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Jean Kirschtein is a member of the Scout Regiment, ranking 6th among the 104th Cadet Corps.

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Quote1 If I hadn't become a soldier, I never would've had to worry about who's next.... I know I have to fight. But not everyone can be a suicidal maniac like you.... Quote2
— Jean thinks of Marco and Eren[3]

Jean Kirschtein (ジャン・キルシュタイン Jan Kirushutain?) is a graduate of the 104th Cadet Corps, among whom he ranked 6th best. Jean hails from Wall Rose's Trost District, and joined the military with hopes of obtaining a peaceful life as part of the Military Police Brigade, but would later find himself joining the Scout Regiment.

Appearance

Jean-Chara Design

Jean's character design for the anime

Jean has short, light ash-brown hair with his sides and back trimmed shorter and of a darker hue. He has small, intense light-brown eyes, and is said to have the same vicious look in them as Eren does. Jean is of average height and muscular build, and has a scowl similar to Eren's but is said to have a long face (a "horse face").[4] He is often seen wearing the typical uniform of the Scout Regiment worn with an olive-gray button-up shirt.

His casual attire mostly consists of a white button-up shirt, dark pants, and a dark-brown vest.[5]

Personality

Jean has a blunt personality. He holds no restraint when it comes to speaking his mind, even when he knows it would not be wise to do so or when it could spark conflict. Jean is also pragmatic: he has a strong aversion to exposing himself to dangerous situations, and has openly admitted his desire to join the Military Police is due to wanting an easy and safe life.[6]

During his time as a cadet, Jean was extremely hot-headed, easily becoming frustrated and quick to resort to violence when pushed.[6] Jean was also very cynical about defeating the Titans, believing that humanity has no chance against them.[citation needed] He openly mocked more idealistic individuals like Eren, and saw resisting the Titans as a hopeless cause.[citation needed]

Despite his shortcomings, Marco describes Jean as a natural leader, being able to understand others and assess situations well because of his flaws. Indeed, during the struggle for Trost, Jean proves capable of leading his fellow soldiers when they are left confused and leaderless[2], and rallies Armin and Reiner in an attack on the Female Titan, knowing that not fighting her would endanger the rest of the Scout Regiment.[7]

Although he presents himself as self-centered, Jean places high value on the lives of his comrades, and is ashamed and horrified when he must leave helpless allies behind to save himself and others.[2] He was also willing to risk his life even if just to slow down the Female Titan, as refusing to do so would have certainly resulted in countless more deaths.[7] Jean later criticized Erwin's plan of withholding information from his subordinates out fear that there was a spy among them, feeling that the plan did not justify the lives lost because of it.[8]

Jean's first instinct is to always see life through cautious and doubtful eyes. He was hesitant to accept Armin and Reiner's plan of having the Mysterious Titan fight for them.[2]

History

Jean hails from Wall Rose's peaceful town of Trost. Though he lived a relatively normal childhood under the loving care of his mother, Jean had always wished to live the comfortable life of a proud Military Police soldier in the inner district of Wall Sina.[9]

Story

Humanity's Comeback arc

Eren Jean relationship

Eren and Jean's relationship

After coming of age, Jean enlists into the military, joining what would be the 104th Cadet Corps. On the day of his enlistment, Jean admits his desire of joining the Military Police, and receives a headbutt from Keith Sadies for his troubles. That night, Jean encounters Eren Jaeger for the first time. The two immediately take a disliking towards each other and their respective ideals.[5]

Jean performs well during his training, motivated by his ambitious dream of ranking amongst the top 10 to join the Police Brigade and his desire to outdo Eren.[6]

As part of the 104th, Jean succeeds in ranking in the top 10 of its graduates, placing just under Eren and coming in at sixth. After the graduation ceremony, Jean, proud of his accomplishment and eager to join the Military Police, gets into an altercation with Eren. Fancying himself a realist, Jean's ideals bring him to blows with the more idealistic Eren, who criticizes Jean as a coward.[6]

Distress

In year 848, Jean goes on a wilderness exercise and is assigned to a group led by Marco Bodt. His group is ambushed by thieves who steal their omni-directional mobility gear and take Christa Lenz. Jean sees to it that they rescue her and reacquire their omni-directional mobility gear back.[10]

A Sudden Visitor: The Torturous Curse of Adolescence

In the year 849, the 104th holds an omni-directional mobility gear drill in Jean's hometown, Trost District. Although other cadets hailing from the district take the opportunity to visit their families, Jean vehemently refuses to even discuss his family with his friends.

During one of the corps' drills that Commander Dot Pyxis is observing, Jean attempts to impress the commander by racking up a large number of Titan kills, leading his team away from their posts in the process. However, each of Jean's prospective kills is stolen from him by his fellow cadets.

After the drill, Jean confronts Conny and Sasha for stealing his Titan kills. Their argument quickly threatens to come to blows, despite Reiner trying to break them up, as both sides trade insults, until they are interrupted by Pyxis, who suggests that they settle their disagreement with a cooking match that he will judge. Although Jean is hesitant, he is quickly goaded into accepting the challenge by Conny and Sasha.

Jean enlists his teammates Armin and Annie to help him hunt a colossal boar living in the woods outside of Trost, believing that serving meat will ensure his victory. However, Sasha and her team have the same idea, and manage to find the boar first. Although Jean's team tries to stop them from securing the boar first, they fail and Sasha succeeds in killing the boar, to Jean's ire.

Later that evening, Jean contemplates how to beat Sasha's boar meat when his mother arrives, asking why he has not visited her. Embarrassed, Jean urges his mother away before finally yelling at her to leave when she continues to act motherly towards him in front of the others. Dejected, Jean's mother leaves, and Eren suggests Jean should be nicer to his mother.

As the cooking competition draws near, Jean proposes he, Armin and Annie should steal meat from their superiors' storeroom. Armin freaks out at the thought of stealing and flees in a hysterical panic, and winds up slipping on the stairs, injuring his legs. In no condition to be stealing anything, Armin opts out of Jean's plan, as does Annie, who states getting caught is not worth winning a competition.

Jean decides to try stealing the meat on his own, determined to win the cook-off and prove he is not a mama's boy. As he nears the storeroom, Jean's superior finds him and delivers a bag, stating it is from Jean's mother. Jean opens the bag, finding it to be a homemade omelet. Jean remembers all the times he and his mother have been there for each other and realizes how much she means to him. With new-found determination, Jean begins cooking.

When the time comes for the competition, Jean presents his dish: an omelet. The audience and Pyxis are taken aback by Jean's simple dish, but Pyxis proceeds to eat it, regardless. With his meal finished, Pyxis announces Jean the victor of the cook-off. Jean encourages a dejected Sasha, and the two make peace. With a new day dawning upon the cadets, Jean muses that he will pay his mother a visit.[9]

The Struggle for Trost arc

Following the second attack of the Colossal Titan, Jean, along with the rest of the 104th Cadet Corps, are sent to the front lines to deal with the Titans that have begun entering the city. Only one day away from joining the Military Police, Jean panics, and regrets the timing of the attack on Trost.

Later, Jean is among the cadets that are left unable to evacuate from the battle, as their equipment have run out of gas. Although Conny suggests that they make a last ditch attempt to reach the military headquarters and resupply, Jean points out that they have no one to lead them, and begins lamenting what a boring life he has led.

Once Mikasa arrives and takes charge, Jean joins her in rallying the soldiers present to attack the headquarters. As the soldiers begin to advance, Jean advises his allies to keep any engagements short, so as not to waste gas. However, Jean soon realizes that there is no way to reach the headquarters without sacrificing some of the soldiers on the way. Noticing that one of his fellow cadets has been stranded, Jean capitalizes on the opportunity to reach the headquarters while the Titans are distracted.

Reaching the headquarters, Jean is horrified by his decision to exploit his comrades' deaths, before attacking the supply soldiers hiding in the building, telling them their inaction is what led to the soldiers' deaths. He is interrupted by the arrival of Titans outside the building, attracted to the large number of humans that have gathered. Losing hope that beating the Titans is impossible, Jean is left stunned at the arrival of an abnormal that proceeds to fight off the Titans. Mikasa, Armin, and Conny arrive in short order, explaining that the abnormal is helping them.

Jean participates in Armin's plan to clear out the Titans that have infiltrated the headquarters. He and seven other soldiers are selected to slay the Titans after the other cadets have blinded them with gunfire. The plan succeeds, and all of the trainees are able to resupply.

After resupplying, Jean stays back with Reiner and Annie. After Reiner suggests helping the abnormal Titan out, Jean is very hesitant, as they had just barely escaped with their lives, and he is unwilling to risk it again for a Titan. Fortunately, they do not have to because the Titan breaks itself free in order to attack another Titan, collapsing soon after. Witnessing Eren emerge from the nape of the Titan's neck, Jean ends up being one of the first people to learn about Eren's Titan ability. Jean, Annie, Reiner and Bertholdt are put on standby with their fellow cadets, and are ordered not to tell anyone else about what they witnessed.

During the mission to seal Wall Rose using Eren's Titan form, Jean, Conny, and Annie are given orders to lure Titans close to the Wall so that they can be killed using cannon fire. However, while they are working, Jean's ODM gear breaks and he is left stranded in the middle of the city. Taking shelter inside of an abandoned building, Jean spots a nearby corpse equipped with gear. Waiting until there are no Titans nearby, Jean attempts to take the corpse's gear for himself, but has a hard time getting it off the body. Jean finally manages to equip the gear while Annie, Conny, and Marco distract approaching Titans, and despite having a difficult time controlling it, manages to use the gear to maneuver his way to safety atop the Wall.

In the aftermath of the Struggle for Trost, Jean finds Marco's body among the deceased. Seeing his friend's unceremonious demise greatly disturbs Jean.[11]

Eve of the Counterattack arc

New Survey Corps members

Jean among the new Scout Regiment members

Later, he and the rest of the 104th Cadets burn the corpses of their fallen comrades in a bonfire. Watching the bones of his friends burn, Jean remembers Eren's speech and Marco's compliment about his strengths. Mourning Marco's death and internalizing his words of encouragement, Jean asks the other cadets which branch of the military they are planning to join. Against his own wishes and fears, Jean tearfully declares that he will join the Scout Regiment. During graduation, despite fearing what might happen to him in the future as he would inevitably encounter more Titans, Jean joins the Scout Regiment instead of the Military Police Brigade.[3]

The 57th Exterior Scouting Mission arc

After joining the Scout Regiment, Jean confronts Eren regarding his role as humanity's savior, declaring that he is putting his trust in him as he does not wish to die. Jean participates in the 57th Expedition of the Scout Regiment.[3]

Jean follows the Female Titan

Jean, Reiner and Armin go on their first expedition

Not long into the expedition, Jean encounters the Female Titan. Cooperating with Armin and Reiner, Jean engages the Female Titan, believing that if he does not at least slow it down, it will continue to wipe out more and more soldiers. The three succeed in confronting the Titan, but are quickly overpowered and are nearly killed, though they all escape with their lives.[7] Following the battle, Jean desperately tries to locate his lost horse. With only Reiner's horse present, someone would most certainly need to be left behind. Luckily, Christa arrives with Jean's horse in tow.[8]

Making their way to a Forest of Giant Trees, Jean and the others are ordered to perch among its tall branches to distract Titans from entering while Erwin Smith handles the Female Titan. Jean is surprised to see how the Titans learn to climb the trees in order to reach them. While they wait, Armin confides to Jean his belief that their commander had suspected a spy amongst them but declined to reveal this knowledge. Jean questions the morality of such a decision, but Armin defends Erwin, stating that it was a necessary risk, and the lives it cost are justified if gambles are ever to succeed, though Jean has his doubts.[8]

Assault on Stohess arc

After the expedition fails, Jean returns safely to Wall Rose. Days later, due to having both similar eyes and demeanor, he is chosen to pose as Eren during his handover to the Military Police, leaving the real Eren free to help in the final attempt to capture the Female Titan.[12]

Jean looks at the slacking Military Police

Jean looks up at the dumbfounded Military Police

When the Female Titan appears and begins fighting with Eren, Jean breaks cover in front of the Military Police and heads off to the battle with Erwin's permission. Along the way he notes with disgust that the youngest members of the Military Police are standing around too shocked to do anything and he could have been one of them.[12]

He finds Eren pinned beneath rubble and learns from Armin that Annie is the Female Titan. Jean yells at Eren for being unable to transform when everyone, including him, is counting on him. When Eren does not respond, Jean leaves to fight the Female Titan and he helps lead her into a trap set by Hange. Though it only holds her a short time, it is enough for Eren to finally transform into Titan.[12]

Jean watches the two Titans fight along with the rest of the Scout Regiment and witnesses Annie's defeat and subsequent encasing herself in crystal. After her crystal has been pulled free for examination, he pounds at it with his weapon, breaking the blade, and yells at her for not talking with them.[13]

Following the battle, he and Armin are brought in for questioning by the Military Police. On the way, Jean wonders whether abandoning one's humanity is really the only way to win, and whether it would be a victory if Eren did destroy all the Titans.[13]

Clash of the Titans arc

Jean concerned about his friends

Jean worries over his friends

Jean joins the main body of Scouts in Trost District and is present when Phil reports to Dot Pyxis that there is no breach inside Wall Rose. When he hears that three additional cadets from the 104th can change into Titans. He demands to know who they are, but Erwin calms him down.[14]

He joins the combined military force of the Scouts, Military Police, and the Garrison in a long range scouting formation to a forest of giant trees where Reiner and Bertholdt are suspected of taking the kidnapped Eren. Jean is among the Scouts who enter the forest to search for him. He and the other members of the 104th encounter Ymir in her Titan form and watch her capture Historia Reiss in her mouth before fleeing. Jean calls for everyone to pursue her.[15]

Jean tries to talk down Bertholdt

Jean tries to talk down Bertholdt

At the edge of the forest, Reiner transforms into the Armored Titan, carrying Bertholdt, Eren, Ymir, and Historia on his shoulders as the soldiers pursue them.[15] When Reiner protects Bertholdt and Eren by covering them with his hands, Jean grapples on to the Armored Titan and joins the other members of the 104th in trying to talk down Bertholdt and Reiner by asking if their friendship had meant anything. He calls out how they shared the same roof for three years and how the other cadets used Bertholdt's odd sleeping positions to predict the weather.[16]

Though Bertholdt breaks down beneath the weight of his guilt, any possible resolution is interrupted by the arrival of Erwin and the horde of Titans chasing him and the rest of the military. Jean and the others have to jump off the Armored Titan, which charges into the horde.[16]

He is shocked by the carnage in front of him as the Titans immobilize and chew on Reiner, but Erwin tells him they are just getting started. Erwin orders the soldiers to retrieve Eren and Jean joins the charge along with Mikasa. She tries to free Eren, but is grabbed by a Titan when she misses her attack on Bertholdt. Jean stabs it in an eye to free her.[16]

Jean-is-injured

Jean tumbles from his horse

The soldiers retreat when Eren is freed, but Reiner begins throwing Titans at them. One of them lands directly in front of Jean, knocking him off his horse and causing him to land hard on the ground where he passes out. In the ensuing chaos, Armin tries to protect him. As the situation looks desperate, Eren punches the Titan attacking him and Mikasa and triggers something that causes all the other mindless Titans present to tear it apart.[17]

Erwin calls for the soldiers to retreat and Jean is among those who return alive, though the Scout Regiment loses over half of its veteran soldiers. Back in Trost District, Jean and Armin share a theory that Eren was the reason no Titans attacked them on the way back. Jean tells Eren that his rescue puts him in a tough spot. Whether those soldiers died for nothing will depend on him.[17]

Some time later, Jean is selected to be a member of the new Squad Levi assigned to safeguard Eren and Historia in an isolated forest cabin. After bringing food supplies to their hideout with Sasha and Armin, Eren questions him about his lackluster cleaning duties in the cabin. When Eren is openly dissatisfied with Jean's response, Jean angrily remarks that Eren is not his mother. Sasha is afterward caught trying to steal a loaf of bread, and her friends confront her.[18]

Abilities

Jean using the 3D Maneuver Gear

Jean's skill with omni-directional mobility gear

Jean is an exceptionally level-headed individual, able to see the big picture and make tactically wise decisions when it counts. It was these traits that earned Jean his rank as 6th best among the 104th Cadet Corps.

Maneuvering Gear

Jean is highly adept at using omni-directional mobility gear, being able to maneuver well even on open terrain, which is considered extremely difficult.[citation needed] He has also shown his capability in being able to attack and slay Titans efficiently even without his proper equipment and can successfully maneuver around them in order to directly attack their nape or simply avoid them. He is one of the best soldiers in the 104th training corps with the Maneuvering Gear.

Jean Kirschtein's Statistics [19]:

Combat
9/10
Initiative
8/10
Wits
7/10
Teamwork
5/10
Awareness
10/10

Relationships

  • Marco Bodt - Since their days as cadets, Marco has been Jean’s closest friend and confidant. Jean would occasionally mock Marco for his idealistic reasons for joining the Military Police, insisting that the only reason anyone would join would be for the safety and comfort.[6] Despite this, it was Marco who encouraged him to accept his abilities as a leader, and his death at Trost had a life-altering impact on Jean.[citation needed]
  • Eren Jaeger - Jean and Eren initially share a fierce rivalry which stems from their differing viewpoints: while Jean sees Eren’s eagerness to join the Scout Regiment as suicidal and foolish, Eren sees Jean’s desire of joining the Military Police as cowardly and selfish.[6] It was actually Jean’s desire to outdo Eren that would push him to improve himself during training.[citation needed] Despite their bitter rivalry, which would occasionally turn violent, Jean also respects Eren to a certain degree, admitting that he lacks the latter’s courage.[3] Upon realizing Eren’s potential as a Titan and the hope he represents for mankind, Jean sets aside his enmity for Eren.[citation needed]
  • Mikasa Ackermann - Jean has had a huge crush on Mikasa ever since he met her, and admires her beautiful black hair, although Mikasa has more or less remained indifferent to Jean.[5] During casual conversation, Jean tends to blush and stutter around Mikasa and immediately jumped to her rescue when a Titan threatened her.[16] Despite his crush, Jean does not sympathize with Mikasa’s devotion to Eren, stating that most people do not share her willingness to throw their lives away for him.[3] It was this same devotion that partially fueled Jean’s resentment of Eren. It is implied that he continues to harbor feelings for Mikasa, as he lost his composure when he saw a Titan had grabbed her, and furiously attacked it head-on in order to save her.[16]
  • Armin Arlelt - Although Jean was initially put off by Armin’s dedication to Eren, the two eventually manage to find common ground in their similarly rational natures.[citation needed] Jean and Armin often share complex conversations of morality, strategy, and the problems at hand. While Jean usually takes a more humanistic stand, Armin will often defend a more pragmatic point of view.[citation needed] Despite their differences, Jean and Armin gradually become friends.[citation needed]

Trivia

  • Hajime Isayama has said his favorite character is Jean.[20]
    • In a more recent interview, Isayama revealed that Reiner Braun had replaced Jean as his favorite character.[21]
  • According to Isayama, if the 104th Cadet Corps had an arm wrestling competition, Jean would be evenly matched with Eren Jaeger.[22]
  • "Jean" is the French variant of "John," meaning "Blessed by God."
  • When feeling great confliction, Jean has a habit of tightly clenching his fist and staring at it intently.[citation needed]
  • In the second OVA, the intro is heavily edited to show Jean as the main character, with Eren, Mikasa, and Armin as supporting characters.

References

  1. 1.0 1.1 1.2 Attack on Titan Guidebook (p. 251)
  2. 2.0 2.1 2.2 2.3 Attack on Titan anime: Episode 8
  3. 3.0 3.1 3.2 3.3 3.4 Attack on Titan anime: Episode 16
  4. Attack on Titan anime: Episode 23
  5. 5.0 5.1 5.2 Attack on Titan anime: Episode 3
  6. 6.0 6.1 6.2 6.3 6.4 6.5 Attack on Titan anime: Episode 4
  7. 7.0 7.1 7.2 Attack on Titan anime: Episode 17
  8. 8.0 8.1 8.2 Attack on Titan anime: Episode 18
  9. 9.0 9.1 Attack on Titan anime: OVA 2
  10. Attack on Titan anime: OVA 3
  11. Attack on Titan anime: Episode 13
  12. 12.0 12.1 12.2 Attack on Titan anime: Episode 24
  13. 13.0 13.1 Attack on Titan anime: Episode 25
  14. Attack on Titan anime: Episode 33
  15. 15.0 15.1 Attack on Titan anime: Episode 35
  16. 16.0 16.1 16.2 16.3 16.4 Attack on Titan anime: Episode 36
  17. 17.0 17.1 Attack on Titan anime: Episode 37
  18. Attack on Titan: Roar of Awakening
  19. Attack on Titan Guidebook (p. 44)
  20. "Interview with Attack on Titan Creator Hajime Isayama". MTV Geek. — Isayama declares Jean is his favorite AoT character.
  21. Bessatsu Magazine, August 2017 issue
  22. Attack on Titan Character Encyclopedia

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