Rico Brzenska (リコ・ブレツェンスカ Riko Buretsensuka?) is the team leader (班長 Hanchō?, lit. "Leader of a team") of the 1st Division Elite Force of the Garrison. She is the only survivor of the elite squads assigned to protect Eren Jaeger during the liberation of Trost District.
Rico is a rather short woman with a small but secure build. She has shaggy, cheek length, platinum blonde hair, and silver-colored eyes. She wears a small framed pair of glasses held on by bands placed around her head to keep them from falling off during combat. She also wears the typical Garrison uniform with a white button up shirt underneath and during a later mission she is seen wearing a green Garrison cloak.
Rico has a very mixed personality. At first glance, it may appear as though she does not feel sympathy as she was very open to the idea of killing Eren, Mikasa, and Armin after it was discovered that Eren is a Titan shifter. However, after the plans to retake Trost District are put into motion, Rico lectures Eren on the value of human life and the families, feelings, and lives each individual possesses. She appears to think deeply of each life, saying that they are not simply just pawns. In saying these words, Rico appears to posses a very strong resolve. She is at any time prepared to die for humanity, though she appears to have a feisty side that will not simply take such a death lying down. In the end, her personality is that of a brutally honest but ultimately well-meaning person, which is shown plainly when she told Eren that the blood of those who would die protecting him while he sealed Wall Rose were on his hands, but did so in order to motivate him to ensure that their deaths meant something.
Rico began to lose her calm demeanor as the Titans gradually wiped out her comrades. However, for the most part she maintains a composed, leadership roll, and bravely cuts a Titan's eye out when it interferes with Eren's carrying the boulder. Once Trost is reclaimed, Rico sits among the wasteland of corpses and begins to shed tears for her fallen comrades, and for the first victory for humanity over the Titans.
Rico is first seen when Eren, Armin, and Mikasa are cornered by Kitz Woermann. She agrees that they should be executed because they could be dangerous. However, before they are executed, Dot Pyxis saves the three and enlists them in a mission to retake Trost District. For this mission Rico, along with Mitabi Jarnach and Ian Dietrich, is assigned to guard Eren from Titans while he moves a boulder over the hole caused by the Colossal Titan. She later observes Eren in his Titan form losing control and attacking Mikasa. Because of this, she declares the mission a loss and signals to Dot Pyxis that they have failed.After proposing to leave an unconscious Eren to be killed by the Titans and pleading with Ian to issue a retreat, she is ordered to take out an approaching 12m Titan. Ian begins to shout at her when she questions him, demanding if she has a solution for the Titans other than using Eren to say so. She admits that she does not have a solution and eventually agrees that Eren is irreplaceable. When Eren recovers, Rico, along with the rest of the elite squad, cuts a path to the breach and takes out many Titans. At one point, when a Titan is in Eren's path, Rico rams her swords into its eye and Mikasa finishes it off. When the rock is finally in place, she observes that almost everyone else is dead and tearfully fire the green signal flare indicating the success of the mission.
Rico had given the report of their mission at Eren's trial, and testifies against him, convinced that she had to. While at the trial, she convinces Mikasa to tell the truth, stating that lying would not help Eren's case.
During the Wall Rose invasion, Rico is present with the Garrison's eastern defense line preventing the Titans from advancing. As she kills a Titan, a fellow soldier congratulates her and states that their defense is impenetrable. Rico says otherwise, noting that any larger horde of Titans would easily break their progress. She senses that something is not right about the nature of the invasion, though she does not know for certain what it is.
She is considered one of the most skilled members of the Garrison, earning her a place on the Elite Squad during the mission in Trost.
- Her last name is traditionally a Polish surname.
- Ian Dietrich, Rico Brzenska, and Mitabi Jarnach trained in the same Cadet Corps class.