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Attack on Titan: The evolution of Eren Yeager

Eren Yeager in titan and human form (Image via Pinterest/ @wallpaperflare.com)
Eren Yeager in titan and human form (Image via Pinterest/ @wallpaperflare.com)
ANALYST

Eren Yeager is the protagonist of the fictional series. Attack on Titan. Eren Yeager made his debut in season one when he ran to his best friend, Armin Arlet. Armin was being bullied, and Eren thought he scared them away. When in reality, the bullies ran because of Mikasa Ackerman.

Eren Yeager was a more realistic, refreshing break from the cliche. As the series progressed, he grew tremendously, turning his hatred into motivation to free his people.

How much did he grow? This post will answer that question, tracking the evolution of Eren Yeager throughout Attack on Titan.


Young Eren Yeager’s debut in Attack on Titan

After the Colossal Titan broke into the wall, causing pure pandemonium within the walls. Eren’s entire world fell apart following that, changing his life forever. Unfortunately for Eren and Mikasa, who were living with him at the time, the wall broke right next to their house, leading to Eren’s mother being eaten by a titan. Heartbroken, Eren and Mikasa have led away to safety. Forced to watch the only family and home they knew being destroyed. From then on, Eren had only one goal; to kill all titans.

Eren and his friends joined the military and started training to become scouts for the Survey Corps. Eren was filled with rage and fuelled by his vengeance, which led to him making simple mistakes. He became highly self-critical, whiney, and simply annoying. Watching the early stages of Eren Yeager in Attack on Titan was uncomfortable. He seemed to lack the ability to think about his moves before acting. Moreover, he became one of those characters who did not leave a positive impression. Instead, Eren was a character that would not necessarily be missed if he were killed off.

I miss their smiles 🥺 they’re so beautiful when they happy #eremika #MikasaAckerman #erenyeager https://t.co/f5WkCMbH89

One redeeming factor was that despite his failure, he never gave up. Eren failed his aptitude test and was the only one struggling with maneuver gear yet did not give up. He kept trying and eventually passed his test. Not only that, but he mastered his maneuver gear. Which, as it turns out, was the first-ever broken maneuver gear, making his accomplishments all the more impressive.


Eren Yeager’s growth with the Attack on Titan franchise

Credit must be given where it’s due. Eren Yeager showed that he had impeccable promise as a part of the Survey Corps from the very beginning. He charged at his very first titan with such determination it’s hard not to admire it. Then, the most crucial plot point for the Attack on Titan series happened. Eren discovered he could turn into a titan. Eren initially did not know what to do and was filled with questions. Rightfully so, as many in the military tried to kill him because of his titan.

Now, Eren could’ve chosen to take his newfound ability to go off on a rampage, working towards his ultimate goal. Instead, he did the mature thing and used his power to help humanity. He trained under the great Levi Ackerman and Erwin Smith to learn to control the Titans. He even allowed Hange Zoe to run experiments on him to help better the understanding of titans.

These responses are in stark contrast to young Eren, who only had revenge on his mind. It is clear that just as a regular person in the real world, Eren is growing. As the years of the Attack on Titan universe rolled by, he not only changed physically but emotionally and mentally as well. Just as a child would mature with age, so would this fictional character. That small detail not only led to fans loving Attack on Titan even more, but it led to them starting to appreciate Eren.


Who is Eren Yeager now?

Season three onwards of Attack on Titan showed a wildly different Eren. Not only did this version of Eren mature physically, but he did mentally as well. It seems as though other Attack on Titan characters began to view Eren as a figurehead alongside Armin. Of course, he still rests below Levi, Erwin, and the other higherups. This is the point at which Eren learned that he would not be the hero of the Attack on Titan world, but that did not stop him from doing everything he could to save humanity.

This mentality came with both the good and bad. The good being, Eren became a more palatable, less annoying, more relatable character. The downfall was, Eren’s new mentality led to him becoming more reckless in his actions. This recklessness causes the lives of his brothers in arms as they almost always have to run to his rescue. Although his methods got results, his recklessness gave off the sense that he no longer cared about his teammates. That ultimately was not the case, but rather, Eren cared about saving the world encapsulated in the Attack on Titan universe. He was willing to have a few casualties to achieve this.


Final thoughts

Season one of Attack on Titan serves more as an introductory season than anything else. The series started relatively slow, but the foundation needed to set up everything required for the upcoming seasons. This set-up included Eren as a character. He evolved from an annoying ten-year-old to an adult who has been beaten by life.

His release of blind optimism and acceptance of reality is not the norm for an anime protagonist. Throughout the series, Eren learned that sometimes things don’t always go as planned, changing the approach to get what you want, which is not only relatable but enlivening.

Some in the Attack on Titan fandom don’t like his change. Many agree that it was needed for this particular character. Eren Yeager admittedly had one of the most incredible and unexpected character arcs of all time. Although his start was rocky, Eren Yeager grew into a character that would be bland without the Attack on Titan universe.


Edited by Yasho Amonkar

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