"On that day mankind received a grim reminder: we lived in fear of the Titans and were disgraced to live in these cages we called walls."
For more than a hundred years, the last remnants of humanity have lived inside a fortified city designed to protect them from a powerful race of man-eating giants known as Titans. For a century the two races have been locked in a stalemate: the Titans are unable to breach the walls of the city, but every attempt humanity has made to make war with the Titans has ended in disaster.That was until the day a colossal Titan appeared and smashed a hole in the perimeter wall of the village of Zhiganshina, allowing its smaller kin to wander inside and wreak havoc. Three children escape from the ensuing massacre: Eren Yeager, an aggressive adolescent boy; Mikasa Ackerman, his quiet adoptive sister; and Armin Arlert, his bookish best friend.The three of them decide to join the Survey Corps, a military branch dedicated to making excursions into the outside world to fight the Titans and research ways to defeat them once and for all. With a murderous grudge in his heart, Eren makes a vow to kill every last Titan on Earth.Despite the action-y sounding premise (and there is a great deal of action), author Hajime Isayama has also woven a tight story around its many, many characters, and the strange, apocalyptic world they find themselves in. And failure. The characters repeatedly struggle to accomplish anything, often sacrificing lives and making major mistakes, only to have it all come to naught in the end. But every so often, their persistence, wits, and luck, manages to pay off. Slowly, a complex portrait of the world begins to form, and reveals there is something more sinister to the weirder aspects of their world. In the end, it is primarily a story about how people deal with trauma, survival, loss, and death. As they fight giant, man-eating titans.From its relatively modest beginning, the manga managed to become the 11th highest seller of all time in 2011. A live-action film adaptation was announced and planned for a 2014 (or later) release, but now it seems to have been put on hold due to Creative Differencesbetween the director and the screenwriter, among other issues. After the anime adaptation aired sales boosted exponentially making it one of if not the most popular anime/manga of 2013 and the manga consistently selling in the top two every month. This anime/manga has launched a franchise ranging from video games to light novels to fragrances and coffee mugs.Meanwhile, the anime adaptation premiered on April 6, 2013 with Yasuko Kobayashi as head screenwriter and Hiroyuki Sawano composing the music.Viewers living in the United States, Canada, United Kingdom, and Ireland may watch the anime legally at Crunchyroll and starting 10/30, will be able to read the manga as well. In a rare move, it is also available on Funimation (which has licensed it for a future dub), along the usual lines of being subscriber exclusive and then free to watch at a later date. Madman Entertainment also has the series available for viewing in their screening room. It is currently one of the most requested shows for Toonami, though whether or not they'll actually air it remains to be seen. Now availible for streaming on Netflix.It has spawned numerous Spin Offs, across multiple media formats.
Before The Fall: A Light Novel prequel series detailing the creation of the Maneuver Gear and the battles of a young survivor of a Titan attack. It is currently being adapted into a manga by Satoshi Shiki.
A Choice with no Regrets: A Visual Novel and manga adaptation, written by Gan Sunaaku and illustrated by Hikaru Suruga. This prequel details Levi's recruitment into the Survey Corps.
Lost in the Cruel World: A visual novel about Mikasa.
Burning Brightly in the Forest of Night: A visual novel about Levi and Eren.
Abomination Accusation Attack: The variant where it's known that Eren is capable of turning into an abomination, the attack is against his fundamental humanity and whether he's a threat to the rest of the humans or not.
Absurdly Sharp Blade: Deconstructed. Each member of the military dual wields blades forged with a secretive technique that makes it incredibly sharp and suited for hacking into Titans. But... they each have to carry about 12 of them, due to how easy they are to break and how quick they are to dull into uselessness.
The Ace: Levi, the World's Best Warrior. To a lesser degree, Mikasa Ackerman, who is regarded as being a level above her classmates and worth 100 soldiers. Both are so much stronger than their contemporaries that Armin basically considers them humanity's ace in the hole when trying to come up with a plan to stop the Female Titan.
Broken Ace: Both have lost people dear to them in the past, and it's clear that their skill is at least a partial result of being hardened by their traumatic experiences.
Reiner also qualifies for both tropes. He's the 2nd ranked trainee, physically strong, very brave, excels at using 3D Maneuver gear, a highly skilled fighter (though not on Mikasa's level), and exceptionally charismatic. However, he is later revealed to have serious emotional and mental problems.
It should be noted as well that — aside from their Healing Factor, lack of genitals and incomplete digestive tract — the Titans are anatomically identical to humans, so any attack that would debilitate a human such as taking out their eyes or Achilles Tendon would knock them down sufficiently for a while and leave them vulnerable.
The armored titan takes this even further as it has plating covering its neck and body with the only exposed points being at joints like the knees and elbows.
Action Girl: There's more than a few tough ladies in this series, on account of the army not discriminating based on gender.
Action Prologue: The beginning of Episode 1 shows some Survey Corps soldiers attacking a Titan. A later scene shows that the force was decimated in the battle.
Adaptation Expansion: Episode 22 of the anime expands the Survey Corps' return to Wall Rose following their 57th Expedition. The trip home is shown to be fraught with complications, and Levi's character, in particular, is further developed.
Episode 24 lengthens Eren's struggle with accepting Annie as an enemy, providing plenty of screentime to be dedicated to other characters like Jean and Armin, among others.
Adaptation Explanation Extrication: The anime retains Eren's exceptional skill in martial arts and recognition of Annie as the Female Titan because of her signature style, but removes mention of Annie as having been his mentor. This makes Erin's hesitation to believe that Annie is the titan, and his unwillingness to fight her, come a little out of nowhere
Forgone in the anime is Mikasa's inner monologue explaining Levi's ankle injury, so the seriousness of the injury is left a bit more vague.
Adaptation Induced Plot Hole: Episode 25 shows Levi, getting Eren out of his Titan form in his 3D Maneuver Gear after defeating Annie, despite that he had an injured leg back in Episode 22, which was emphasized several times. In the manga, he wasn't able to participate in capturing Annie because of his injury.
Even when humanity didn't have man-eating Titans to deal with for a hundred years, there was still a sinister presence in the world. Mikasa learned this the hard way with her backstory, where she and her mother were targeted by slave traders who wanted to sell them as unique slaves (since Asians were killed off by the Titans). They only managed to take Mikasa, since they accidentally killed her mother. If slavery wasn't sick enough, rape was also implied, but the traffickers said that Mikasa was "too young" for their taste, if not necessarily their client's.
Deliberately invoked during the Battle of Trost by Pixis when he states to an army on the verge of desertion that those who want their loved ones to experience the same fear the Titans gave them can leave. A terrified father already hightailing it out of there suddenly imagines his beloved daughter screaming, about to be eaten alive by a Titan. He and other would-be deserters immediately do an about-face and go back into the fight. Doubtlessly, the others imagined their children being eaten as well.
After the End: The titans have taken over the world and the surviving humans have regressed to barely knowing about the world before the end.
The series is implied to be in the future, with Armin and Eren looking through a history book about Earth as it is now. Despite this the series starts in the year 845 implying that something knocked civilization back to the start some 750 years before the titans showed up. The first chapter of the manga is called "To you, 2,000 years from now" and the title of the first episode of the anime is either explicitly "To you, 2,000 years in the future" or simply "To you, in 2,000 years" depending on which official translation you're watching.
All Just a Dream: The manga begins with what seems to be Mikasa heading to her own death. Eren wakes up saying he had a really long dream and he is mysteriously crying. The anime noticeably changed this to Five Minute Foreshadowing of the attack on Zhiganshina. What exactly the scene means is a matter of furious debate.
All There in the Manual: At the end of certain chapters, an extra page goes into detail on certain aspects of the world. Examples include a roughly to scale picture of the walls and how much area they protect and details of humanity's technology. The anime incorporates this information by displaying it during its Eye Catches.
All Your Base Are Belong to Us: The overall goal of the Titans, though they're more interested in devouring the humans than the base itself. A more specific instance occurs when Titans occupy the Garrison HQ during the Battle of Trost, forcing the troops to attempt to retake it so that they can refill their 3D maneuver gear gas and keep fighting.
Always Chaotic Evil: The Titans seem to be this, in a feral sort of way. They devour humans for no purpose other than because they enjoy doing it, although they are little more than mindless animals incapable of morality. The Titan Shifters are complex and morally-varied characters.
A Million is a Statistic: In the anime, late in Episode 2, a narration is given that around 250,000 people, around 20% of the total population, are chosen to reclaim areas overtaken by the Titans. The narrator then continues that less than a hundred returned. One of the casualties is Armin's grandfather, who handed him his hat before heading out. Also in Episode 25 of the anime, the large number of civilian deaths that mostly happen off-screen are all represented by one girl seen stumbling in the streets and crying over several corpses.
Though those deaths actually come up later, when Eren screams at the traitors, Reiner and Bertolt, for being mass murderers, absolutely livid and disgusted at the deaths they have caused.
Anachronic Order: The manga starts in 845 with the fall of Shiganshina, then a Time Skip rapidly takes us in 850 for the battle of Trost. When it's over, we go back to 847 to follow the training of the 104th trainee corps, before switching back to 850, in the direct aftermath of the battle. The anime, however, tells the events in chronological order, which is generally considered an improvement, since we get to know the main cast before they are thrown into a deadly battle.
Ancient Conspiracy: The Wall Cult knows more about the Titans than the rest of humanity, including that the walls protecting them from Titans are composed of other Titans.
And I Must Scream: According to Ymir, what it feels like to be a (mostly) mindless Titan. Before the events of the story, she has spent 60 years stuck as a normal Titan.
Animal Motifs: A broader example than most; humanity is domesticated livestock and the Titans are predators. The thematic goal of the protagonists (as evidenced by Eren's Meaningful Name) is to become hunters, capable of fighting and living free rather than being shut up inside a pen, only as safe as their keepers allow. ''Guren no Yumiya" has a variety of animal metaphors in its lyrics along the same lines.
These themes are made explicit in a couple of cases; Annie is muzzled like a wolf, while Lord Balto, who spends his days in 'luxurious delight' and is seen scarfing down canapes while playing chess with Commander Pixis, and insists the latter make protecting his mansion a priority, is a fat pig.
Ape Shall Never Kill Ape: The humans think Titans are like this, since they never attack each other. Until the Rogue Titan shows up anyway. Also gets subverted in other ways: the Titan spies kill their own kind to keep to their disguises and the Female Titan specifically summons a large number of Titans to consume her Titan body and escape in human form. In chapter 50 we also discover that Eren not only has the power to transform into a titan, but also direct them to attack certain specific targets, including normal titans. Ymir then realizes that this is the reason that the titan shifters, those who can also transform into titans, are so hellbent on capturing him alive.
Apocalypse How (Class 3 A): A little over a century ago, the Titans appeared and nearly drove humanity to extinction. A few hundred-thousand remain within the Walls, and face the constant threat of complete annihilation should the remaining Walls break. Mikasa's mother may have been the last Asian left, hinting that entire ethnic groups may have been wiped out completely by the Titans. Information about the Outside World is banned, making it impossible to know how much of the previous society was lost as a result of the survivors being forced into hiding. The revelation that Annie, Reiner, Bertolt, and Ymir come from outside the Walls suggests the possibility that other human settlements survive outside the Walls.
Apocalyptic Log: Played totally straight, in a side chapter, a Survey Corps soldier, Ilse, keeps writing in her journal even as a Titan is about to eat her.
An Arm and a Leg: This series loves this one, as dismembering is a common fate of unfortunate Red Shirts. However, due to the Healing Factor of Titan Shifters, dismemberment is usually regarded as Only a Flesh Wound for them.
Eren loses one of each in the Battle of Trost. They get better.
Ymir similarly loses an arm and a leg at Castle Utgard.
Reiner loses one arm and gets the other one horribly mangled when Mikasa tries to kill him after he blows his cover.
After kidnapping Eren, Reiner dismembers him to prevent him from escaping or shifting. He claims it was an accident and apologizes for it.
Erwin loses his right arm in battle, and still shows up later to rescue Eren. And seeing how he's the only member of this list who isn't a Titan Shifter, this has much greater repercussions than the others.
Ascended Meme: Many people liked to make fun of how Armin and Christa looked very similar. Come chapter 53, he has to dress up as Christa while Jean is dressed as Eren again in order to lure out a group of kidnappers.
Asskicking Equals Authority/The Peter Principle: Only the best students are allowed to join the "prestigious" Military Police Brigade that guards the innermost wall and the King. Therefore, the most skilled, in training anyway, soldiers are placed in a position of authority farthest from any actual fighting, while those less capable are more likely to be on the front lines. This situation is actually well known, and most who hone their skills high enough to be able to get the position were doing so just to be placed in a safe life. Eren bitterly notes the disconnect.
Adding to this, since hand-to-hand combat skills aren't valued as highly as 3D Maneuver Gear piloting, students who want to join the Military Police Brigade prioritize 3D Maneuver Gear training over melee combat training. This means that the soldiers who would be expected to fight human-sized opponents more often are actually the least qualified ones to do so.
Ate His Gun: In Episode 7, four soldiers are trapped inside a building with a Titan staring at them through the window. One of them is cleaning and reloading his gun. As he finishes, one of the female soldiers asks what good that'll do at this point. He turns the gun on his mouth, then fires.
Attack! Attack! Attack!: Pretty much a sure-fire way to get everyone killed, but, nevertheless, Erwin uses this tactic when trying to retrieve Eren in Chapter 49 despite losing his arm.
Attack Its Weak Point: The only way to put a giant down for good is to destroy or carve out the base of its neck. Even destroying their head won't kill them. Later in the story, it's hinted that this is the weak point because that's where the pilot goes.
The Armored Titan is nearly impossible to put down thanks to its armor, which is strong enough to shrug off cannon fire though it's joints are left vulnerable so it can move
Attack Pattern Alpha: The Special Operations Squad of the Survey Corps conducts a series of perfectly coordinated and precise strikes on the Female Titan with minimal spoken communication.
Author Appeal: There's a clear love of MMA in this series. Several of the rejected volume covers are of Mikasa in MMA stances. It was taken up to eleven when Eren was fighting Reiner, Eren was using locks and holds. In general, he draws characters with lean, athletic builds for all genders.
Badass: Anyone who survives more than one encounter with a Titan in general. Notable mentions are Mikasa and Levi.
Badass Adorable: Krista, who is the idol of the 104th and one of the top graduates.
Badass Army: Few armies can be more badass than a legion of dual-wielding, building-swinging swordsmen. Some of them have already killed dozens of Titans, and even so they are losing ground, because when fighting dozens of 50-foot-tall quasi-indestructible man-eaters, it only takes one mistake or one stroke of bad luck to wind up suffering a gruesome death. When fighting the intelligent ones, it gets much worse.
Badass Normal: Sasha as mentioned above. Many characters die fighting the titans even with special equipment like the 3D Maneuver Gear. She takes on one first with a hatchet and then with a bow and arrows, managing to wound it enough to rescue the young girl it was attacking.
Hidden Badass: Levi and his squad in particular, who have dozens of Titan kills each and are a Rag Tag Bunch Of Misfits. Bertolt, Connie, Sasha, and Krista from the 104th, who are all top-ranked soldiers while not seeming it at all most of the time. Commander Erwin is also this. While most of the time he seems passive and only giving out orders, he is still able to fight, and does it remarkably well, even after a Titan chomps off one of his arms.
Submissive Badass: Bertolt, by his own admission. Mikasa is one to a certain extent; she's the most powerful member of the 104th yet completely loyal to Eren.
The Bait: Standard operating procedure is for one group to distract a Titan while another (which is usually more skilled) goes for the kill. Sometimes it works, sometimes it doesn't. It comes up again when Mikasa ends up being the decoy against the Female Titan as Levi demonstrates exactly why he's Humanity's Finest.
Used by Armin to deal with the Titans invading the supply depot.
This is the primary role of the surviving soldiers during the mission in Trost, luring Titans to the opposite side of the city in order to clear the way for the elite team. Quite a few soldiers are killed as a direct result.
This turns out to have been Eren's true role in the 57th Expedition, with Erwin secretly using him to lure out the Titan Shifters infiltrating the military.
Eren and Christa both seem to serve this purpose during chapter 53. They're used to lure out the enemy faction hiding within the walls who are bent on their capture—Eren because he's a titan shifter, Christa because she's the illegitimate child of an influential member of the Wall Cult. When the kidnappers make their move, Levi and the 104th manage to follow them. Not only that, they didn't even get Christa and Eren! It was Armin and Jean disguised as them!
Badass Cape: The Survey Corps cloak is dark green and has their insignia on it. A powerful scene is the Trainees that select Survey Corps putting theirs on for the first time.
Bait-and-Switch Credits: The first opening features the process of Eren skillfully using his Maneuver Gear to close in on a Titan and single-handedly kill it. This happens exactly 0 times during the first series since he gets eaten very quickly while Maneuvering in his first battle. Afterwards, all his Titan slaying is done as a Titan! The first time he kills a Titan as a human is at Castle Utgard, which happens much later in the story though the first opening implies he starts doing that at Trost.
Barbie Doll Anatomy: Titans. In this case, it's justified because it's not a matter of censorship—titans just don't have any reproductive organs or secondary sexual characteristics. Averted in the case of humans, however. It took 53 chapters, but Eren gives us the manga's first Shirtless Scene. He has nipples and a six pack.
Beam Me Up, Scotty!: The first line of the first OP Guren no Yumiya has been misspelled in numerous ways due to Linked Horizon's inexact pronunciation of German and inconsistent fansubs, one common one being "Sie sind das Essen und wir sind die Jäger!" The official spelling is "Seid ihr das Essen? Nein, wir sind der Jäger!".
Beauty Is Never Tarnished: Averted. Many of the female soldiers depicted have fairly attractive appearances. If a Titan gets hold of them though, then they're messily devoured like everyone else.
Annie ends up befriending several of her comrades, and is unable to kill them as a result. This ends up coming back to bite her, resulting in her ultimate defeat.
Bertolt seemingly averts it at first, as he remained loyal to his mission and (literally) kicked off the attack on Trost that killed many of his classmates. However, he ends up playing it straight when he confesses that he genuinely cared for the others, but had no choice but to betray them.
Deconstructed with Reiner, who becomes so overwhelmed with guilt that he ends up suffering from dissociative episodes. This leaves it very unclear when his actions were genuine and when they were fueled by his delusions of humanity.
Being Good Sucks: Of the 104th Trainee Corps, most end up joining the Survey Corps. Many of them are shaking in fear or even crying when they make the decision, and it's obvious they're still tempted by the prospect of staying safer in another branch. Ultimately they want to follow Eren and do the right thing by making sure that their friends' sacrifices won't have been in vain.
Being Evil Sucks: The villains don't have it much easier, though. Reiner, Bertolt, and Annie are painfully aware that their actions have left them without options, and pretty much guarantee them short lives and a miserable end. In conclusion, being anything sucks in this setting.
Berserk Button: Early on in the series, Eren overhears a random soldier lamenting about having to share their limited food supplies with the large number of refugees. When the soldier says that the Titans should have eaten more people so there'd be fewer mouths to feed, Eren, who is among the refugees in question and has just been through the trauma of watching his mom get eaten, gets very pissed and kicks the soldier before going off on him. Armin's quick apology to them seems to calm them down.
Eren's Berserk Button is very easy to hit. Even in the first episode we see him tear fiercely into the Garrison soldiers for playing a board game and drinking while on sentry duty.
It gets pressed again in episode 21, after the rest of Levi's squad is quickly killed by the Female Titan. He tries to avenge them, but ultimately fails.
Mikasa tends to lose it if she sees Eren in danger. Woe be to whoever does it, whether human or titan.
Reiner and Bertolt react very strongly when the other is in danger. Likewise, threatening Annie is also a good way to make Bertolt angry.
Better To Die Than Be Eaten: One unnamed soldier decides to opt out of the story than be food for the many Titans trying to get into the building he and the rest of his comrades held up in. He probably should've waited a bit longer, since the other trainees come to their help not much later.
Armin briefly considers this early on; he gives all of his blades and gas to Mikasa so that she can help take back the Titan-infested building holding most of their supplies, but asks to keep one for himself in case a Titan tries to eat him. Mikasa manages to talk him out of it.
Big Bad Friend: Annie, Reiner, and Bertolt are this to the 104th Trainees Squad and Eren in particular. While the primary antagonists of the first half of the series, their attachment to the others is genuine and they aren't particularly happy about the things their mission has required them to do.
Big Brother Instinct: Gender flipped with Mikasa and Eren. While neither of them slack off, ever since Eren saved Mikasa's life when they were younger, she's become extremely protective of him. She's mostly responsible for stopping the Female Titan from her second attempted kidnap of Eren (Levi saved Eren in the Female Titan's first attempt, outclassing Mikasa), and viciously attacks Reiner and Bertolt when they reveal themselves to Eren as the Armored Titan and Colossal Titan respectively.
Reiner is seen as the big brother of the entire group, and readily takes on whatever is necessary to help them out. It becomes a serious issue for him, since he's one of the Titan spies.
In Episode 6, Eren tries to do this for Mikasa in a Flash Back. He manages to kill two of her abductors, but needs to be rescued from the third by Mikasa.
In Episode 7, Mikasa is saved from certain doom after she runs out of gas for her maneuver system by the Rogue Titan who kills a titan approaching her.
Levi saves Eren, Armin, and Mikasa in Episode 13 shortly after Armin manages to get Eren secured.
In chapter 49, Erwin shows back up to rescue Eren from Bertolt. With one arm.
In chapter 50, Hannes shows up to defend Eren and Misaka from the smiling Titan. But fails to stay alive for too long.
Big Eater: Sasha, who risks punishment for the sake of food.
The Titans are a truly horrifying version, as they devour humans for no reason other than because they seemingly enjoy it. It's noted that they will continue to eat until their stomach is full, and then vomit so that they have room for more victims. You do not want to see that happen.
Bishie Sparkle: In episode 18, after Krista arrives with a few horses after Jean shoots a smoke round in the air in an attempt to call for help. She tells them she's glad they're all safe, and as sunlight beams down on her, she sparkles, causing Armin and Jean to wonder if she's a goddess, as well Reiner thinking that he wants to marry her.
Bittersweet Ending: The Battle for Trost arc ends with a Pyrrhic victory that won back the Trost district and sealed up Wall Rose from the Titans, but at appalling cost and in the process leaving everyone devastated.
Bizarre Alien Biology: The Titans; the fact that how they work makes very little sense is an important plot point, as one of the Survey Corps' stated objectives is to better understand Titans and how to better defend against them/kill them.
Blessed with Suck: The most elite soldiers (including the top 10 members of the 104th) are the ones selected to fulfill the critical part of dangerous missions because they have the best chance of succeeding. While this takes them away from the "decoy" force in most operations, they also have a high risk of dying and have the additional burden of knowing that if they fail, all the sacrifice has been for nothing.
"Blind Idiot" Translation: The title of the series, as Shingeki no Kyojin literally translates to "The Advancing Titans". "Attack on Titan" rather brings to mind the image of Saturn's biggest moon being under attack, which does not seem to be what is actually going on in the story.
Blood-Splattered Innocents: In Episode 25, a young girl is seen walking the streets covered in blood and tears after several women around her got crushed by stray rubble resulting from the ensuing chaos.
Body-Count Competition: The members of the Survey Corps Elite are introduced by Eren by their Titan kill and assist count.
Body Horror: Transforming into a Titan, seems to create nerves out of nowhere and are attached to the person's skin. It seems hard to get out of, but not impossible
People basicaly dissolve when they become normal Titans.
Body Motifs: Eyes. A lot of emphasis is placed on them if you pay attention.
Bold Explorer: Eren dreams of joining the Survey Corps because they venture outside of Wall Maria, the outermost wall, and attempt to map it out or study the Titans. However, they have a high casualty rate as evidenced by the few returning members in the first episode, most of whom are injured. One of the bits of trivia given during the Eye Catch in Episode 2 mentions that the territory outside of Wall Maria is unknown due to it being lands infested by Titans.
The introduction of the Survey Corps sees them returning from a failed mission, with Erwin noticing a young Eren happily watching them and turning away in shame. Five years later, as they return from a mission that went poorly, Eren notices a brother and sister watching him with the same excited expression. He immediately looks away while fighting back tears.
In Episode 25, concluding Eren's fight with Annie, Mikasa requests that Eren eat to keep his strength up, as she did in Episode 2. This time, he does so willingly.
The first episode begins with the phrase, "That day, humanity remembered the terror of being ruled by them... the humiliation of being kept in a cage." The phrase refers to how humanity had become complacent living behind the walls, and how the destruction of Zhiganshina restores the fear in their hearts. The phrase is repeated in the last episode of the first season, but the meaning is different; humanity remembers, and humanity is pissed.
Bound and Gagged: Reiner and Bertolt keep Eren like this when attempting to escape to the other side of the Walls with him. It's justified in that they're the Titans who ruined his life, and he'll do pretty much anything to injure himself and transform into a Titan so he can get his revenge.
In fact, Eren has been tied up more times than any other member of the cast.
The Survey Corps attempts to do this to Annie, but she manages to transform and kill the soldiers grabbing her.
Broken Pedestal: Reiner, once he's revealed to be the Armored Titan. Eren even rants about how much he wanted to be just like him, and how disgusted he is.
A common experience for young recruits. The Survey Corps seems awesome, until one realizes how low their survival percentage is and how often their missions end in failure. The Military Police Brigade are corrupt and lazy, and anyone joining for honest intentions gets a rude wake-up call.
Broke Your Arm Punching Out Cthulhu: Levi is left injured and sidelined after blocking an attack from the Female Titan. He still manages to win the fight, as evidence of how deserving he is of his World's Strongest Man reputation. Eren also tends to do this constantly whenever he fights other Titans, but it rarely slows him down for long since he has a Healing Factor.
Building Swing: The 3D Maneuver gear is primarily focused on this, employing twin grappling hooks and gas propulsion to swing around.
Le Parkour: The more talented soldiers combine these techniques with the above to maximize their mobility while saving their gas.
Burn the Witch!: Various factions present at Eren's tribunal are rather paranoid about him (understandably) and want him dissected but then start accusing Mikasa of being a Human Titan too (much less understandably).
There's also a more complicated case, which Zigzags between an Aversion and a Justified case. Reiner swings between being painfully aware of his crimes and unaware, due to suffering from a Double Consciousness.
The Call Knows Where You Live: Precisely put, the debris caused by Colossal Titan's destruction of the gate fell directly on Eren and Mikasa's house, crushing their mother's leg and preventing her from escaping. Hannes comes and attempts to slay the Titan that was approaching, but in a moment of fear, decided it was best to take the children and escape, leaving their mother behind. Eren and Mikasa horrifically witness the Titan crushing their mother to death and then devouring her. Once Eren and Mikasa are safely on the escape ships, Eren vows to kill all of the Titans.
The Colossal Titan also just happens to mysteriously appear right in front of him prior to the Battle of Trost after the 104th trainees graduate.
Jean Kirstein proudly declares his intention to join the Military Police Brigade and live a comfortable, Titan-free life. The day after graduation, his hometown becomes the site of a major battle and he's forced to take command of the other traumatized, stranded Trainees. And just to make certain he wouldn't reconsider things, in the aftermath of the battle he discovers the mangled corpse of his best friend, Marco.
Camera Abuse: In Episode 24, the camera lens is briefly splattered with blood as the Female Titan wails on the Survey Corps.
Cast of Snowflakes: Understandably not so much the Red Shirts, but the main and supporting characters, and even the Titans, are all distinct in terms of face shape, eye shape, build, etc.
The Cavalry: The Survey Corps reinforce the Garrison and the Trainees just in the nick of time during the Battle of Trost. Bonus points for actually riding horses from place to place before switching to Maneuver gear.
Changing of the Guard: After the destruction of Squad Levi, a new team is assembled, consisting of the remaining members of the 104th Trainees. Eren notes the melancholic similarities between the old and new squad.
Characters Dropping Like Flies: For starters, the main characters are members a Redshirt Army whose job is not even to save humanity but DIE BRAVELY so humanity can survive just a bit longer. That said, named characters get eaten by Titans roughly every five pages (that's right, even the protagonist).
Chekhov's Gun: A minor example: when Annie agrees to help Armin to get Eren out of Stohess she conspicuously puts on a plain metal ring that no one has been seen with. It comes up later when she's apprehended as the Female Titan and gagged to prevent her from shifting, she opens it up to reveal a hidden barb so she could pierce her finger that way.
When Armin makes his (panicked) initial analysis at the start of Trost, he quickly mentions that the humans have no way of moving the gigantic boulder that's large enough to block the entrance, much less actually repairing the gate before the Titans make it in. Later on, Eren manages to move the boulder and seal the gate as a Titan.
Chekhov's Skill: In Episode 4, Annie uses a sweeping attack which knocks Eren down during a martial arts training session. He realizes this wasn't a skill they were taught formally, but uses it against Jean later that night during an argument in the mess hall.
This ends up coming back into play later on, when Eren recognizes that the Female Titan uses Annie's fighting style.
And again when Eren uses the wrestling moves he learned from Annie against Reiner/Armored Titan.
Chess Motifs: Used for a subtle bit of Foreshadowing in chapter 34, which sees several of the recruits during downtime. Reiner and Bertolt are playing chess to pass the time. Reiner is the white side, and preoccupied in conversation with the others, while Bertolt is playing the black side and intensely focused on their game. He also seems to be winning. Then we learn that Reiner is guilt-ridden and struggling to remain focused on their mission, while Bertolt is far more committed to their purpose and willing to put aside his personal feelings to accomplish goals. The metaphors extend further, as Reiner confesses to having not really understood things when he began his mission and Ymir later referring to the pair of "small fries" when she warns Eren that killing them won't accomplish anything. They very neatly fit into the role of the Pawn, heading out into enemy territory to accomplish their mission while not actually being significant enough that their loss would harm their side. A fan's reconstruction of their game reveals Reiner playing recklessly, leaving his King undefended while automatically throwing his most powerful pieces into the game. On the other hand, Bertolt is overly cautious and sets up a defensive to protect himself while waiting to act.
Children Are Innocent: Eren utilizes this trope in a Flash Back during Episode 6. He pretends to have gotten lost and found the cabin by chance, causing one of the bandits to start talking to him a little less seriously. See Children Forced To Kill for what happens next...
Subtly Exploited at one point. During Eren's tribunal, several groups want Eren to be executed immediately. Suddenly Levi starts beating the crap out of him in front of everyone as part of Erwin's gambit. Everyone stands down from their hostility just long enough for Erwin to sway the judge to let him join the Survey Corps because while they want to execute Eren as the human Titan, everyone is visibly horrified at Eren getting savaged as a human child.
Children Forced To Kill: Part of both Eren and Mikasa's backstory. Mikasa's parents were killed by three human traffickers and Mikasa was kidnapped with the traffickers intending on selling her because she was of a rare Oriental race. Eren and his father found out about their whereabouts, and Eren was told to stay away from their hideout as Dr. Yeager notified the police. Instead, Eren took it upon himself to rescue Mikasa and stabs two of the men to death. Before they could escape, the third man came back and began choking Eren to death. Mikasa, who had been shell-shocked from the trauma the entire time, finally finds the courage and stabs the last man to death as well.
Annie, Reiner, and Bertolt are the Tyke Bomb variant. Their mission to attack humanity began while they were still children, and all three show varying levels of trauma as a direct result of being ordered to commit mass murder.
Child Soldiers: Due to the army's appallingly high mortality rate, its minimum recruitment age is twelve.
Choke Holds: It had to happen sooner or later, with Isayama's love of MMA. Reiner uses one to subdue Eren, after he goes berserk.
Citadel City: Played with. The 3 walls contain all of humanity and its defenses but the total area is the size of a large country and quite a bit of Wall Maria and Rose are rural areas. The walls get higher and the urban density increases going toward the center though, with Wall Sina basically containing nothing but cities.
Clark Kent Outfit: Every character that's enlisted in the military actually undergoes heavy physical training so they are able to properly control the 3DMG. As a result, every soldier has a really sculpted physique.note Everyone with the possible exception of high-raking officers from the Military Police, due to their noted lack of use of their combat gear. This, however, is only shown in few instances, and characters are most often shown wearing their uniforms.
Cleopatra Nose: Annie, Reiner, Bertolt, Hange, and Mike all have one, but a surprising number of characters have distinctive noses without resorting to Gonk for the sake of diversity. It's especially noteworthy how unique their noses are, showing a variety of large or unusual noses that to their distinctive looks.
Cliff Hanger: The anime loves these, and several episodes feature one.
Cold-Blooded Torture: Djel Sanes of the first squad of the Military Police Brigade and his unnamed partner are revealed to have done this to Pastor Nick before killing him in chapter 52
The ending of chapter 54 heavily implies that Hange and Levi avenge Pastor Nick's death by giving Djel Sanes the same fate
Colossus Climb: Given the premise, it should come as no surprise that a few characters try this. Given that Titans are really, really fast, though, it doesn't often work out too well for the climber.
Conspicuous CG: The blood splatter and some 3D maneuver gear scene is done in CG.
When the Colossal Titan swipes the top of the wall in Episode 5, the effect is in very obvious CGI.
In Episode 5, when the soldiers are running and jumping through the city, all the houses are obviously made with CGI
The Survey Corps vs Titans when they're not getting killed left and right.
The Rogue Titan vs the Female Titan in episode 21 then again in episodes 24 and 25.
Couldn't Find a Pen: When Reiner writes into the Female Titan's hand with his blades in Episode 17
Cowardly Lion: A good many soldiers are this, especially among the Garrison. While clearly terrified of the Titans, when push comes to shove their courage is undeniable. This is especially driven home when Pixis shames the mob to prevent a mass desertion, inspiring the terrified soldiers to remain and fight to protect their loved ones from the same fear they're experiencing. Armin, Sasha, Connie, and Bertolt are all described as being cowards, but still just as brave as their comrades when necessary.
The first is to help lure the Rogue Titan towards the supply base, so it can help them relieve the siege. It works, as the Titan rushes towards the area when it sees how many there are congregated there.
The second is when he develops a plan to kill the remaining Titans in the supply base so they can restock their gas canisters. He has many of the remaining soldiers all inside a lift elevator, whose goal is to fire their guns into the eyes of the seven Titans, blinding them in the process. Then, a group of seven of their best soldiers hidden nearby would strike and take them down. It works, but Sasha and Connie miss the neck, so they don't quite finish off their targets. Fortunately Mikasa and Annie finish them off.
While attempting to go over the plan to seal the gate of Trost, Armin mentions that Titans seem to be drawn most towards large groups of people. So he advises that they have a large group of soldiers stand up on the wall and try to lure most of the Titans towards them, and have a small group of elite soldiers guard the attempt to seal the gate.
Crazy-Prepared: Annie turns out to be this. She wears a ring with a hidden spike, so that she's able to transform even if restrained.
Crouching Moron, Hidden Badass: Oluo Bozado, a member of Levi's Special Operations Squad, initially appears to be a washed-up, immature moron who can't even talk and ride at the same time. We then hear that he's got thirty-nine solo Titan kills and nine assists under his belt.
Sasha Blouse, who looks like a complete moron during her first few appearances, actually gets into the top 10 of the class, and is able to fend off a titan without her gear at one point, using only a hatchet and arrows.
Crucified Hero Shot: Eren in his Titan body gets framed like this sometimes, with his arms held perpendicular to his torso and above the rest of this body by the connecting nerves.
Cruel and Unusual Death: Most characters have the choice of being crushed by Titans, torn apart by Titans, or eaten by Titans. Oftentimes all of the above. To add insult to injury, when someone is eaten, whatever's left of the remains is eventually just regurgitated back up.
Cruel to Be Kind: In episode 14 after Eren berates the merchants and Military Police Brigade for wanting him dead despite being far away from the Titan threat, Levi goes over to him and brutally beats him. His treatment is so harsh that he ends up losing a tooth and even the MP representative felt he was going too far. However, Commander Erwin is able to convince the judge to allow Eren to join the Survey Corps, and utilize his abilities to help humanity reclaim Wall Maria. Eren for his part, appreciates what they did, and doesn't hold a grudge against Levi for that beating during the trial, as he saw it was necessary to help sway the judge to let Eren join them rather than have him executed.
Cry Cute: Mikasa in Episode 8, after she finds Eren alive.
In chapter 48, Bertolt is a villainous example of the trope, combining it with Tears of Remorse to powerful effect.
"Look around. Who do you think the real enemy is?"
Ch. 46 almost entirely consists of this, with several characters holding a conversation completely over the head of Eren (and the audience) while ignoring or refusing to clarify anything.
Curb-Stomp Battle: The Titans generally do this towards humans. Only in Episode 6 do we start seeing them get taken down, mostly by Action Girl Mikasa.
Eren's squad engages the Titans in Trost in Episode 5 and... it goes horribly. Nearly everyone is killed with the exception of Armin, and even Eren is swallowed by a Titan. To add insult to injury, they weren't even able to scratch the Titans.
Eren turns the tables, though, when he shifts into Titan form and almost effortlessly kills every Titan in sight. He manages to destroy 20 before he collapses and it took several of them rushing him to slow him down for more than a few seconds.
The Special Operations Squad when they take on the Female Titan, and show just what a hand-picked team of elite soldiers can do. Then she surprises them with an ability no one had ever seen before in a Titan, and the team is brutally slaughtered within minutes, since their opponent is Dark Action Girl Annie.
Levi delivers one to the Female Titan, easily bringing it to its knees.
Cue the Sun: It starts raining during Trost as Mikasa recalls her memories of her past and especially when she believes Eren is dead. When it looks like it's curtains for her, she suddenly remembers Eren's exhortation to fight and win just as the sun breaks through the clouds.
Eren, Mikasa, and Armin have a Doomed Hometown and being orphaned through extreme violence.
At the age of nine, Mikasa helplessly watched a gang of human traffickers murder her parents, and was then kidnapped with the implication she was going to be sold into sexual slavery. She was forced to kill one of the men, and was never the same again.
Ymir spent 60 years as a regular Titan, and described it as being trapped in an endless nightmare. A narration by her goes further in discussing how the world wanted to destroy her for her existence, and how she "died" for the happiness of others.
Reiner and Bertolt are survivors of a Titan attack. Just not the one they claim to have survived. They caused that one, though both were children at the time and are visibly damaged as a result of their actions.
Levi is hinted to have been an infamous criminal, prior to becoming humanity's strongest soldier.
Darkest Hour: Many times, the first one seven episodes in, with the 104th Trainees trapped in Trost with titans all around them, Eren seemingly killed, and everybody ready to give up (some to the point of suicide) except Mikasa, who gets waylaid by a titan without any gas to power her vertical maneuvering gear. Then Eren pulls a Big Damn Heroes moment with his titan shifter powers and turns the tide of the fight.
Pops up again later, in an even more classic form of the trope, when Rico lists off the names of the soldiers facing almost certain death in the attempt to seal the gate, as a way of ensuring Eren understands the full weight of his role in the mission.
Death of a Thousand Cuts: This tactic becomes necessary when fighting Human Titans, which have intelligence and additional weak-spot protection to help them out. The tactic Squad Levi uses on the Female Titan is gouge out its eyes and force it to remain defensive. They then try to hack off its arms then neck in a series of successive strikes.
Declaration of Protection: Mikasa is devoted to protecting Eren, often to his annoyance. Ymir is devoted to protecting Krista, though she would deny it most of the time. Reiner also claims to want to protect Krista, and offers this to Ymir as evidence that he can trust her.
Decon-Recon Switch: Played with. Initially appears to be your standard Shonen anime where the characters train hard and then defeat monsters. Then everybody starts dying, including the main character, the notion of Heroic Sacrifice falls flat on its ass, and everyone becomes completely hopeless. Then Eren shows back up as a Titan and starts kicking ass and taking names, allowing those Shonen tropes to come back into play. This repeats frequently.
Eren gets this twice. Once after being eaten screams that he will kill every titan with his own hands, and again when faced with the Titan that killed his mother tries to fight it in hand to hand combat as a human (as he is unarmed and cannot transform). Both times his titan powers save his life and kill the titan trying to kill him.
Determinator: Eren began his military training with no outstanding promise but became the 5th most capable recruit of the 104th simply by being determined to train as hard as he could to be able to kill as many titans as he could.
Hannes remarks that while Armin is The Smart Guy and Mikasa The Ace, Eren relies solely on his mental fortitude and determination and that this is enough so that Hannes doesn't need to worry about him.
Despair Event Horizon: Mikasa suffers from this when she sees Armin in Episode 7. The tears streaming out of his eyes are more than enough of a clue for her to figure out the worst happened to Eren.
Reiner seems to have gone over it, after revealing his true identity. He clings to the idea of completing his mission in order to continue functioning, but seems resigned to being a "short-lived mass murderer".
Dies Wide Open: If there's a body left behind, chances are, the victim's eyes will be open with their final moments of horror still fresh on their faces.
Dissonant Serenity: Their happy, smiling faces as they devour their way through entire towns are perhaps the creepiest thing about Titans. Some of them keep smiling even when they're being sliced into pieces or otherwise mutilated.
Eren's relaxed grin as he impassively announces to a group of terrified soldiers: "I'll kill 'em all."note referring to Titans, although the soldiers think he is referring to them. Armin's horrified expression beside him just serves to make the whole situation simultaneously more terrifying and hilarious.
Eren's wide eyed grin as he announces to Reiner and Bertolt that he will kill them as painfully as he can
Divided We Fall: In Episode 11, Pixis tells Eren a story about how humanity used to bicker and fight wars until the Titans showed up and was supposed to force them to unite together against a common enemy. Eren has heard that legend before and thinks its naive because humanity still hasn't banded together. Pixis agrees with him. He tells Eren that humanity does need to stand together soon, or they would all be wiped out eventually by the Titans.
Do Not Go Gentle: Mikasa in Episode 7 after suffering from a Despair Event Horizon seems to give up at first when she runs out of gas for her maneuver system. However, she starts to actively resist as best as she can against the Titan trying to eat her after she starts remembering Eren telling her to fight back.
Most people can't do much besides squirm even if they wanted to once they're in the grasp of a Titan. One exception is the unnamed Survey Corps member that basically spits defiance at the Titan holding him and keeps stabbing it in the face even as he's getting chewed on.
Doomed Hometown: Eren, Mikasa, and Armin's hometown gets breached by the Colossal Titan in the very first episode. Reiner and Bertolt also came from a town overrun by Titans, and are motivated by their desire to see it again someday. May or may not be a complete fabrication as part of their cover. In more recent events, Connie's village becomes one.
Double Meaning: While it's likely meant more as a tease for taking place in a shounen, there's a flashback of Annie and Eren sparring together to which Mikasa's implied to be jealous through interrupting them and challenging Annie to fight her instead. The other trainees gather in excitedment at who will win, and Eren himself is asked what he thinks. In respond he stares at them while thinking "Which one..." and the flashback fades out on that line, making it seem like the narrative was hinting towards more than just the outcome of the fight.
Downer Beginning: The story opens with the massacre of an entire city and the protagonist watching as a Titan kills his mother.
Downer Ending: The 57th Expedition Beyond The Walls (AKA The Female Titan) arc ends this way. The Survey Corps has failed at its objective of capturing the Female Titan, dozens of good soldiers have died (including the Special Operation Squad veterans), Levi is sidelined due to an injury, the Survey Corps has lost most of its credibility and gets even more ridicule and shame flung at it, and Eren is to be handed over to the Military Police Brigade. Wow.
It gets slightly better. Afterwards, Commander Erwin is able to track down the Female Titan inside the walls by the skin of his teeth and the Survey Corps actually succeed in capturing her this time. This manages to convince the Military Police not to arrest Eren and gives the Survey Corps enough of their respect back to continue their operations with him. However, Annie sealed herself in a protective crystal that is stopping any interrogations for the time being, and the capturing her lead to dozens of more soldiers dying and countless civilians being caught and killed in the brutal fight between Annie and Eren. Oh, and it turns out there are Titans in the wall. Still, it manages to turn the Downer Ending of the 57th Expedition into a Bitter Sweet Ending.
Dramatic Irony: In Episode 6, as Mikasa affirms her main motivation for living and fighting.
Mikasa: Eren, as long as you’re with me, I can do anything.
She has no idea of Eren’s fate at this point. The audience does.
Right after the Female Titan is initially immobilized Levi's squad and Eren have orders to keep riding forward and later discuss how huge this accomplishment is. This happens shortly after the Female Titan breaks out and is on the loose looking for Eren...
Before the Survey Corps returns from the 57th expedition, the audience is treated to shots of the families of Petra, Eld, Gunther, and Oluo anticipating their return. The audience on the other hand knows what happened and it makes it heartbreaking to watch.
Dreaming of Things to Come: In the anime, Eren's dream is shown to be a variety of disturbing images of the Titans, dead humans, and ends with the scene of the Titan picking up his mother as shown later in the episode.
Drill Sergeant Nasty: One can be seen in Episode 3, yelling at and training the recruits. One of the officers inspecting them wonders why he's being so harsh to them. The other tells him that his job is to break down and strip them of their individual identities so they can be trained as soldiers conditioned to fight alongside one another. The first officer later wonders why the drill sergeant seems to be skipping some individuals. The second one tells him that the ones he skips have a certain look on their faces, as they're already broken down, meaning they're survivors of a Titan attack.
Dual Wielding: The soldiers tend to dual wield their blades because killing a Titan requires two cuts.
Due to the Dead: The Survey Corps generally tries to recover the bodies of any of their fallen comrades when they're able to, or whatever's left of it anyway, such as in the first episode where the only thing they recovered from a fallen soldier was his hand. In episode 22, Commander Erwin tries to get accountability for all of his soldiers, whether dead or alive, and lists the ones they're unable to find as missing in action, either due to Never Found the Body, or more likely, they were eaten by a Titan. Then when a Titan is on the verge of catching up to the remaining Survey Corps soldiers, they are forced to dump the bodies behind to lighten the load and enable an escape. However, none of them are happy about doing it, particularly as the Titan chasing them ignores the bodies, and in some cases, steps on them in its pursuit.
Levi, perhaps recognising the impracticality of always retrieving the body, collects the Survey Corps patches of fallen comrades.
Dull Eyes of Unhappiness: Mikasa displays this in episode 7, shortly after Armin tells her Eren died. Even when she tries to calm him down and tries to encourage the other trainees, her eyes retain this look.
Dumb Muscle: The Titans are very strong, but not very bright.
Horrifyingly averted with the Titan Shifters, who show exactly how much damage someone with the strength of a Titan and the intelligence of a human can do.
Dying Like Animals: Explicitly stated by Eren several times that humanity, by withdrawing further and further into the walls and refusing to fight against the titans, is living like livestock.
Early-Bird Cameo: The second episode of the anime adds a few blink-and-you'll miss it cameos for some of Eren's comrades. A young Annie appears as a refugee waiting in the bread line, while a young Reiner and Bertolt are glimpsed in the crowd during the announcement of the operation to reclaim Wall Maria.
Eaten Alive: The threat facing any human who come into contact with a Titan.
Effortless Amazonian Lift: Mikasa, who is stated to be physically stronger than most characters, does this to Eren in the first volume to break up his fight with Jean.
Emotionless Girl: Annie. It's not that she can't have emotions, she just doesn't care about the world around her. When she gets angry, she looks creepier.note Never bully Annie. Ever. Her character development is partially revealed in small bits of backstory.
Enfant Terrible: Eren was an utterly terrifying child, murdering two grown men at the age of eight and not showing an ounce of remorse. Good thing he's on the side of humanity. Also, Bertolt Hoover was eleven when he began his mission of genocide against the human race by kicking a hole in Wall Maria.
Even Evil Has Loved Ones: Or at least True Companions. Armin managed to distract and enrage Bertolt and Reiner by lying to them that Annie was undergoing constant torture after being captured. That and, Reiner had earlier called Bertolt out for having feelings for Annie.
Evil Counterpart: The Hot-Blooded guy that is a physical powerhouse, his meek but highly effective childhood friend, and the Emotionless Girl that is the best fighter? We're not talking about Eren, Armin, and Mikasa.
Evil Is Bigger: And how! Regular Titans are anywhere from 5 to 15 meters tall with the Colossal Titan dwarfing everyone at 60 meters.
Evil Is Burning Hot: Titans are noted to have an abnormally high body temperature, such that victims that survived being Eaten Alive are boiled in their stomach. The Colossal Titan takes this a step further, constantly emitting clouds of steam from its body and possessing the ability to use them as a defensive mechanism. The steam's temperature also helps to keep attackers at bay.
There is Fridge Brilliance to this: large animals like elephants have higher average body temperatures than humans and have special adaptations to cool themselves, so it's no surprise the enormous Titans run hot.
Evolving Credits: During the Opening song in the first episode, The Emblem of Wall Maria is shown with bright, clear colors. By episode 4, the emblem is now shown with duller and darker colors. This seems to be an error, however, since the Blu-Ray releases of every episode include the later version.
Exact Eavesdropping: The members of the Wall Cult seem to have an issue with people hearing conversations that shouldn't be heard by outsiders. One incident leads to Ymir learning about Krista and joining the military to find her, while another results in Annie, Reiner, and Bertolt learning about Krista's true identity as well.
Expy: Erwin is one for Adrian Veidt/Ozymandias from Watchmen. The physical similarity was outright stated by Word of God, but the two also have the same motivations. Levi was based on the character Rorschach from the same series, but only in appearance and not personality.
The Extremist Was Right: Played with. The various arguments given by the opposition in Eren's trial are seen as paranoid ravings, since Eren actually helped them against the Titans with his transformation into a Titan himself. But Erwin agrees with them that there could be other Shifters, and there are.
Eye Catch: In the anime, some information pops up during these. However, its difficult to read it all unless you pause it first.
Eye Scream: In general this is a valid tactic to momentarily disable Titans if soldiers are unable to just go for their weak point. It becomes almost essential later on to deprive the more deadly Titans of their eyesight.
In episode 20, the Female Titan has a hook stuck in her eye. The camera makes sure to focus on her face while Levi is taunting her, so that it's easily seen.
Done to the Female Titan once more when Levi engages her. He slices up her arm to prevent her from using it then stabs both blades into her eyes with EXTREME prejudice.
Happens again to the Female Titan in episode 25, when Eren starts squeezing her head so hard that her eyes bulge out, before finally crushing her skull with his bare hands.
Faking the Dead: In episode 17, while Armin, Reiner, and Jean are fighting the Female Titan, she knocks Armin off his horse. She then seems to be gaining the upper hand in the battle when Jean is unable to strike at the back of her neck, until Armin yells at Jean to avenge his best friend's death, meaning Eren, which this titan killed earlier. While he is clearly lying, the Female Titan does stop attacking for the moment, giving Jean enough time to escape.
False Friend: Annie, Reiner, and Bertolt to the other members of the 104th. Even though they begin to care about them, all three are still carrying out their mission against humanity.
Big Bad Friend: Annie, Reiner, and Bertolt are this to Eren in particular. All three are his dear friends, and desperately want to capture him (or bring him over to their side) while being the very Titans responsible for his greatest losses.
Fan Disservice: The Female Titan has a great figure and is obviously athletic. How obvious? Well, it's hard to ignore all those toned muscles, considering there is no skin to cover them.
In episode 20, Zoe has a bunch of grappling hooks shot into the Female Titan's butt even though no more are needed to detain it. The camera focuses on it in a sort of Male Gaze look on it.
In chapter 53, Eren is shown shirtless to the joy of many. However, his eyes and overall flesh of his face has been torn out, leaving only his bleeding skull.
Fanservice: Noticeably averted for this genre of manga. We've essentially gotten none of it, guys and girls alike.
Faux Action Girl: Another notable aversion (notable only because SnK is shounen, a genre especially prone to this trope). Most major female characters are at least as competent as the guys, and Mikasa and Annie can outfight nearly all their male peers. Completely justified by how unforgiving battle is for the humans — a single mistake is all it takes to be reduced to a bloody stain or end up Eaten Alive. As such, incompetent women (or men) end up dead very quickly.
Faux Affably Evil: The Beast Titan politely asks Mike about his equipment and removes it without harming him. He then proceeds to tell the other Titans that they may have their way with him, since he's finished with his business.
Feed the Mole: Erwin's secondary objective of the 57th expedition is to figure out who infiltrated the Survey Corps and is helping the Female Titan by feeding everyone different information on Eren's location. The primary objective is actually capturing said Female Titan and the human within it.
Feel No Pain: The Titans don't react at all to body parts being blown or cut off. Although one Titan does cry out and clutch at its face when stabbed in both eyes, but it is unclear if it was reacting out of pain or at the sudden lose of its eyesight.
Fighting Fingerprint: Annie's ruthlessly efficient fighting style is unique. Because of it, Armin uses it as evidence that she is the Female Titan, and after she taught it to Eren, he manages to pull one over Reiner in their fight. Eren lost the first fight against the Female Titan because he recognized her fighting style and realized she was Annie, though he remained in denial afterwards.
Filler: Despite compressing quite a bit of manga into 25 episodes, some anime-original content is employed to maintain the pace of each episodes, such as more character interaction within the 104th's top ten members. One specific example is the Dieter sidestory, which happens as they Survey Corps heads back from the 57th Expedition Beyond the Walls.
Final Solution: The original goal of the Titan attacks. It seems to have been abandoned in favor of capturing Eren, at least according to Reiner.
Fingore: Happens to the Female Titan in episode 25, when she is attempting to escape Eren's wrath by trying to climb the wall. Then Mikasa shows up and slices her fingers off, causing her to fall down.
The Lancer: Auruo is most prone to arguing and complaining.
The Big Guy: Erd is the largest and most reserved man in the group.
The Smart Guy: Gunter is the most serious member of the group, and tends to make sure order is maintained. Alternatively, this role could go to the (very) experiment-happy Hanji.
The Chick: Petra heads off arguments and tries hardest to make Eren feel welcome.
The Sixth Ranger: Eren, although he's more of a guest rather than a true member.
Flare Gun: An important part of the Trost counteroffensive plan, Brzenska fires colored flares to let command know if they succeeded in sealing off the wall or not. Also comes up later on in Erwin's travel formation: soldiers that encounter Titans fire flares and everyone that sees the flare subsequently fires, creating a chain reaction that lets everyone know where they are. This acts like a crude "radar" system that lets Erwin maneuver the formation around clusters of Titans and minimize casualties. One soldier fires it directly at the Female Titan to draw her attention. Later on Levi fires a special round (a sound blast) since this signal is far too important to risk not being noticed in the forest they're in.
For Doom the Bell Tolls: The anime provides a chilling example in the score. It might as well be the punctuation mark on the end of hope. The first episode also pointedly has the church bell ringing when the front gate opens, not long before the Colossal Titan appears. At least the second time around, the bells signal for civilians to evacuate and they successfully do though the connotations are still the same.
Foreshadowing: Very subtle, but it's there. You'll have to read between the lines with Reiner, Bertolt, and Annie. The same with Eren's Titan mode, when the Female Titan fights, it use the same moves that Eren used in an earlier chapter.
In Episode 1 of the anime only, child Mikasa is shown hauling about twice as much wood as Eren, hinting at her vastly superior strength.
A particular subtle and brilliant example occurs in ch. 15. The recruits gather around Eren to ask him about the Titans, including the legendary Colossal Titan and the Armored Titan. As he is describing each, the panels focus on first Bertolt and then Reiner, as he describes their Titan forms. This is much more subtle in the anime; the camera barely catches Bertolt in the bottom of the screen during part of the description of the Colossal Titan, returns to Eren, then shifts to a shot of Reiner from behind during the description of the Armored Titan.
Another subtle one that's likely to go over many heads early on: during training Eren falters during 3DMG training and injures his head badly enough to need bandaging. He recovers in one night (extremely fast) and can be seen with small amounts of steam leaving his head, though it's easily mistaken for a visual indication of his embarrassment and frustration at failing at something so basic.
After the battle for Trost, when the recruits are retrieving the bodies of the fallen/eaten comrades, the usually stoic detached Annie seemingly breaks and starts apologizing to the corpses. This becomes a lot less about survivors guilt after you realize she's a Titan spy..
Also, in the anime, when the Colossal Titan appears there's a brief flash of lightning before The Reveal. It hints at its true nature of being a Titan Shifter.
The second end credits of the anime has a particularly subtle one. We see the main characters standing on either side of a wall that separates them into groups of two. Considering that Reiner, Ymir, Annie and Bertolt are Titan Shifters, this can be seen as an intentional foreshadowing to their alliances. Krista, on the other hand, while not being a Titan Shifter, is also hiding her true identity, just as the other four.
There's more: watch the fight sequence after Titan Eren breaks the wall. None of them participates, rather tellingly.
The murals painted on the wall that divides the two groups of recruits are full of visual cues about some of the subtler hints we've gotten on the world and spoilers from the manga, especially a paper-doll-like chain of humanoid figures that represents the Titans that serve as the foundation for the Wall.
During the ceremony where the recruits choose their military branch, several recruits agonize internally about the decision. We don't get to see the perspective of Annie, Bertolt, Reiner, Ymir, or Krista since their thoughts would give too much away.
A brief chapter shows Ilse Langnar, a member of the Survey Corps writing her last moments in her diary as she finds a Titan who talks to her, calling her "Ymir-Sama" before realizing its mistake and eating her. Her diary is later found by Levi and Hange. When Hange hears that name 20 chapters later, she is visibly shocked, hinting at Ymir's true nature.
Fragile Speedster: The soldiers are all supposed to be this, having to be light and fast in order to pull off the gymnastics demanded by Titan slaying. With the right moves, they can inflict serious damage on a Titan, but one hit from a Titan and they're down.
The Rogue Titan and the Dancing Titan by Human Titan standards. The other three have multiple defense mechanisms in addition to their strength; Eren either doesn't have or hasn't learned how to generate additional defenses and relies on being a berserker in combat while Ymir isn't nearly as strong as the rest but she's so agile it doesn't matter most of the time.
Freeze-Frame Bonus: In the anime, during the Eye Catch, some information is gradually displayed, filling viewers in on various information, such as the three different walls. However, it passes after a few seconds, so it's difficult to read unless you pause it first.
Gaussian Girl: Mikasa is portrayed this way the first time Jean sees her, resulting in Love at First Sight. Krista also occasionally gets a more low-key version when she's being particularly kind to people.
Gender Is No Object: Female soldiers are treated exactly the same as their male peers, held to the same standards and serving in the exact same capacity. Whether this complete and utter equality extends into society as a whole is unclear.
Gender Neutral Writing: A common occurrence in the series. Fan translations often substitute in gendered-insults, to replace the more neutral ones used in the original.
Genghis Gambit: Discussed within the series, in a conversation between Dot Pixis and Eren. Pixis tells him about an old story from the time before the Walls, and the idea that if people had some greater threat, the wars that plagued humanity would cease. He then jokes that this doesn't seem to be true, as humanity continues to fight with each other in a barely-maintained order. Eren dismisses this story as nonsense.
Gentle Giant: Team Dad Reiner, who towers over his fellow trainees and is built like a linebacker. His Heterosexual Life Partner Bertolt may also count, being incredibly tall, noted to be The Quiet One and a follower at heart. Horribly subverted, when it turns out both are not only Titan Shifters sent to infiltrate the human ranks... but the two Titans responsible for breaching the Walls in the first place. Though things are more complicated, as it's revealed since that neither of them actually wanted to do it, and they're both struggling with crushing — and in Reiner's case, mind-breaking — levels of guilt; and that their affection for their comrades was genuine.
At one point, Eren headbutts Mikasa and tells her to pull herself together when she tells him she would disobey their superiors' orders to look for him during the Battle of Trost.
Ghibli Hills: Though it's a Crapsack World, it sure is a beautiful one. Might be justified beyond Wall Maria, since humans haven't lived out there for a century and Titans don't appear to do much to the land, but even within the walls, humans haven't had much environmental impact for it to leave a scar. It goes to show that the world isn't a nightmare world in itself: the Titans just make it so for humans exclusively.
We later learn that Titans exclusively hunt man. They ignore all other potential prey and do not do anything unwarranted to the environment. Humans have been brought to the brink of extinction, but the rest of the planet is probably better off.
Gilded Cage: In Eren's opinion, the human city is this. Most of his peers are content to live inside the walls indefinitely, but he repeatedly compares it to a birdcage and is determined to see the outside world.
Glowing Eyes of Doom: A pack of Titans briefly demonstrate this after receiving orders from Eren to kill Reiner and Bertolt. Results in an Oh Crap moment for the latter.
Godzilla Threshold: Things get so bad by Episode 8 that the best plan Armin can come up with is using a Titan to kill the rest of the Titans. The very idea of a plan using Titans is completely crazy to the humans except that he's sharp enough to pick up on how this particular one really is only targeting Titans, not humans. Later on Pixis (with Armin) comes up with another absurd plan to retake Trost: use Eren's Titan form to seal off the wall when it's not certain he can control himself. Again, things are so bad that this is their best possible option.
In chapter 48, Erwin's plan to stop the Armored Titan is to lead a herd of normal Titans towards it so that Eren can be rescued in all the confusion.
Goggles Do Nothing: Subverted. When the main form of combat is high-speed aerial acrobatics, goggles are pretty much the only way to keep from losing one's vision-correction apparatus. They also serve much in the same way as pilot's goggles (although that raises the question of why more characters don't wear them).
Good Thing You Can Heal: The Titans are regularly blown apart by cannon fire, sliced and diced by swords, and even injured themselves on a regular basis. But since they Feel No Pain and regenerate, very few things slow them down for more than a moment. Literally the only way to kill them is to do sufficient damage to the nape of the neck.
Eren, Ymir, Reiner, and Bertolt all suffer pretty horrificinjuries and recover from them quickly. It contrasts starkly with how easily and horrifically humans are torn apart in battle.
During the savage beating Levi gives Eren during his trial, he knocks out Eren's tooth. To everyone's surprise it grows back in no time at all.
Eren, in his Titan form, tends to rely more or less on simply smashing his opponent to death. The beatings are so fierce that they frequently leave his own limbs horribly mangled, but luckily his healing factor repairs them in no time.
Happens to Eren's mother in the first episode. While the audience doesn't see everything that happens, both Eren and Mikasa get to witness it in full as Hannes runs away with them.
Also happens to both of Mikasa's parents in Episode 6's Flash Back.
Happens again in Episode 7. A soldier turns his gun on himself and fires, horrifying his fellow soldiers who are splattered with his blood. Another random soldier being eaten later in the episode is given this treatment as well, and viewers can hear the cries of fear from another one.
In the anime, soldiers who are caught in a Titan's grasp are usually killed offscreen, although we may see blood splatter as well as hear their screams.
Averted in Episode 13. After the battle, Jean sees Marco half-eaten, and lying on side of a building.
In Episode 17 the we only see the spray of blood from the Female Titan's fist when Reiner allegedly gets popped like a grape. Includes a bit of Bait and Switch, as the Female Titan is actually the one bleeding.
Averted again in episode 21. The remains of Levi's squad are shown at least twice after they've been killed. It's not too pretty either.
Played straight in episode 25, when Eren crushes the Female Titan's skull with his bare hands. Her eyes are seen bulging out briefly before the scene cuts away to blood splattering on nearby buildings.
The government has banned books about the outside world and has made it a taboo to even show interest in venturing outside the walls of the city.
The walls are filled with Colossus-class Titans. The leader of the Wall Cult is in on it, as well as some (if not all) of the noble families, and the king gave the cult the authority to decide on a lot of what was done with the walls.
The military also return weapons not made to their specification, even if the said weapon is significantly improved.
Grappling-Hook Pistol: A pair of these attached to a full body harness is standard equipment for the soldiers, being all that keeps them alive against the Titans.
Gratuitous German: The first line of the anime's opening theme: "Sind Sie das Essen? Nein, wir sind die Jäger!"note "Are you the food? No, we are the hunters!"
The second theme is even worse about this, since practically every line is half German, half Japanese.
more specifically "O, mein Freund! Jetzt hier ist ein Sieg. Dies ist der erste Gloria."note "Oh my friend! Now here's a victory! This is the first glory."
Both opening songs have German names: "Feuerroter Pfeil und Bogen" & "Die Flügel der Freiheit" are Title Dropped within the lyrics.
Green Eyes: Used to subtle effect, both in terms of conveying something important about the character, with variations on the hue also used to express something about them.
Hotblooded hero Eren has vibrant turquoise-colored eyes, inherited from his mother. In his Titan form, they glow bright green.
Guilt-Free Extermination War: The goal to wipe out the Titans. Subverted when members of the 104th have trouble turning their blades on their former comrades.
Guns Are Worthless: Played with. While huge cannons rip through Titans easily due to them being Made of Plasticine, the Titans' Healing Factor doesn't let it keep them down for more than a couple of minutes. It is somewhat averted, as cannons are pretty effectively used for slowing the Titans down to give the civilians time to evacuate. Furthermore, high-explosive shells are used to wipe out Titans in Trost towards the end of the battle. And after Titans are sighted inside Wall Rose, the Garrison uses cannons to bring Titans down and let elite soldiers like Rico finish them off.
Subverted in Episode 8 where Military Police Brigade rifles are ineffective at killing Titans alone, but are effective at temporarily blinding them.
Played completely straight with the Armored Titan, whose armor plating is so strong that cannon shots do nothing to slow it down.
Gut Punch: The audience is given a good punch in the innards during the very first episode. The overwhelming fear and despair present in the atmosphere make the first two episodes particularly hard to watch and imbeds a constant reminder of how bad humanity's situation is in our minds.
Head-in-the-Sand Management: The government tends to take this approach, only humoring the Survey Corps but primarily being concerned with maintaining the Status Quo even while humanity is slowly dying off.
Healing Factor: An ability inherent in all Titans until they're put down for good.
This was the deciding factor in the first battles between Titans and humans, as humanity had possession of weaponry that could easily blow off Titans' heads but they just kept growing back.
Titan shifters in human form benefit from this ability, too.
He Didn't Make It: In Episode 7, Mikasa meets up with Armin. She asks him what happened to Eren, and although he doesn't say anything at first, his tears clue her in that he died.
"Hell Yes" Moment: An epic one occurs in episode 24, after Eren shifts into a Titan and then punches the Female Titan right in her face.
Heroic BSOD: Armin suffers one during the first half of Episode 6, after being the sole survivor of his squad, and watching Eren get eaten by a Titan right in front of him.
Heroic RROD: Eren seems to get this from overuse of his Titan form, getting a nose bleed and looking feverish after blocking a cannonball (which may be connected to him being trapped in a Lotus-Eater Machine the next time he tries) and Reiner pretty much telling him that they are physically unable to transform too many times. This is proven when Eren later tries to shift and fails, being too worn down by battle.
A much more severe version of this happens later during Hange's tests with Eren to mimic the female titan's hardening ability. The third time he transforms his titan form is missing about half of it's flesh and is causing Eren to fuse with it. By the time they cut him out he is missing his eyes and parts of his skull are exposed. Thankfully due to his healing factor he heals up in about a day.
Furthermore, the very conceit and morality of sacrificing your life is repeatedly attacked. There's one character who's called out for not asking for help, in the hope she might die and be remembered as someone who went down helping others. Her critic even admits that she might have conscious noble goals, but is still doing it for selfish reasons as well.
He Who Fights Monsters: Discussed extensively within the series, both by the narrative itself and the characters. Leaders such as Erwin and Pixis embody the belief that throwing away human compassion is necessary to win against the Titans, ruthlessly sacrificing the lives of their soldiers for even the smallest chance of victory. Armin comes to believe that throwing away one's humanity is the only way to win against monsters, while Jean expresses to him doubt over whether such methods are truly worth it. Mikasa has honed herself into a ruthless fighter for the sake of Eren, even going so far as to threaten the lives of her own comrades. On the other hand, Eren is a far more literal example: becoming a Titan in order to fight against the Titans, but also struggling to embrace the ruthless actions others ask of him. Finally, there are the other Titan Shifters, who play with this trope in an interesting fashion: their own humanity comes back to haunt them, causing them to make critical mistakes. Annie spares Armin, and finds her mercy repaid with being exposed and trapped by the military. Reiner is unable to cope with the guilt of his actions, suppressing his memories and creating a false persona in order to cope. Bertolt internalizes considerable remorse and self-loathing, unable to act on his own even to prevent Reiner's Sanity Slippage and when his own emotions boil over, he makes reckless mistakes that allow Eren to be rescued. Finally, Ymir fell In Love with the Mark, and is successfully blackmailed.
Hidden Depths: A major part of the story. Almost every single character of some note gets a flashback or a bit of a shared flashback to show how varied and distinct the characters are, with many having a darker side to their outwardly noble intentions and actions or a more sympathetic origin for their flaws. This heavily ties into just how often characters are forced to confront traumatic experiences that can break them psychologically. It's also important to note that a good chunk of them, especially those who've displayed a keen and sympathetic knowledge of the human condition or justice, are nonetheless infiltrators sent by the titans, forcing them to be completely reevaluated.
Hold the Line: Happens often, usually to give the civilians time to evacuate.
Hopeless War: Humanity has gained absolutely nothing from the various battles against the Titans, so much so that joining the Survey Corps is considered outright suicide. They're not entirely wrong. The Battle of Trost is literally the first triumph in human history.
Hope Spot: In Episode 5, things look hopeful even as the Trost gate is smashed. Triumphant music plays as the Garrison vanguard rushes to intercept the first wave of Titans, the Trainees get ready to test their mettle as soldiers, the civilians look like they have enough time to evacuate, and in general humanity looks much more ready than last time. Then we find out that the experienced vanguard was routed, the Titans made it into Trost, and the forward group Trainees get decimated, including Eren's own squad followed by Eren himself.
In episode 21, Levi's squad takes on the Female Titan. It seems to go rather well for them, as they manage to blind her, and then shear off enough of her shoulder muscles that her arms fall down from her neck. Then she suddenly grows back one eye, and manages to kill all three of them in less than a minute. And moments later, she seems rather scared of Eren in Titan mode, but barely manages to defeat him, as well as capturing him.
Huge Guy, Tiny Girl: Reiner and Bertolt, the two tallest members of the 104th Trainee Corps, may have romantic interests in the two shortest girls in the Trainee Corps. Like most things in the series, things are still unclear.
Humanoid Abomination: Titans. A recap: They are large, fast, mindless and came out of nowhere. They have a healing factor, which means that destroying their heads does not really slow them down. The grossest part, is they probably do not need to eat humans. They have no digestive organs and after filling their stomach with humans, they just vomit it all out and eat more. They were able to eat most of the human race to extinction, to the point there is only one race of humanity left.
Humans Are Bastards: Both Eren and Mikasa learn this firsthand during a Flash Back in Episode 6, when Mikasa's parents are killed right in front of her, and then Eren kills two of the three bandits who attempted to kidnap her and sell her off as a slave. Mikasa, with some words of encouragement from Eren, kills the third bandit.
Humans Are Warriors: Deconstructed. A human society under constant threat of extinction will naturally value its soldiers and military. In the world they live in, being in the military is well-regarded and the only way to advance socially; those that choose manufacturing or hard labor are considered cowardly. This leads to a lot of ordinary young men and women enlisting to save face and are hoping to make something of their lives (Jean enlisted because it's the only way for commoners to get into Wall Sina, Connie wants his village to think highly of him, etc.) even though a lot of them frankly have no place being on the battlefield. Even if they're physically capable of passing training, most lack the mental fortitude to actually fight in traumatic and stressful situations, leading to their quick deaths. Most of the Garrison and Military Police Brigade members freeze up and falter in combat, with only a few (mostly in the Survey Corps) being both brave and skilled enough to fight Titans on a regular basis. Possibly Reconstructed with Armin, who isn't very suited for soldiering but still remains valuable on the battlefield because of his intelligence.
Hunter of His Own Kind: All the Titan Shifters are this, to one degree or another. Eren plays it absolutely straight, using his Titan form to fight for humanity, while Ymir eventually reveals herself and fights to protect Krista. On the other hand, Annie, Reiner, and Bertolt kill Titans in order to maintain their cover.
Hypocrite: Reiner and Bertolt, if not all of the enemy Titan Shifters, went through traumatic events in their past in which loved ones were eaten by Titans. Yet they consign countless hundreds of innocents who were once living in peace and safety to the same horrific fate, and intend on doing so to the entirety of the humans in the Walls. The motivations behind this, though, remain a mystery.
I'm a Humanitarian: Titans. Human eating is their common activity. They seemingly don't have any digestive organs nor derive any actual nutritional value from eating humans, and whatever's left of the remains is eventually just regurgitated back up.
How can you tell a Titan Shifter from normal Titans, other than their intelligence? None of them have any interest in eating humans. Even when he goes berserk, Eren tries to smash Mikasa with his fists, but never attempts to grab and devour her, as a normal Titan would. The one exception to this is Ymir, who ate a childhood friend of Reiner and Bertolt before their horrified eyes. This seems to have before Ymir regained control of her senses, however.
If We Get Through This: Happens before the trainee's first mission in Trost. Sasha got her hands on big 'ol slab of meat (a luxury since so much land was lost to the Titans) and decided to stash it away for safekeeping. All the recruits decided that they would all share the meat once their duties were done with. Unfortunately, it wasn't Sasha's meat that ended up getting eaten later.
Ymir jokingly asks Krista to marry her if they survive the battle.
Infant Immortality: Children are most definitely victims of Titan attacks, and Episode 25 clearly shows rocks falling and crushing both children and women as a consequence of the Stohess incident. We also get to see Bertolt and Reiner's friend Berik die in the manga.
Inherent in the System: The major flaw of the military. Those who score the highest in things like 3D Maneuvering in training, and are thus best able to fight the Titans, get preferential treatment in becoming part of the highly coveted position of Inner-Wall Military Police Brigade to protect the interior and the king, and are thus the furthest from any actual combat where they could put their skills to use. Furthermore, Annie points out that while the corrupt and selfish soldiers may be immoral, they are normal, and any system that expects and depends upon the vast majority of its soldiers to be moral paragons is doomed to fail. No specific entity or organization blamed for the situation: it's just what happens when one's position in the organization is based upon who has the most skill in combat and a society is lulled by a hundred years of general peace.
Furthermore, those savvy enough to figure this out prioritize their training, slacking off on the hand-to-hand combat skills that aren't graded as highly as 3D Maneuvering. Thus, those placed in the Military Police Brigade, and therefore the most likely to actually need to fight human sized opponents, would be less capable at doing so.
However the competition for the top spots may make the people who end up fighting the titans much better trained.
Inter-Service Rivalry: Between the three army branches: Survey Corps, Garrison, and Military Police Brigade. The three view each other with suspicion to the point where the (corrupt) Police Brigade think that the Survey Corps wants the Rogue Titan in order to seize power of the inner circle from them. It doesn't help that there's a strong disconnect between who gets highly regarded (Police Brigade) and who actually does most of the fighting (Survey Corps).
Instant Armor: Titan transformation is essentially a particularly bizarre and extreme version of this, conjuring a colossal organic 'suit' around yourself out of thin air.
The Female Titan has a more advanced version of this and can temporarily harden it's skin making it essentially invulnerable to a soldier's attacks. Disturbingly, it can also do this with it's only weakpoint!
Interrupted Cooldown Hug: Jean and Connie attempt a verbal one on Reiner and Bertolt, though how successful it ultimately might have been remains unknown because Erwin interrupts with a suicidal Zerg Rush.
Invulnerable Horses: Although Titans ignore all other organisms, horses are vulnerable to injury or death since escape on horseback offers the best chance for a human survival, yet it's still no guarantee since Titans are that damn persistent to get at humans.
Ironic Echo: At the beginning, the narrator states that "On that day mankind received a grim reminder: we lived in fear of the Titans and were disgraced to live in these cages we called walls", referring to how the Titans re-awoke humanity's dread of them after a hundred years of peace and complacency. It's repeated during the final episode, but this time it means that humanity remembers indeed: it remembers its hatred for what the Titans did and is going to fight back hard. As represented by Eren's Titan form chasing down the Female Titan in a Roaring Rampage of Revenge.
Eren has an all-comsuming hatred of Titans but is a Titan Shifter himself, and several of his friends turn out to be the very Titans he hates. Furthermore, Eren has the ability to command regular Titans.
The Colossal Titan is really an Extreme Doormat with an officially ranked Self-Esteem of a 2 out of 10.
Four of the top five recruits in the 104th Trainee Class, trained to fight and kill Titans, are actually Titans themselves.
The human characters struggle with becoming monsters to fight effectively. The monsters (Titan Shifters) struggle with their humanity, which decreases their ability to fight effectively.
It Can Think: When Eren first engages a Colossal Titan in battle, he notices that it purposely attacked the gate (the weakest point of the wall) and took out the mounted cannon atop the wall, and he realizes that the Titans must be intelligent.
A similarly surprising moment comes when the Rogue Titan puts its fists up in a boxer's stance, and then scores a One-Hit Kill on an enemy with a carefully-aimed left hook to its weak spot.
The Female Titan, when she lifts up Armin's hood gently to see his face. She also specifically protects the back of her neck when Jean attempts to attack it, something they've never noticed a regular Titan doing. When it runs off later, Armin notices she's heading towards the likely location in the formation Eren is located.
The Beast Titan can not only think, it speaks in an utterly polite fashion, and removes Mike's equipment with the intention of examining it later.
It's Personal: Eren when he sees the abnormal Titan who ate Thomas while in Titan form. He suddenly gains the strength to overpower the numerous Titans pinning him and charges the abnormal one uncaring of the fact that his arms are being torn off in the process. He then proceeds to bite the Titan's weakspot and throws him at the other Titans while simultaneously decapitating the one he was biting.
Eren's feelings towards the Colossal and Armored Titans who destroyed his hometown. It's the same as his feelings towards all titans, but turned Up to Eleven.
Eren: I'll do everything in my power to make your deaths as excruciating as possible.
After Eren is revealed to be the Rogue Titan, the other Titan Shifters make it their mission to capture him, such as the Female Titan when the Survey Corps does their 57th Expedition outside the walls.
After Eren is ordered to go into the innermost wall, Armin finds Annie and begs her to help them in to assist Eren's escape, since him being handed over to the Military Police Brigade meant certain death. She is reluctant to do so at first, but then ultimately agrees. When they're about to go through an abandoned underground tunnel to get closer to the wall however, Annie is very hesitant to go down there. Mikasa then directly accuses her of being the Female Titan, and several Survey Corps members hiding nearby ambush her, and attempt to capture her before she can bite herself to transform. Unfortunately for them, the ring she had put on earlier had a hidden barb, and she is still able to wound herself and transform even without biting her hand.
Japanese Spirit: Each of the three main characters exhibit strong examples of all three virtues, although with their own failings in some ways.
Eren is flat out stated in the story to be more Persistent than anyone. Unfortunately, his ego writes checks that his body can't cash. He's an example of a character who has strong willpower but not the raw talent or insight to go with it, and as a result, he repeatedly suffers injury, failure and setback, which makes even his strong willpower constantly falter. True to the Japanese Spirit archetype, he has a number of hidden "talents/powers" which only work if he holds on to his persistence even in the face of death. His Evil Counterpart, Reiner, is initially stated to be a soldier that possesses incredible willpower. However, it is his wavering conviction that causes him to slowly lose his mind.
Mikasa is described as one of the most Talented soldiers of all time. But she's somewhat lacking in the resolve and persistence departments. While, yes, she will do anything to save Eren from danger, this is due more to him being a Living Emotional Crutch and not because she has any particular goals of her own. If nothing else, she's the epitome of what women traditionally used Japanese Spirit for (helping the man they most treasured above all else). Bertolt is also noted to possess exceptional talent, but he lacks the resolve necessary to make the most of it. Instead, he rarely acts on his own and depends too much on others to make decisions for him.
Armin's Insight is pretty much the ray of hope that our protagonist holds onto. He's physically weak, but he's called one of the most brilliant soldiers, and his strong idealism to see the outside world still motivates his friends. Annie is incredibly insightful about human nature and shares this with Eren on several occasions. But her resolve ultimately falters, when she is unable to kill Armin and later emotionally manipulated into a trap by him.
Just Before the End: Very possibly. What with the constant threat of the Titans, and the very real possibility that another Colossal Titan could show up at any time and knock down the remaining walls, the end of the world feels very imminent throughout the series.
Kaiju: The Colossal Titan. 60 meters (roughly 200 feet) of skinless steaming monstrosity.
Last of Her Kind: Mikasa Ackerman whose mother's race, Asians, was wiped out by the Titans. Makes sense given that the walled city's region seems roughly analogous with northwest Europe, so East-Asian analog humans would have been for the most part much too far away to take refuge there in time.
However, they may just be referring to the Asians who had been living in the region at the time the Titans appeared. It's possible that they were "wiped out" not by the Titans, but simply through centuries of mixing with the more numerous Central European analogs.
Last-Second Chance: Jean and Connie desperately try to talk Reiner and Bertolt down, using The Power of Friendship. After this triggers Bertolt's Villainous BSOD, Mikasa calms down from her previous murderous rage and asks him to give Eren back. He regrettably responds that he can't, and after several more casualties, the group ultimately manages to rescue Eren, leaving Reiner and Betholt behind.
In Episode 23 of the Anime, Annie starts laughing after Mikasa calls her out as the Female Titan.
In Chapter 50 of the Manga, Eren laughs manically as he watches Hannes being devoured by the same Titan that ate his mother.
Left Hanging: Chapter 44 offers a flashback of Annie and Mikasa about to square off in a training fight, causing all the others to flock around them in excitedment over who the winner will be. We're never told however, as that's where the flashback ends.
Le Parkour: Some soldiers pull off a bit of parkour in Episode 23 as they tumble and somersault their way to restrain the Female Titan.
Lightning Bruiser: Titans are far faster and swifter to react than their size might suggest, especially the human piloted ones.
To put in in perspective, small flying insects, if they could think, might think we're slow and ponderous due to our size compared to them... but most of us are more than quick enough to slap them aside easily. The same applies to the Titans who do not move slowly simply because they are large, which makes them all the more terrifying to fight. The only thing that makes the strategies humans employ work is how stupid they are. The Human-Titans are almost impossible to kill thanks to having human intelligence, speed, and strength, only scaled ten times in size.
Line in the Sand: Erwin to the 104th Trainee class when it comes time to choose their branch. Most leave but those that stay behind join the Survey Corps, including many of the top 10.
Living MacGuffin: Everyone wants Eren in some way, whether it be to dissect him for information, use him as humanity's ultimate weapon, influence others and hide dirty secrets, or to kidnap him and bring him back to his fellow human-Titans.
Later on, he and Krista become this to an unknown faction within the walls with a lot of connections to both the military and the wall cult. Their goals are as-of-yet unrevealed. All we do know is that they're likely the ones who vied for Eren to be taken in by the military police and killed Pastor Nick when trying to get information out of him.
Eren to Mikasa. Mikasa is completely loyal to Eren and only joined the military to protect him; her dependency stems from how he saved her from human traffickers who murdered the rest of her family.
Krista to Ymir. Darker example, though, as Ymir is willing to side with the villains and take away Krista's future if it means having her to herself.
Locked Out of the Loop: During the 57th expedition beyond the walls, the Survey Corps runs into many problems once the Female Titan shows up. After it's captured, Eren and a few others discuss what happened, and he realizes that even some of the more veteran troops were unaware of the plan to capture her. However, he quickly realizes that the plan was made in such a way because of the high possibility that there was a spy within their ranks informing the Titan-shifters of things the humans were planning on doing. This also explains why different groups were told different things before they headed out, such as where Eren was in the formation, so that it could narrow down who was leaking the information.
Lotus-Eater Machine: Eren loses control of his Titan form during the Trost counter-offensive, as his consciousness enters a dream-like state of being back home with his family in Zhiganshina. Armin breaks him out of it.
Ymir states she was trapped in an "endless nightmare" during her time as a Titan. Bertolt implies this may be the norm for all of them, which leaves absolutely horrifying implications about the true nature of the Titans.
Made a Slave: Even in humanity's darkest hours, there are still some people making profit from selling others to the capital's underworld. Specifically this would have been the fate of Mikasa and her mother (if she wasn't killed) if not for Eren rescuing her and putting them down like the dogs they were.
Made of Plasticine: Titans fall apart surprisingly easily. Don't think this makes them much less of a threat, though - their Healing Factor more than compensates. Particularly obvious when the Rogue Titan punches another of his kind, and ends up taking off its head and losing most of his forearm.
Male Gaze: Discussed in episode 17, when Reiner refers to the FemaleTitan as having a "nice ass". Considering it's only partially covered in skin, he was probably making an inappropriate joke. (Alternately it may have been a personal in-joke, considering he's the Armoured Titan and knows the Female Titan is Annie, who probably has quite a "nice ass" in her human form.)
Martyrdom Culture: The military does not focus upon victory, but encourages soldiers to die as bravely and in as useful a fashion as possible. Many of the characters, similarly, seem obsessed with finding a way to die in as useful and meaningful way as possible. Eren goes out of his way to call bullshit on this as often as he can.
The Mole: Annie, Bertolt, and Reiner are agents sent to infiltrate the military and destroy the Walls, who end up Becoming the Mask to various degrees. Ymir also secretly joined the human ranks, but independent of the others. She compares herself to her love interest, Krista, in that both rejected their pasts and tried to start new lives. How true this is, remains unclear.
Mood Whiplash: Hope Spots show up frequently. One moment the situation can be hopeless, and the next moment we're treated to light-hearted character development. The reverse can happen just as often.
An extreme example is Eren accidentally forming (part of) a Titan body in front of the Survey Corps for the first time. The tension builds up rapidly as the Survey Corps intensely yells demands at him and are a hair-width from closing in and killing him... only for Hange to arrive and go absolutely, hilariously, rabidlySQUEE over it, immediately defusing the situation.
The anime tends to play this up for as much dramatic effect as possible, and to make the following tragedies just that much more tragic.
The first few episodes are a good indicator for this.. Episode one and two are absolutely brutal, as they cover the Titans' breach of Wall Maria, and the subsequent mass starvation. Episode three is basically an extended comedic introduction for the supporting cast - slapstick, punchlines, the whole deal. Then, by Episode five, people are dying en masse again.
Of course, even the episodes that end on a dramatic and/or depressing note are followed by the calm ending song.
Morality Pet: Krista is this to Ymir, motivating her most heroic moments. Eren and Armin manage to befriend Annie, bringing out the kinder aspects of her personality. The members of the 104th, and Connie in particular, became this to Reiner and contribute to his eventual Sanity Slippage.
More Expendable Than You: Entire squads of soldiers are tasked with throwing their lives away if it means keeping Eren safe, because of how valuable his special abilities are.
More Dakka: Hundreds of hook-tipped wires are fired explosively from barrels in the attempt to capture the Female Titan, giving off this effect.
Morton's Fork: After Eren is exposed as a Titan Shifter, Weilman gives him a choice at cannonpoint:admit he's a traitor or say he's human. Eren, naturally, says he's human, and Weilman just fires the cannon anyway, pointing out that he can't prove it. Armin finds a way to prove it.
Mundane Luxury: Once Wall Maria falls, food supplies become strained, and commodities like meat and milk, which are now only rationed to people once in a while, are seen as very scarce and luxurious (unless one lives in the Interior).
Mundane Utility: In Episode 15, the Survey Corps are seen using their 3D Maneuver Gear to... clean the grime off the walls and windows of an old castle.
The Needs of the Many: Gut-wrenching example. When Wall Maria is abandoned, there are too many refugees to feed and the food supplies look grim. The government's solution is to draft 250,000 people (20% of the population) to reclaim the lost territory from the Titans; only a handful survive. Pixis doesn't mince words about this and goes further to say that if Wall Rose falls, this time over 50% of the remaining humans are going to be sent to die.
This is the justification that commanders use in this series when they sacrifice their troops (except for the ones that are just plain Dirty Cowards).
Nerves of Steel: One of the Eye Catches mentions this among other things as a necessary to use 3D Maneuver Gear properly, since a soldier needs to be able to react and change directions in an instant to avoid disaster all while maintaining perfect balance. As far as characters go, you have to try pretty damn hard to shake Levi from his perpetual level-headed-ness.
Never Found the Body: Missing persons are grouped together with the dead in casualty reports since unlike other situations where desertion or being taken prisoner is a possibility, they are most likely dead without a body to leave behind. The exception to this is the 57th Survey Corps expedition where many of their dead did have intact bodies because the Female Titan stomped or crushed them instead of eating them.
Commander Erwin is savvy enough to not count the human inside the Female Titan dead even after her Titan body is devoured by other Titans since nobody witnessed said person's actual death.
In episode 22, while Mikasa and Levi attempt to rescue Eren from the Female Titan, who moments earlier had swallowed him, Levi formulates a plan to get him from the Titan. At first things go extremely well, with Levi managing to disable the Female Titan. Mikasa notices that the back of the Female Titan's neck is exposed, and tries to go for the kill despite Levi telling her to focus solely on rescuing Eren. Unfortunately the Female Titan is still able to move one of her arms, and attempts to grab Mikasa. Levi saves her, but he ends up spraining his ankle in the process of blocking the Titan's hand. While they do rescue Eren, the injury Levi suffered would end up costing him dearly later on after they arrive back inside the walls.
Later on in the same episode, two soldiers berate Commander Erwin for not getting the body of their fallen friend. Levi tells them that it's too risky due to him having died near Titans, and that recovering the body at this point wouldn't matter, as he's dead anyway. Unfortunately those two guys went back anyway for the body, bringing two Titans with them. The friend's body falls off the horse, and one of them gets eaten. The second guy nearly suffers the same fate until Mikasa rescues him. To make matters even worse, the second Titan is chasing after the main party, and they're forced to dump the bodies of the other soldiers to lighten the load lest said Titan catches up and kills even more soldiers. In the end Levi hands the surviving soldier the Survey Corps patch from the first fallen friend, which is heavily implied to be a comforting lie and actually Petra's badge he took earlier.
When Reiner and Bertholdt reveal themselves as Titan-shifters, they admit that they heavily regret their actions and didn't fully understand the consequences when they began their attack, to the point where Reiner has experienced Sanity Slippage to escape the overwhelming guilt. It's implied that a little kindness here could have broken at least one of them into a complete Heel-Face Turn, or set them up to do so later on... but no, Eren promises to murder them as excruciatingly as possible.
In a Catch-22 situation, Reiner reveals that the Titan Shifters are willing to leave humanity alone if Eren comes with them willingly. He likely would have done so, had the Titan Shifters not ruined his life by getting his mother and countless friends eaten by Titans. But it's implied that Eren's Titan shifting abilities were given to him as a result of the attack on Zhiganshina; if that event had not occurred, then there would be no second option in the first place.
Eren points out that the greatest mistake of Annie, Reiner, and Bertolt was teaching him how to fight.
Had Annie not spared Armin's life as she slaughtered her way through the Survey Corps, he would never had exposed her identity as the Female-type Titan.
Nightmare Fetishist: Hange, who has an unhealthy interest in the inner workings of the Titans. When they manage to capture Titans alive, it's her that winds up performing the experiments on them. Hange actually names the Titans she captures, and genuinely seems to feel bad about experimenting them. Which, in a way, points to how insane she really is, since she's the only one who actually shows sympathy to the Titans.
No Conservation of Energy: Titans produce a large amount of body heat, yet they will only eat humans, who haven't been available to eat in large numbers for nearly 100 years. It's implied that because of their lack of digestive systems, they eat humans just because they're tasty. If the observations about them slowing down when they're deprived of light is any indication, their bodies act like solar panels to absorb and use energy.
No Conservation Of Mass: It's unexplained where the mass/energy comes from to generate a Titan body by the Shifters. For what it's worth the body mass does seem to release a high amount of heat as energy when the human leaves it and it begins to disintegrate.
No-Holds-Barred Beatdown: Eren in his first fights against the Female Titan. His rage and determination during their second one in particular scares the crap out of her, particularly when her own brutal attacks and dismembering some of his limbs only slows him down slightly. It gets to the point she tries to escape him by climbing up the wall, only to be stopped by Mikasa.
No Ontological Inertia: A Titan's body quickly dissolves after their death. Their excessive amount of body heat makes dead Titan flesh spontaneously combust.
Titanic organic "armor" on the other hand does stick around even after being separated from the Titan. The walls were apparently made this way.
Non-Action Guy: Armin himself said that it was "a miracle" that he passed the simulated combat section of the military graduation exam. He makes up for this by being a Guile Hero, coming up with vital strategies and uncovering the identity of the Female Titan, allowing them to lure Annie into a trap.
A Germanic people battle giant Humanoid Abominations of varying size and deformity, as well as the revelation that some of them are seemingly human shapeshifters with the most significant ones less deformed and more intelligent than their Dumb Muscle kin.
Ymir's name in particular is drawn from a creation myth. This leads some unofficial sources to translate "Kyojin" as "Eoten".
Classical Mythology: Official sources translate "Kyojin" as "Titan", in a nod to the beings from Greek mythology. The Titan Cronus, in particular, was noted to have devoured his own children. The way Eren carried the large stone in the Battle of Trost also resembles the common depiction of Atlas carrying the sky/earth.
Not Enough to Bury: In the first chapter, a woman runs up to the returning Redshirt Army and begs them to tell her where her son is. The commanding officer gives her a small bundle which turns out to contain a severed hand — that's all that was left of him after the Titans got him. Apparently this is very, very common for the Survey Corps (if they can even find body parts).
Not Quite Flight: 3D Maneuvering is a process that combines gymnastics, Le Parkour, and Spiderman-esque Building Swing to achieve rapid aerial travel almost bordering on flight. During some long shots of soldiers maneuvering through urban environments, they're effectively gliding in between the buildings. The exceptions are when it's important to the plot for characters to have somewhat lengthy conversations mid-flight, in which case they will stop visibly using Building Swing and seemingly fly straight through their surroundings in order to talk cohesively.
Not So Different: In Episode 3, Eren is having a lot of trouble mastering the basics of the Maneuvering Gear. He asks various characters for help, but none seem to want to help him at first. Reiner and Bertolt, on the other hand, ask him why he's so determined to be a soldier, then tell him that they were also from a Doomed Hometown. They go with him to help him a bit with some extra training at night in an attempt to help him pass the training. This comparison becomes a bit more...interesting...when it's revealed that Reiner and Bertolt are also Not So Different from Eren in that they're both Titan Shifters.
Nothing Is Scarier: In chapter 38, the soldiers trying to locate the breach at night express the fear that Titans could be anywhere nearby and they wouldn't know until it's too late due to the tiny pool of light provided by their torches.
The mere fact that after generations fighting the Titans, humanity knows close to zero about them, let alone how they even came to be.
No Zombie Cannibals: Titans don't eat each other, ever. Even Titans that have been seen attacking other Titans (like the Rogue Titan) aren't looking to eat them. However, regular Titans will attack and (try to) eat Human Titans, which is a problem for them.
Off Model: The second opening and ending are a bit off with the characters, during the ending when the prominent members of the 104th are lined together, it's noticeable that several heights are incorrect; for instance, Annie is taller than Eren when she's the second smallest, Krista looks normal sized, Armin and Connie are roughly the same height and are just about the same height as Eren.
The series as a whole has its moments of recycled (and often limited) animation and bizarre errors. Unusual for a Production I.G series, but justified in that Production I.G is not the primary animation company.note Instead, the main animation firm is Studio Wit, an offshoot of I.G These errors have been addressed in the Blu-Ray releases.
Some panels in the first 12 or so chapters of the manga... vary in artistic quality. Art Evolution definitely kicks in, but it can be a bit jarring for those who jump from the anime to the beginning of the manga.
Oh Crap: The standard reaction to a Titan's jaws closing in on soft human skull. Or just seeing one show up in general, which usually indicates things have really gone downhill.
The moment that Colossal Titan and Armored Titan showed up out of the blue and easily eradicated 100 years of protective solace reminded everyone of their place in the world as prey items.
Most of the Survey Corps soldiers unlucky enough to face the Female Titan only have seconds to realize that their opponent is no mere Aberrant Titan before she reduces them all to bloody stains.
On that same note, the Female Titan herself has this look after Erwin manages to successfully trap her inside the forest. She has that look again when fighting Eren in Titan form.
Reiner and Bertolt's reactions when Eren inadvertently commands a horde of Titans to kill them.
Older than They Look: Levi. He's shorter than Eren and looks to be a few years older than him but the author said he is surprisingly old compared to how he looks.
Only in It for the Money: Levi calls out the merchant guilds for being greedy pigs. Ostensibly they want Wall Rose permanently sealed off for humanity's safety but really they don't want Wall Maria to be retaken so as to profit from the lack of farmland and high number of starving refugees.
And now a properly animated omake exists, except 1. they don't follow the yonkoma plotline proper and 2. every episode ends with the Colossal Titan popping our heroes like pills for laughs.
Ominous Latin Chanting: The chanting in XL-TT, the series's go-to 'oh god we're screwed now' track, may not be in Latin, but it's certainly ominous.
One-Man Army: Misaka can achieve on her own what three other special forces needed teamwork to achieve. Levi does the same but easier.
Only Six Faces: Avoided, especially after the Art Evolution and in particular among the main cast. Some of the varied facial features and body types are pretty impressive and the anime does an excellent job translating these.
Ontological Mystery: How and why did the Titans appear over a century back? How did they become so numerous as to make humans an endangered species when they don't even have a way to reproduce? Why is their biology so improbably weird? Were humans more or less technologically advanced before the coming of the Titans? Where exactly in the world is the walled city? Is the setting another world where there are humans, or was it Earth All Along? What's the deal with some humans being able to turn into Titans? Who (or what) is Ymir?
OOC Is Serious Business: Levi who is normally reserved and solemn makes an effort to talk and joke with Eren after his personal squad was killed by the Female Titan. Eren points out he is rather talkative.
When Annie/the Female Titan was correctly outed, they began to smile and laugh madly, which was jarring because this was one of the very few times we see Annie having an expression other than cool indifference.
Chapter 51 gives us two. Erwin sports a creepy Slasher Smile after finding out the possibility that titans were once humans. It was so unnerving that even Levi was alarmed/frightened by it.
Eren's shows an uncharacteristic amount of compassion and understanding to Annie when he finds out they are a traitor. This shows how deeply he respects her, and makes a very striking contrast to his more typical reaction when he learns that Reiner and Bertolt are traitors.
Out-Gambitted: The Central Military Police, who had tortured Pastor Nick to death and had been working for a shadowy conspiracy in order to kidnap Eren seemingly get the upper hand on Levi and co when they flush them out of their hideout and then enact a plan to kidnap Eren and Christa that goes off without a hitch. But then it turns out that Levi and the 104th were not only warned about their location being compromised, but also of the kidnapping plot: Eren and Christa were in a different area, completely safe. They'd kidnapped Armin and Jean disguised as Christa and Eren. Levi and co never even lost them.
Overtook the Manga: The anime only had 25 episodes, because the manga wasn't finished yet. It also caught way too fast with the source material, leaving out less than 15 chapters of content. Because of this, there will be a long delay for a second anime (if ever happens) to allow for story developments to catch up and to avoid this happening to such an extent.
Parental Abandonment: Eren has to watch his mother get eaten and his father goes missing shortly after. Mikasa technically suffers from this twice. Armin loses his grandfather (in the anime) as well, when he's sent out shortly after the fall of Wall Maria to try and reclaim it with a lot of others.
Jean's maneuver gear malfunctions while he's attempting to escape two Titans in Episode 12. He immediately notes the timing of it.
Eren is unable to transform in episode 24 after finding out that Annie is the Female Titan, despite her shifting right in front of him. It takes Mikasa, Armin, and Jean (only Mikasa and Armin in the manga) to help him find his resolve and shift.
Plucky Comic Relief: For a shonen series, the tone is quite serious even when characters are hopeful and there's a distinct lack of deliberately humorous moments in between all the fighting, angst, character development, and solemnness... except for Sasha, the resident Big Eater. Later on Hange Zoe, Bunny-Ears Lawyer and Cloud Cuckoo Lander extraordinaire, helps out with the funny moments too.
Shoo Out the Clowns: Sasha becomes visibly shell-shocked during the Battle for Trost and soon not a funny thing comes out of her mouth. She even shows up less than the other Trainees of the 104th as the battle goes on. When she becomes more prominent later on, it is in a much more serious capacity. Similarly Hange never quite loses her quirkiness but she fills more serious (and Badass) roles as time goes on.
Posthumous Character: Marco dies very early on in the series, but it's this character's death which jumpstarts Jean's Character Development which leads him to inspire others to join the Survey Corps, and also helps Armin deduce the Female Titan's identity.
Power Incontinence: It turns out that Eren's Titan transformation the second time around was quite uncontrollable, even attacking Mikasa, his sister. As it turns out, he's in some kind of dream state, where things are as they were before the Titans breached the wall. The last time, when he killed the Titans, was also apparently a dream-like state to him. In other words, his sub-conscious might exert some influence on his Titan form.
Power of Trust: Horribly, horribly subverted. 'Trust' is synonymous with 'doomed, with extra grief and guilt on the side, hold the silver lining'. Eren learns this the hard way in Chapter 27.
The Power of Friendship: What ultimately causes the Titan Shifters' plan to fall apart. All three genuinely started to care about their fellow Trainees, and this causes them to begin making mistakes that expose their identities and compromise their ability to carry out their mission.
The Power of the Sun: Titans are solar powered. The researchers have to occasionally expose the captured specimens to daylight, so they don't die. They actually don't derive any nutritional value from humans, which leaves in-universe researchers just as puzzled as the readers. This makes the nighttime attack on Castle Utgard that much more of a shock.
Pragmatic Adaptation: The anime is currently this, the first episode adapted all of Chapter 1 and some of Chapter 2. Episode 2 adapted part of Chapter 2, and expanded on some elements. Episode 3 seems to adapt Chapter 15 and 16, making the story chronological, instead of having them as flashbacks after the the Battle of Trost, allowing us to get to know the characters whose lives are in danger.
Primal Fear: Mixes Giants and Being Eaten Alive together for a nightmare of a world.
And in Eren and Mikasa's case, "being a small child and watching your parents get killed."
Punched Across the Room: The Rogue Titan does this a couple of times, punching various Titans and sending them flying.
Pyrrhic Victory: Humanity finally wins one battle against the Titans in Episode 13 during the Battle of Trost. However, it came at a high cost, since hundreds died or were missing in action, and several hundred more were wounded, all to just retake one small town. As the narrator states the hefty casualty count and how none of the survivors wanted to celebrate the win due to how many people they lost.
In Episode 25 the Raid on Stohess District arc (and the series finale) is one of these. Annie/The Female Titan has finally been captured and the Survey Corps/Eren are to be spared by the tribunal for now but at horrible, horrible cost, including hundreds of combined military and civilian casualties and a partly-wrecked Stohess district. The part that gets everyone questioning Was It Really Worth It? is when Annie encases herself in a block of ice, meaning they can get no answers out of her.
The idea of soldiers bravely fighting Titans against the odds quickly runs headfirst in a wall: normal people are flat-out terrified of a 45-foot tall man-eating giant and often freeze up or run away when they actually face them. The few that are genuinely brave enough to charge in without hesitation are regarded as... not quite right.
Just because mankind is facing extinction at the hands of an external foe doesn't mean that everyone will magically forget their interpersonal conflicts.
Recap Episode: Episode 13.5. This wraps up the Trost arc and makes sure everyone is up to speed before Episode 14, where we get a new intro with a bunch of You Should Know This Already. Namely: The focus is now on counterattack and retaking Wall Maria, the top 10 of the 104th survived Trost (minus Marco) and, with the exception of Annie, who chose Military Police Brigade, now serve in the Survey Corps, and of course Eren is a Titan Shifter fighting for humanity.
Re Cut: In the form of Director's Cut. Seen in the anime adaptation in which most changes were made on the author's request:
Episode 22 includes a lot of Tear Jerker not seen anywhere in the original Manga. In fact, there's over 11 minutes of Filler that the author thought was good enough to be in.
Episode 23 features Anniehisterically laughing when confronted by Mikasa as opposed to the calm, defying smile from the manga. The author said the change was made because the expression he gave her in the manga didn't actually fit the moment nor her emotions.
Reiner is the Team Dad, prone to acting without thinking things through while Bertolt is The Quiet One. A villainous example, with Reiner conflicted due to his attachment to their fellow Trainees while Bertolt appears to still be loyal to their mission.
Red Shirt Army: The Survey Corps, of which the main characters are an integral part. Their job is to literally "die as heroically as possible". This is driven home in the cruelest way possible during Commander Erwin's speech he gave to the trainees that thought about signing up in the Survey Corps, though on the other hand, the experienced soldiers of the Survey Corps are also the Badass Army (of the story), especially compared to the Garrison who man and reinforce the walls.
The Garrison troops fall into this trope if the Titans breach a wall, and are killed pretty easily. When the story starts literally all they can do is die to buy the refugees time to evacuate. 5 years later they are a little more competent and manage to hold the Titans off longer, though they still die like flies.
As it turns out, the Military Police Brigade members are this as well. Jean notes that their members keep getting devoured when we finally see them in action during the operation to rescue Eren from the Titan Shifters. On paper they are the most competent branch as only the top graduates of each Trainee Corps get to join, but they have no real experience fighting any Titans, and most members are implied to have been seriously neglecting their training because they didn't think they would ever have to fight.
Refuge in Audacity: Commander Erwin's plan to have Levi viciously beat the crap out of Eren in the middle of his trial in order to both defuse the situation and grab everyone's attention for his own proposal probably wouldn't have worked if it wasn't so over-the-top. Even the commander of the Military Police Brigadewho was trying to have Eren executed a few moments ago is stunned at how far Levi goes.
Required Secondary Powers: Supplementary Materials note that using 3DMG requires very high amounts of coordination and balance (borderline-acrobatic levels) to use, much less pull off fancy maneuvers that Survey Corps veterans are seen using, as well as high leg strength, good aiming skills while mid-flight to actually land grappling hooks, and Nerves of Steel to keep it all together and not lose balance when disaster strikes (it's even stated that instructors will cut the cables on recruits to test their mettle). Also, one would presumably need to not be afraid of heights and be motion-sickness resistant.
Rescue Romance: Mikasa's undying devotion and implied romantic feelings for Eren seem to stem from how he saved her life when they met.
Revenge: Why Eren wants to kill every Titan really bad.
Roaring Rampage of Revenge: Eren, frequently, when he assumes Titan form. In episode 21 he includes actual roaring, after he watches the Special Operations Squad get literally crushed by the Female Titan.
Pretty much the whole series is Eren's quest for revenge on the titans for the last hundred years and all the trauma he's experienced.
Misaka tends to do this whenever something happens to Eren.
Averted with Levi after his personal squad is killed by the Female Titan. He had every reason to lose it but instead, he kept a leveled head about the situation, noting it was more important to rescue Eren than go for revenge. He delivers an epic beatdown nevertheless.
Rousing Speech: Subverted in Episode 7. Sasha tries to get everyone to pull together saying "If we work together..." but clearly not believing it herself. Mikasa then shows up and sees that the remaining soldiers are too scared to fight, and she herself looks a little distraught having just found out that Eren got eaten. And instead of a big speech, she just insults them and tells them to die like cowards and heads off to fight more Titans. Played straight in that it works.
Rule of Symbolism: When carrying the boulder to block the gate in Trost, Eren bears a striking resemblance to the Greek Titan Atlas.
Rule 34: Titans have no reproductive organs. This hasn't prevented fans from creating Titan-centric porn.
Scared of What's Behind You: In the first episode/chapter, Eren and Mikasa go to save Armin from some bullies. The bullies prepare for a fight when they see Eren, but run for it when they see Mikasa. Eren, naturally, thinks he scared them off by his lonesome.
Schizo Tech: Humans have cannons and flintlocks for ranged combat. On the other hand, they have pressurized gas grappling hooks. This is further hinted at in the anime, which shows a very distinct difference between the technology of the outer regions (Wall Maria and Rose) as opposed to the wealthy Interior (Wall Sina). The outer regions resemble Medieval villages, while the Interior has brick streets and people dressed in clothing closer to the Edwardian or Victorian era, including pocket watches and top hats.
Screw the Rules, I Have Money!: The merchant in Episode 6 whose cart is blocking the escape route for the civilians because its stuck in the narrow passageway. The civilians try to get a soldier to arrest him, but the merchant fires back by saying he's the one who brings the food for the peasants. He also tries to make Mikasa cooperate, but she instead forces him to remove the cart so the civilians could escape.
Secret Identity: Many are listed below, under Wham Episode: Chapters 31, 40, and 42. One that isn't: Krista Lenz is actually Historia Reiss, the bastard child of a prominent and influential Noble house privy to the secrets about the Walls.
Senseless Sacrifice: Most of the Survey Corps' missions end up this way. Unfortunately, the human race is in such desperate straits that continuing suicide missions in the hope that something will pan out someday is probably more sensible than turtling behind walls that have been recently shown to be merely delaying the inevitable. And then there's the fact that many of their most promising efforts have been intentionally sabotaged...
Shaggy Dog Story/Shoot the Shaggy Dog: The best the Survey Corps can hope for is a Pyrrhic Victory, otherwise their missions turn out like this. One mission of theirs (the 57th) collapsed in one day and failed to accomplish their goal, resulting in what remained of them limping back to the walls to get ridiculed and verbally spat on.
Shapeshifter Baggage: Titan Shifters don't have their human bodies become their Titan, they form a Titan body around their human one which controls and is connected to the Titan but is physically separate. Where that body comes from is mystery...
Reiner all but states that there is a limit though and it is heavily implied that it is physically draining to create and use the titan form as Eren tends to pass out or look deathly ill after using his powers
Sheep In Wolf's Clothing: Used by Armin as evidence that Eren is human regardless of his powers. Normal Titans tried to eat him in his Titan form, so that means they recognize him as being a human.
Ship Sinking: In an interview, Isayama clarified that Eren has great respect for Annie, but that his feelings are purely platonic. (Annie, on the other hand....)
Ship Tease: Outright statements of romantic interest are very rare. Hints that certain characters may have such feelings are significantly more common.
Jean's crush on Mikasa is one of several reasons for his hostility towards Eren.
Mikasa is utterly devoted to Eren, and blushes when Ian calls Eren her "boyfriend". Much later, she tearfully thanks him for everything he's done for her and leans towards him in a manner suggestive of an Almost Kiss. This, however, snaps him out of his Heroic RROD and earns her a promise that they'll always be together.
Eren is close to Annie, being the only person thus far to manage to get her to genuinely smile. She teaches him to fight, and at one point Mikasa actually accuses him of having "special feelings" for Annie when he hesitates to fight her in Titan Form. Word of God states Eren's feelings are purely platonic, while Annie's feelings remain ambiguous. In the Middle School AU, her feelings are portrayed as explicitly romantic.
Petra is noted to adore Levi, and her father cheerfully talks to Levi about how he's eager to see his daughter get married. That this happens mere hours after Petra's death makes this incredibly sad.
Reiner mentally proposes marriage to Krista whenever she's kind to him, and refers to her as being "cute".
Ymir is utterly devoted to Krista, and Krista yells at Ymir for risking her life to protect her, demanding she instead take actions that will endanger everyone to save herself. During a climatic battle, they come just shy of being a Battle Couple, as Krista declares she will never fear anything as long as Ymir is with her.
Reiner teases Bertolt and suggests he should confess his feelings to Annie If We Get Through This, earning much blushing and sputtered denials. Later, Armin successfully goads a reaction out of Bertolt by lying to him and reporting that Annie is in danger.
The Spin-Off Babies, Attack! Titan Junior High thrives on giving nods to the various Ship Teases throughout the main series. These include Eren x Annie, Bertolt x Annie, Ymir x Krista, Reiner x Krista, Jean x Romantic Failure, and Mike x Nanaba.
Side material reveals that Moblit is jealous of how close Levi is to Hange, implying romantic feelings for his Squad Leader. In-series, he's shown to be very protective when Hange is threatened.
Shirtless Scene: It says quite a bit about this series that we've only gotten one after 53 chapters of manga, and it's barely noticeable since the scene that it takes place in is horrifying, quickly nullifying the usual connotations.
Shōnen: Despite the very grim story and the violence which would normally put a series like this into Seinen territory, this series runs in Bessatsu Shonen Magazine.
One of the gag previews from the manga has Eren waking up to discover that the entire series was All Just a Dream, and that he's actually a Japanese schoolboy with Mikasa as his best friend. So basically, the infamous Episode 26 of Neon Genesis Evangelion, but with Eren and Mikasa in place of Shinji and Asuka.
More officially, Isayama stated in a blog-post that the characters of Levi and Erwin were modeled after Rorschach and Ozymandias from the American graphic novel Watchmen. Levi shares Rorschach's body type and white scarf, while Erwin shares Ozymandias' body type, facial features, and modus operandi: Both Ozymandias and Erwin are leaders who are unafraid to sacrifice many in order to save the majority.
A very roundabout one to JoJo's Bizarre Adventure: In JJBA, there is a character named Mark, as there is one named Marco in Attack On Titan. Both are friends of a character the protagonist butts heads with at first. Both are found dead, missing large chunks of their upper bodies, with Marco being bitten in half by a titan, and Mark half absorbed by one of the Pillar Men. Incidentally, they share the same Japanese voice actor.
The Siege: The ongoing storyline has humanity trying to hold off one of these by the Titans.
While Eren reminisces (unaware that it actually happened) about killing Titans in Titan form, he smiles, claiming out loud that he will kill them all. Unfortunately, people think that he's talking about killing them. Armin's horrified reaction to it is priceless. Eren also sports several Slasher Smiles while fighting the Female Titan, in both of his fights against it.
Annie pulls an extremely creepy one when Mikasa correctly accuses her of being the female Titan. The smile itself isn't as pronounced in the anime but the unsettling laughter that preceded it achieved the same chilling effect.
In chapter 51, Erwin of all people briefly sported one when discussing the possibility that Titans were originally humans. Levi noticed and is completely unnerved by it.
Sliding Scale of Idealism Versus Cynicism: Zigzagged. On the one hand, humanity's prospects for the future and odds of winning any victories against the Titans are exceedingly grim, and characters drop like flies, usually suffering gory nightmarish deaths. On the other hand, the protagonist is a grimly determined optimist who has vowed that he will a) kill all the Titans as revenge and b) see humanity expand to the world outside the walled city, both of which are ideas that most of his peers consider suicidally idealistic. His optimism keeps being challenged throughout the story, one notable instance being when the 57th expedition turns out to be a complete failure and the entire Special Operations Squad, bar Levi, dies in front of his eyes.Not that it makes him give up.
The Smart Guy: Armin might be a bit meek, but is the smartest of the Power Trio in reasoning and deduction, comes up with why Titans are weak at the base of the neck due to Eren, and deduces the Colossal, Armoured, and Female Titan had to be human piloted and comes up with the most practical plans and strategies in the field.
The Spartan Way: Military training is a 3-year process, and it's casually noted that deaths are not only common but considered just a way of weeding out those who wouldn't have survived battle anyway. The 3D maneuver in particular is noted to result in quite a few training accidents. Cutting the ropes on recruits practicing using 3D maneuver gear is even noted to be way to weed out those who can't keep their balance when disaster strikes, since panicking will make them useless against the Titans.
Training from Hell: Annie underwent it as a child, prior to enlisting. She tutors Eren by putting him through similarly harsh training.
Spell My Name with an S: Eren/Elen, Levi/Rivaille/Revi, Erwin/Irvin/Elvin, Krista/Christa, Arlert/Arlelt/Arelet, Bertolt/Bertholdt... It would take too long to list them all.
Not to mention the various spellings of Eren's last name of Jaeger/Yeager/Jeager/Jäger etc. (though the official translation is "Yeager").
Spin-Off: Attack On Titan Levi Side Story: A Choice With No Regrets manga, which is based on the Choice With No Regrets visual novel included with the Attack On Titan Vol.3 Blu-ray. This spin-off features Levi as the main character and serves as a prologue to the main series.
Spin-Off Babies: The Middle School AU spin-off manga Attack! Titan Junior High. It is pure, unfiltered crack involving the main cast going to school with the Titans, and deals with it as a Slice of Life comedy. It gleefully parodies the primary canon, as well as including numerous Shout Outs to popular memes and aspects of the fandom. Eren still hates the Titans, but the trauma of his mother being Eaten Alive is replaced with his cheeseburger lunch being stolen on the first day of school. Jean's lovelife continues to be a joke, Annie is a blushing Tsundere, and the memetic "Moe Titan" is a reoccurring character.
Spotting the Thread: Armin can even identify the scratches and dings on Marco's 3D Maneuver Gear when he sees it in front of Annie.
Square/Cube Law: Titans are shockingly nimble despite their size because they weigh almost nothing.
The Colossal Titan also has very different anatomy, with legs proportionately thicker like an elephants'.
Stages of Monster Grief: An underlying element of Eren's characterization, as he learns to cope with his new status.
Stealth Hi/Bye: The Colossal Titan is noteworthy for this, since no one can figure out how a 60m tall monster can simply appear and disappear in a cloud of smoke. This ends up being very significant, as this is one piece of evidence that leads them to realize the Colossal Titan is a Titan Shifter with access to military training and equipment.
In the anime his appears with a flash of lightning, whereas in the manga he appears out of nowhere in the space of a single panel change
Stepford Smiler Krista Lenz as revealed in Chapter 52. Krista is the hollow type.
The Stinger: The very end of Episode 25 has a huge Sequel Hook after the credits: there is a TITAN inside Wall Sina!
Story Arc: Interestingly, the anime identifies its episodes as belong to these as well as each episode being part X of an arc. They are: The Fall of Shiganshina, The 104th Trainees Squad, The Battle for Trost, Night Before The Counteroffensive, 57th Expedition Beyond the Walls, and The Raid on Stohess District. Fans commonly refer to the last 3 as sub-sections as part of the Female Titan arc.
Strange Salute: With their right hand in a fist over their heart, and their left arm tucked across the small of their back. A Drill Sergeant Nasty explains the fist clenched over their heart symbolizes their commitment to sacrificing their lives for their king. Erwin later invokes this sentiment to ask the recruits if they are willing to give their beating hearts to humanity.
Sunk Cost Fallacy: All of the titan shifters are devastated by the things they've done, but refuse to stop doing them with the reasoning that they've "come too far to turn back now."
Super-Deformed: The "Special Episodes" feature the recruit squad as chibi characters in a comical portrayal of their years of recruitment as "a bit like a school". Subject to a load of Flanderization and Lampshade Hanging, they play up romance arcs for laughs, and invariably end with the Colossal Titan showing up and eating the protagonists.
Ironically, the chibi!Colossal Titan has proportions that are closer to a human's than in the series.
Special mention goes to DOA, which not only has grammatically perfect lyrics about what it's like to be a member of the Survey Corps, but is also pronounced perfectly as well. This one is because the song is performed by Aimee Blackschleger, an American singer living in Japan who has also contributed music to Guilty Crown and Final Fantasy XIII-2
Survivors Guilt: All over the place, with people losing comrades and/or loved ones left and right. The first ending theme of the anime directly invokes this, as pretty everyone has at one point or another wondered why they survived while their comrades died.
This is part of the deconstruction of Heroic Sacrifice: sacrificing yourself to buy your comrades time to escape and/or give them a clear shot at the Titan holding you is ultimately pointless if they sit there shocked and dumbfounded by the act, likely to become victims themselves. Those that live and are plagued by the guilt become shell-shocked and are less likely to stay effective fighters, making the sacrifice still pointless. The squadmates of Eren very nearly go down this path, in particular the person who witnessed the act, who completely shuts down for a while.
Sympathetic Murder Backstory: After their true identities are revealed, the three Titan Shifters are shown to be seriously messed up because of their crimes. Word of God states Annie is intended to be sympathetic, recalling her Freudian Excuse just before encasing herself in a Crystal Prison, while several chapters and a bonus epilogue are dedicated to showing Reiner and Bertolt to be traumatized and guilty over their crimes. Unlike most examples, however, they continue carrying out their mission.....though it remains unclear exactly why they're doing it in the first place. They claim that they have to do it, with Ymir expressing sympathy for their situation. Everyone else? They fully intend to hunt them down and make them pay.
Not that she wasn't already a badass, but after she and Levi fight the Female Titan, in the Raid on Stohess arc Mikasa is seen employing some of his techniques (notably the spinning, and slashing along muscle planes) to great effect.
Takes One to Kill One: Besides incredibly impractical human weaponry, the only thing that can easily damage a Titan is another one. Includes itself, since titans often commit self-injury.
Talking Is a Free Action: In Episode 19, Levi gives one of his calm, rational speeches that goes on for paragraph after paragraph seemingly in the space of a dozen hoofbeats as the 104th races through the forest.
When titan!Eren's straddled the female titan to keep her down, he internally monologues for several minutes, while she apparently has no choice but to lie there and wait for him to finish. She might have been waiting for her eye to heal, but you'd think she'd still attempt to kick him off somehow.
Later during their second fight, they both assume fighting stances and Eren similarily has another internal monologue that goes on for a while as they just stand and stare at each other.
A priest preaches that the walls will remain impregnable as long as clergy's faith is held fast. They form a human wall, linking arms, and praying in a circle. A Titan promptly smashes through the walls of the church, crushing the people inside.
In the first episode, Eren calls the Garrison soldiers cattle due to how lazy and unconcerned they seem to be, including some who are drunk on duty. One of them mentions that if they're seen fighting, then things have really gone downhill fast. Which is exactly what happens when the Titans breach the wall...
And most egregiously, before the Titan invasion: the heroes are discussing the Titans, and Armin says that even though the walls have stood for a century, they could still be broken today. After about 10 seconds of silence, a colossal Titan appears out of nowhere and busts a hole in the wall.
In Episode 4, after Eren looks at a lot of things humans have done in the last five years since the Titans entered the territory behind Wall Maria. He notes that they're ready for another Titan attack. Guess what happens next?
They Look Just Like Everyone Else: The Titan Shifters are a major source of paranoia for the military, once people realize such a person could exist. How many of them there are, or what their true goals might be, are among the many mysteries of the series. But they are completely undetectable, unless they do something that blows their cover.
Those Two Guys: Reiner and Bertolt. Jean and Marco, especially in the anime, prior to Marco becoming the Dead Sidekick. Krista and Ymir. All manage to subvert the trope, by being much more important as the story goes on.
Thousand-Yard Stare: As one might expect from a series as dark as this. Its noted in universe that the Drill Sergeant Nasty skips over the recruits who already have one. Many soldiers also display one once despair sets in.
Throwing Your Sword Always Works: In one of Levi's fights he chucks his blades into the eyes of a titan before slashing out its nape. Justified in that every soldier carries multiple blades because they wear out quickly. Levi probably just weaponized blades that would otherwise just be thrown away.
Title Drop: As grammatically close as one can get, anyway. During the speech that Dot Pixis made before the attempt to re-take the Trost District, he says, "When this plan succeeds, it'll be the first time we've reconquered land from the Titans! It will mean mankind has finally managed an attack on the titans!"
To Serve Man: The Titans think humans are very tasty. Evidence suggests that they don't even need to eat in order to survive, nor do they prey on any other animals besides humans.
Tragic Villain: The three Titan infiltrators: Annie Leonhart, Reiner Braun, and Bertolt Hoover. They were sent on their mission at a young age and have began to show varyinglevels of trauma as a result of what they've done. All three express that they just want to go home, and are rapidly driven into a corner with no choice but to complete their mission or die trying. Reiner claims they didn't fully understand things when they started their mission, while Bertolt expresses remorse over their crimes while claiming they haveno choice but to do it.
Implied between Krista, Reiner, and Ymir, with Reiner (though we don't know if he really has a crush on Krista or is just messing with Ymir) and Ymir both looking at Krista, but Krista herself never giving any confirmation on any possible romantic feelings. Reiner only has feelings for Krista when he is experiencing dissociative episodes, which arise as a result of his attachment towards his former teammates and his deep immersion into the role of a soldier. A part of him does like Krista, but it is the part that interferes in his fight to destroy humanity.
The slightly melancholy chorus of the Insert Song 'The Reluctant Heroes' returns as a stirring Leitmotif in several other pieces on the soundtrack, including 'Ri-body-ki-motion' and 'counter*attack-mankind'.
The slightly sad and calm melody of 'eye-water' comes back as a victorious (but equally melancholic) theme in 'Call Your Name' a few times during the anime.
Troubling Unchildlike Behaviour: Eren. He took it upon himself to save Mikasa, planning out how to kill the criminals that had abducted her. His explanation to his father: "I merely put down some rabid dogs. Sometimes they just happen to look like people."
Tyke Bomb: Annie, Reiner, and Bertolt were all still children when they began their mission to exterminate mankind. Annie is shown to have been in training since an early age, though it's unknown how early Reiner and Bertolt began to prepare for their mission.
Laser Guided Tyke Bomb: Eren becomes one for the military, and his memories of being injected with something by his father suggest he had a hand in Eren developing his powers.
Eren, a heroic Titan shifter looks less human than a normal Titan thanks to its skull-like face, making it a little less creepy. Reiner, a Titan Shifter who became sympathetic to his comrades in the Trainee Corps despite his mission also looks less human. Annie and Bertolt, who hate humans and are more loyal to their mission respectively, are smack dab in the Valley.
Unfriendly Fire: Jean briefly discusses this in episode 18, when they're ordered to stand guard in the forest of giant trees, mentioning that an unpopular commander may find themselves getting attacked from behind by one of their troops. Armin wonders if he's really going to do that, but Jean tells him he was just thinking out loud and will follow the orders.
The Unreveal: The identity of the "true enemy". Later, Ymir almost reveals a possible answer before being stopped, and refuses to answer when asked a second time.
Unskilled, but Strong: Almost all Titans. They have very little intelligence but can do a lot of damage because of their gigantic size.
Unspoken Plan Guarantee: Erwin invokes this by keeping everyone but a handful of trusted individuals in the dark about his real plan to capture the Female Titan because he suspects (rightly) that an infiltrator would alert the Female Titan to the plan. Subverted in that she manages to break free and escape anyway. Fortunately, the protagonists are still able to identify the Female Titan, thanks to Armin's encounter with her.
Unstoppable Rage: Eren snaps when the Female Titan kills all the people protecting him, and transforms to kill her.
Mikasa when she thinks that Eren has died at the hands of a Titan. During the Battle of Trost, she flies into a Roaring Rampageof Revenge and cuts down several Titans before running out of gas.
Villains Blend In Better: While Sasha is shown to have difficulty adjusting to life outside her isolated village, none of the Titan Shifters from outside the Walls seem to have had any issue passing themselves off as refugees from Wall Maria. Considering that the society within the Walls was supposed to have been isolated for a century, it gives an early nod to the Ancient Conspiracy at play within the upper ranks of society.
Villain Episode: Multiple chapters, as well as one episode of the anime adaptation, could be considered this through their relatively sympathetic focus on the villains. Episode 23 and its counterpart, chapter 31, focus primarily on Annie prior to The Reveal that she is the Female Titan. Later on in the manga, chapters 46 through 48 primarily focus on Reiner and Bertolt and provide significant Character Development for them.
Villainous Friendship: Reiner and Bertolt are very close and protective of each other. They, especially Bertolt, also get mad when Armin bluffs about Annie being tortured, though Annie's feelings for them are unknown.
Walking Spoiler: All of the Titan Shifters tend to qualify for this. Annie, Reiner and Bertolt are almost never mentioned without a spoiler tag referencing their status as the moles. Ymir isn't quite as bad. Eren supposedly dies early on in the series, so almost any indication of him surviving being eaten by a Titan, in addition to his shifting ability, is basically spoiler material.
Wall Around the World: Humanity's last settlement is three concentric walls, built to keep out the Titans.
Warfare Regression: The military is primarily trained in double swords and hand-to-hand combat because flintlock rifles are much less useful personnel weapons for fighting Titans, though cannons still get used in Titan defense and rifles are kept around to enforce the law and to deal with possible civil wars or uprisings.
Was It All a Lie?: Eren wonders this after Annie is revealed to be the Female Titan, and later when Reiner and Bertolt are also revealed to be Titans. Connie states he won't be satisfied until he can ask them face to face. When he does get to ask them, Bertolt breaks down and states that not everything was a lie.
Was Once a Man: The Titans. When the destruction of Connie's village reveals this, the officers of the Survey Corps are understandably horrified at the implications.
Watching Troy Burn: In Episode 2, as Eren, Armin, and Mikasa, along with many other refugees attempt to flee Zhiganshina, they see smoke and fires rising in the distance, along with cries of terror as the Titans enter the human territory for the first time in a hundred years. Bonus points for their hometown actually being surrounded by walls previously thought to be impregnable.
Weak, but Skilled: The only way the inherently much physically weaker humans can survive multiple Titans encounters is to be very skilled.
We Hardly Knew Ye: Marco Bodt, the first member of the top ten of the 104th Trainee Corps to die, does so off-screen and with hardly any Character Development. The horrific anonymity of his death serves as one of the triggers for Jean's Character Development. Of course, it's heavily implied that the reason he died somewhere where no one was there to see was because Annie killed him.
Eren and Armin's squadmates Thomas Wagner and Mina Carolina are the first named soldiers to die in the battle of Trost, and both did so with little screentime. Their other two squadmates Nac Tius and Mylius Zeramuski also die with even less screentime; their names weren't even known before Armin recalled them later.
We Have Become Complacent: Most of humanity got comfortable with 100 years of peace and were completely unprepared for the first Titan attack. Eren even chewed out Hannes and the other Garrison troops for drinking on duty since they didn't think that the Titans would actually breach the wall. After they learn their lesson, the Garrison is at least somewhat more capable by the time of the second attack. The Survey Corps never got lazy during the long lull though the Military Police Brigade was never particularly concerned by the Titans.
Deconstructed with the Survey Corps who regularly suffer countless deaths every mission. Eventually, the Corps faces a serious problem of personnel shortage, as most of their veterans having been killed off in a short time frame and graduating Trainees aren't exactly rushing to sign up for a Red Shirt Army.
Chapter 9 (Episode 8): Eren is alive with all his limbs intact, and was the Titan that attacked the other Titans.
Chapter 31 (Episode 23): The Female Titan is Annie.
Chapter 33 (Episode 25): There are Titans within the walls.
Chapter 40: Ymir is a Titan as well - and, years ago, killed a childhood friend of two of her comrades.
Chapter 42: Reiner and Bertolt are the Armored Titan and Colossal Titan, respectively.
Chapter 50: Eren is indeed the Coordinate, and it grants him the power to control Titans.
Chapter 51: Titans were once human, and are innocent victims transformed into monsters by some unknown force.
Chapter 53: Pastor Nick is found murdered, and the Survey Corp's investigation of this reveals that there's a Government Conspiracy responsible for both the Wall Titans and the murders of Krista's family.
Chapter 54: Erwin is preparing to stage a military coup d'état.
Wham Line: The identities of the Armored Titan and Colossal Titan are given freely and unprompted to The Hero by the villains themselves. In a background conversation.
In the OVA episode, during the Apocalyptic Log, it's mentioned that the Titan speaks, says "Ymir-sama", then bows.
What the Hell, Hero?: In Episode 2, Eren insults Armin for wanting to stay away from the danger while relying on meager handouts. He then throws the bread his friend's grandfather gave them, prompting Mikasa to punch him in the face. She tells him someone so weak who couldn't even have left the city on their own two feet, nor gotten the food without help, would be unable to even stand up to one Titan. She then force feeds him the bread, telling him to survive for now.
Where The Hell Is Springfield?: Since there is a mention of Asia, the worlds geography is assumed to be the same as our own. The Walls where (what we see of) surviving humanity lives are probably somewhere in Central/Northern Europe, considering all humans (except Mikasa) are of caucasian type with mostly Germanic names, and there are quite a few blue-eyed blondes. It remains an assumption though, as the world outside the walls is never shown. It doesn't quite help that the area within the walls is easily the size of a large country, meaning it could be made up of several different geographical/ethnic regions.
Wide-Eyed Idealist: By comparison, every military recruit that hasn't been mentally broken by encountering a Titan yet and expects good things after training. Some examples stand out, especially Eren, Marco, and Marlo, who are prime examples of soldiers wanting to enter the Survey Corps (Eren) and Military Police Brigade (Marco and Marlo) for the right reasons. Everyone gets a quick dose of the reality that battle with Titans is, though.
Some civilians can be like this too. Eren sees a young brother and sister admiring the Survey Corps and thinking how awesome they are, just like he did only 5 years go. He can only look away and try not to cry the same way Erwin looked away in shame last time.
World of Badass: Averted. Despite several people in the series being highly proficient at fighting, the vast majority of humans are just regular people that enlist in the military hoping to never actually have to fight, which explains the high casualty rate of every expedition.
Grappler In All Of Us: Eren in Rogue Titan form utilizes this a lot in his second fight against Annie, who is the Female Titan, breaking out an assortment of moves ranging from the triangle choke, armbars, and knee bars.
Considering that, according to Word of God, his Titan formwas based on MMA fighter Yushin Okami, this makes sense.
Xanatos Gambit: No matter what happens, Erwin wins during the 57th expedition beyond the wall. If they succeed in capturing the Female Titan and prying out its human, the Survey Corps shuts down one of its biggest threats and learns a lot, including about any spies in their ranks. Major victory. If they fail or it manages to escape, because he was using Feed the Mole, he can still identify the infiltrator(s) helping the Female Titan (and by extension the Female Titan itself) based on its belief of Eren's location. Smaller victory.
Also Erwin's plan to capture the Female Titan the second time. If Annie doesn't help, Eren escapes with 3D-manuever gear while Jean distracts the military. If Annie does help, they lead her to the tunnel. If Annie isn't the Female Titan, they use the tunnel to smuggle Eren outside the city and delay his execution until they can find evidence for his trial. If Annie is the Female Titan, people restrain her to stop her from transforming. If she transforms, Eren and the military try to fight and capture her. If she loses, she is captured and used as a reason to keep Eren alive. If she escapes, they exposed a spy and use that to keep Eren alive.
You Killed My Mother: In Chapter 46, Eren confronts Bertolt with this, reminding him of the time he mentioned that a piece of the gate the Colossal Titan kicked landed on his house, breaking his mother's leg so she couldn't escape. Bertolt says that he felt sorry for him back then. Eren... doesn't react well to this and vows to make his death as painful as possible. It is unclear whether Eren believes he is being mocked, is angry that Bertolt felt pity and not guilt, incapable of believingthat someone who has caused so much destruction and death can have "human" emotions like that... or that he doesn't want to believe it, as not doing so makes Bertolt easier to hate and kill.
You Can't Go Home Again: A major theme, with several characters losing their homes and/or families and realizing that they can never return to their former lives. The refugees from Wall Maria, in particular, have lost everything and are forced to struggle to build new lives in Wall Rose.
You Monster!: Eren spends a good portion of Chapter 43 monologuing about how much he hates Reiner and Bertolt for having ruined his life but still having the gall to infiltrate the soldiers and act righteous.
Bertolt to Armin in Chapter 49, when the latter lies and claims with a creepy smile that they've been torturing Annie.
You Shall Not Pass: Mikasa decisively shows how much of a Bad Ass the other humans consider her in-universe by invoking this when the military surrounds her, Armin, and Eren right after his first Titan-shift. No one dares to advance on them with swords because she's stated to be worth one hundred regular soldiers.
Zerg Rush: A large horde of Titans rush to the Female Titan and eat their target before they can be stopped.
Also how the Rogue Titan falls after its rampage in Trost and how Erwin tries to deal with the Armoured and Colossal titan kidnapping Eren
Pretty much the only tactic normal titans have which makes abnormals and the shifters so dangerous