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.Main Character Index
| 104th Trainee Corps
| Military Police
| Before The FallWARNING: Unmarked spoilers abound.
Beware if you are not up to date with the manga.
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.
- Cool Horse: Bonus material reveals that a unique stock of horses are purpose-bred to be used by them, and are each worth more than the average citizen will make in a lifetime. Their top speed is 75 - 80 km/h (47 - 50 mph), and they are the only means to escape Titans when outside the Walls and in open areas. They are specifically bred to have exceptional stamina and strength, as well as Nerves of Steel so that they do not spook when encountering Titans or when riders activate their gear while in the saddle.
- 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.
- Exact Words: The oath that the military gives (with the fist-over-heart salute) is that they offer their beating hearts for the sake of humanity. This comes up later on, specifically the part about swearing to humanity, not the King or royal family.
- 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.
- La Rťsistance: Long an organization that has run opposed to the general current of society, they've been accused of trying to challenge the government more than once. It comes to a head when Erwin declares his intentions to overthrow the government.
- 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.
- Shell-Shocked Veteran: Veteran officers are all noted to be a bit...strange, and quickly become numb to the horror of the Titans.
- 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.
- Zerg Rush: Prior to Erwin's tenure as Commander, the Survey Corp's tactics for dealing with Titans were basically "distract it with a decoy group then throw men at it from all directions". The Action Prologue shows them getting ready for this and later on it's revealed that it went very, very badly. Erwin's Survey Corps follows his system of avoiding combat with Titans if at all possible while travelling and engaging them with squad-based tactics, which proves to be more effective.
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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. Once his injuries have sufficiently healed, he is placed in charge of protecting Eren once more and forms a new Special Operations Squad to assist him.
- The Ace: Widely considered the most skilled warrior among the human forces, and for good reason.
- Anti-Hero: He calls himself an "aberrant human" because how un-normal life in the criminal underground has made him, including his standards of what's acceptable and what's not. He still intends to do everything in humanity's name, saying he'll soil his hands if it means that everyone else doesn't have to.
- 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.
- Beneath the Mask: He comes across as cold, harsh, and even cruel towards others. However, occasional glimpses beneath his hard exterior reveal he's a much kinder person than he'd like to admit. Some of this is likely intentional, due to his role as a Squad Leader and Humanity's Strongest.
- Blatant Lies:
Levi: Don't be stupid. I'm always this talkative.
- Blond Brunette Redhead: The brunette to Isabel's redhead and Farlan's blond in the prequel, as °Three Amigos!. In the story proper, he's the brunet to Erwin's blond and Hange's reddish-brown, as the most prominent Survey Corps members.
- 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.
- Breakout Character: His character is so popular that he got his own spinoff manga with him as the main character.
- 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, he simply mocks their appearances before proceeding to dispatch them with ease.
- Character Development: In Gaiden, Levi initially only cared about himself, Farlan, and Isabel. After Farlan and Isabel both die due to his pride, Levi began caring about others, becoming A Father to His Men and not wanting to lose any more people that he cares about.
- Character Tic: His unusual way of drinking tea. He prefers to grasp the top of the cup, rather than the handle.
- 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-Blooded Torture/Jack Bauer Interrogation Technique: He suggests to the Female Titan that he enjoys torturing his enemies. It seems to be true, when he helps Hange torture the captured officers from the Central branch. He takes an active role in Sanes' interrogation, beating him to a bloody pulp.
- 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.
- Dark and Troubled Past: He was a thug living in the underground slums before joining the Survey Corps. Levi's past is painted red with death and hardship. He also has some sort of connection to Captain Ackerman, who is currently searching for a certain Levi Ackerman and claiming to have trained him.
- 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; it turns out that 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!"
- Fire-Forged Friends: With Hange. In the spinoff "A Choice With no Regrets" Levi wants nothing to do with Hange when they first meet. The current manga shows they share a close bond, as Zoe is seen teasing him when they are first introduced in the manga.
- 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.
- Genre Savvy: He has had some correct hunches about unsavory types of people, probably from his own experience in the criminal underworld. Case in point, he suggests that there are two types of people: the "talkative" kind that give into interrogation quickly and the "non-talkative" kind who refuse to spill even after losing everything. It's implied he was correct about Pastor Nick being the kind who would rather die than give up his secrets based on seeing all his nails torn off on his corpse.
- 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.
- In general he cares about his soldiers' well-being and hates unnecessary losses. It's hard to tell this at first glance, seeing how dismissive he is of everyone and how he callously insults them constantly.
- 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.
- Hidden Depths: Petra mentions to Eren that people are often surprised when they actually meet Levi, who is not what people expected. His crude way of speaking, harsh attitude, and obsession with cleanliness throw people off, almost as much as the glimpses of his kind heart underneath a layer of sour attitude.
- 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.
- He later justifies his more callous actions (such as brutally beating Sanes for information and cruelly telling Historia to either go through with their plan or leave) as being necessary to save humanity; if he's the only one who has to dirty his hands, then all the better.
- Ineffectual Loner: Averted. Levi clearly prefers to do things on his own (his Teamwork is rated 2/10 in the guidebook), but he still manages to make a difference even as a lone wolf. His style is to kill Titan after Titan by himself without relying on others, and can even take on the Female Titan solo without a squad backing him up. This shows the amount of confidence he has in his own skills, knowing he can get the job done alone and not wanting others to be put at risk.
- It's Personal: Taking heavy losses is nothing new for the Survey Corps and Levi takes it in stride, but when 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.
- Leaning on the Fourth Wall: "You all have such interesting faces..."
- Leitmotif: The second intro theme, Jiyuu 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.
- Mildly Military: The result of a former criminal entering the Survey Corps under loyalty to Erwin. Levi frequently disrespects those around him (both superiors and subordinates), eschews teamwork in favor of fighting by himself, uses a Reverse Grip Spin Attack style that his contemporaries detest, and in general does things his own way. He gets away with it all likely because of him being a Bunny-Ears Lawyer supreme at killing Titans.
- 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. 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.
- Has another moment in Gaiden, after realizing that his pride blinded him and led to Farlan and Isabel's deaths.
- 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: Obsessed with cleanliness, requiring his squad to clean their new headquarters and even pausing in the middle of battle to clean evaporating Titan blood off his sword handle.
- 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.
- No Social Skills: People are... not Levi's strong suit.
- 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.
- Older Than He Looks: 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".
- 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.
- Only One Name: Played straight, right until chapter 56 where it is revealed to be Ackerman.
- 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. He's also a capable brawler and can throw around opponents twice his size.
- Put On The Bus: He breaks 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.
- The Reveal: Levi's last name is revealed in Chapter 56, his full name being Levi Ackerman. Additionally, it's revealed that the man who killed Historia's mother raised him.
- 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. Both Rorschach and Levi are men of below-average height who are nonetheless incredible fighters. Levi also wears a white scarf just like Rorschach.
- Shrouded in Myth: No one really knows who he was before he joined the Survey Corps.
- Single-Stroke Battle: Most of his on-screen kills are done very quickly and take only one attempt. The lone exception is the Female Titan, which required a considerable amount of wearing down through rapid strikes to even get close to defeating it.
- Sir Swears-a-Lot: Peppers his speech with curses and insults, though to a slightly lesser degree in the anime.
- Smug Super: Levi freely taunts and insults Titans during battle, knowing full well how powerful he personally is.
- 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.
- Spot of Tea: Often seen casually sipping a cup of tea when there's no action going on. This plus his Classy Cravat contrast strongly with how un-sophisticated his attitude and speech are.
- 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 mentions, "Corporal... Today... You are kind of talkative".
- He was extremely concerned upon witnessing Erwin's creepy smile.
- He's also quite troubled when he learned 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 Titan Shifter to turn around and swipe at him, he dodges the attack and spins fast enough to enter buzzsaw mode onto the exposed arm.
- Throwing Your Swords Always Works: A few times he can be seen making use of dulled blades (that would otherwise be discarded) by whipping them into the eyes of Titans.
- 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.
- °Three Amigos!: Once formed a trio with Isabel Magnolia and Farlan Church.
- Toilet Humor: Dabbles in this rather frequently.
- Trademark Favorite Food: Tea. Even when gathering allies for Erwin's revolution, he does what he can to ensure a steady supply of the stuff for the Survey Corps.
- 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.
- True Companions: Levi gains an assortment of companions over the course of his life, but none of their tales seem to end happily. First Isabel and Farlan, and years later, the Special Operation Squad all die on expeditions.
- Untouchable Until Tagged: Levi can blitz around and kill Titan after Titan without even coming close to being harmed, making it seem like he's invincible. Once he sprains his ankle fighting the Female Titan, though, the audience is reminded that even Levi is only human and even a seemingly minor injury will still put him out of commission.
- What Measure Is a Non-Human?: Levi only really cares about his fellow soldiers. On the other hand, to Hange's frustration, Levi sees Titans as nothing more than monsters that should be dispatched as soon as possible. It is because of this attitude that Levi is deeply shaken when he learns of what Titans really are.
- 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. Deeply involved in Titan research and regarded as something of an eccentric
as a result. Hange is given the responsibility of studying Eren's Titan powers, as well as creating a suitable trap for the mission outside the Walls. Later entrusted with supervising Pastor Nick, the two form an unlikely respect for each other.
- Admiring the Abomination: Does not seem to fear Titans in the slightest. Gives Eren a lot of (mostly unwanted) attention in order to learn more about the 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: Word of God is that "either [pronoun] is fine", giving fans carte blanche to decide Hange's biological sex and gender identity for themselves. The anime portrays Hange as physically feminine, but similarly avoids giving any indications through Gender Neutral Writing.
- Apologetic Attacker: Did this to a titan in the Ilse OVA.
- Badass Boast: Gave a somewhat creepy one to the Female Titan in Stohess District.
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 whose theories regarding the Titans came true.
- Beneath the Mask/Hidden Depths: Hange has intentionally built a cheerful, quirky persona up to hide a more ruthless and brilliant nature. During their discussion about Titan research, Hange admits to Eren having been a much different person in the past — glimpses of Hange's old ways emerge when particularly angry.
- Beware the Nice Ones: Pastor Nick learns it the hard way.
- Blatant Lies: "There were cockroaches."
- Blood Knight: Once upon a time, but eventually realized that fighting the Titans with hate wasn't working and adopted a more...unique approach. But still shows some particularly disturbing glee at the prospect of trapping the Female Titan for the second time- Moblit even lampshades how crazy Hange looked during that incident.
- Boke and Tsukkomi Routine: The guidebook "Outside" describes the harried assistant Moblit as the tsukkomi to Hange's boke.
- Brains and Brawn: The brains to Levi's brawn, though Hange is also a pretty lethal fighter.
- Brainy Brunette: Not just a highly competent Titan scientist, but also a military strategist who've we've seen commanding multiple squads in additional to Hange's own squad. Also possesses high deductive capabilities, shown when piecing together clues (with help from Connie) that the Wall Rose Titans used to be humans and when figuring out very quickly what must have happened to Pastor Nick just from a few glances of the crime scene.
- Bunny-Ears Lawyer: A skilled fighter, but also... quirky. Always too eager to be around Titans, seemingly unmindful of how dangerous they are.
- Casual Danger Dialogue: "Whoa, that was close!"
- Cleopatra Nose: Has a big nose, and it is awesome.
- Cloud Cuckoolander: Eccentric but still grounded in reality most of the time ... except when experimenting. Also needs several assistants to avoid from getting chomped on when getting too close to the 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: *makes Hange face him* Right here.
- Cold-Blooded Torture/Jack Bauer Interrogation Technique: Tortures Djel Sanes and his comrade for information, with Levi's assistance.
- Mutilation Interrogation: Hange presents Sanes with a whole tray of his own fingernails. Sanes' comrade, on the other hand, only lasted one fingernail before breaking.
- Creepy Good: Highly important to the war effort and well-intentioned, but creeps everyone out, which is played for laughs. Except when Hange gets genuinely creepy, particularly with the first and especially the second encounter with the Female Titan.
- The Cuckoolander Was Right: Remember how anguished Hange was about having to torture Sawney and Bean For Science! and how weirdly everyone regarded anyone showing sympathy to the Titans and trying to communicate with them? Fast forward about thirty chapters, it is revealed that Titans are actually innocent humans unwittingly transformed into man-eating giants. Hange's reaction to this development is suitably unhappy.
- A Day in the Limelight: The anime OVA, ''Ilse's Notebook," focuses heavily on Hange's character.
- Death Notification: Does this on behalf of Ilse, whose parents hoped that she was still alive even though "MIA" means "most likely eaten" in this setting.
- Dirty Business: Hange will stab Titan subjects for the sake of research, and will torture people if it gets answers. However, that doesn't mean Hange has to like it.
- Doing Research: Unlike most Survey Corps members who are busy fighting for their lives, Hange's main priority during missions is to gather information on the Titans (maybe capture one for experimentation), as well as implement experimental Survey Corps weapons and make notes on their efficacy so as to make improvements, such as the explosive-propelled hooked wires used en masse to capture Titans alive.
- Does Not Know His Own Strength: Played for laughs in the Ilse OVA, where Auruo suffers as a result of this. Hange does apologize afterwards though.
- Establishing Character Moment: In the anime, fawning over a Titan then swiftly killing it once it gets too close.
- Everyone Has Standards: Horrified when it's revealed that the titans, considered experimental test subjects, were once human.
- Exact Words: See Establishing Character Moment. Hange promises the Titan, "I won't hurt you." Once it tries to attack, Hange kills it in one blow, telling it "See? That didn't hurt at all, now did it?".
- Fluffy Tamer: Well, Hange's got the mind for it, but Titans have proven to be quite the problem children.
- For Science!: Hange's entire life philosophy.
- Forgets To Sleep: Research is always top priority to Hange, as Eren finds out.
- Genki Girl/Keet: An adult example. Becomes particularly apparent when Hange starts talking about Titans.
- Heroic BSOD: Initially, guilt over Pastor Nick's fate leaves Hange behaving in an overly cautious fashion. Some prodding from Levi shakes Hange out of it.
- The Glasses Come Off: We've seen Hange without glasses exactly twice, and both of these times are the only instances when the eccentric personality collapses and shows the cold professional mind underneath. The first was when Hange performed a High-Altitude Interrogation on Pastor Nick, and the second is when, despite recieving a battle wound, Hange crawls to where the rest of the team is discussing strategy and accurately predicts the location of the enemy.
- Good Is Not Soft: 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. Later on, Hange serves as a Torture Technician for the Survey Corps and is graphically shown working on Djel Sanes. Hange is kind towards allies, but God help you if you're an enemy.
- Heroic Resolve: Though seriously wounded by the Colossal Titan's explosion, Hange crawls across the ground in order to offer advice to the rescue party.
- High-Altitude Interrogation: When questioning Pastor Nick about the Titan found inside the wall.
- In-Series Nickname: Levi calls Hange "Kuso megane"note
- Jump Scare: Hange rushing hand-and-face-first out of excitement into Eren's jail cell bars freaks out both Eren and likely the audience too.
- Mad Scientist: Hange's Titan obsession may be extremely useful to the war effort, but it freaks everyone out.
- Meganekko: Levi brings it up every time he refers to Hange as "shitty four-eyes".
- Messy Hair: Hange's hair is never tidy. The androgynous way it's drawn in the manga further fueled the Ambiguous Gender issue.
- Motor Mouth: Hange talked from dusk to daybreak non-stop about Titan research to poor Eren. About things he already knew, no less.
- My God, What Have I Done?: Hange's expression, upon realizing that Titans are human, goes from merely uncomfortable, to horrified realization, to grim acceptance.
- The Nicknamer: Hange gives a name to any Titans they capture.
- Nightmare Fetishist: Has a noticeably unhealthy fascination with Titans. While naming captured Titans, Hange talks about Real Life cannibals a bit too eagerly (and in enough detail to make the others feel sick).
- Obfuscating Stupidity: Gives up trying to press the presiding Military Police for details and immediately presents Nick as a very good friend, feigning ignorance about Nick's affairs in order to not draw any further attention once Hange pieces together that Pastor Nick was likely tortured then killed by the Military Brigade Police.
- Plucky Comic Relief: Initially, though as time goes on we're reminded just why Hange's a Squad Leader and senior officer in the Survey Corps.
- Pragmatic Hero: Will torture people if it's 'necessary'.
- The Pollyanna: Subverted then played straight. Hange hated Titans with a burning passion but is now able to talk about them enthusiastically.
- Say My Name: Played for laughs when Sonny and Bean are murdered.
- Scary Shiny Glasses: When Hange's doing something particularly ruthless, expect to see a dark figure with a Slasher Smile and glowing glasses.
- Science Hero: Basically all knowledge about Titans past "they eat people" came from Hange's experiments. Hange's also looking for new ways to subdue or even communicate with Titans, although the second goal has had nonexistent progress.
- Screw the Rules, I'm Doing What's Right: The Ilse OVA shows Hange ignoring Erwin's orders in order to capture titans for the sake of Humanity.
- 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: Hange names the test subjects after real life cannibals, even telling the legend of Sawney Bean before naming the most recently captured titans. The previous two were named Albert and Chikatoni.
- Slasher Smile: Wears a chilling one whenever excited. Also sports one in the second opening◊ while covered in blood.
- Smarter Than You Look: Hange may come off as Too Dumb to Live, but is a skilled soldier, as well as the lead scientist of the Survey Corps.
- Smart People Wear Glasses: The bespectacled Hange is the leader of scientific research in the Survey Corps.
- Spell My Name with an S: Crunchyroll uses Hanji, while Funimation uses Hanzi, and the French edition Hansi. And for some reason, Kondansha USA spells it as ZoŽ Hange even though it's actually Hange ZoŽ. On the official goods in Japan it's Hans Zoe.
- 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.
- Stepford Smiler: As circumstances become more and more stressful, Hange must deliberately put on a wacky act so as to not worry the others.
- Stronger Than They Look: Believe it or not, Hange is plenty strong enough to lift a grown man with one arm, and break a table with a single kick.
- Sugar and Ice Personality: Hange is usually very warm, empathetic, friendly, and easygoing. But also capable of being cold, harsh, and serious when necessary.
- Too Dumb to Live: Discussed, as people are amazed that Hange is still alive despite ardent enthusiasm regarding Titan research. (Hint: That would be the job of Moblit, who's charged with keeping Hange out of too extreme danger.)
- Torture Technician: A heroic example, strangely enough. Hange might be bothered when experimenting on captured Titans, but Djel Sanes finds no mercy when captured. Hange breaks out various equipment, and starts ripping out fingernails and teeth for good measure. And let's not forget the last instrument which would have been used to crush his testicles..
- You're Insane!: Oluo outright calls Hange crazy in the Ilse OVA.
- 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.
- Badass Beard/Badass Mustache: And it definitely sets him apart from the tendency of other soldiers to be clean-shaven.
- 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: And what a useful nose it is.
- The Confidant: He tries to be this to Erwin, seeing through his many schemes and hidden agendas. While it isn't clear how long they've been working together, it's clear the two go back quite a bit.
- Cruel and Unusual Death: Fed to a horde of Titans, who quite graphically begin tearing him to pieces in an on-panel feeding frenzy.
- 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.
- Eaten Alive: Perhaps one of the most horrifying cases in the entire series, and that's saying something.
- 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: Unmentioned since his untimely death. It may be a justified example, between the Survey Corps' high mortality rates and how much has happened in that short period of time. Erwin and the others are not only used to friends dying suddenly, but have had so much on their plate that there isn't time to mourn one of many fallen comrades.
- Gentle Giant: Mike stands at 196 cm (6'4"), making him the tallest human in the series. Mike's also a fairly mellow guy.
- Hidden Depths: A strange but quiet soldier, with a habit of sniffing people. He also happens to be a skilled leader capable of giving Rousing Speeches as necessary, and quite good at reading Erwin's true intentions.
- The Nose Knows: Is said to have a nose so sensitive that it can track Titans further than human sight.
- Number Two: He was this to Erwin, prior to Levi's recruitment. They shared the responsibility afterwards, with Mike taking command when necessary and being entrusted with vital missions such as guarding the new recruits under suspicion of being The Mole.
- The Quiet One: Mike fits the classic "strong, silent type" mold.
- The Reliable One: Unlike Levi and Hange, he often operates quietly in the background and gets things done.
- 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.
- Yank the Dog's Chain: He manages to kill almost all the Titans he'd lured off, and prepares to rejoin the others... when the Beast Titan shows up to ruin his day. Even so, learning that there's a sentient Titan capable of human speech that can command other Titans is a huge thing. Too bad he's killed once the Beast Titan has no more use for him.
- You Have Outlived Your Usefulness: The moment the Beast Titan has no more use for Mike, it lets the other Titans have at him. It... isn't a pleasant end.
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. They encourage Eren to place his trust in them, and flee from battle rather than fight the Female Titan head on. While initially able to gain the upper-hand against the Female Titan using their superior teamwork, all are quickly slain when she reveals previously unseen powers.
- 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.
- Body-Count Competition: They're not shown competing with each other for Titan kills, but Eren establishes each member's reputation to the audience by mentioning their Titan kill and assist counts, suggesting that they do keep track of their kills like real life flying aces or snipers.
- 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.
- Five-Man Band:
- The Leader: Levi, Squad Captain and World's Strongest Man.
- The Lancer: Oluo is most prone to arguing and complaining as well as the second best at Titan slaying.
- The Big Guy: Eld is the largest and most reserved man in the group.
- The Smart Guy: Gunther is the most serious member of the group, and tends to make sure order is maintained.
- The Chick: Petra heads off arguments and tries hardest to make Eren feel welcome.
- The Sixth Ranger: Eren (more of a guest than a true member though)
- 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.
- In Universe Nickname: Squad Levi.
- 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.
- Taking Up The Mantle: The members of the 104th Trainee Corps who survived the mission to rescue Eren and did not turn traitor all wind up as the new Levi Squad in chapter 51. Cue mountains of fan art depicting them alongside the spirits of the previous squad.
- 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), Caitlin Glass (EN)
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 the second to last to die in battle with 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 hazel eyes.
- Badass Adorable: Look at her face and try to deny it.
- Bring My Brown Pants: Eld reveals that she cried and pissed herself during her first mission. Cue Freak Out.
- Cool Big Sis: Tries to be this towards Eren. She is genuinely nice to him and attempts to make him feel more comfortable as a new member of the Levi squad. She is mortified when Eld reveals to Eren about her 'accident' during her first expedition, expressing concern that Eren may lose respect for her.
- 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.
- Deer in the Headlights: Does this when the female titan is coming after her. Even with Auruo shouting for her to move.
- Despair Event Horizon: Her death was avoidable, but she was completely shocked and in despair from Eld's sudden death.
- 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.
- Fiery Redhead: In the anime at least. Although polite and kind, she has a short temper and is very aggressive. She elbows Auruo in the ribs when he makes a snide remark about the death of Hange's titan subjects. When Eren wonders why she and the rest of the Special Ops squad were not included in the plan regarding the Female Titan, Petra immediately draws her blades and swings them at him in a threatening manner, assuming Eren is questioning her trustworthiness.
- 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, implying possible romantic feelings towards him. Her father briefly speaks to Levi about this, expressing concern that his daughter is too young for marriage. Although Levi's feelings are unknown, her body is the only one he stops to look at upon finding his dead squad. And, though not in the manga, the anime focuses on his reaction towards her corpse being thrown off the cart. He is also seen removing a scouting legion emblem from a cloak that may have belonged to her.
- 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.
- The Power Of Trust: She requests that Eren place his trust entirely into his comrades. Horribly subverted, as this results in the Female Titan murdering the entire squad while pursuing Eren. He later blames himself for their deaths, and his own failure to act sooner.
- Red-Headed Heroine: 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: Nurturing towards Eren, but also known to bicker like an old married couple with Oluo.
- Trampled Under Foot: Her cause of death, essentially.
Voiced By: Shinji Kawada (JP)
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 the final member to die at the hands of 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.
- Badass: By the time he met Eren, Oluo has killed 9 Titans as a team, and a whopping 39 Titans on his own.
- 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.
- Bring My Brown Pants: According to Eld, Oluo cried and wet his pants during his first mission.
- Bunny-Ears Lawyer: Like Levi, he can be a jerkface to everyone around him and has his own quirk of inexplicably biting his tongue every time he talks on horseback. He's still respected for his high Titan-killing prowess, especially since most of his kills were solo ones.
- Butt Monkey: All throughout the OVA where a lot of unfortunate and painful things just happen to Oluo one after another. All of it is Played for Laughs, of course.
- Classy Cravat: He started wearing one sometime after Levi saved his life, clearly trying to imitate him.
- 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 hands of the Female Titan was too much for him and he charged blindly to his death.
- High-Pressure Blood: Downplayed, though there's still quite a lot of blood spraying whenever he bites his tongue.
- Ineffectual Loner: Played with. He has no problem working as a team, though his reputation comes from having many solo kills, somewhat like Levi.
- Irritation Is the Sincerest Form of Flattery: He tries to copy Levi's look and speaking style, much to Petra's constant annoyance. It's because Levi saved his life and as a result he looks up to him and respects him.
- Jerk with a Heart of Gold: He can be quite rude and insolent, but he also truly believes in the Survey Corps' fight for mankind's freedom and is as much of a True Companion as the rest of his squad.
- The Knights Who Say Squee: He looks up to Levi, greatly attributed to Levi having saved his life in the past.
- 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.
- Revenge: He momentarily despairs when Eld and Petra are slain by the Female Titan, but, fueled by rage, he resolves to avenge them. It doesn't work.
- 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 it and fails completely, not even slowing down the Female Titan.
- Sir Swears-a-Lot: Naturally as a part of trying to imitate Levi in every way. The guidebook gives his foul mouth 10 out of 10 as a joke rating.
- 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.
Voiced By: Susumu Chiba (JP)
A member of the Special Operations Squad, handpicked by Levi to guard Eren. He is the second member to be killed by the Female Titan, leaving Petra and Oluo deeply shaken.
- Badass: Eld managed to kill 14 Titans singe-handedly, and 32 with a team over the course of his career.
- Badass Beard: A neatly trimmed goatee.
- Half the Man He Used to Be: Bitten in half by the Female Titan, and then spit out.
- I Will Wait for You: A montage in the anime reveals a beautiful young woman waiting for him to return from his mission. She's listed in the credits as his lover.
- Number Two: Is presumably this to Levi, as he is told to lead the Special Operations Squad when Levi has to check on the captured Female Titan.
- Only Sane Man: Eld seems to be the most level-headed of his squad. When Eren accidentally forms a Titan arm, his response is to ask why Eren his reasoning behind performing such an act, while Gunther is demanding proof that Eren is not an enemy, Petra panics the most and thinks principally of Levi's safety, and Oluo just outright threatens to kill Eren if he moves.
- Spell My Name with an S: "Erd Gin"
Voiced By: Kouzou Mito (JP)
A member of the Special Operations Squad, handpicked by Levi to guard Eren. He is the first to be killed by the Female Titan, when she ambushes the Squad in human form.
- Badass: He holds 7 solo Titan kills and 40 kills as a team under his belt.
- Friend or Foe: Gunther is the only one in the squad who demands proof that Eren is not an enemy during the accidental-transformation incident. The others question his reason for performing such an act or immediately assume that he's a threat.
- 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.
- The Quiet One: In what little was shown of Gunther, he was the least willing of the squad to share personal details about himself. If he spoke, it would only be to discuss a serious matter. His defining trait in the official guide book is "silence."
- 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. They have great concern for their younger comrades, risking much to keep them safe. During the siege of Castle Utgard, they are overwhelmed and eventually, picked off as their supplies of gas and blades run out.
Voiced By: Asami Shimoda (JP)
An experienced and capable soldier, charged with guarding members of the new recruits from the 104th. She's killed during the attack on Castle Utgard.
- Ambiguous Gender: At first, leaving the audience unsure about Nanaba's biological sex. The editors have since clarified that Nanaba is a woman.
- Badass: She kills a lot of Titans together with the rest of The Team while defending the trainees at Castle Utgard, and she might have actually led them to victory if the Beast Titan hadn't started throwing chunks of the Wall and summoned more Titans.
- Bifauxnen: Nanaba looks fairly ambiguous, and would make one handsome dude.
- Boyish Short Hair: Fueling the confusion over her gender.
- Cruel and Unusual Death: Torn to pieces by a group of Titans, while still alive and screaming.
- Determinator: She's initially shaken when first seeing that Titans have entered Wall Rose, but broken out of it by Mike's Rousing Speech. Afterwards, Nanaba is unflinchingly resolute in the face of the crisis, holding together even when things look their worst. Even when down to a single, dulled blade and out of gas, Nanaba doesn't stop fighting.
- Eaten Alive: Her ultimate fate.
- Gender Neutral Writing: Like Hange, her ambiguous gender isn't helped by the author's tendency toward this. Nanaba uses "Watashi", which can be used by either men or women formally.
- Heroic Resolve: Given a 11/10 in "Resolve" by the official Guidebook.
- Japanese Pronouns: "Watashi".
- Senseless Sacrifice: Charges down the tower to rescue Gelgar after his head injury causes him to fall into a Titan's grasp, while running on fumes. Nanaba successfully frees him and kills the Titan, but runs out of gas and both are devoured.
- Spin Attack: Kills a Titan by performing a somersaulting slash.
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 Lynne 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: Gelgar's struggle ends with his head in the jaws of a Titan.
- Motivational Lie: Though he isn't sure what happened, Gelgar convinces Connie that the people of his village escaped the Titans so that he won't worry about it for the time being.
- 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: Sometimes he over-prioritizes alcohol. As he is grasped by a Titan, about to be eaten, Gelgar spends his final moments flipping out when he discovers he can't even have a last drink before dying.
- Sorry That I'm Dying: With no swords or strength left to fight with, Gelgar apologizes to Nanaba just before he falls to the Titans waiting for him below.
- Team Dad: Expresses concern for the trainees 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 Lynne 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 (JP)
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), Matthew Ham (EN)
Deputy Squad Leader of the 4th Squad. He often acts as Hange's research assistant and struggles to keep Hange out of harm's way. He gets badly injured during the battle with the Colossal Titan, and forced to remain behind.
- Beleaguered Assistant: You can't help but pity the poor guy for having to put up with his boss's crazy antics. He's exasperated from having to bail Hange out on a regular basis to avoid getting eaten by Titans or when a Military Police Brigade officer is roughing her up.
- Boke and Tsukkomi Routine: His official stats give him a 10/10 in "Tsukkomi", referring to his relationship with Hange.
- Cloudcuckoolander's Minder: To Hange, of course.
- Only Sane Man: He seems to have a fairly good head on his shoulders, considering he works for Hange.
- The Reliable One: As Hange's deputy, Moblit is always running around trying to keep Hange out of trouble. He also backs Hange up in official matters.
- Science Hero: Glimpsed working in the lab with Hange.
- Subordinate Excuse: Hinted at. In side material, it's revealed that he harbors feelings of jealousy towards Levi concerning how close he is to Hange.
- Too Dumb to Live: This seems to be his opinion of his boss, although it's justified considering he has to stop Hange from sticking any body parts in a titan's mouth.
Voiced By: Sachi Kokuryu (JP)
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.
- Adaptation Expansion: The anime OVA makes a lot of additions to her special chapter, notably on what happened to her after she was eaten.
- Apocalyptic Log: She leaves one behind.
- Chekhov's Gun: Her notebook, later discovered by Levi and ZoŽ. It includes mention of Ymir.
- Dead Guy on Display: The Survey Corps discover her headless corpse, seated inside a hollowed out section of tree. It appears to be some kind of twisted shrine, and greatly disturbs them.
- Determinator: With everyone else dead and without a horse or working maneuver gear, she resolves to run all the way back to the Walls and keeps writing, determined to make her notes and everyone's sacrifices of some use.
- Taken Up to Eleven in the anime, where she keeps on writing with her head between the titan's jaws.
- Face Death with Dignity: She tries to do this, continuing to write in her notebook even while there's a Titan looming over her. Even when she has a Freak Out and attempts to run for her life, she still keeps writing in the thing when it catches her and she's moments from being eaten.
- First Contact: She attempts it. It does not end well for her.
- Freak Out: When the aberrant Titan she encounters won't answer her questions.
- Identical Stranger: She strongly resembles Ymir, which confuses the aberrant Titan she encounters. When she freaks out, it realizes she's not Ymir, who is almost always The Stoic.
- Off with His Head!: Her head ends up being bitten off.
- Posthumous Character: Died long before the story begins, but her recovered notes are important to the plot.
- Survival Mantra: "I will not give up".
- Youthful Freckles: Her face sprinkles are one of the key traits she shares in common with Ymir.
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.
- Messy Hair: Possibly attributed to his more youthful appearance, Dieter's hairstyle is simple and brushed to the side.
- The McCoy: Dieter represents the Survey Corps' humanity and the harm that having a conscience can bring.
- No Good Deed Goes Unpunished/Nice Job Breaking It, Hero: He just wanted to get his friend's body back. Sufficed to say, he (and everyone else) pays dearly for it.
- Screw the Rules, I'm Doing What's Right: As it turns out, defying orders has some dire consequences, no matter what your intentions are.
- 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.
A Choice With No Regrets Characters
Voiced by: Mana Hirata (JP)
A member of the criminal gang led by Levi, recruited by force into the Survey Corps by Erwin Smith. Levi rescued her from starving as a child, and she worshiped him as a surrogate older brother. Energetic and tomboyish, she was often teased for not being very intelligent. She was killed in action during an expedition.
- Badass: An incredibly skilled fighter, especially when fighting alongside Levi and Farlan.
- Big Brother Worship: She adores Levi, her surrogate brother, and takes issue to anyone bad-mouthing her "big brother".
- Blond Brunette Redhead: The Redhead to Farlan's blond and Levi's brunet.
- Book Dumb: Her comrades tease her about her lack of education, as she struggles with even basic math.
- Conveniently an Orphan: An orphan rescued by Levi.
- Dead Partner: To Levi.
- Death by Origin Story: Isabel's ultimate fate played a role in making Levi the man he is today.
- Doomed by Canon: No where to be seen six years later, making it clear something happened to her. She died during her first expedition, ambushed by titans.
- Fiery Redhead: She's the most expressive and headstrong of her friends.
- Forgotten Fallen Friend: Downplayed. While never mentioned in the main series directly, fans long speculated Levi's soft spot for the main trio came from his own past. They were right.
- Girlish Pigtails: One of her defining traits. At some point in the past, her left tail was forcibly cut off by some slum thugs, though it has since grown back.
- Hot-Blooded: Isabel is very self-confident and spirited, and takes action with a huge grin on her face.
- Innocent Blue Eyes: She's surprisingly starry-eyed for a criminal raised on the streets.
- The Lad-ette: Proud and aggressive, Isabel makes sure that her male peers see her as an equal.
- Like Brother and Sister: She thinks of Levi as her brother, and greatly admires him.
- One of the Boys: Having lived under the same roof as Levi and Farlan, Isabel does not understand why she needs to sleep in a separate room from the men while in the Survey Corps.
- Plucky Girl: She's quite upbeat for a street urchin, reacting with awe rather than fear when she and the others are pursued by the Survey Corps.
- Protectorate: When she comes back bloody and missing a pigtail, Levi goes out. He returns later cleaning a knife, and doesn't answer when Farlan asks if he killed those responsible.
- Reformed Criminal: Sort of, as she gave up a life of crime to follow Levi into the Survey Corps.
- Street Urchin: Her former life prior to meeting Farlan and Levi.
- Traumatic Haircut: At some point in the past, she returned to the group's hideout bruised and bloody, and missing one pigtail. When asked, she refused to explain it.
- True Companions: With Levi and Farlan.
Voiced By: Yuuki Ono (JP)
A member of the criminal gang led by Levi, recruited by force into the Survey Corps by Erwin Smith. He is serious and highly intelligent, often serving as the schemer and strategist of the group. He was eventually killed in action during an expedition.
- Badass: He was quite the skilled fighter, especially when working in tandem with Levi and Isabel.
- Bishōnen: He's very handsome, with hair so pale it looks silver.
- Blond Brunette Redhead: The blond to Levi's brunet and Isabel's redhead.
- Character Tic: After joining the Survey Corps, Farlan tries to adopt the military's Strange Salute, but consistently does it incorrectly.
- Cowardly Lion: He is initially hesitant to fight Titans, but manages to pull himself together under Levi's leadership.
- Dead Partner: To Levi.
- Death by Origin Story: Farlan's ultimate fate has a hand in what made Levi the man he is today.
- Defeat Means Friendship: He was the original leader of the gang, until Levi defeated him in a fight. Afterwards, they became close friends.
- Doomed by Canon: Nowhere to be seen six years later, making it pretty clear something happened to him. He died during his first expedition, ambushed by titans.
- Forgotten Fallen Friend: Downplayed. While never mentioned in the main series directly, fans long speculated Levi's soft spot for the main trio came from his own past. They were right.
- Only Sane Man: The most level-headed and calm of the trio.
- Reformed Criminal: Abandoned his life of crime to follow Levi into the Survey Corps.
- Remember That You Trust Me: Levi and Farlan have forged a great deal of trust in one another, and it was at Farlan's proposal that Levi would choose to temporarily set aside his revenge against Erwin, if only for the good of the trio.
- The Sneaky Guy: Farlan has twice managed to sneak into Erwin's quarters and break into his belongings without being found out.
- True Companions: With Levi and Isabel.
- The World Is Just Awesome: Dreamed of exploring the outside world, and obtained sets of stolen Maneuver gear from the military for this purpose.
A Squad Leader in the Survey Corps. Levi, Isabel and Farlan are assigned to his squad, though he has great difficulty accepting former criminals into his team.