, he criticizes the group for lightheartedly talking about whether they urinated themselves or not during their first scouting missions... but then clarifies, "By the way, Eren, I didn't piss myself either!"
- Off with His Head!: He's almost completely decapitated by Annie, in a sick parody of how the humans kill Titans.
- Sacrificial Lion: First of Squad Levi to get killed by the Female Titan. Just in case the audience didn't get the message that being Badass and a named character doesn't ensure survival.
Mike's squad, charged with guarding the new recruits in the Breach arc.
Voiced By: Asami Shimoda
An experienced and capable soldier, charged with guarding members of the new recruits from the 104th. Dies during the night battle at Castle Utgard, after running out of gas.
- Ambiguous Gender: Short hair and strong features, but appears to have a modest bust and in the anime has an obviously female voice.
- Badass: Kills a lot of Titans together with her comrades while defending the trainees at Castle Utgard, and they might have even killed all Titans by themselves if the Beast Titan hadn't started hurling pieces of the Wall at them, killing Rene and Henning in the process. Even then she and Gerger keep on fighting until their gas runs out.
- Boyish Short Hair
- Cruel and Unusual Death: Torn to pieces by a group of Titans, while still alive and screaming.
- Eaten Alive
- Heroic Resolve: The official guidebook gives her a ranking of 11/10 in "Resolve".
- Japanese Pronouns: "Watashi".
- Senseless Sacrifice: She madly charges down a tower to save Gerger when he falls down due to a head wound and gets grabbed by a Titan. She kills it, which unfortunately causes her to run out of gas and get devoured subsequently. To make it worse, Gerger died anyway.
An experienced and capable soldier, charged with guarding members of the new recruits from the 104th. She is eventually killed when the Beast Titan hurls pieces of the Wall at Castle Utgard.
- Badass: She and her comrades kill many Titans while defending the trainees in their care. They might have even killed all Titans by themselves if the Beast Titan hadn't started hurling pieces of the Wall at them, killing her and Henning in the process.
- Cleopatra Nose
- Team Mom: She expresses great concern for the welfare of the trainees in her care.
- Tomboyish Ponytail
An experienced and capable soldier, charged with guarding members of the new recruits from the 104th. He is killed during the night attack on Castle Utgard, after running out of gas.
- The Alcoholic: He sure loves to drink, and is thrilled when he discovers an unopened bottle of wine.
- Badass: Kills a lot of Titans together with his comrades while defending the trainees at Castle Utgard, and they might have even killed them all if the Beast Titan hadn't started hurling pieces of the Wall at them, killing Rene and Henning in the process. Even then he and Nanaba keep on fighting until their gas runs out.
- Delinquent Hair: His pompadour is one of the few examples of a soldier that bothers with styled hair.
- Eaten Alive
- One Last Drink: He's delighted when he discovers an unopened bottle of wine, and plans to drink it later. Subverted. When he's wounded and about to die, he finds the bottle again. He's glad to get to have a drink before he dies... only to discover that it's empty. He completely breaks down, demanding to know who drank it. (It was used to treat Reiner's wound earlier.)
- Skewed Priorities: As he is grasped by a Titan, about to be eaten, Gerger spends his final moments flipping out when he discovers he can't even have a last drink before dying.
- Team Dad: Expresses concern for the trainess in his care, as shown when he wants to spare Connie the thought of his family having died, after he realizes that something is seriously off about Connie's hometown's fate and that they couldn't have gotten far without horses anyway.
An experienced and capable soldier, charged with guarding members of the new recruits from the 104th. He is eventually killed when the Beast Titan hurls pieces of the Wall at Castle Utgard.
- Badass: He and his comrades kill many Titans while defending the trainees in their care. They might have even killed all Titans by themselves if the Beast Titan hadn't started hurling pieces of the Wall at them, killing him and Rene in the process.
- Flat "What.": His reaction to pieces of the Wall being hurled at them from the Beast Titan. Also his last words.
Voiced By: Koichi Sakaguchi
The initial Squad Leader for the new recruits, and later Armin's squad leader during the 57th expedition. He is a kind-hearted man, and has a strong bond with his personal horse, Shallot. He is among the Female Titan's first victims.
- Badass: Fighting Titans on flat, open ground is exceptionally dangerous. He shows how it's done, taking down an Aberrant with incredible skill and style.
- A Father to His Men: He's genuinely kind to the rookies, and takes every possible action to ensure that they remain safe during their first mission.
- Horsing Around: He mentions that his horse Shallot tends to chew on people's hair. This is quickly revealed to be why he always wears a handkerchief, as he is balding.
- Perma Stubble
- Prematurely Bald: Due to his horse chewing on his hair, supposedly.
- Sacrificial Lamb: Ness, introduced as a likable and kindhearted character, is quickly one of the first to be killed by the Female Titan.
Voiced by: Rintarou Nishi (JP)
Deputy Squad Leader of the 4th Squad. He often acts as Hange's research assistant and struggles to keep her out of harm's way. He gets badly injured during the battle with the Colossal Titan, and forced to remain behind.
Voiced By: Sachi Kokuryu
A member of the 34th expedition, and the last survivor of her unit. Her notebook
of her experiences with the Survey Corps were found after her death.
Voiced By: Yoshihito Sasaki (JP)
A soldier taking part in the 57th Expedition. His desperation to reclaim the body of his fallen friend places the formation in danger.
- Canon Foreigner: An anime-only character.
- The McCoy: Dieter represents the Survey Corps' humanity and the harm that having a conscience can bring.
- No Good Deed Goes Unpunished: He just wanted to get his friend's body back. Sufficed to say, he (and everyone else) pays dearly for it.
- Shaggy Dog Story: After risking everything to reclaim his friend's body, he not only loses it... but gets his other friend killed and forces the dumping of all the other recovered bodies in the process.
- Strawman Emotional: His subplot in episode 22 proves how dangerous soldiers who prioritize emotion can be.
- Tears of Remorse: Dieter can be seen curled up in a Troubled Fetal Position and sobbing after the whole fiasco, and it's easy to understand why.
- Thousand-Yard Stare: Has a major one after the incident that he caused. Levi sees it and doesn't chew him out for disobeying orders, seeing how he's clearly learnt his lesson and doesn't need to be broken any further.
- Too Dumb to Live: He gets his friend killed, and very narrowly escapes the same fate thanks to Mikasa.
- Tragic Keepsake: Dieter is given a Survey Corps patch, which Levi claims came from his deceased friend Ivan. However, it's implied that Levi gives him Petra's badge he himself took from her uniform earlier.
- What the Hell, Hero?: Expresses horror at Erwin and Levi's willingness to simply abandon the bodies of their comrades.