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I don't know... what's right anymore... But... I do know that I have to face the consequences of my actions... and carry out... my duty as a warrior to the end.
~ Reiner to Eren before their fight

Reiner Braun is a major character of Attack on Titan. He is an Eldian of the Marley Warriors who grew up in Liberio's internment zone. He is also a graduate of the 104th Trainees Squad and a former member of the Survey Corps. He ranked 2nd in the class, and was regarded by others as a charismatic and a reliable big brother-like figure. He is rarely seen without Bertolt Hoover, his close childhood friend, both of whom originate from Liberio. Along with Bertolt and Annie Leonhart, he infiltrated the Walls in Paradis and along with other fellow Warriors, he is a person that possesses the ability to transform into a Titan an. In the year 845, he was on a mission with Bertolt, Marcel, and Annie to breach Wall Maria and infiltrate the military in search of the mysterious power known as the "Coordinate". After his true identity is revealed, he serves as a major antagonist and foil to Eren Yeager, as well as illustrating the complex morality of the series.

Reiner is the protagonist of the Marley arc and serves as Warrior vice commander, behind Zeke Yeager before the latter's defection.

He is voiced by Yoshimasa Hosoya (Japanese) and Robert McCollum (English).

Personality

Reiner is a passionate, brave, and honest person, with a strong sense of duty. Unlike Bertolt, he trusts others more easily. As a child he used to be very weak and lacked any particular talent, in contrast with the other fellow Marley Warriors. However, he had shown devotion and loyalty greater than anybody else. This is how he was chosen to be the holder of the Armored Titan over Porco Galliard. During his infiltration within the Walls of Paradis, Reiner took his role as a soldier very seriously and encouraged others to do the same. However, he was 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 was stated to be the "big brother" of the other trainees. Eren looked up to Reiner, expressing that he wanted to become strong like him one day. His protective and brotherly behavior remained with him as the years passed and he became vice-commander. He has a rather complicated feelings about his younger cousin Gabi's high motivation and loyalty to Marley. The clueless Gabi seems to enjoy battles and killing soldiers and Reiner tried to hand in Armored Titan he is currently holding, to someone else, in order to save Gabi from a tragic fate she would never imagine.

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 of Marley, he was unable to cope with the guilt and has begun to suppress his true memories in an effort to escape. At some point, he was no longer able to tell which identity was real. During these episodes, he forgot 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. He harbors a negative attitude towards himself, referring to himself as a "villain" and a "short-lived killer" that only Bertolt and Annie can understand. 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 later realizes that during his days in the 104th Training Corps, he had based his "soldier" persona off of his fellow warrior Marcel Galliard's personality. Reiner kind of feels responsible for Marcel's death and it motivated him to complete his mission. It has been hinted that Reiner may had feelings for Historia Reiss, though it is unclear whether this was a former simple crush or something stronger. It is also unclear whether these feelings were part of his delusions, or genuine. Still, it seems that Reiner and Ymir recognized quite a bit about each other's motivations and shared a desire to keep Historia safe from harm. He used these feelings to manipulate Ymir into becoming their ally, but he also expressed more trust in her than Bertolt felt it was wise.

Reiner is also very protective to his loved ones. Bertolt was his best friend since his training days at Marley, while they were locked in Liberio's internment zone. Unlike Reiner, Bertolt excelled at everything he did despite his passive behavior. Reiner had a sort of rivarly with Porco Galliard and Bertolt saved him from Galliard's bullying. Reiner's psychological issues had caused friction between him and Bertolt, who was visibly bothered by the situayion, though it is revealed that Bertolt was vital in helping him maintain his grasp on reality. Reiner did not have a great relationship with Annie: his behavior similar to Marcel angered her, and he had doubts regarding her loyalty that he forced her to do what he wanted to support the mission. Regardless, Reiner felt the urge to save Annie when he thought she was being tortured, going as far as fighting against his commander Zeke Yeager. Reiner does not lack mercy, in fact he knew that Eren had the potential of being the host of the Coordinate and Reiner could have obtained a less dangerous host for the Coordinate all along by feeding Eren to a random Titan, then simply kidnap the clueless freed person from it. However, since it required Eren's death, he avoided such extreme measures until pushed too far, when he learned that Eren had the Foudning Titan's power. He reacted with great concern and noted that Eren is the worst possible person to possess it, given his personality. Reiner tried to kill Eren by throwing Titans towards his direction so that the Coordinate could pass to a "less destructive" individual. Reiner's previous hesitation suggested a lingering affection towards Eren, even after they become enemies. During the planned fall of Wall Rose, Reiner was shown to be more hesitant in destroying the inner gate and his suggestion to stop the advance of the Titans greatly bothered Bertolt, who was more prone to carry on and not letting feelings get in the way of their mission.

Appearance

Human Form

In human form, Reiner has short blond hair, gold eyes and a squared face. His large height, broad shoulders and serious expression give him an intimidating presence. He is the second tallest currently known Titan Shifter both in human and titan form.

Titan Form

While Reiner is in his Armored Titan form, he is 15 meters tall. He has hardened yellow-golden plates covering the entirety of his skin, except for muscles in his cheeks that become exposed when he opens his lipless jaw, as well as the muscle tissue behind his knees, elbows and feet. His eyes are golden and have no pupil, and he has short grey-white hair. While fighting Eren, it has been noted that despite his seemingly heavy weight, he has high agility and is capable of moving at a fast momentum despite being low on stamina.

History

Reiner comes from a mysterious location simply referred to as his hometown (or homeland), and began a mission to attack humanity in the year 845. Little is known about his life prior to undertaking his mission, other than the fact that Bertolt and Marcel were his childhood friends. The exact nature of their group, and their mission is yet unknown. It is stated that their goal was to exterminate humanity, but their mission also involved locating and retrieving the Beast Titan and the mysterious ability called the Coordinate, possessed by Eren Yeager.

At some point prior to the attack on Wall Maria, he was attacked by a Titan later revealed to be Ymir. In the chaos, his friend Marcel pushed him to safety and died protecting him. This event appears to have left him deeply traumatized, as he flashes back to it in moments of stress and expresses an almost suicidal desire to place himself into harms' way for the sake of others.

Trivia

  • Hajime Isayama has stated in recent interviews that Reiner is his favorite character in the series.
    • He has also stated that his biggest regret with his series, it was not writing enough interaction between Eren, Reiner and Bertholdt, to show the friendship bond Eren had with the two. Reiner in particular was the one Eren admired more than any other, even Levi. Isayama has stated that Eren considered Reiner to be always better than him and Eren himself looked up to him.
  • In a post on his blog, author Hajime Isayama stated that the Armored Titan's physique was based on that of professional wrestler and mixed martial artist Brock Lesnar.
  • He shares some similarities with Historia Reiss:
    • Both Reiner and Historia are born from forbidden (legally for Reiner and only socially for Historia) and shameful relationships and never met their fathers during their childhoods. In Reiner's case, due to having a Marleyan father and an Eldian mother, as a relationship between Marlyean and Eldian is strictly forbidden, thus he was never allowed to see him. While Historia because of her mother, Alma, being fired and forced to abandon the Reiss household after Rod Reiss's wife learnt she was pregnant with Rod's child. In similar ways, both Alma and Reiner's father were terrified to suffer the consequences of the birth of their children: Alma to be killed because of the real position of the Reiss family (royals and Titan Shifters who erase memories from their subjects) and Reiner's father to be killed, along with his entire family, for having a relationship and a child with an Eldian. Both Reiner and Historia tried to approach their parents only to end up rejected out of fear and despised them for existing.
    • According to Isayama's extra information, Reiner was the most popular boy in the cadet training, while Christa was the most popular girl. Their parody Junior High counterparts also nicknamed Reiner's "social grade" as "The Jock" and Christa's "The Queen Bee". In the story their positions might be what made Reiner attracted to Historia, as they both acted as examples of perfect people.
      • Ironically, both of their personalities in the training days were nothing but fake roles to hide their true identities: Soldier Reiner, a carbon copy of Marcel Galliard that ended up with Reiner often genuinely believing his role was reality, and Krista Lenz, a forced name with a forced personality that had Historia lying to herself in her delusions that she had to help everyone and become a good heroic person, just like she promised to her half-sister Frieda Reiss.
    • Both they had sidekicks who understood their true nature and genuinely cared about them, Ymir and Bertolt Hoover. Both Historia and Reiner lost them during the war against their respective enemy factions (both Ymir and Bertolt have been used as power tools and fed to Titans).
  • Out of the 4 Warriors on their mission, Reiner is the only one who ever made it back to the hometown Liberio's internment zone. Marcel, Bertholdt, and Annie never returned to their families. Bertholdt did return in the Marley cities to deliver Ymir, but never returned to his hometown.
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