Greetings everyone! After the relative success of my last blog, and another relative dry spell in blog activity, I decided it's high time to write another top 5 list! Lucky you! I think in my last blog, I teased an entry revolving around AOT's villains, but considering I can't hope to ever remember an idea I had 6 months ago, (someone should really invent some kind of book where you can write down your ideas) I'm writing this instead! A blog listing the top 5 best characters to appear in the Attack on Titan series!
Before you ask, the picks below are 100%, unequivocally, definitely, without a doubt, canonically established as the best characters in the series. Hajime Isayama told me himself. Through our psychic connection. It totally exists, don't question it.
Just like last time, there are some things readers should keep in mind while reading:
- Only canonical material was considered for selections, so any deaths from Before the Fall, Harsh Mistress of the City, and Lost Girls are out of the running.
Everything here is entirely SUBJECTIVE and up for debateThis list was put together with Hajime Isayama's expert input. If you don't like it, make a blog telling him why he's wrong.
- These characters were not chosen based on whether they are "good" or "bad", or how important they are to the story. They were picked based on the quality of their writing, and character development throughout their appearances.
- GO TO 2
- GO TO 3
Let's get started! :D
Ah, Marlowe. Once again you find yourself in one of my blogs. From Military Police, to Survey Corps, to a Neetaku blog. I feel so sorry for you... Anyway, let's get to the reason this guy is here today: his writing. Marlowe was introduced in the Female Titan arc as a Military Police recruit who just wanted to clean up the system. He saw corruption where there should have been virtue, and he decided he was gonna stamp it out. And no loner with a foul attitude was going to deter him! (I'm talking about Annie, by the way, not Levi). Marlowe was shown to be a character who believed so strongly in a need for a change, that he was willing to risk his own life to help overthrow the government and its regime, and, when all was said and done, joined the Survey Corps in order to try to benefit humanity (we all know how that worked out, but it's the thought that counts). Marlowe's great writing comes chiefly from his desire for change. He goes to such great lengths for such a selfless cause, that you can't help but like him. And what's more, after his goal is finally achieved, Marlowe finds a new goal to pursue (and one that matches his personality to boot!)
Oh boy... *cracks knuckles* Oh dear... *cracks neck* You all know who he is! Kenny Ackerman was only with us for a brief time (no, seriously, only like 15 chapters), but he sure left his mark (mass murderers tend to do that). While in his early appearances Kenny may have seemed like nothing more than hired muscle (spouting one-liners, and almost making us believe Levi was actually in danger), he became much more in his final appearances. Kenny's desire for unstoppable power is an amazingly unique desire, when compared with so many other characters in the series. This unfeeling serial murderer wants power not so he can subjugate masses. Not so he can live a life of luxury. He wants it because he wants to change himself. After interacting with Uri Reiss, and seeing Uri's benevolent use of his abilities, Kenny wants to try to emulate his friend. He wants to see if possessing unlimited power can give him as much compassion for other as it gave to Uri. And all of this doesn't even delve into his psyche nearly as well as his relationship with his nephew Levi does. Kenny's decision to abandon Levi is a small child (thought not before teaching him how to survive) due to a belief that he is unfit to be a parent or role model hints at some insecurities Kenny might have stemming from his unsavory occupation. And come on: Kenny and Uri's bromance alone would be enough to give both of them an honorable mention.
And now we arrive at everyone's favorite instructor. Everything about Keith's character is painfully good, and painfully honest. In a world full of Erwins and Levis, Keith is just a normal person. He wants fame. He wants recognition. He wants the girl. And he gets none of it. Because he is, as I said before, a normal person. And unlike Eren, he can't make up for his lack of talent with a marvelous Titan shifting ability. But perhaps the greatest thing about Keith is his personality. During his time in the Survey Corps, Keith truly believed he was the main character of the story. He was the best. He was better than the people around him. He was better than you. In fact, he was so much better than you, that one day, when his expert command had led the Survey Corps to victory, you would be the first person groveling at his feet and praising him as a god. But, unfortunately, Keith just didn't have the skills to back up his own delusions of grandeur, and eventually had to face the music after he had to break the news to some poor poor schmuck's mother that her baby boy had become Titan chow. One of the things that stands out most to me about him, though, is his excuse for becoming an instructor and retreating from society: to punish himself for all of his mistakes as commander. This is obviously untrue, and Hange's (entirely accurate) hypothesis that he simply did it to run away from his own failures is one of the best moments in this character's development.
Here we have Grisha. A man whose story is surprisingly similar to his son Eren's, and yet is much more interesting. The story of Grisha's time before coming to Paradis is one of my favorite arcs of the manga, and does a wonderful job of fleshing out Grisha's character and motivations. Grisha is shown to be a man who, when wronged, can become almost blinded by a need for revenge. After learning that his sister was murdered by Marley officials, Grisha does not hesitate to join a resistance cell, and becomes holy committed one day tearing down everything that the Marleyans have built. This single-minded determination eventually develops into a plan to use his own son (the Beast one, not Eren) to gain information from inside Marley's government and (unsurprisingly) results in his son turning turning him over to Marley. One of the most interesting moments in Grisha's development is his exchange with Kruger after he is saved from being turned into a Titan, when he admits that he never would have tried to defy the Marley if he had known what the potential consequences were. For all of his grandstanding, Grisha proves himself here to be a man who lacks the will to do what he feels is right, if it means dealing with adversity. However, one pep talk (if you'd like to call it that) and another family later, Grisha finally finds his resolve. Unwilling to lose a second family, Grisha seeks out the Reiss family and negotiates with them to unleash the Founding Titan and stop Shiganshina from being invaded... Okay, no, he kills them and steals the Founding Titan, but you get the point. He's finally making an effort to help his family, rather than himself. And afterward, he is willing to allow himself to be devoured so that his son (the lame one, not the Beast one) can finish what he started (the jury's still out on whether he pushed everything onto Eren because he's still weak-willed, or because his 13 years were up).
And here we have our number one spot. Some will say I'm biased. Others have actually read the manga, and will agree with me. Erwin proved himself, over the course of 84 chapters, to be one of the most complex characters to grace the pages of Attack on Titan. Originally depicted as a man willing to put everything on the line to help move humanity forward, Erwin proved himself to be much more than meets the eye. A master strategist, Erwin was responsible for a significant fall in Survey Corps deaths while on expeditions, and was believed by his subordinates to be the only person capable of leading humanity to victory against the Titans. But none of this mattered to him. All Erwin cared about was discovering the secrets of the world, and the lives of his soldiers were merely stepping stones to help him reach that goal. Erwin never cared about humanity's future, his only desire was to prove that history, as the Royal Government told it, was wrong. However, it is even more important to note the psychological tole this determination had upon him. Not only did Erwin regret his use of his selfish treatment of his subordinates lives, he allowed the his goal to completely envelope his life, to the point that the prospect of finding the secrets of the world became less like a dream to strive for, and more like a chore Erwin felt the need to accomplish in order to make up for his father's death.
Obligatory Conclusion Paragraph
Well, that's it for this blog. I probably could have written it better, but it's the middle of the night where I am right now, so what are you gonna do. ¯\_(ツ)_/¯ If I decide to write another blog, it'll probably be about the 5 worst characters in AOT.