Shingeki no Kyojin: The Survey Corps Leaders

*Ok, I didn’t originally plan to have Hange in here, but I’m going to add her later. So…this’ll get edited.*

Time for another of my SnK posts! I guess this still falls under characters, but it’s another group of them: the higher-ups of the Survey Corps.

Erwin Smith and Levi–two characters I want to know more about. Levi’s edged into my favorite over Jean, not only because he’s badass and the best fighter they’ve got, but because of his complexity.

Erwin Smith

The ruthless (yet caring) leader of the Survey Corps.

The ruthless (yet caring) leader of the Survey Corps. Workin’ those eyebrows.

Erwin Smith–leader of the Survey Corps, cares about his men but will sacrifice them for the good of mankind. Heck, he’ll even sacrifice himself: when the Military Police chief threatens to kill him during Annie’s rampage through Wall Sina, Erwin is perfectly ready to die, giving the MP head instructions on how to take care of the situation. This attitude is probably a ploy on his part to get the MP to let him live, but I also think he was willing to die. A theme throughout the series is that nothing can be changed without sacrifice, and Erwin isn’t exempt from that. Other characters have mentioned that he has given up his humanity in order to save men. At the same time, though, I think that everyone is trying to cling to what humanity they have left. Erwin is also rather intriguing because he seems to know more than he lets on.


Stahp being so attractive >.<

Stahp being so attractive >.< Must…resist…desire…to…fix…

And then there’s Levi. Badass neat-freak, possibly sadistic, but extremely compassionate. Why badass? Because he’s the best fighter out there. Just watch the episode where he takes down the Female Titan in a matter of seconds. Absolutely. Amazing. Ok, ok, so Mikasa might eventually one up him–especially since he’s now injured from saving her–but he’s still the best right now. Possibly sadistic? Well, he beats Eren up to make a point, but I don’t think he needed to go as far as he did. He also tells the Female Titan that he’s having fun torturing her. I think that, as other viewers have commented, this shows a sadistic tendency rather than full-fledged sadism. It appears to stem from his anger at the government (and his anger at the Titans as their presence perpetuates that government). So how is he extremely compassionate? When we first see him, he comforts one of his dying men, telling him that his death is worth something; later we see him upset at the deaths of his own squad members at the Female Titan’s hands; he also semi-apologizes to Eren for beating him up during the trial; and lastly, and I believe importantly, Levi gives the badge that he took from one of his dead squad members to another Survey Corps member who was grieving over a fallen comrade. He sacrificed part of his way of grieving to help someone else.


Top: Levi with Titan blood on his hands/sword, which offends his neat-freak sensibilities. Bottom: Levi holding the hand of a dying subordinate with no cleanliness qualms whatsoever. This guy’s got his priorities straight (some of the time).

I’m kind of sad because I read someone’s meta-analysis of Levi, commenting that his side-character status will get him killed off. I really hope not–even if he is just a plot device, things wouldn’t be the same without him! And if he did show some development I would swoon! I guess I’ll just have to take refuge in the fact that there are light novels about his backstory. Maybe we’ll even learn his real age. I have a feeling, though, especially from the spoilers I know of the manga’s more recent chapters, that Levi probably won’t be disappearing anytime soon. Not that he’s had any great heroic moments, but I think he’s been involved enough in the plot to stick around for a while. I can only hope.


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