Reiner Braun (ライナー・ブラウン Rainā Buraun?) is a graduate of the 104th Cadet Corps and a former member of the Scout Regiment. He ranked 2nd in his class, and was regarded by others as a charismatic and a reliable big brother-like figure. He is rarely seen without Bertholdt Hoover, his close childhood friend, both of whom originate from an unknown area which he refers to as his hometown.
Along with Bertholdt and Annie Leonhart, he is a person that possesses the ability to transform into a Titan, with his being the Armored Titan. In the year 845, he used his power to help Bertholdt breach Wall Maria and infiltrate the military for currently unknown reasons.
Reiner has short blond hair, gold eyes, and a defined facial structure. His large height, broad shoulders, and serious expression give him an intimidating presence. As a member of the Scout Regiment, he wears the wings of freedom jacket over his standard military uniform, with a green shirt underneath. In casual attire, Reiner wears a dark gray button down with rolled up sleeves and dark green pants with a brown belt.
Reiner is a passionate and honest person, with a strong sense of duty. He takes his role as a soldier very seriously and encourages others to do the same. However, he is also noted to have a kind heart and a tendency to always think of others before himself, taking on extra burdens for the sake of his comrades. He is stated to be the "big brother" of the other trainees.
However, he is also revealed to have serious emotional and mental problems as a result of his actions, displaying symptoms of dissociative identity disorder. While still loyal to his true cause as a warrior, he was unable to cope with the guilt and has begun to suppress his true memories in an effort to escape. During these episodes, he forgets his true identity, believing himself to be a human soldier. There appear to be few differences between his "soldier" persona and his true self, though his true "warrior" self is more ruthless and fatalistic out of necessity. Even so, he continually places himself at risk in an effort to reach out to Eren and Ymir, trusting them more than is wise.
Reiner and Bertholdt claim to originate from a small river town on the south side of Wall Maria they refer to as their "Hometown".
At some point Reiner and Bertholdt inherited the powers of the Armored Titan and Colossal Titan. For reasons unknown, Reiner, Bertholdt and Annie set out on a mission to exterminate humanity. After the destruction of Wall Maria Reiner, Bertholdt, Annie and Marcel fled to Wall Rose. While escaping the four were ambushed by a Titan and Reiner was almost caught. However Reiner's friend pushed him away but was caught himself and was devoured by the Titan, as Reiner and Bertholdt, and Annie were helpless to watch in horror.
Reiner first appears in the year 845 as the Armored Titan, shortly after the Colossal Titan first breaches Wall Maria, participating in the attack on Shiganshina. During the chaos of the initial breach, Reiner enters the city in his Titan form and makes his way across it to the interior gate. Once there, he charges towards the gate and smashes through it, allowing Titans to invade Wall Maria. At some point during the abandonment of Wall Maria he and Bertholdt take refugee in a camp until he is old enough to enlist in the Military.
Shortly after the destruction of Wall Maria, Reiner and Bertholdt were among the many refuges that were informed of the food shortage.
Two years after the destruction of Wall Maria, Reiner enlists in the military and becomes a member of the 104th Cadet Corps. On the first day of training, Reiner is one of the few students who the instructor Keith Sadies does not attempt to haze, as he is able to tell that Reiner has already been through a rite of passage.
After failing repeatedly to operate the omni-directional mobility gear, Eren seeks advice from his fellow cadets and is sent to Reiner and Bertholdt for help by Marco Bodt. Though initially unfriendly towards Eren and Armin, Reiner quickly warms up to them after learning that they are from Shiganshina District and are still willing to enlist in the Scout Regiment. He shares his desire to return to his lost Homeland, and agrees to give Eren advice.
During hand-to-hand combat training, he advises Eren to take his duty as a soldier seriously. Noticing Annie attempting to sneak away from training, he intercepts her and goads her into sparring with Eren. After seeing her easily dispatch Eren, he hesitates to take her on himself but is convinced to by Eren and quickly is defeated.
Reiner is noted by Keith Sadies to have exceptional mental and physical fortitude, as well as a great ability to gain the confidence of his comrades. He eventually graduates 2nd in the class, finishing just behind Mikasa Ackermann.
As part of the defensive effort of the Military after the second attack of the Colossus Titan, Reiner is assigned to the front guard. However, with the supply team stuck in Trost's Military headquarters, he is essentially immobilized with many of his teammates on a rooftop. Joining Jean's group in the rush to the HQ, Reiner is one of the few soldiers who manage to reach the Military's headquarters alive. With the subsequent arrival of Armin and Mikasa, by way of the Rogue Titan, he helps to clear and secure the supply room.
Initially skeptical, Reiner suggested they help the Rogue Titan when it is being overwhelmed by a group of Titans. Jean is hesitant and disagrees with his suggestion, stating they barely made it with their own lives and could use the opportunity to escape. However, any help turns out to be unnecessary when the Titan breaks free at the sight of the Titan that killed Thomas Wagner. After the Titan finishes its rampage, Reiner is amazed to see Eren emerge from the Titan's neck.
Later, after seeing what appears to be Titan vapor from inside the city, he and a small group scale the Wall to see what is happening. Over the Wall, they see Eren protecting Mikasa and Armin from cannon fire, with a shield made from the torso of his Titan form.
In the aftermath of Trost, Reiner enlists in the Survey Corps. During the 57th Exterior Scouting Mission, he comes across Armin, who has narrowly survived an encounter with a Female Titan. Along with Jean, they devise a plan to follow the Female Titan and distract her to allow the formation time to regroup. Though he is advised against attempting to attack directly, Reiner uses Armin's distraction to launch himself at the Titan's weak point. However, he is caught in her grasp and nearly squeezed to death, only surviving by slicing himself free, scooping up a wounded Armin before running away on foot.
Afterward, Reiner tends to Armin's head wound while Jean attempts to call back his missing horse. The group is preparing to decide who to leave behind, when Christa Lenz, having followed their flares, arrives with two extra horses, saving them. Stunned by her timely rescue and beauty, Reiner mentally expresses the desire to marry her.
The group rejoins the main force soon after, though they are frustrated by Erwin Smith's decision to continue the doomed mission and the lack of information available. Assigned to stand by at the edge of the Forest of Giant Trees and act as bait for the Titans, Reiner repeatedly expresses concern about what is going on inside the forest. When the mission ends in failure, he returns to Wall Rose in poor spirits.
During the assault on Stohess District, several of the 104th Cadet Corps recruits including Reiner are kept on standby at an outpost south of Wall Sina. They are under the watch of Miche Zacharius and a number of Scout Regiment soldiers until further notice. Most of the recruits are bored and Reiner expresses suspicion over the real reason for their stay. They are out of uniform and not permitted to train, while the rest of the soldiers are fully equipped despite the fact they are inside the Walls and not on the frontline.
The mood quickly changes when Sasha announces that she hears footsteps and Nanaba arrives to tell them that Titans have been sighted and there is no time for them to gear up. They are to take their horses and evacuate all nearby homes and settlements under the assumption that Wall Rose has been breached. The veterans and recruits split into four teams and Reiner volunteers to go south with Conny's group and help him to his village, even though it is likely to be the most dangerous and closest to any possible breach.
When they arrive they find the village empty, though there is an oddly deformed Titan on top of Conny's house. Since there is no longer anyone in the village left to help, Gelgar changes their mission to locate the breach in the wall. As they prepare to leave, the Titan brokenly says "Welcome home," which freaks out Conny. Reiner snaps him out of it and pushes him to focus on the mission.
However, after patrolling along the Wall their team meets up with Christa and Ymir's without finding signs of any breach. The teams and their horses are exhausted so they decide to take refuge in Utgard Castle for the night. Gelgar has the rookies to get some rest while the veterans take turns keeping watch. When Ymir asks Conny how the trip to his village went, he tells her that it was destroyed, but at least no one was eaten, so they had likely escaped. He cannot stop thinking about the strangely immobile Titan on his house though. It reminds him of his mother. Reiner starts to tell him to stop thinking about it when Ymir breaks out with a mocking laugh. Her teasing irritates Conny enough to cause him to shut up about the subject.
Reiner later finds Ymir scavenging for food and thanks her for distracting Conny so he does not keep worrying about his family. Barely paying attention, Ymir finds a can of herring and Reiner asks if he can see it. When he looks at the strange lettering, he is surprised that Ymir can read it, but before he can press her for information, they are interrupted by the arrival of Titans and called to the top of the castle's tower. The soldiers are shocked to find themselves surrounded because Titans should not be active at night.
Lynne discovers some of the smaller Titans have breached the door at the bottom of the tower and instructs the rookies to go down and form a barricade while she, Gelgar, Henning, and Nanaba handle the ones outside. Reiner leads the charge, calling for the others to grab boards, rods, and whatever else they can get their hands on. Further down the tower, he opens a barred door and discovers a small Titan on the other side. He slams the door shut and calls for the others to bring something. Before anyone can, the Titan breaks an arm through the door and swipes at Reiner, triggering a childhood memory of when another Titan attacked him and a friend pushed him out of the way, sacrificing himself so that Reiner would live.
Bertholdt arrives and jams a pitchfork into the Titan. Together with Reiner, they force it back long enough for Christa, Ymir, and Conny to arrive with a cannon that they barrel down the stairs and into the Titan, pinning it to the floor. Before the group can head back upstairs, a second Titan emerges and attacks Conny. Reiner pushes him out of the way, but the Titan bites down on his arm. He grits his teeth and manages to lift the Titan over his shoulders and carries it to a window with the intention of jumping out with it. Conny uses his knife though and cuts open the jaw enough for Reiner to get his arm free before Ymir kicks it out.
Christa treats Reiner's arm and says it is probably broken and they will need a splint and bandages. She tears her skirt to wrap his arm and Conny doubts that he could ever be as brave as Reiner, who views his behavior as normal for a soldier. Conny asks Bertholdt if Reiner was always like this and Bertholdt says that in the past he was more of a warrior, which confuses Reiner.
The battle outside goes poorly and the rookies join the veterans at the top of the tower in time to see them overwhelmed by a second wave of Titans. When Ymir transforms into a Titan to protect everyone, Reiner is stunned to recognize her as the Titan who ate his friend. Ymir ends up bringing down the tower and asks everyone to grab on to her to escape. Hange's forces arrive shortly thereafter to finish off the remaining Titans.
The Scout Regiment takes stock of their injured on top of Wall Rose. Reiner is disturbed by how he could have died twice now; once to the Female Titan and another to the Titan in Utgard Castle. Eren is sympathetic and says they have been driven far away enough from their hometown, which triggers something in both Reiner and Bertholdt. Bertholdt suggests that it is time they go home and a change comes over Reiner.
He confesses to Eren that five years ago he and Bertholdt, the Armored and Colossal Titans respectively, broke down the Wall to destroy humanity, but that is no longer necessary if Eren comes with them. Eren, however, is incredulous. Reiner comes to the conclusion that he has been living a lie for too long. He does not know what is right anymore, but he can face the consequences of his actions as a warrior. Reiner undoes the sling around his broken arm to show it completely healing, revealing that he is a Titan Shifter.
Mikasa injures Reiner and Bertholdt before they can take Eren, which allows them to transform into their Titan forms. Reiner grabs Eren and starts to escape down the Wall, but Eren bites his own hand to change into a Titan and breaks free. The two engage in combat and at first it seems that Reiner will overpower Eren, but Eren realizes that he cannot fight Reiner with strength alone and begins to subdue him with throws and grappling holds. This allows Eren to begin cracking Reiner's armor, and Reiner roars for help, triggering Bertholdt as the Colossal Titan to fall down on them both.
With Bertholdt's assistance, Reiner is able to defeat Eren and bites him out of his Titan body. He and Bertholdt flee to a nearby forest of giant trees where they hold him and Ymir captive while they recover in preparation for their escape to Wall Maria. Reiner suffers from a case of mental dissonance where he lapses back into his persona as a soldier, commenting on how fortunate it is that Wall Rose was not actually broken and how they all should be promoted, until Bertholdt snaps him out of it by reminding him that he is a warrior. This causes him to remember his involvement in Marco's death during the Struggle for Trost.
When Ymir starts talking Eren down from his latest bout of anger, she comes close to revealing more information than Reiner would like, so he offers her a deal to side with them. They might not be able to help Ymir specifically, but Reiner says they can still look after Christa. Ymir accepts and says nothing further to Eren.
He and Bertholdt prepare to leave once they spot the Scout Regiment's signal flares. Reiner restrains Eren and flees together with Bertholdt and Ymir, but Ymir insists on going back for Christa and threatens to ruin their escape unless they accommodate her. They wait long enough for her retrieve Christa, then Reiner transforms into the Armored Titan and begins running away from the forest with the rest of the group riding on his shoulders.
Despite their head start, a small group of soldiers catches up with them and begins to attack. Reiner protects Bertholdt and the captive Eren by covering them with his hands as they shelter under his chin. The other members of the 104th try talking to him and Bertholdt, but they scatter when Erwin leads a horde of Titans towards them. Reiner brings his head down and charges into them, but it is not enough to break through. Enough Titans grab him that he eventually immobilized.
Knowing that he will eventually be worn down, Reiner removes his hands from his throat and punches back the Titans, but this exposes Bertholdt and Eren to attack. During the fighting Armin lands on Reiner's head and asks them why they are leaving Annie behind. He claims she is being tortured, which provokes Bertholdt and allows Erwin a chance to free Eren. The soldiers flee while Reiner is still trying to remove the Titans around him.
He begins throwing the removed Titans at the fleeing soldiers, no longer caring if Eren is eaten. Reiner manages to knock both Eren and Mikasa off their horses, leaving them to face a particular Titan. In a moment of desperation, Eren punches the Titan and screams. The sound reverberates through Reiner, Bertholdt, and Ymir as the smaller Titans rush in and devour the one Eren had faced.
Reiner realizes that Eren holds the Coordinate and he is the worst person imaginable to possess it. He charges at Eren, but Eren screams that he will kill them. This triggers another reaction in Reiner and Bertholdt, and the other Titans turn to attack them. There are too many for Reiner to adequately protect Bertholdt by himself, but Ymir comes back to help them.
After the battle, the three catch their breaths on top of Wall Maria, having managed to survive. Reiner asks Ymir why she bothered to save them and she says that she is grateful for what they did for her, because if they had not come to break the Wall, she would never have woken from her nightmare.
"Strong-willed with a solid constitution. Adept at gaining trust of his comrades.
-Instructor Keith Sadies
As one of the top ten graduates of the 104th Cadet Corps, Reiner is likely highly competent in the use of omni-directional mobility gear and respective weapons. He is also one of the best hand-to-hand fighters among the recruits, having also trained other skilled fighters such as Eren. Reiner is noted to possess both a strong body and will.
- Bertholdt Hoover - Bertholdt is his childhood friend and partner, working closely with him in their mission. They are rarely seen apart, with Reiner taking the lead most of the time.
- Eren Jaeger - Eren was one of his closest friends, with Eren considering him both a "strong, capable guy" and something of a big brother. Eren looked up to Reiner, expressing that he wanted to become strong like him. When Eren was told that Reiner may have been an accomplice to Annie by Hange and Armin he was the most skeptical to believe it. When Reiner revealed his secret Eren was horrified but his sorrow quickly turned to anger towards him for betraying humanity.
- Armin Arlelt - Reiner has a close friendship with Armin, even risking his own scores to help the smaller boy during training. When the Female Titan attacked, Reiner came to his rescue. He is also shown to admire him for his intellect and quick thinking.
- Sasha Braus - In A Sudden Visitor: The Torturous Curse of Adolescence, he is shown to work closely with Sasha and Conny during training and later, during her contest against Jean. When he expresses doubt and attempts to abandon their hunt for the Colossal Boar, she slaps and then elbows him. She shouts nonsense at him about his ancestors, and while he admits he does not quite get it he apologizes to her and rejoins the hunt.
- Historia Reiss - It has been shown that Reiner has feelings for Historia and often contemplates his desire to marry her one day.
- According to Hajime Isayama, amongst his fellow 104th squadmates, Reiner is the most popular boy.
- His name is Old Norse in origin, and means "Counseling Warrior".
- In German, the word "Braun" means "Brown".
- In Episode 2 of the anime, a young Reiner and Bertholdt are in the crowd when the mission to reclaim Wall Maria is announced. This is an anime-only cameo.
- In Episode 17, after slicing off Female Titan's fingers and breaking free from her hand, Reiner catches Armin and runs away with him. On that moment, it is possible to see steam rising from his head, possibly the regeneration ability being used to heal the wounds caused from being squeezed by the Female Titan.