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Characters / Attack on Titan: Reiner Braun

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WARNING: Unmarked spoilers abound. Beware if you are not updated with the manga.

Reiner Braun

Voiced by: Yoshimasa Hosoya (JP), Robert McCollum (EN), Alfonso Obregón Inclán (Latin American Spanish)


Debut: Chapter 2 (Manga), Episode 2 (Anime)
"Do you think this world has a future?"
Click here to see his post-Time Skip appearance 

"We're soldiers, aren't we? There are times when we can't back out."

Ranked 2nd. He has a strong sense of duty and is deeply admired by the others, who consider him to be their surrogate big brother. His village was destroyed by Titans, and he longs to return there someday. He strongly influences Eren to take his responsibilities as a soldier more serious, and is prone to crude humor during stressful moments. His reassuring attitude and humor boost morale, leading others to deeply trust him.

Injured during the battle at Castle Utgard, he crumbles under the stress and confesses to Eren — revealing himself as the Armored Titan, and a spy sent to attack Paradis. Unable to convince Eren to cooperate, Reiner kidnaps him along with Ymir and flees into Titan territory. Pursued by the military, his thin grasp on reality continues to weaken and he is revealed to be guilt-ridden over his actions to the point of madness. He convinces Ymir to ally with him, but is eventually routed by the military and forced to abandon his mission, fleeing back to his homeland in defeat.


After the battle at Shinganshina, Reiner returns to Marley in defeat and takes responsibility for the failure of the operation. Nearly stripped of the Armored Titan, he spends the next 4 years on the front lines of the war with the Middle-East Union in order to prove his loyalty and usefulness to his superiors. His exceptional service restores his reputation, and he earns a promotion to Vice-Commander of the Warrior unit.

Once the weakest member of the Warriors, his fierce loyalty to Marley earned him the Armored Titan over his rival, Porco Galliard. Born from an illicit affair between an Eldian woman and a Marleyan at the Liberio Ghetto in Marley, he once dreamed of saving his homeland and reuniting his broken family. Chosen among a group of four kids with the mission to infiltrate the Three Walls and recover the Coordinate Titan Power, Reiner aims to prove himself as a worthy Warrior. At Paradis, Reiner assumes the leadership of the infiltrating group after his comrade Marcel Galliard is eaten by a Titan, pushing through by sheer determination, but his experiences while infiltrating the Walls have left him haunted and completely disillusioned back at Liberio, with only two years left on his "Tenure". A young group of candidates, including his cousin Gabi, are being considered to inherit the Armored Titan from him when his time runs out. Though he pretends to remain completely loyal to his superiors, he expresses the treasonous desire to save Gabi from following in his footsteps.


Branch: Survey Corps

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    A – B 
  • The Ace: Reiner is incredibly strong and agile, lethally intelligent and has several unique powers both in human and Titan form that only he possesses. While the Beast Titan (who Reiner refers to as their general) stays on one side of the Wall with an army of Titans, intent on trapping the Scouts inside, Reiner is the only one within Shiganshina, trusted with fulfilling a large part of the mission and from his warrior training definitely aided him when disguising himself as a soldier.
  • Acquired Situational Narcissism: When he gets selected as the successor for the Armored Titan, he can't help but rub his victory in Galliard's face, since Galliard had previously mocked Reiner for being the worst performer in their group of Warrior candidates. Reiner's newfound self-confidence ends up being shattered when Marcel confesses that he'd arranged for Reiner to be chosen in his brother's stead.
  • Affably Evil: He's done incredibly horrible things, but even so he's a genuinely good guy. Unfortunately, this results in him becoming friends with the very people he's supposed to help slaughter.
  • Ain't Too Proud to Beg:
    • In his nightmares, he pleads for mercy from his former comrades.
    • Even when Eren makes it clear that he has no wish to act on past promises of revenge, Reiner receives such a bad Breaking Speech that he resorts to pleading for everything to end already.
  • All for Nothing: Basically, everything he has ever done proved meaningless. His obsessive drive to become a hero and make his family proud ended in him becoming a disillusioned mass murderer, simply waiting to die from the Curse of Ymir. In order to return home to his family, he lost all of his friends to either betrayal or death, and gave up the only freedom he'd ever known. But he's now a Stranger in a Familiar Land who has to lie to appease his family, and can never tell anyone about the things he's experienced. His failure led to a 4-year war and his cousin being groomed to follow in his footsteps once his time runs out. And worst of all, his superiors convinced him the Paradis Operation would save the world, but he's actually an Unwitting Pawn in Marley's plan to wipe out all Eldians once and for all.
  • All or Nothing: His entire life philosophy, even back then he was The Load, as by giving 100% in anything and everything he put his entire being into, can completely flip the table on any potential long-running scheme his opponent favors by utilizing sheer insane and downright idiotic moves in the heat of the moment, taking everyone off-guard, even for just a short moment, to get the upper hand. However, this attitude is a double-edged blade, as once the tactic table is flipped, the risks for him suffering a devastating defeat become equal to the odds of a overwhelming victory, something he experienced firsthand multiple times through his life.
  • Ambiguous Situation: After Marcel's death, Reiner and Annie argue about whether to abandon the mission or not. After Annie points out Reiner will probably be executed for his failure, he counters that it's possible their superiors will punish them all. Annie accuses him of blackmailing them to save himself, and he admits he isn't even sure what he's thinking. It makes sense, as they're both hysterical, frightened children that have just watched their leader get Eaten Alive.
  • Angst Coma: After using his powers to protect Falco from Eren's transformation, Reiner lapses into an unconscious state while still merged with his Titan. Falco is unable to wake him, and theorizes his condition is the result of lacking the will to go on living.
  • Anti-Villain: Reiner has been completely broken by his guilt, but knows it is too late to turn back now.
  • An Arm and a Leg: After he reveals himself, Mikasa slices off his arm below the elbow and breaks the blade off bisecting his remaining arm nearly to the elbow. In Chapter 83, all his limbs have been cut off and he's been blindfolded.
  • Arch-Enemy: While the entire island of Paradis wants his head, Eren Yeager is the most consistent enemy of his. They have had the most fights out of anyone in the series.
  • Ass Shove: He jokes that this is a Titan's other weakness. Connie appears to take this claim seriously.
  • Ate His Gun: After reflecting on his painful memories from his time as a soldier and betrayal of the Survey Corps, he loads a rifle and puts it into his mouth, ready to end his suffering. However, he ultimately doesn't go through with it when he hears Falco passing by the room, deciding that he still has the new cadets to live for at the very least.
  • The Atoner: Discussed. He's gone mad from guilt but remains committed to his mission, and demands to know if Eren expects them to atone for their crimes.
  • Badass Baritone: Reiner's voice is very deep, significantly more so than his fellow trainees.
  • Bash Brothers: Demonstrates this dynamic with Zeke at the battle of Fort Slava, providing close-range attacks and protection while Zeke focuses on ranged attacks.
  • Bastard Angst: His obsessive drive to become a Warrior stemmed from his desire to reunite his parents, so that he could have a real family. When asked about his father by Bertolt, he's forced to brush the subject off to avoid exposing his family's secret.
  • Beard of Evil: Sports a pretty sharp looking goatee and chin-strap combo after the 4 year Timeskip.
  • Beard of Sorrow: It may also count as this, based on the sheer amount of suffering he's experienced over the years.
  • Becoming the Mask: As it turns out, he's suffering dissociative episodes where he believes his mask is real. His fake memories were created to escape himself, as he couldn't bear the guilt of what he'd done.
  • Being Evil Sucks: He suffers massive, mind-breaking guilt over his crimes and recognizes that it means they are not only isolated from everyone else... but doomed to short, violent lives. He seems resigned to this idea.
  • Beneath the Mask: He's spent years building a public persona as the reliable big brother, hiding the full extent of his cynicism and emotional instability from view.
  • Better to Die than Be Killed: Rather than have Gabi, Falco, or anyone else inherit the Armored Titan from him when his tenure is up, Reiner attempts to blow his brains out to spare them from that fate. Hearing Falco outside of his quarters stops him from doing so, deciding that he must continue living on for them as long as possible.
  • Big Bad Friend: He's ultimately revealed to be the Armored Titan and a member of a band of Titan Shifters trying to bring about the extermination of Paradis. However, he seems to genuinely care about his fellow soldiers as evidenced when he tries to bring Eren, Ymir, and Krista over to his side.
  • Big Brother Instinct: Everyone considers him their big brother, due to his tendency to take the weaker members under his wing. This is best demonstrated during training, when he risks punishment to help Armin with his gear.
    • Turns out, while a lot of his personality may have been derived from Marcel, Reiner still displays the same desire to protect his younger comrades that defined him during his days as one of the 104ths. Reiner is currently trying to ensure that Gabi, his younger cousin, won't inherit the Armoured Titan from him in order to spare her the horror and guilt he suffered from in his youth.
  • Big Brother Mentor:
    • To Eren in particular.
    • To the younger batch of Warriors, all competing to become his successor. Special mention goes to his younger cousin Gabi who seems to worship the ground Reiner walks on and whom Reiner desperately wants to protect from the fate of being a tool for Marley.
  • Big Damn Heroes:
    • He helps save Armin from the Female Titan. However, it turns out to have been a trick to pass information to Annie.
    • Just before Eren in Titan form can eat the defeated Galliard, Reiner musters up the remaining vestiges of his strength to force a half-transformation into a Titan form with exposed muscles and only some shards of armor on it. Eren defeats him with a single hardened punch, but wastes his remaining strength in doing so, while Reiner manages to grab onto Galliard and pull him out of Eren's hands, ultimately saving him as Eren is forced to retreat.
  • The Big Guy: Described as having the strength (and willpower) of an ox.
  • Big Man on Campus: He's ranked 2nd in class, has a Heroic Build and is very much a Gentle Giant (or so it seems). The databook even gives him a 10 out of 10 in Social Skills.
  • Big, Thin, Short Trio: The "Big" to Bertolt's "Thin" and Annie's "Short."
  • Blatant Lies: As shown in Chapter 94, he can barely badmouth his comrades at the Trainee Corps in front of his family and tries to misconstrue Sasha's potato incident as an outlandish display of deviousness characteristic of the Eldians at Paradis. It's so blatant that even Gabi starts questioning him about whether the Eldians are such bad people, and his mom basically has to shut him up with a Death Glare.
  • Blood from the Mouth: As a result of getting a blade driven into his throat by Hange.
  • Bolivian Army Cliffhanger: He is last seen in his Armored Titan form, fending off a swarm of Titans alongside Bertolt and Ymir, though the epilogue of Volume 12 reveals that they indeed survived the battle.
  • Born Lucky: As lampshaded by Zeke in Chapter 83, the truly ridiculous number of times that Reiner has almost been killed but has survived is just insane. Including all of the things mentioned in the Worf Effect below Reiner got hit directly by one of the Thunder Spears through his open mouth and send flying out of the back of his Titan form's head. While captured by the remains of the Survey Corps, Jean convinces Hange not to kill Reiner as they might be able to take his powers. This allows Zeke and the Mule Titan to save Reiner and escape since nobody else in the Survey Corps has enough gas to chase after the Titans without being slaughtered.
    • Granted, it might have been kinder had he been killed since, as shown by other tropes in this entry, things have been getting worse and worse for him the longer the fight drags on and now, with Bertolt dead, he's completely on his own. Seem's like Eren's promise is coming true.
  • Born Unlucky: The more information there is about his life, the more obvious it is just how unlucky he really is. His astounding survival over the series seems less like good fortune, and more that the universe isn't done making him suffer. Every single thing in his life has gone horribly wrong, leaving him alive but robbing him of his friends, his ideals, his hope, and his sanity. The narrative even explicitly describes him as the boy that has lost everything.
  • Break the Cutie: The flashbacks to his youth are essentially a Trauma Conga Line demonstrating how an overly-eager, innocent little boy was systematically and thoroughly broken by the world.
  • Broken Ace: Ranked 2nd in the class, and looked up to by the others, but it turns out he's not nearly as solid and stable as he seems.
    • His numerous military victories during the war have repaired his reputation as one of Marley's greatest weapons, admired by others for his loyalty and heroics on the battle field. But he is a very broken man, struggling to conceal his trauma and guilt from the people around him.
  • Broken Pedestal: The admiration and respect Eren and the others feel for him as The Ace and the Team Dad crumble once his true nature is revealed.
  • Broken Tears: When he confesses to his crimes.
  • Bruiser with a Soft Center: He constantly looks after others, putting their well-being before his own. This has earned him the respect and admiration of the others, who view him as a surrogate brother.
  • The Bus Came Back: Reappears at the end of Chapter 70, along with Bertolt and the Beast Titan, in the Shiganshina district to recapture Eren and rescue Annie.

    C – F 
  • Char Clone: He's a hyper competent, blond warrior who spent the first portion of the story living under an assumed identity. In addition, he is set opposite to Eren as his rival in the pair of trios and his titan form is red and gold.
  • Child of Forbidden Love: His mother, Karina, told him that he was this. Revealing that his father's a Marleyan, thus neither Reiner or his mother couldn't be with him. Subverted. Reiner's father in reality wanted nothing to do with him and his mother. It's even implied that the man already has another family and that Karina is just making everything up to get back at her ex through their son. Although the part about Reiner himself being half Marleyan appears to be true given the man's reaction to his existence.
  • Chronic Hero Syndrome: Connie observes his tendency to always take the most dangerous assignments, and always act for the sake of others. Bertolt notes it's always been one of his worst habits.
  • Conflicting Loyalty: He clearly cared for his comrades, and this conflict between friends and mission solely erodes his sanity. He ultimately chooses the mission, while stating that there's nothing else left to him.
  • Conveniently Unverifiable Cover Story: Bertolt claimed they were refugees from a remote mountain village, destroyed by Titans when Wall Maria fell. Hange notes that the family records were still in shambles five years later, and if they hadn't made the mistake of identifying themselves as from the same village as Annie... they might have never been found out.
  • Cover-Blowing Superpower: Averted. He's able to turn his regeneration on and off, preventing anyone from getting suspicious when he's injured.
  • Crazy-Prepared: Almost every notable ability Reiner possesses is designed to prevent his destruction. In case he's injured, he can avoid blowing his cover by withdrawing his regenerative power. His Titan possesses intensely strong armor, and in case someone goes for the gaps in it, he can seal those off with armor too. Even his ears and eyes are armored, preventing people from slashing at them and in the case of the latter, debilitating him by attacking them. And in case of a mortal injury, he can activate a new ability that will allow him to survive and function despite it by transferring his mind to his Titan body, though it's described by Bertolt to be a risky move.
  • Cryptic Conversation: Engages in several of these with Ymir and/or Bertolt, dropping hints left and right.
  • Curb Stomp Cushion: Essentially, when our mangaka needs to demonstrate how powerful a new character or ability is, Reiner is the punching bag. There is no doubt he's a fearsome warrior, but he has been involved in easily the most battles of any of the Titan Shifters, and has suffered brutal beatings and scenarios in every one of them, never claiming a solid win. To reiterate, Reiner's a scary fighter, but his outstanding ability is his power to survive.
  • Daddy Had a Good Reason for Abandoning You: His parents' relationship is against the law, so his mother told him he couldn't have a father. Karina tells him that if they become Honorary Marleyans, the family will be reunited. But this is a complete lie. When Reiner met his father, he learned he was not only unwanted, but hated and suspected of being there for revenge. Technically, he had a very good reason for abandoning Reiner, as the boy's existence put his and his family's life in danger.
  • Dark and Troubled Past: Survivor of a Titan attack, and sent to commit genocide against Paradis at a young age. He's more deeply affected than he's initially willing to admit.
  • A Day in the Limelight: The entire Marley arc, from Chapter 91 onwards, has focused on Reiner's feelings and past with special mention going to Chapters 94 and 95 which show Reiner transition into the mess he is now.
  • Dead Person Impersonation: A variation. Gallaird accuses him of modeling his dependable, big brotherly "Soldier" persona on Marcel, an accusation that Reiner readily agrees with. How accurate this actually is is up to debate, since Bertolt described him as always having been that way.
  • Death Glare: This tends to be his response to attacks:
    • When Mikasa cuts off his left arm, brutally mangles the other one, and slashes his head and face open, this is the look he gives her. More specifically, this is the look he gave after throwing something at her to stop her from putting a sword through Bertolt's brain — after the relevant injury, mind.
    • When Levi mortally stabs him through the heart and spine/neck and spinal cord, this is his response, with glowing eyes for good measure. Notably, even Levi looks unnerved at this.
  • Death Seeker: He can't bear to go on living, but his sense of duty to his subordinates keeps him from killing himself. Instead, he hopes that Eren will carry out his threats and kill him in revenge.
  • Despair Event Horizon: After revealing his true identity, he may very well have crossed it. He immediately declares that the only thing left to him is taking responsibility by completing his mission, and he later tells Bertolt that they're murderers with little time left.
    • This is made even worse after it was revealed that Titan Shifters will die 13 years after acquiring their powers.
    • He may have gone over it, if his comments of just wanting to die or disappear are any indication. He enters an unconscious, non-regenerating state in Chapter 103 due to his lack of willpower to continue.
    • After Eren gains full control of the Founding Titan and awakens the Wall Titans, Reiner comes to the crushing realization that everything he trained for, everything he fought for, and everything he sacrificed for was all for naught. The entire basis for his original mission was a lie, and by his own desperate desire to be a hero caused it to become true. He tells Gabi quite bluntly that everyone in the world is going to die and that the only option is just run away and promptly passes out.
  • Deuteragonist: Gabi, Falco and Reiner are the protagonists of the arc that began from Chapter 91 of the manga.
  • Didn't See That Coming: He was caught completely off guard by the Survey Corps' new weapon being able to damage his Titan Form twice.
  • Does This Remind You of Anything?: The Ambiguously Bi half of Those Two Guys suddenly clasps his partner's shoulder and makes a casual confession that leaves the shyer one sputtering. No, though fans refer to this as Reiner "coming out", he's not making a romantic confession... he's blowing their cover as mass murdering spies.
  • Doomed Hometown: A remote mountain village, that was overrun by Titans during the destruction of Wall Maria. He states his desire to return there someday. It's later proven to be a lie.
  • Doom Magnet: The more that's revealed about him, the clearer it is that Reiner seems to just have a knack for attracting bad luck not just to himself, but everybody he cares about.
  • Double Consciousness: Due to Becoming the Mask, he is torn between him being a Paradis Soldier and a Marley Warrior.
  • Dramatic Irony:
    • Throughout Chapters 94 and 95, the audience sees Reiner desperately training under the belief that he's a hero destined to save the world from the Eldian devils hiding behind the Walls. However, the audience is already well aware that the enemies Reiner hates are just normal people and that his experiences on the island will eventually turn him into a broken shell of a man who considers himself a monster.
    • It turns out that Annie and Bertolt wanted to abandon their mission, after losing Marcel. Reiner convinced them to continue with it..and ended up the only one of the three to return home.
    • Albeit Reiner is by far the most battered of the Warriors, having been in the brink of death multiple times, and his experiences have made him suicidal, the universe persists on cursing him with surviving whatever is thrown at him and thus, suffering for everything he has done and dilating every painful second of his wretched existence. At some point, it wouldn't be surprising for him to survive being turned into meat slurry.
  • Driven to Suicide: He finally reaches his breaking point after watching Gabi and Falco training as well as realizing that he'd have to return to Paradis Island for Marley, and he reflects on his painful past as a Warrior before putting a loaded rifle in his mouth. However, just as his finger is on the trigger, Falco happens to pass by outside the room and unknowingly inspires Reiner to continue living, subverting the trope.
  • Earn Your Happy Ending: After spending the entire series suffering from guilt and trauma, he is freed from the Titan Shifters curse, reconciled with his mother and is forgiven by his Survey Crops comrades which prompt him to recover from his guilt and move on in his life.
  • Early-Bird Cameo: He makes a brief cameo as one of the refugees in Episode 2, listening to the announcement of the mission to reclaim Wall Maria.
  • Enigmatic Minion: He confronts Falco over his cynicism about the limited lifespan of a Titan Shifter, threatening to report him for treasonous thoughts. Once Falco agrees to fight to inherit the Armored Titan himself, Reiner drops the act and pleads with him to save Gabi from their "pitch black future". It isn't clear exactly how far Reiner's doubts go, but he's clearly no longer as loyal as he once was.
  • Establishing Character Moment: When he takes Armin's pack during a training run, and risks them both getting in trouble to help Armin out. This is, of course, the beginning of a montage establishing the main cast through a narration by their instructor.
  • Evil All Along: Zigzagged all over the place. He's an enemy of Paradis, and provides information to aid Annie's attack on the 57th Expedition... but he also cared about his comrades in the 104th, and is a complex character deeply disturbed by the actions he's been forced to take.
  • Evil Counterpart: To Eren, being the physical powerhouse and most emotional of the Power Trio. Basically, he's a case study in what Eren would have been if he had grown up in Marley instead of Shiganshina. He has his passionate nature, his drive to succeed, and forms strong bonds with his True Companions. However, due to the poisonous propaganda he was raised with, his fervent hatred is directed against Eldians instead of Titans. Later becomes an inverted case. See Good Counterpart below.
  • Eye Scream: In Chapter 76, his former comrades show up during his fight with Eren equipped with the new "Thunder Rod" weapon, a large spike loaded with explosives that can be launched like a harpoon then detonated. First thing they did upon entering the fray? They went straight for the eyes, blinding him.
  • Face Death with Dignity: After being mutilated at the Battle of Shiganshina Reiner makes sure to give the Survey Corps Ymir's parting letter to Historia. After he does so Hange asks Reiner if he intends to give them any information on his allies. Reiner merely grits his teeth, gives a small smile, and says "nope", knowing that it means his death. Although it gets subverted once Zeke arrives to rescue him.
  • Failed a Spot Check: Turns out Eren's been shadowing him since Chapter 93; possibly longer. Completely justified, too. Reiner's got a lot on his mind, and there was no way he could have known that the Eldians had found a way off Paradis.
  • False Friend: He's the friendliest of the infiltrators, and earns everyone's trust with little effort. However, he ends up starting to care about them and this contributes to his mental breakdown.
  • Fee Fi Faux Pas: During his family dinner, he discusses his time on Paradis and the "horrible" people living there. He quickly realizes his mistake, and asks everyone to forget what he'd said.
  • The Fettered: His strong sense of duty inspires Eren to take his role as a soldier more seriously, and is the thing that consistently keeps him bound to a certain course of action.
  • Field Promotion: In the chaotic aftermath of the attack on Liberio, Reiner is promoted to War Chief and brought to the table as part of Marley's surviving top-brass. This grants him the authority to participate in planning their next move, and command their surprise attack on Paradis.
  • Flashback Echo: He recalls Marcel's death at the hands of a Titan, while desperately attempting to hold off a Titan breaking through a door.
  • Foreshadowing: Oh, so many subtle hints exist prior to the revelation of his true identity.
    • When Eren describes the appearance of the Armored Titan, Reiner is seen listening intently.
    • Reiner tells Eren that there is something he has to do, before he can return home. Bear in mind that this doesn't add up with his cover story- the "village" that the Warriors claim to come from was destroyed and their initial goal to join the MP's would take them farther away from there.
    • During the attack on Trost, Reiner advises Annie and Bertolt to let "them" gather before making their move.
    • Reiner is the most outspoken concerning the Rogue Titan, repeatedly inquiring about its origins and advising the others to rescue it.
    • When Eren partially transforms during the Trost arc, the telltale lighting and explosion sound leave everyone stunned.. except for Reiner, Bertolt, and Annie, who immediately rush toward it to investigate.
    • During the cleanup operation, he advises a traumatized Annie that apologies are useless. The only thing they can do is mourn and continue moving forward. He later reveals that he is overwhelmed by guilt, but feels there is nothing left to him but completing his mission.
    • He expresses interest in Eren's whereabouts in the formation, and immediately afterwards engages the Female Titan. After he escapes her grasp, she suddenly moves off in the direction Armin estimated Eren might actually be. This proves to be key evidence in exposing him as a spy.
    • A slightly less subtle example from the same situation. After Reiner escapes, his body is steaming, similar to the way a Titan Shifter does while healing.
    • He offers to help Connie sneak away when the rookies are placed under house arrest, stating that he suspects their superiors are looking for something in their group.
    • When Ragako village is found in ruins, he actively discourages Connie from thinking too much about how the House Titan resembles his mother.
    • Some that are non-related to his identity happen in Chapter 77: At the start of the chapter we see how he's responsible, along with Annie and Bertolt, for Marco's famously gorey death in which half his head and upper body are bitten off. At the end of the manga, there's a similarly in-your-face scene of Reiner with the top half of his head removed. In the same chapter, he jokes to Bertolt about how anyone would mistake a stupid bastard rushing in to save them from a life-or-death situation for a handsome prince, even Annie. Ship tease for both ships aside, Bertolt certainly does come flying in to do just that — but it's for Reiner, who just roared to summon him again.
    • His comment referring to himself, Bertolt, and Annie as "short-lived mass murderers" is our first hint of the Curse of Ymir. He knows they only have 6 years left before the Curse kills them.
  • From Bad to Worse: For Reiner and Bertolt when Eren reveals he does indeed have the "Coordinate" power.
    Reiner: This is the worst... Of all people, the Coordinate... has fallen into the hands of the worst possible person...

    G – I 
  • Genius Bruiser: Hinted at, with Bonus Material mentioning he was one of the few people able to play Chess against Armin. Even so, Eren states he doesn't think Reiner is "clever enough" to be The Mole.
  • Gentle Giant: Built like a linebacker, but is the resident Team Dad whom the others rely on for support.
  • Glowing Eyes of Doom: Reiner alone pulls this off in human form when staring down Levi, who just stabbed him through the neck. This is notable, as Levi has in the past been seen with a red glint in his own eye, indicative of his Ackerman gene triggering. His Titan is also the only one never seen without glowing eyes.
  • Good Counterpart: Rather interestingly, Reiner becomes this to Eren after the Time Skip, having previously served as Eren's Evil Counterpart before the Time Skip. The season 4 key visual even flips the persepctives from the original. With Reiner now looking up at Eren as he attacks his homeland.
  • Good Feels Good: He's a firm believer in this principle.
  • Hair Color Spoiler: Once the audience figures out the pattern of Morphic Resonance that Human Titans and their human forms have, Reiner's distinct build is a giveaway that he's the Armored Titan. To a lesser extent his actual hair resembles the Armored Titan's a bit.
  • Hair-Contrast Duo: With Bertolt.
  • Half-Truth: It seems that what he says about his and Bertolt's backstory is at least partially true.
    • Double Meaning: Excels in doing this. An enormous percent of the things he does or says have a different significance, with the knowledge that he's The Mole.
    • Unreliable Expositor: Even Bertolt isn't entirely sure when to believe things Reiner says, due to his delusional episodes. As such, the audience doesn't know when he's been telling the truth, acting intentionally, or being influenced by his delusions concerning who he really is.
  • Hard Work Hardly Works: Averted. Reiner started out as the weakest and least talented of the Warriors, and had to overcome this enormous disadvantage through persistence and hard work.
    • Though played straight with the reveal that Reiner shouldn't have recieved the Armored Titan. Marcel's brother Porco should have. But Marcel manipulated the results so Reiner would get the spot and Porco would stay safe. This bombshell shakes Reiner's confidence hard, and possibly led to Marcel's death with Reiner too shaken to do anything.
  • Healing Factor: He's shown to be able to consciously control it, enabling him to avoid blowing his cover when a Titan munches on his arm. He later heals it in an instant, once he decides to fight Eren. Taken to new heights when he gets his head blown off, he manages to survive by transferring his consciousness to the rest of his nervous system and even begins to grow a new one, brain and all.
  • Heel Realization: He even calls himself a "villain" during his breakdown. Later, when Eren calls him a "murderous demon", he admits that he knows it.
  • Hero Antagonist: Played with. His A Father to His Men and Big Brother Mentor attitude makes The Reveal that he was The Mole and an antagonist all along that much more shocking both in and out-of-universe, and the reveal of the more unsavory actions he took to maintain that cover prevent him from being seen too sympathetically or in a heroic light but rather highlight his status as a Tragic Villain. However, he gets the spotlight in the Marley Arc, which also highlights even further his Not So Different status from Eren and how his past and present continue to haunt him, and when Eren steps back into the plot and reveals the full extent of his own Protagonist Journey to Villain, Reiner ends up taking Eren's previous spot in the Hourglass Plot as the Titan Shifter out to save his loved ones and home (and later the whole world) from the Titan threat to match him.
  • Heroic BSoD: He went into shock after learning that Marcel influenced the selection process, unable to cope with realizing he didn't earn his Titan. This is the state he was still in, when Ymir's Titan emerged from the ground and attacked him...
  • Heroic Build: He stands out upon the soldiers for his heavy build. This actually becomes an issue, when they're in a Titan-infested area with only one horse and three people. Reiner is too heavy for the horse to carry him and a second person, and still run at full speed.
  • Heroic Sacrifice:
    • Attempts one to protect Connie, but is saved at the last moment by the others.
    • In the final battle, he wrestles the origin of the titans at ground zero of Armin's explosive transformation to kill Eren, though the Survey Corps do expect Reiner to survive.
  • Heroic Wannabe: Bertolt describes him as having always been one, which goes about as well as can be expected in this sort of series.
  • A Hero to His Hometown: On Paradis Island, he is viewed as a mass murderer and a traitor. Back in Marley, he is a living symbol of Marley's military strength and treated with considerable admiration by the residents of Liberio. When he travels through the ghetto market in the morning, the people stop to warmly greet and praise him. To be fair, the Liberio residents were never told what exactly transpired during Reiner's mission and only know what the Marley Government wanted them to know.
  • He's Back: Broken out of his Angst Coma by the sound of Gabi and Falco screaming for him to save Galliard, giving him the strength for an incomplete transformation that lasts long enough to drive Eren off. Once he recovers from the battle, he's shown to have regained his sense of purpose and has taken over as the leader of the Warriors.
  • Heterosexual Life-Partners: Bertolt is clearly the most important person in his life, and the two are rarely seen apart.
  • Hidden Depths:
    • He looks like a typical bruiser, but he provides emotional support to the others and cracks randy jokes to lighten the mood during tense moments. His graduating 2nd in his class suggests he's also far more intelligent than expected.
    • Deep down, Reiner has never stopped loving and cherishing his friends at Paradis, which plays a great part on the overwhelming guilt he feels for what he did to them.
  • History Repeats: Within moments of recalling his friend Taking the Bullet for him in the past, Reiner nearly sacrifices himself to protect Connie in the exact same manner.
  • His Story Repeats Itself: Marcel's death saving him from a Titan was one of the most significant events in Reiner's life, haunting him nearly a decade later. Porco Galliard, Marcel's younger brother and the latest wielder of the Jaws Titan, repeats his brother's sacrifice and saves Reiner from being eaten by a mindless Titan at the cost of his own life.
  • Hot-Blooded: Extremely passionate, and masculine to the extreme. It's hard to believe he's only seventeen.
    • As a child, he was 100% raw determination and passion. That passion was tempered a bit as he grew older, and has pretty much faded entirely as a result of his trauma.
  • Hunk: Ruggedly handsome, and stands out among the younger characters for being manly as hell.
  • Hunter of His Own Kind: He kills Titans so his cover won't be blown.
    • Also, his ultimate goal is to hunt and kill Eldians even though he himself is half Eldian.
  • I Cannot Self-Terminate: His sense of obligation kept Reiner from killing himself, but he ends up begging Eren to kill him.
  • If You're So Evil, Eat This Kitten: He forced Annie to take Marco's gear, to prove that she hadn't become compromised. Ironically, this act ends up breaking them both, emotionally and mentally.
  • Ignored Epiphany: After Eren rejects him, he briefly admits that he's losing it and has completely lost his moral compass. This moment of despair and remorse is immediately followed by him deciding that he's already done too much, and that his only choice left is to continue his mission. He then throws the proverbial crap in the fan, kidnapping Eren and Ymir.
  • Ignored Expert: A particularly egregious example occurs as the Marleyan generals discuss how the second invasion of Paradis Island could be carried out. Reiner, who spent five whole years there, provides them with several logically-sound scenarios based on the knowledge he gained during that time, with each scenario having its own advantages and disadvantages. The generals disregard pretty much everything he tells them, saying that it was a mistake to formulate any plans with Eldians.
  • I Have No Son!: After inheriting the Armored Titan, Reiner finally got to meet his father... who called him a monster and slammed the door in his face.
  • I Just Want to Be Free: As a child, he dreamed about living free from the interment camps. He seems to have lost such hopes after a decade of disillusionment and loss.
  • I Let Gwen Stacy Die: He harbors considerable guilt over Annie's capture and the deaths of Marcel and Bertolt, suffering hallucinations of them and nightmares of the Colossal Titan's defeat.
  • Inadequate Inheritor: Since Marcel was intended to be the leader of their mission, after his death he did everything in his capacity to fulfill the former's role; judging on how things went, this didn't work too well.
    • Even in regards to gaining the Armored Titan form. Porco constantly taunted him during training, saying he didn't have what it took. And he was right. The only reason Reiner was the one chosen to inherit the Titan power was because Marcel meddled in the results to have Reiner inherit it over Porco, who was the true legitimate candidate, to keep him out of danger. This revelation didn't help Reiner's morale one bit.
  • Instant Armor: Part of being a Titan Shifter, and literal in his case since he is the Armored Titan.
  • Interrupted Suicide: His suicide attempt is interrupted by Falco passing by the room, grumbling about his weakness. Reiner concludes he's got to continue living, for the sake of the kids.
  • Irony:
    • Reiner bemoans to Eren and Armin the fact that, after having his arm broken saving Connie from a Titan, and almost getting crushed by the Female Titan, that if things keep up the way they are he won't have long to live. Not only does Reiner end up continuously surviving what should be lethal blows he ends up lasting longer then all of his other friends and teammates in the Warriors regardless of if he wants to or not.
    • He's identified by his instructor for having incredible willpower and mental fortitude. The others rely upon him and consider him a stable, reliable person. His Titan form is also almost completely invulnerable due to its armor plating. In fact, he's mentally and emotionally unstable, and the least sane of the Titan infiltrators.
  • It's All My Fault: As a result of his guilt, Reiner took full responsibility for the failure of the Paradis operation and was very nearly stripped of the Armored Titan. While his Sanity Slippage caused issues for the mission, he readily accepts the blame for the mistakes his comrades also made. It's also worth mentioning that the mission in Paradis continued due to his efforts, even though his comrades wanted to return to Liberio as soon as possible. Later on, he breaks down and says it word for word while begging Eren to kill him.
  • It's Personal: The revelation of Reiner being a Titan Shifter shook all of their comrades to the deep core, to the point that most, if not all of them, hesitate to kill him at some point. They care for him that much.
  • I've Come Too Far: He resolves that after everything he's done, the only option left to him is to complete his mission or die trying.

    J – N 
  • Jade-Colored Glasses: In stark contrast to his usual behavior, once his cover is blown he begins expressing some pretty jaded views about himself and the world. He has a very fatalistic view of things, describing the fate of a Warrior as "pitch-black" and wants to protect Gabi from suffering the same fate.
  • Jerkass Has a Point: He tells Annie and Bertolt that their lives would be forfeit if they dare to return to Marley after collectively abandoning Marcel. Annie berates him and kicks his ass for assuming that he's trying to drag them down with him for something that it's his fault, but Reiner retorts by arguing that if they return empty-handed, they're as good as dead regardless of who takes the blame. He then tells them that he'll take the role of "Marcel" in the group if that's what they need to complete the mission.
  • Jumped at the Call: As a child, Reiner threw himself wholeheartedly into his mission and couldn't wait to become a hero.
  • Karmic Nod: He's resigned to living on borrowed time, as a result of his crimes. Of course, while his guilt and belief that he deserves to die are real, he's also cryptically referring to his, Bertolt and Annie's Tenure.
  • Kick the Morality Pet: Nearly kills his former classmates with his frantic Titan-hurling routine. Armin even expresses shock at Reiner's reckless behavior, wondering if he even cares about the possibility of Eren being eaten in the process.
  • Kill All Humans: He tells Eren their original mission was to exterminate mankind, though this doesn't seem to have been the complete truth. He also retracts this, stating that if Eren comes with them, killing off Paradis will no longer be necessary. However, that offer seems to have expired as of Chapter 78. Bertolt lays out two goals: get Eren and destroy the humans within the Walls. It seems the two goals aren't interchangeable anymore.
  • Kindhearted Cat Lover: The game Escape from Certain Death includes a sequence where he rescues and befriends a skittish kitten.
  • Lantern Jaw of Justice: Just look at it.
  • Laser-Guided Amnesia: After the top portion of his head finished regenerating, all of the memories he had between giving Bertolt a pre-battle pep talk and Bertolt telling him to flip his Titan form on its back to avoid being caught in the blast he was about to create disappeared as a side effect. This ended up being critical to finally taking him down as he had no memory of the Thunder Spears being able to destroy his armor, allowing the surviving soldiers a second chance at using them effectively.
  • The Leader: He seems to be this to the Titan Shifters, making most of their decisions. Annie, the loner among them, follows instructions he gives her at least twice and Bertolt tends to look to him for any course of action.
  • Lineage Comes from the Father: Gender Inverted. He was able to become the Armored Titan because his mother is an Eldian, while he gained nothing from his Marleyan father.
  • Living with the Villain: Ymir was the Titan that killed his friend years ago, much to his shock.
  • The Load: Initially, out of his whole generation's batch of warrior candidates, Reiner possessed zero talents to speak of, only making it into the "Warrior" program due to his over-zealous Undying Loyalty to the Marley's cause, much to his distress.
  • Loose Lips: In an effort to prevent Eren from trying to escape, Reiner rather foolishly tells Eren, whose arms and legs had been cut off, that he's unable to use his Titan Power while his severed limbs were healing. This information ended up being instrumental to defeating Reiner, Bertolt, and Zeke at the battle to reclaim Shiganshina.
  • Lovecraftian Superpower: His Titan Shifting powers, which allow him to survive horrific injuries and generate a 15-meter Titan.
  • Made of Iron: He survives a Titan's attempt to crush him and manages to walk it off.
    • Even by the standards of a Titan Shifter, he is famously tough as nails. His ability to survive getting his head blown off (not his Titan's head, Reiner's actual head) is now legend among the other Warriors, and he manages to survive being blown to pulp by a battleship's artillery.
  • Madness Mantra: In Chapter 95, flashbacks show him trying to cope with being rejected by his father and learning his selection was rigged through repeating a phrase. Instead of reassuring or calming him, it just comes across as desperate.
    "I am a Warrior chosen to inherit the Armored Titan. I will save everyone from the devils on Paradis Island. I'll be the hero that saved the world."
  • Major Injury Underreaction: Barely slowed down when he's injured by a Titan. Later, he's not even slowed down when Mikasa cuts one of his arms off and horrifically mangles the other. He still manages to get back up and fight. Levi stabs him through the neck, one of the only ways to kill a Titan Shifter, actually severing his spinal cord and nearly his whole head, as well as putting another sword straight through his heart and spine. Once he is shown inside his Titan, he's seen to casually force it out of his throat while reflecting on how good it is that he has his latest-revealed power. Bonus points for Reiner's loose lips indirectly leading to Armin gaining the Colossal Titan power and subsequently devastate the Marleyan fleet, literally sinking ships.
  • Male Gaze: He refers to the Female Titan, a partially-skinless horror currently rampaging her way through the Right Flank, as having a "nice ass". Of course, he may have been talking about the chick inside it.
  • Mama's Boy: Raised by a single mother, basically everything he's done has been for her.
  • Mask of Sanity: His fractured mind gave this impression, making him seem like a stable and reliable individual.
  • Meaningful Name: "Reiner" means "Deciding Warrior", alluding to his status as the leader and decision-maker of the Titan Trio.
  • Mighty Glacier: He's not particularly fast compared to the others (especially Jean, Connie, and Mikasa) but he's one of the most physically strong recruits, being able to shrug off a Titan's attempt to crush him then cut his way out. His bulkiness and relative slowness do sometimes work against him, as Glass Cannon Annie makes quick work of him using his size against him in hand-to-hand combat training and later on something similar happens to his Titan form.
  • Misanthrope Supreme: Not Reiner himself, but he is the one to reveal that evidently those from the Homeland are brought up to think this way, clearly to prepare them for war. The war chief, the Beast Titan, that he works for seems to live by this belief, that humans are evil and corrupt. On one half, obviously growing up alongside humans has tainted this view for Reiner, Annie, and Bertolt. On the other, the saddening thing is that, from a viewpoint of having been brought up under that belief, you could almost say it's right. The Titan Trio seem privy to many secrets, possibly including those of the Reiss house — which include letting a serial killer head a secret police to hinder technology and having a ritualistic practice of feeding their family members to a new one to pass on a hypnotic will. They also would have grown up to see that, in the midst of the death and destruction they themselves caused, humanity can be cruel, unsympathetic, and brutally self-serving, a point the manga repeatedly makes.
  • Missed the Call: Reiner was going to be the spare, not Galliard. But Marcel interfered with the selection to protect his brother, leading to Reiner getting the Armored Titan.
  • A Mistake Is Born: His mere existence is grounds for the entire family being executed, if his heritage were to be discovered. Karina dotes on him, but his father makes it painfully clear that Reiner's birth was a horrible mistake. He even goes so far as to suggest Karina kept Reiner out of spite.
  • Mixed Ancestry: Reiner is actually half-Eldian and half-Marleyan, the result of an illicit relationship. Because Marley has strict laws dividing the races, he's been forced to keep it a secret his entire life.
  • The Mole: One of the Titan Shifters sent to infiltrate the ranks.
  • Morality Pet: The others became this to him, in particular Connie and Krista.
  • Morphic Resonance: Played straight and averted. In present day, Reiner's Armored Titan looks incredibly similar to him, as far as build, hairstyle, and eye color. However, it looks exactly the same 5 years prior, when he was twelve and no doubt looked drastically different.
  • Mr. Fanservice: Played for Laughs in the Smartpass extras, with a comical story of a Shirtless Scene witnessed by the girls of the 104th. After enjoying the show, the girls ended up getting handsy with him (with a little encouragement from Ymir).
    • Though leaner, he's definitely grown into an incredibly handsome adult. A Shirtless Scene and the appearance of his incomplete Titan form both serve as a demonstration of his good looks.
  • Murder Makes You Crazy: Ymir accurately guesses that his guilt over his role in the destruction of Wall Maria caused him to flee into his false identity as an Eldian soldier to escape.
  • Muscles Are Meaningful:
    • He's described as having the strength and constitution of an Ox. At one point, he hoists a roughly 3-meter Titan over his shoulders in a Fireman's Carry and schleps it up a flight of stairs to throw it out a window. With it gnawing on his broken forearm the entire time. Even though Titans are lighter than their size suggests, it's still an insane display of physical strength.
    • On top of the protective plating, the Armored Titan is noticeably buffer than Eren's Titan and it shows in their fight; while Eren's punches have virtually no effect on him, each of the Reiner's punches send the Attack Titan flying in the air and easily break his jaw. Eren has to resort to using techniques he learned from Annie (that is, techniques designed for weaker people to subdue stronger foes) to bring him down.
  • Mutilation Conga: As far as Chapters 70 and beyond are concerned, a panel where Reiner isn't a bloody mess is a panel wasted. Let's see... Stabbed through the neck by Levi, stabbed through the heart and spine in the same instance, has the entire top half of his head blown off, doesn't even finish regenerating that before he's blown out of his Titan again, sustains a gaping gash in his abdomen from that instance of being blown out of his Titan, subsequently has his limbs chopped off, and to round it off has his throat slashed open by Hange in an attempt to torture information out of him. Goddamn. Is there anything else this man can suffer?
  • My Country, Right or Wrong: Implied to be the entire impetus for all his actions. As hinted to when he killed Marco, again when he broke down to Eren and recently after the four-year timeskip when regarding the Titan Shifter's fate as "cursed", he deeply resents himself and possibly even his country for both everything he's done, everything Bertolt and Annie had to do and how the latter two ended up dead and MIA respectively. But he's still a soldier of Marley and a holder of one of the Titan powers, so he'll follow his obligations and duties to what he knows is going to be a bitter end, no matter how hellish it turns out — and no matter how much he desires otherwise. He continues to serve Marley, in spite of having serious doubts.
  • My God, What Have I Done?: The guilt over his actions leaves his mind shattered, which seems to have started with killing Marco.
  • My Greatest Failure:
    • Throughout the story, it's shown that Reiner felt personally responsible for the death of Marcel and made every effort possible to evoke him, and do justice to his lost friend and their cause. Contrary to Porco's speculation, Reiner did not imitate Marcel out of selfishness, but for the sake of Bertolt and Annie, who would have faltered otherwise.
    • He considers himself the sole responsible party in the failure of the mission to Paradis and shoulders the blame on his own to the Marleyan authorities. He is ashamed of the deaths of Marcel and Bertolt, and both his treatment towards Annie and the loss of her on one hand; on the other, he is plagued by the feelings of guilt over his role in the massacring of the Paradian Eldians and the betrayal he incurred into against his comrades on the 104th.
  • Nice Job Fixing It, Villain!: He helped teach Eren to take his responsibility as a soldier more seriously, and introduced him to Annie — an event that would lead to Eren learning the skills later used to defeat Reiner in battle. His attempts to coax Eren into cooperating also make the other Shifter more determined to not let himself be taken.
    • When Eren wakes up in the forest after their first battle with both of his arms cut off, Reiner makes a point to tell him that he's unable to generate a Titan while his body is healing from severe injuries to dissuade him from trying to escape. This ends up being one of the worst mistakes Reiner makes in the entire series; Up until that point, the Survey Corps believed that there was no way to capture an enemy Titan Shifter alive. During the battle to reclaim Shiganshina, when Levi and Eren take out the Beast Titan and Colossal Titan respectively, they intentionally lob off Zeke and Bertolt's limbs to prevent them from Titan Shifting again. In Bertolt's case, severing his limbs kept him subdued long enough to be eaten by Armin as a Mindless Titan, granting the Survey Corps with another Titan Shifter on their side.
    • As of Chapter 97, we can add "Deception" to the skill list. Eren's infiltrated Marley with similar subterfuge techniques that Reiner used; such as a exploiting benefit of the doubt, Selective Honesty, and suppressing his Healing Factor.
  • Noble Demon: He's respected for his strong sense of duty and honor, but this proves to be a fatal flaw for him. Being forced to act against his conscience for the sake of his mission has eroded his sanity, and left him deeply uncertain.
  • No Brows: According to the design notes, though most of the time it looks like they're merely blond and very thin.
  • Non-Standard Character Design: Reiner's design is noticeably more masculine and bulky than pretty much all of the other characters, who tend to be on the slim side.
  • No One Should Survive That: This is the general reaction when the top half of his head is blown off, and he still gets back up.
  • Normally, I Would Be Dead Now: Levi tries to kill him while in human form by cutting his head off, but fails and Reiner transforms anyway As it turns out, it should very well have killed Reiner, but it doesn't.
  • Not So Different: It turns out, he has many things in common with Eren. They were both children that grew up dreaming of escaping their confinement, and had an extremely naive view of the world. They both ended up abandoned by their fathers and they entered the military due to the influence of their mothers. Both believed they could save humanity simply through exterminating a faceless, "demonic" enemy and devoted themselves to this cause. In training, both were defined by their raw determination and lack of any exceptional skills... as well as having a loud-mouthed rival that they physically fought with. They both learned that they were The Unchosen One for their respective missions and only got their powers due to other peoples actions rather then their own merits. And both eventually had their simplistic worldview shattered through discovering that the "monsters" they sought to destroy were people just like them. Either one of them could have easily ended up following the same path, had their situations been reversed.
    Eren: "Why?" Really? You don't get it? I'm the same as you. I didn't have any other choice. That's why.

    O – S 
  • Off with His Head!: The attack with the Thunder Spears blows his head off above the jaw. This apparently still isn't enough to kill him, and is even capable of recovering from it.
  • Oh, Crap!:
    • When Eren first uses the power of The Coordinate to control the Titan horde. He immediately thinks that Eren is the worst person to possess that ability.
    • When he sees the new weapon the Survey Corps have brought to the Shiganshina battle, and realizes within half a minute it's going to kill him.
    • In a flashback, he elicits one from his fellow Warriors when he makes Annie remove Marco's gear during the Battle of Trost in order for him to be eaten by Titans. After witnessing Marco getting chewed on by a Titan and both Annie and Bertolt are crying inconsolably at the sight, Reiner surreptitiously asks them why is Marco being eaten. This is the first time that both Annie and Bertolt start realizing that something's gone wrong in Reiner's mind.
    • The stunned look on his face when he sees Eren for the first time in years speaks volumes.
    • He gets another one a few seconds later when he realizes why Eren chose to meet him in that particular spot.
    Eren: "This is a nice place. You can hear the stage pretty well from here. The people living here must have a good view. All of them gathered by the window, waiting for the curtain to go up... right above us." (points up, letting Reiner see the fresh cut on his hand)
    • And then when he asks Eren the reason he's in Marley, and his reply is "Same as you".
    • Then he has a completely different reaction when the "I'm going to make you suffer" comment. Eren's response is a rather sheepish "... just forget I said that", causing Reiner's mind to skip a few cogs.
    • He doesn't react to Eren beginning to transform, not until he realizes that Falco is still there. He might not care about his own life, but Reiner is terrified that the boy is in danger.
  • The Only Believer: While Annie, Marcel, and Bertolt all seemed to realise, to varying degrees, that the mission to destroy Paradis Island was a Necessarily Evil at best, poor Reiner genuinely believed that the people on Paradis Island were demons that needed to die in order to save the world. Suffice it to say, he suffered for his beliefs once he learned the truth.
  • Oppressed Minority Veteran: He's devoted his entire life to serving Marley, and in spite of his many achievements and status of Marley's heroic champion.....Reiner is still a second-class citizen, treated only marginally better than his fellow Eldians. His family remains imprisoned in the Internment Zone, he remains under constant observation by the government, and his superiors humiliate him when his expert opinion contradicts their whims.
  • Opt Out: Played for laughs when he considers fleeing from a sparring match with Annie, and in the second OVA where he tries to abandon the hunt for the monstrous boar.
  • Out, Damned Spot!: He represses and alters his own memories in an effort to cope with his guilt.
  • Past Experience Nightmare: His trauma is partially revealed through his nightmares of being attacked by Levi and Mikasa, as well as helplessly watching the Colossal Titan fall.
  • Perma-Stubble: Starts sporting this from the time skip of Chapter 91.
  • Person of Mass Destruction: He's responsible for the death of a large percentage of Paradis people.
  • Pet the Dog:
    • He instructs Ymir to take her chance to escape, knowing that her life is forfeit if she goes with them... but also that they can't go back empty-handed, having failed their mission. Ymir returns the gesture by refusing to leave.
    • Before the Battle of Shiganshina Reiner admits to Bertolt that one of their priorities is to protect Historia as a thank you to Ymir for saving them. After being defeated Reiner desperately tries to get a metal case out of his pocket to give to the Survey Corps. The case in question contains a letter from Ymir to Historia that Reiner promised he would deliver.
  • Please Kill Me If It Satisfies You: Overwhelmed with guilt, he throws himself at Eren's feet and begs the other man to kill him.
  • Punch-Clock Villain: His compartmentalization is taken to an extreme degree, but overall when he isn't actively carrying out his mission he's a friendly and supportive comrade. He holds no ill will towards Paradis, and is bothered by what his mission requires him to do... but even so, he has a strong sense of duty. He can be brutal and merciless when carrying out his duty, but offer advice or help when just passing the time.
  • Rated M for Manly: A hot-blooded, ruggedly handsome Big Brother type. His design stands out from the others, overflowing with masculinity in contrast to everyone else being a gangly teenager.
  • Red Oni, Blue Oni: The red to Bertolt's blue.
  • Refuge in Audacity: While it can be attributed to Sanity Slippage, Reiner sincerely thought that if he just revealed the identity of himself (and a very shocked Bertolt), then Eren would actually just go along with what was happening and leave everything behind for the two people responsible for killing hundreds of thousands of people including Eren's mom.
  • Regretful Traitor: When he attempts to bad-mouth the 104th in line with Marleyan propaganda, he ends up smiling wistfully and fails to actually insult any of them. It's clear that he still cares about them, after all that's happened. The horrified looks worn by his family force him to immediately backpedal, and parrot the usual propaganda.
  • Rescue Romance: Discussed. Reiner jokes that even Annie isn't immune to this and would fall for Bertolt if they go rescue her.
  • Revenge by Proxy: Reiner's dad tells him in considerable distress that his mom had him just to get back at him, and that by doing so (and by making Reiner enlist into the Warrior Program), she's nothing short of endangering his whole legitimate family out of spite.
  • Running Gag: His desire to marry Krista whenever she's kind to him.
  • Sanity Slippage: His sanity has been slipping for an unspecified period of time, with his grasp on his true self growing weaker. By the time he spills everything to Eren, he's gone over the deep end and progressively gets worse as the day goes on. Ymir finally comments on his condition, and he seems to finally realize how far gone he actually is by that point. It's later shown that his erratic behavior began due to his and his fellow Warriors' killing of Marco; in fact, the first sign of his mind breaking is when he suddenly becomes surprised and horrified at the sight of Marco being eaten, as if he suddenly didn't remember that he was the one who gave the order to leave Marco to die.
  • Secret Identity: The Armored Titan. As a result of his guilt, he's begun to lose sight of his true self.
  • Secret Test: He threatens Falco for questioning their superiors, but reveals his true intentions once Falco proves his determination.
  • Self-Harm: Transforms by slicing open his palm with a knife.
  • Sensitive Guy and Manly Man: The Manly Man to Bertolt's Sensitive Guy.
  • Shadow Archetype: Thanks to the story, post Time Skip, focusing on his past a lot more Reiner and Eren basically serve as shadows of one another as detailed in the Not So Different entry above. At this point, it seems as if the two are basically the same character just viewed from opposite sides of the war.
  • "Shaggy Dog" Story: From forming a relationship with his father to protecting Marley from the "devils" of Paradise Island, everything he's ever aspired to do in his entire life has gone horribly wrong and ended in utter failure. Even worse, there's very little room for things to get better because he only has two years to live (at the most) and not much power to sway the situation in his favor. Understandably, he's kind of become a shell of his former self as a result of the trauma. His attempts to help Gabi and Falco seem to be heading in the same direction, if Eren's presence in Marley is any indication.
  • Shared Unusual Trait: His large nose and unusual height, shared with Bertolt.
  • Shell-Shocked Veteran: He demonstrates numerous signs of Post-Traumatic Stress, from having nightmares about the Battle of Shiganshina to hallucinating his subordinates as his childhood friends. He's a very broken man, and even refers to himself as having a "black future".
  • Shipper on Deck: He repeatedly tells Bertolt that he should confess his feelings to Annie, encouraging his friend to have confidence.
  • Shipper with an Agenda: He recognizes Ymir's feelings for Historia, and encourages her to act to protect the girl she loves. This is done to convince Ymir to cooperate with them, but he ends up promising to deliver her letter to Historia. He does this by giving the letter to the soldiers currently trying to hack his limbs off and begging them to make sure the letter gets to its intended destination.
  • Shirtless Scene: Hange and the others saw fit to remove his shirt after blowing him out of his Titan, most likely in the process of searching him. Like the other examples so far, this isn't so much Fanservice as horrifying, given that Reiner's face has yet to fully regenerate and his limbs have all been lopped off.
  • Significant Birth Date: Played with Laughs. August 1st is celebrated as Yaoi Day, due to the Otaku shorthand of 801 being used for the genre.
  • Silent Scapegoat: By his own volition, he shouldered the whole responsibility for the failure of the Paradis campaign. What the Marley authorities and his comrades at the Warrior program didn't take into consideration is that Reiner and the Warriors of the campaign were not a match for the might of the Eldian fighters of Paradis, who massively outplayed them; so much, that there's no guarantee of a different outcome if they had given the Armored Titan to someone else. In fact, Reiner's former comrades at the 104th are so worthy of admiration that Reiner has difficulties badmouthing them when he's at home at Liberio.
  • Sitcom Arch-Nemesis: Due to his feelings for Krista in canon he and Ymir often butt heads in official parodies such as Attack on Titan: Junior High.
  • Sole Survivor: Marcel and Bertolt both ended up dying, while Annie was captured and encased herself in crystal. As a result, Reiner is the only one out of the original team to make it back from the island.
  • Spanner in the Works:
    • As it turns out, Reiner was one to the entire Paradis Operation. Galliard was going to be selected for the mission, but Marcel rigged the selection to protect his brother. This led to Reiner being chosen for the Armored Titan, something Marcel confessed to the others during their trip towards Wall Maria. The shock of learning he hadn't earned his Titan through honest means left Reiner vulnerable to attack, leading to Marcel's death and Ymir regaining her humanity.
    • Despite getting batted away by Eren during his attack on Marley, Reiner managed to prevent Eren from performing a near Total Party Kill by rescuing Porco.
  • Spit Take: In Chapter 3, during Eren and Jean's argument. Out his nose. Armin has the misfortune of being sprayed in the process.
  • Stepford Smiler: He actively tries to keep morale high, making awkward jokes or offering reassurances he knows aren't true. In this way, he's exceptional at keeping his issues as a Broken Ace well hidden.
  • Stranger in a Familiar Land: Ironically, Reiner spent his five years on Paradis fighting to return home. However, his experiences there has changed him too much, making it impossible for him to embrace the propaganda that his family believes in. When the Braun family gathers for a celebratory dinner, he's clearly the odd man out and struggles to hide his true feelings about Gabi becoming a Warrior and the "demons" of the island. His mother, who he did everything to please, repeatedly gives him angry and horrified looks.
  • The Strategist: Recent chapters have him bordering on The Chessmaster. He's able to counter-maneuver Erwin's own plan, even if he hasn't figured it out in its entirety, including countermeasures to his own side's attack that even Armin and Erwin themselves hadn't thought of. All of this in a few seconds.
  • Strong Family Resemblance: Reiner was able to recognize a stranger as his biological father, because of this. Word of God states he also inherited his Heroic Build from his father.
  • Supernatural Gold Eyes/Yellow Eyes of Sneakiness: His amber eyes are an early hint of his true nature, both as a Titan Shifter and a spy.
  • Superpower Lottery: His Titan form is covered with armored skin, making him nearly invincible. It takes a combination of Hange's brilliant mind, Mikasa's skill, and Eren's raw determination to get close to defeating him. He can also transfer his brain functions to the rest of his body in an instant, allowing him to survive getting stabbed through the spinal cord with a three-foot blade and getting his entire top half of his head blown off. Given that the only reliable way of killing a Titan Shifter is to get them in the head or neck, this makes him borderline impossible to kill earlier in the manga. In fact, the only thing that seems guaranteed to kill him is the "Curse of Ymir" that limits the Titan Shifter's lifespans, as there doesn't seem seem to be a way to physically end his life at the moment.
  • Super Soldier: He definitely evokes the idea, being incredibly tough. His powers make him stronger and tougher than an ordinary human, and his Titan form is strong enough to destroy the Walls and shrug off attacks.
  • Survivor Guilt: Hinted to be at least part of the reason he's prone to throwing himself into harm's way for the sake of others. He shows major signs of this, having been the only member of the original four Warriors sent to the island to make it home. The fact that he wasn't supposed to be selected for that mission in the first place only compounded his animosity towards himself.
  • Suspiciously Specific Denial: When Annie confronted him over how attacking Wall Rose would result in the deaths of the other cadets, Reiner insisted they weren't his friends and gaining their trust was just part of the plan. It's painfully obvious he was the only one fooled by this claim.
  • Sympathetic Murder Backstory: A traumatized mass murderer, clinging to the hope of going home someday. Everyone is deeply shaken by the revelation of his true identity, and react in varying ways to it.

    T – Z 
  • Take a Third Option: It took Reiner and his comrades two years to gather scant intel regarding the monarchy in the Three Walls. Annie states that there's two options: for her to try to seduce a noble in the interior (which she thinks she cannot pull off), or for the three of them to knock down Walls Rose and Sina and force themselves in (which Reiner dismisses, as it's a provocation for the monarchy to use the Coordinate). Reiner instead tells his comrades that they'll join the military and aim for the Military Police in the interior.
  • Taking the Bullet: He throws himself between Zeke and a battleship's artillery, with both his Titan and human bodies being blown to pieces.
  • Teacher's Pet: Galliard accuses him of spending his time as a candidate heaping praise on their Marleyan instructors, suggesting that brown-nosing is his only noteworthy talent.
  • Team Dad: He's viewed as a big brother by the other Trainees, encouraging them and doing whatever he can to protect or help them. He's especially protective towards Armin.
    • Chapter 98 includes a montage that shows his nurturing tendencies are as strong as ever, spending the day buying the Candidates treats and gently chiding Gabi when she over-indulges. Though it's worrisome as well, as a reader can't help but remember what happened the last time Reiner invoked this trope. As if to remind him of this, Eren confronts him at the end of the chapter.
  • That Man Is Dead:
    • To Eren, after suffering a relapse into his "Soldier" persona.
    • To Annie, after Marcel's death. Since she insisted that Marcel was necessary to complete their mission, he stated "Reiner" was dead and that he would become Marcel if that was what they needed.
  • Those Two Guys: With Bertolt Hoover.
  • Throat Light: Combines this with Glowing Eyes of Doom just before transforming during the Battle of Shinghansina.
  • Took a Level in Badass: It turns out, he wasn't always The Ace. As a Warrior candidate, he lagged behind the others and struggled through his training. What he lacked in natural talent, he made up for with sheer determination and hard work (another way in which he resembles Eren).
  • Toxic Friend Influence: A particularly dark example, during his time on Paradis. While he was a positive influence to the other recruits, he was shown to have been the one behind most of the Warriors' schemes and crimes. Bertolt simply went along with him on things, while Reiner and Annie frequently clashed over their plans and he pressured her into working with him. Negative influences aside, he genuinely cared for them both and thought he was doing what had to be done to get everyone home safely. It back-fired in his face, causing him to lose them both in the end.
  • Tragic Dream: All Reiner ever wanted as a child was to reunite his Eldian mother and Marleyan father together and become a hero they could be proud of by wiping out the "devils" living on Paradis Island. Instead, Reiner's father hated him and slammed the door in his face when he tried to explain why he visited him and he didn't realise until after he knocked down the Walls that the demons he wanted to kill were just normal people, which eventually turned him into the broken man he is at present.
  • Tragic Villain: He's perhaps the most tragic of the three Titan Shifters, trying so hard to be a hero while going slowly insane from guilt.
  • Trapped in Villainy: He states that he's got no choice but to continue his mission, even while coming apart at the seams from remorse. Whether this is solely because of his sense of duty and understanding that he's already done too much to be forgiven is unclear.
    • His threat to test Falco in Chapter 93 indicates that Marley leverages their families to keep Warriors in line. If they anger their superiors or otherwise become suspect... another Warrior will devour them to inherit their powers, and their families will be turned into mindless Titans as punishment.
  • Trauma Conga Line: Within a short period of time, he exposes himself to his former friends and suffers an emotional breakdown. Then, his superiors execute Ymir and force him to abandon any hopes of rescuing Annie by threatening his life. Soon afterwards, he returns to Shiganshina to face his friends in battle and is nearly killed three times. Their group is utterly defeated, with Zeke abandoning both the mission and leaving Bertolt to die. When he returns home in defeat, his only remaining friend blames him for Marcel's death and a war starts because Annie and Bertolt were lost. He spends the next 4 years fighting on the front lines as a Shell-Shocked Veteran, and is tasked with overseeing the children that are competing to become his successor when his life ends in 2 years.
  • Trauma-Induced Amnesia: A variation involving altered memories, used to cope with the guilt of his role as the Armored Titan. It's unclear how long or how often he lapses into this state and forgets his true past, leaving many of his actions throughout the series in question. For example, he asked in abject horror why Marco was being devoured by a mindless Titan at the Battle of Trost District despite the fact that he had given the orders to that effect shortly beforehand.
  • Troubled Backstory Flashback: During the siege of Castle Utgard, he recalls being attacked by a Titan several years earlier. His comrade, Marcel, pushed him to safety and was Eaten Alive in his place. Shortly after this flashback, Reiner pushes Connie to safety and is injured protecting him.
  • Two First Names: Inverted, he has two last names; "Reiner" is more commonly a German surname rather than a given name.
  • Tyke Bomb: He began his mission to infiltrate and exterminate Paradis at the age of 12, after beginning his training somewhere around 5 — 7 years old.
  • The Unchosen One: As if the comparisons between him and Eren weren't enough already, Chapter 95 reveals that Reiner was never supposed to inherit the Armored Titan's power; Porco Galliard was. The only reason Reiner inherited that power was because Marcel rigged the selection process to keep his little brother safe, much like how Eren only received the Coordinate and Attack Titan because he was his father's son rather than any merit of his own.
  • Undying Loyalty: Marley selected him as a Warrior not because he was talented or strong... but because he demonstrated blind, idealistic loyalty to the nation. This expressed willingness to do do anything for Marley is heavily implied to be the reason he was chosen to receive the Titan power that was functionally an artillery magnet.
  • Unreliable Expositor: According to Colt, Reiner's report about Paradis indicated they likely didn't know anything about the inheritance of the Titan powers. In reality, Jean and Hange discussed taking the power of the Armored Titan, while holding Reiner prisoner. It's unknown whether he actually somehow missed the entire argument, or left that information out of his report. It's fair to remember that just some 30 minutes before (at the most), he had to regrow his whole head, so he could be excused for missing some details of the conversation.
    • Reiner also wasn't present during the events of the Uprising arc, which meant he didn't know about Anti-Personnel Gear, 3DM gear designed to fight humans.
  • Unwitting Pawn: To the Marley government, and likely Zeke as well. He doesn't know it yet, but the entire reason for his mission was one big fat lie. Reiner was told that Fritz Kingdom was getting ready to unleash the Wall Titans on the world. But this was just an pretense that the expansionist Marley government cooked up; Truth of the matter is that they've got their eyes on the Coordinate, and the abundant resources under the Kingdom, in order to keep their grip on world power. Zeke, meanwhile, seems to have his own designs for the Coordinate. There is going to be hell to pay if Reiner ever finds out about this.
  • Used to Be a Sweet Kid: As a child, he was a Wide-Eyed Idealist that cried easily and wanted to grow up to be a hero. Boy, did life crush that idealism out of him.
  • Villainous Breakdown: After Erwin wounds Bertolt and successfully rescues Eren, Reiner goes from ignoring the human soldiers to chucking Titans at them. His actions are so reckless that Armin wonders whether or not he's even still concerned about Eren's safety. Hange later theorizes he was intentionally trying to kill Eren, having given up and decided to simply feed Eren to another Titan to make a new Shifter with the Coordinate.
  • Villainous BSoD: Turns out, he's been having them all along. His guilt drove him insane, but the cracks finally show after the events of Castle Utgard. Then it goes From Bad to Worse.
  • Villainous Crush: Possibly, as it isn't really clear whether his crush on Krista is genuine, part of his identity issues, or part of the Running Gag of her being a Dude Magnet. There's also the implication that Krista's concerns and effort to care for him and their comrades constitute the first time Reiner had received any sort of affection in a long time.
  • Villainous Friendship: With Bertolt, his closest friend and partner. He's extremely protective of his friend, and their strong bond makes them a dangerous pair that fights effectively together.
  • Villainous Valour: He's pretty much made of this trope, earning great respect from others due to his strong sense of duty, considerable courage, and selfless concern for others. When swarmed repeatedly by hordes of Titans, his only thought is for Bertolt's safety, leading him to attempt to fight the horde off one-handed.
  • Villains Blend in Better: While Sasha struggles to fit in due to her backwoods upbringing, Reiner seamlessly blends in with his classmates.
  • Vulgar Humor: His way of lightening the mood and boosting morale when they prepare to face life-or-death situations.
  • We Can Rule Together: Successfully persuades Ymir to do a Face–Heel Turn, and repeatedly attempts to get Eren to cooperate with them. This has mostly resulted in screaming and violence.
  • "Well Done, Son!" Guy: Desperately wanted to make his mother proud, and meet his father.
  • Well-Intentioned Extremist: Deconstructed to heartbreaking effect. While Eren points out that the Warriors were just brainwashed children that believed their mission would save the world, Reiner insists that it doesn't matter because it was still wrong. He's so overwhelmed with guilt and disgust that he begs for death.
  • Wide-Eyed Idealist: He was an incredibly naive, idealistic child. His mission quickly destroyed his view of the world and himself.
  • Willfully Weak: While fighting in their Titan fight, Eren is shocked at his opponent's raw strength and thinks that Reiner always held back during combat training. If this is true, it's a testament to Reiner's intense skill, given he still managed to outdo most of the class with a 9/10 combat ranking while holding back.
  • Worf Effect:
    • Chapter 70 Reiner's reappearance in Chapter 70 opens with his Titan Form having been brutally beaten, to the point that many armored areas on his body have broken off revealing the flesh underneath, by the Beast Titan. You know in case we needed more proof that the Beast Titan is pants terrifying.
    • Chapter 74-75 Reiner's armor in general has received a huge Worfing at the hands of Eren. While Reiner's armor was able to shatter the older and thicker walls, Eren's newfound ability to harden his flesh in combination with the raw muscle strength of the "Attack Titan" is able to return the favor to Reiner and shatter his armor "like thin sheets of ice".
    • Chapter 76 However, the most prominent of these is Hange's team using the Thunder Spears to destroy the armor around his neck in one go, and then stabbing him in his exposed nape area with several spears before setting them off, basically with enough power to obliterate his entire neck area. Mind, the Thunder Spears are small enough for a single human to carry two. He does survive this though, apparently with the same trick as was used to survive Levi.
    • Chapter 92 He gets hit with this, not only on a personal level... but as a representation of Marley's stagnant military. He shields Zeke from a battleship's heavy artillery, and ends up with both his Titan and his human body blown to pieces. Later, military officials angrily note newspapers declaring the Anti-Titan artillery is now strong enough to fell even the legendary Armored Titan.
  • Worthy Opponent: Twice Reiner has expressed admiration for Erwin Smith. Firstly, when he Bertolt and Ymir are trying to escape the forest of giant trees, he realises that the only person who would even dream of using such a risky manoeuvrer is Commander Erwin "a tough opponent." Secondly during the battle at Shighanshina, he comes face to face with Erwin Smith. They end up having a staredown, with Reiner realizing the commander's plan. He gives a frustrated smile, referring to the man as "Commander", and then slides down the Wall without making any attempt to attack him. Even if they're on opposite sides of the battle, he still has respect for Erwin.
  • You Are in Command Now: After Marcel was killed, he stepped up to take the role of the leader in order to continue their mission. After the battle of Liberio, Marley has lost it's military command and its War Chief. This leaves Reiner as one of the high-ranking officers left, and he's shown taking an active role in planning Marley's next move.
  • You Can't Go Home Again: Recognizes this, but says he at least wants to physically go back one more time.
  • You Have Outlived Your Usefulness: Marley is prepping to select his successor, as he only has 2 years left to live. It's later revealed that he narrowly avoided this fate after returning from Shiganshina, and was instead forced to fight on the front lines to prove he was still useful.
  • Younger Than They Look: He's only seventeen, but his rugged looks and heavy build make him seem much older. He looks even older after the timeskip with his facial hair. The combination of his experiences and the nearing the end of his "term" likely contributed to his rapid aging.
  • Your Days Are Numbered: Like all Shifters, he's subject to the 13 year time limit. At this point, he only has 2 years left to live. This seems to be no longer the case after Eren erases the power of titans in the final chapter.


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