This article is about the 13th Commander of the Scout Regiment. For the 20th episode of the Attack on Titan anime, see Erwin Smith: The 57th Exterior Scouting Mission, Part 4.
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|Scout Regiment Commanders|
|◄ Preceded by|| 13th|
|Followed by ►|
Keith Sadies (Unknown-845)
Erwin Smith (エルヴィン・スミス Eruvin Sumisu?), often formally referred to as Commander Erwin Smith (エルヴィン・スミス団長 Eruvin Sumisu Danchō?), is the 13th commander of the Scout Regiment. Discerning, intelligent, and widely respected, Erwin is an able commander. While he cares deeply for his men, he does not hesitate to sacrifice them for the good and prosperity of mankind, and his men have proven more than willing to stake their lives at his order. Erwin developed the Long-Distance Enemy Scouting Formation.
Erwin has a commanding presence. He stands tall above most members of the Scout Regiment, with his blond hair kept neatly parted on the left side.
Erwin always wears a calm, collected expression on his face, his icy blue eyes being one of his most striking features. His eyebrows are also quite noticeable, being very thick and bushy.
Erwin typically dresses in the standard military uniform, donning the Scout Regiment's signature green cape when on missions. He also wears a small, emerald bolo tie around his neck just like the other military commanders, Nile Dawk and Dot Pyxis.
Erwin is a complex character, portrayed as serious, calculating, seeing, and planning far for the future. While he trusts his men, he is the first to realize that there is a spy interfering with the Scout Regiment and arranges for their capture. He is an eloquent speaker, able to sway many people, such as the military tribunal held to judge Eren and the trainees choosing recruitment branches to join.
Erwin is very grim. He accepts all news, good or bad, mockery or praise, with the same attitude because he knows his objectives and would follow through with them. His ultimate goal is for humanity to once again rise up and become the dominant species over the Titans, a goal he is willing to sacrifice anything for.
He shares this unique stoic quality with men such as Garrison Commander Dot Pyxis, Section Commander Ian Dietrich and Commander-in-Chief Dhalis Zachary. As Armin Arlelt put it, Erwin, like the aforementioned three men, has the ability to send his men to die if it would further the cause of humanity. He and they will sacrifice their own humanity in order to bring change to a world where those who cannot sacrifice things important to them will not change anything. Since he is able to make such commitments, he is a master strategist, shown multiple times through actions like capturing the Female Titan.
Erwin and his squad pursue Levi, Furlan Church, and Isabel Magnolia in the Underground after they commit a heist. Levi, having been given warning that they would be after him, splits off from his friends and leads the squad on a good chase. He engages Miche Zacharius in combat with a knife before Erwin hurtles down from above to intervene. They clash and Erwin convinces Levi to surrender since his squad has already captured his friends.
Levi drops his knife and after they are restrained, Erwin asks the trio about where they obtained their omni-directional mobility gear and how they learned to use it. When they do not immediately answer, Miche shoves Levi's face into a dirty puddle, causing Furlan to insist that they are self-taught. Erwin finds this difficult to believe, but Furlan tells him that they had to learn in order to rise above their current living conditions; something that Erwin, as a person who lives in sunlight, would not understand.
Hearing this, Erwin kneels down to Levi's level and introduces himself. He offers Levi a deal. If he joins the Scout Regiment he will not be charged for his crimes. If he refuses, he and his friends will be handed over to the Military Police Regiment, which is unlikely to treat them well. Erwin is pleased when Levi agrees to join.
In the year 845, Erwin takes part in an expedition beyond Wall Maria. When the soldiers encounter a Titan, Erwin reports their distance from the Titan to Keith Sadies while the scouts split up to engage the Titan.
He is later formally introduced when the Scout Regiment is clearing a town inside Wall Maria. They discover Titans are moving north, towards the Trost District of Wall Rose. Fearing a breach, they head to Trost District and narrowly save a trapped Eren, Armin, and Mikasa after their mission to block the hole is complete.
Erwin next appears when Eren recovers from his three day coma and is kept in a jail cell beneath the military court. He explains to Eren that his Titan powers have caused an uproar within the Walls. He has taken the key to Eren's basement and asks if the secret to Titans is located in the basement, to which Eren replies that he thinks it is. Erwin then formulates a plan to use Eren's Titan form to retake Wall Maria so they can investigate the basement.
He appears at the trial of Eren Jaeger and argues that Eren should live, in direct opposition to Nile Dawk. He then makes a proposal that Eren be entrusted to the Scout Regiment so that they can determine if he is helpful, which Dhalis Zachary agrees to. He welcomes Eren into the Scout Regiment and shakes his hand.
After the death of the Titan research subjects, Beane and Sawney, he tests everyone in the Scout Regiment by asking them a direct, but confusing question to gauge their reactions. When this turns everyone innocent, he begins planning the next expedition to capture the spy, guessing they have abilities similar to Eren and are intent on sabotaging the expedition.
Erwin later appears at the recruitment drive where the 104th Cadet Corps choose their path. He makes an impassioned plea that the Scout Regiment and Eren represent the hope of humanity, although he is very realistic in telling them that a sizable number of them will die. His speech and other factors succeed in recruiting every remaining member of the top 10 graduates except Annie, who joins the Military Police Brigade.
Erwin leads the 57th expedition and deploys his Formation for Long Distance Enemy Detection to ensure that casualties are kept to a minimum. After the Female Titan appears and decimates part of the group, he enters a Forest of Giant Trees and sets up a trap in order to capture her. She chases after Eren and kills many Scout Regiment members but does fall into Erwin's trap and is unable to move. After Levi provokes her and she summons Titans to come eat her, he orders all soldiers to defend her. However, the loss of life is increasing at a massive scale and Erwin is forced to order a retreat and surrender the Female Titan.
For the costly failure of this mission, Erwin is blamed and summoned to the Imperial Capital to explain. However, he trusts Armin's gamble that Annie Leonhart is the Titan and orders her covert capture en route to the meeting. After arriving in the capital to coordinate the plan with Levi, he is questioned by Nile Dawk who orders his troops to support the operation.
She is eventually apprehended and Erwin goes into an emergency meeting held to sort out the day's events. He manages to convince the council that despite the expedition failure and subsequent death of some civilians in the inner city, they finally catch the Female Titan successfully and this indicates that there must be more of her kind hiding among them.
- Levi - The two have a mutual trust and respect for each other's skills. He willingly follows Erwin's command, though that is not keep him from speaking his mind.
- Hange Zoë - Erwin greatly values Hange's intellect.
- Miche Zacharius - Erwin and Miche had a deep mutual trust due to their lengthy time in service together, as well as respect for one another's skills as soldiers. Most of the time he was Erwin's right hand man, and loyally followed his every command; despite their closeness and long time together, Miche still found Erwin difficult to read.
- He is attributed with the literal title of "leader of the [Scouting] Legion" (団長 danchō), often translated as "Commander".
- Erwin's motif is based on Adrian Alexander Veidt/Ozymandias, a character from Watchmen.
- Another influence for the character appears to be Erwin Rommel who was known as the 'Desert Fox'. They share first names and the significant date of October 14, which was Rommel’s death and Erwin’s birth. Rommel was a famed German Field Marshall from WWII and was noted for his exceptional skills as a commander and his willingness to defy his superiors' unjust orders, and who was involved in the failed plan to assassinate Adolf Hitler.
- According to Hajime Isayama, Erwin is single because he is not certain when he will die.
- Isayama revealed his nickname as a child was "Eyebrow".