There is nothing more painful to the fans of an anime than an unlikable main character. I'll admit that I'm one of that handfull of Bertholdt and Reiner fans, but that doesn't mean I wouldn't prefer to love the "heroes" of the story as much if not more than the "villains." While it's difficult not to dislike the Survey Corps characters that show no pity towards Bertholdt or Reiner (the victims of a government that took advantage of them as children to make them commit mass-genocide), most of them show praiseworthy character traits (examples: caring for comrades, desiring to do what's right as a person, desiring to be a good leader, etc.) that I can still get behind and admire them for.
However, the one character I cannot stand (aside from Mikasa; a rant for another day), is the main character Eren Jeager. I really wanted to like Eren, (I knew it would make watching/reading AOT pretty unbearable otherwise) but I've found it near to impossible.
I'd recently watched the fanmade spinoff series of Attack on Titan called Attack on Space on Youtube, and I found myself really liking Eren in particular, and rather disliking Bertholdt and Reiner. I was actually glad about this, because it meant that I could be happy when the main character succeeded and the bad guys got beaten. But I wondered why Eren's character was so appealing in Attack on Space as opposed to Attack on Titan.
After I'd thought about it, I came up with two main reasons:
Number One: Goal & Personality
"I'LL KILL ALL THE TITANS!!!" Sound familiar? It should. AOT Eren's life revolves around this (usually screamed or snarled) proclamation that he will slaughter every living titan. He is so passionate about this goal to the point of being consumed by blind fury. Now don't get me wrong, passion towards your goals is great! But when it gets to the point that it's annoying to everyone around you because it's all you think/talk about, you know it's time to reign it in a bit.
One way he could have been made more likable is if his goal of revenge against the titans slowly abated as he matured and realized the recklessness of such unbridled hatred. Especially after he finds out that the titans he hated so much had at one time been human beings. It's okay for him to still feel hate towards the creatures that killed so many people (including his own mother), but lower it to a reasonable level and understand that these monsters were once regular people with their own lives.
AOS Eren is not only more mature and restrained, but he also cares more about the lives of his comrades (even Jean) than fulfilling his childhood goal of slaying the titans. He tries to make good decisions as a leader and has things more in perspective. It's easy to like a character that shows consideration for all of his teammates, not just his best friend or adopted sibling.
Number Two: Sympathy Towards Other Characters' Decisions
(This is not actually something that applies to AOS Eren for plot reasons, but it's still an important point.)
We all know that Eren's lifelong goal was to join the Survey Corps. He wanted to help in the fight for humanity and not live off of other people's hard work. However, he seems to find it hard to understand that not everyone feels exactly like him. He scorns those cadets during training that are too scared to join the Survey Corps, instead preferring to enter the Wall Garrison or Military Police. He isn't understanding of the fact that most people are scared to die, even for the sake of a noble cause, and that's only natural human nature. What's more, if everyone in humanity were soldiers, there would be no one to grow food, fund supplies for the military, or fund the Survey Corps's explorations outside the walls. In other words, without civilians that choose not to join the military are the ones that make it possible for there to be a military force.
In order to be a more likable character, Eren should have expressed sympathy and understanding towards people that didn't want to join the Survey Corps, and not treated them like cowards or useless burdens as he does in the actual manga and anime.
In conclusion, Eren Jeager's main problems as a character can be summed up as blatant immaturity. This encompasses his brashness, ignorance, lack of empathy, and reckless hatred throughout the series of Attack on Titan.
Keep in mind, I only elaborated on the two most obvious points of AOT Eren's dislikeable traits that I noticed, and I'm sure you can find plenty of others besides these. Unfortunately, I'm aware that writing this won't do anything to fix Eren's character, but I'd just like to point out how much more appealing Isayama could've made him as a character, and I feel really dissapointed that this isn't the case.
That aside, I would highly recommend it to any of you that have the time to check out Attack on Space. The storyline is superb and if any of you are fans of science fiction animes or animes set in space, this is definitely a must-watch.
...Also, if any of you could help me figure out how to hate Bertholdt or Reiner, that would be great too.