|Attack on Titan character|
Eren as depicted in the Attack on Titan manga
|First appearance||Attack on Titan chapter 1: "To You, 2,000 Years from Now"|
|Created by||Hajime Isayama|
|Portrayed by||Haruma Miura|
|Relatives||Carla Yeager (mother)|
Grisha Yeager (father)
Zeke Yeager (half-brother)
Mr. Yeager (grandfather)
Mrs. Yeager (grandmother)
Faye Yeager (aunt)
Eren Yeager (Japanese: エレン・イェーガー, Hepburn: Eren Yēgā), Eren Jaeger in the Funimation dub and subtitles of the anime, is a fictional character and the protagonist of the Attack on Titan manga series created by Hajime Isayama. Eren is a teenager who swears revenge on enormous creatures known as Titans that devoured his mother and destroyed his town in the Shiganshina district in Wall Maria. In order to defeat the Titans, Eren enlists in the Military and join the Survey Corps—an elite group of soldiers who fight Titans outside the walls and also study the physiology of Titans in order to know what they are fighting. As the story progresses, Eren gains the power of becoming a Titan later identified as "Attack Titan" (進撃の巨人, Shingeki no Kyojin). Eren uses this power to give Humanity an advantage to defeat their enemies while learning of their true identity and their own history. He has also appeared in other related media including anime and video games.
Isayama created Eren with the idea of a character whose fears and dreams were relatable but often clashed with his own darkness, resulting into multiple changes to his characterization. In the anime adaptation of the series, Eren has been voiced by Yūki Kaji in Japanese and Bryce Papenbrook in English. Both of these actors found difficulties in employing different types of voices based on how Eren grows up across the narrative. In the live-action film adaptations, he is portrayed by Haruma Miura.
Critical reception to Eren was initially quite mixed, finding him too antagonistic and harsh for his age. Positive comments focused on the character's ideals and newfound powers as a Titan as well as his character arc. Nevertheless, the character has typically proven popular within the Attack on Titan fanbase. His voice actors were praised for their portrayals of the character.
Creation and design
Author Hajime Isayama created Eren to be "an ordinary youngster who gets paralyzed with fear when his blue eyes see a titan" rather than a stereotypical hotheaded protagonist often seen in shonen manga. Isayama describes his personality as that of a child who uses rage as his motivation as a result of his weakness and failure to save his mother from the Titans. His retaliation against such pressures triggered all this fury, which led to a major introduction to the core of his traits. Early in the series when Eren is revealed to be a Titan shifter, Isayama thinks he wrote him calmer than his original depiction. He did that in order to give fellow character Armin more determination as Eren relied on him order to clear him of the military's accusation that he was an enemy to mankind. As a result, he was not given unit warrior talent in comparison to other members from the series.
He also stated that Eren's wish to go outside the city's walls is similar to his own. When he was a child: He lived in a rural Japanese town surrounded by mountains. One day, he wanted to go beyond the mountains, which reflected in the town surrounded by walls in the manga where Eren lived in the series' beginning. In retrospect, Isayama believes Eren fits the type of narrative he wrote for Attack on Titan, something that Isayama managed to relate with. The character's Titan form's physique was modeled after middleweight mixed martial artist Yushin Okami. Isayama originally intended for Eren to have known all along that he was a Titan.[full citation needed]
Originally, Isayama was asked by his editor who Eren's rival in the manga was. While initially thinking about Annie, Isayama noted that there was no such rivalry between themselves and instead thought that Eren needed to overcome something to become stronger. Despite initial issues in understanding Eren, Isayama noted that the character reminded him more and more of himself afterwards, though he still found Eren hard to write. In later chapters when confronting Annie, Isayama wanted to give Eren more responsibility by making him suffer the powerlessness of his allies being killed by the traitor. Another major scene for Eren's arc involved how he realized his powers are not good due to how he was manipulated by his father Grisha and thought he should not live due to this guilt, especially when realizing he killed his own father as a child. Talking more about Eren's rivalries, Isayama instead compared him with Luke Skywalker from Star Wars as he finds fitting how both characters have an inner conflict with their darker personas. Isayama describes Eren's personality as an emotional complex. He stated that despite their similar ages, Eren, Mikasa and Armin had different states of mind and that their growth might involve their possible separation. He further explores that while Mikasa enjoys being together with Eren, it is not a fitting for his style. As a result, Isayama often wrote ideas about how Eren would separate from Mikasa but was not satisfied with the readers' response. Isayama compared their relationship to that of a surrogate mother to her son (with Mikasa acting like the mother) something that Eren would find annoying and thus expected to write in the story how Eren will be independent from Mikasa.
By the manga's 22nd volume, Isayama drew an image of Eren looking at the sea, something that motivated him during his childhood. However, Isayama stated that starting this moment, Eren and his friends matured as they are part of the military. Originally, Isayama idealized Eren as a character who was dragged by the plot in early chapters but he was always around Mikasa and Armin during these moments as they wanted to help him. Isayama noted Eren's characterization is different of what it was originally viewed by the fans; while originally wishing to see the sea as a dream, Eren instead believed mankind should have the right to see, resulting in a different perspective on how the character changes. Isayama further compared the trio of Eren, Mikasa and Armin to high school student who grow up across their lives until their graduation. He viewed the scene of the trio seeing the sea as an alternate ending to the manga. In 2019 Isayama claimed he aimed to hurt the fans of Eren during the final arc of the manga. As he looked over previous chapters of the manga, Isayama stated that Eren's fight against the Warhammer was one of his favorite scenes.
Japanese actor Yūki Kaji commented on how it was important that he should voice Eren's Titan form because he believes it is an extension of the character. He had a meal with Isayama after he visited the recording studio and the manga artist told him he found Eren quite a difficult character but complimented Kaji by saying "You know Eren already", which gave him confidence. Eren's characterization was briefly altered for the English dub of the series making him self-reflective and eloquent in some scenes. Kaji described Eren for the second season as a person who never changes despite his growth, finding this trait important for the drama. The staff and him did not want to change the way Kaji changed Eren's portrayal in the making of the second season.
English voice actor Bryce Papenbrook got excited when he got the role of Eren as he was a fan of the show before it was announced that it would be dubbed into English. As a result, he viewed this as an advantage as he managed to understand the character beforehand. For example, he could understand the delivery of several lines because he already knew of the anime's series of twists. Additionally, he saw himself prepared for the role's pressure due to his previous works in popular anime.
He was excited because Eren was different from his previous characters despite sharing a similar age and vocal range, he commented "It's a very raw sound. Some of the noises he pulled out of me were just disgusting. I loved it. I loved every second of it." Papenbrook noted how different was Eren from his previous role as noted in the delivery of emotions and notable screams. There were three different kinds of voices he used for Eren: One for his kid persona, another deeper for his young adult self and a third "which was different from anything else." He recorded all three of those, and "there were noises that were required that were just disgusting and nasty." While he saw Eren's screams as challenging, he believes it was not the most difficult he ever had.
Haruma Miura stated he was proud of portraying Eren in the live-action film, adding that he was surprised by being cast for the role. Due to the appeal of the series, Miura tried to stay true to Eren's characterization when working in the movie and hoped Asian viewers would enjoy his work. Miura found the shooting of the movie challenging including the training to move like the character. Miura aimed to show Eren's naivety traits when working in the movie.
In Attack on Titan
Eren Yeager is introduced as a ten-year-old residing in the town of Shiganshina who dreams of joining the Survey Corps in order to explore the outside world beyond the walls. A year prior to the events of the story, accompanying his father Grisha to meet her parents, Eren helps Mikasa Ackerman in dispatching her kidnappers, while developing his ideology at a young age. When the Titans invade Shiganshina, Eren is forced to watch his mother be devoured by one of the Titans and thus vows to kill every Titan henceforth. Eren then enlist himself in the military. During his first mission at Trost, Eren sacrifices himself to save his friend Armin Arlert from being swallowed by a bearded Titan. Eren manages to transform into a Titan himself, proving his newfound strength worthy to fight for mankind. Eren earns a place in the Special Operations Squad, a branch of Survey Corps under Captain Levi. Eren is hunted by a female Titan but is saved by Levi and Mikasa. The Titan is later revealed to be his classmate Annie Leonhart, who is defeated by Eren but freezes herself. Upon being chased by more of Annie's allies, Eren awakens a power known as the "Founding Titan" (始祖の巨人, Shiso no Kyojin), which he subconsciously uses to direct a group of Titans to attack them.
Soon after, Eren is sent with his friends to an isolated village while preparations are made for a campaign to retake Wall Maria. Eren is then captured by Rod Reiss, who reveals the Founding was originally in his family for years since their ancestor Karl Fritz created the walls, and that the Reiss family used it to rule until it was stolen by Grisha. Grisha is revealed to be responsible for Eren becoming a Titan and was eaten by his son in the past unconsciously. Eren's classmate Krista Lenz, who is actually Rod's child Historia, refuses to aid her father and frees Eren. Eren and the Survey Corps depart to Shiganshina to reclaim Wall Maria by and defeat an army of Titans led by Zeke, the Beast Titan, and his subordinates Bertolt and Reiner. With Shiganshina secured, Eren and his friends learn of Grisha's past: Zeke is revealed to be Eren's half brother and Grisha's first son, and they are revealed to have originated in another nation named Marley. They learn that humanity exists beyond the walls and that their true enemy is Marley, while they live on an island called Paradis Island, and are a race called Eldians (specifically the "Subjects of Ymir"), descendants of the original titan shifter Ymir Fritz and that in the past as her power split into the Nine Titans that would be passed down to her people it was used to conquer and subjugate many races and nations in the past, including Marley who overthrew Eldia and took control of Seven of the Nine Titans, before oppressing and demeaning Eldians left on the continental mainland and using them as holders of the titan powers acquired to conquer and subjugate other nations as the Eldian Empire had once done in the past. Eren learns that he has a limited lifespan as a side effect of being a holder of two of the Nine Titans' power, including the titular "Attack Titan" (進撃の巨人, Shingeki no Kyojin), along with the Founding Titan, only having 8 years left to live.
Four years later, assumed to have been fending off Marleyan infiltrators with the new Colossal Titan Armin, Eren is leading the Survey Corps in an extraction of Zeke in Liberio following Marley having won its war with the Mid-East Allied Forces. Having his left leg amputated, Eren assumes the identity of "Mr. Kruger" (クルーガーさん, Kurūgā-san), a former Marleyan military officer. During the festival held by Willy Tybur to declare war on Paradis, Eren responds with an attack, killing Willy and then devouring his sister to gain the War Hammer Titan's power. Eren's actions result in his arrest but he escapes with a group of Survey Corps members loyal to him called "Yeagerists", and he resumes his search for Zeke. Eren makes himself known to Armin and Mikasa, showing antagonism for his friends, and is ambushed by a group of soldiers led by Reiner. Eren attempts to reach Zeke to activate the Founding Titan's power, but is nearly killed by Gabi; Zeke saves his brother but turns out to be the one who has control of the Founding Titan's power because as a member of the royal family that wasn't descended from the first king of the walls he wasn't brainwashed by the latter's will and because Ymir Fritz, the source of the Founding Titan's power was bound as a slave to her royal descendants. Eren convinces Ymir to help him after giving her the choice to make her own decision. Revived, Eren frees the Titans within the Walls and declares his intent to exterminate all life outside Paradis in order to protect his people, becoming the world's enemy; the Titans destroy much of Marley before a team led by Armin kills Zeke, stopping the Rumbling, and severs Eren's connection to the source of the Titans.
In other media
Eren stars in the parody manga Attack on Titan: Junior High where he is presented as a student from junior high school who is obsessed with the Titans. In the visual novel Attack on Titan: Lost Girls an alternative take of the character shows his relationship with Mikasa who fears that regardless of changes in history, Eren is fated to die. He is a playable character in Attack on Titan: The Last Wings of Mankind for the Nintendo 3DS. His Titan form also makes an appearance in the game. Jin Haganeya's visual novel Burning bright in the forest of the night has Eren and Levi as the leading characters. He also appears in the mobile game Granblue Fantasy.
Critical reception to Eren's character has been varied. Jacob Hope Chapman of Anime News Network referred to Eren as "almost deliberately not a 'likable' protagonist, even by 15-year-old boy standards" due to reasons of being violent, impulsive, and not especially smart or strong. However, he liked that he inspires people by believing in his feelings, hopes, and dreams, making him the "heart of humanity". Theron Martin noted that while Eren initially has hardly any emotion besides anger, in later episodes he eventually does have emotions beyond that. Jeffrey Kaufman of Blu-ray.com calls Eren "a compelling character, and once a really surprising development crops up a few episodes in, he becomes even more compelling." Ken Iikura Anime Now highly acclaimed Eren for the way his emotions are shown in the series due to his constant rage regarding his desire to take vengeance for the Titans who ate his mother as well as his reaction to the discovery of the two Titans who have been posing as his friends. As a result, Iikura said Eren was more appealing due to his emotions rather than the powers he reveals across the series to fight. While acclaiming the episode "Warrior", the site MANGA.TOKYO praised Eren's interactions with Reiner and Bertolt due to the two latter characters opening themselves to Eren as enemy Titans but the three remains as calm until their eventual fight.
Kyle Charizanis of The Fandom Post found the anime portrayal of Eren's transformation to be amusing, starting from his "almost pitiful" look while declaring how he's going to kill all of the Titans. When the anime portrays him as capable of controlling his transformation, Charizanis adds "Maybe one day he’ll be able to contort his body to be used as a bridge, or heal other people’s wounds, or morph his arms into sharp blades like a certain other anime character." In the final anime episode, when Eren is fighting the Female Titan, he describes Eren's internal monologue as changing "from the usual violent determination to a kind of gleeful madness." and likens his tone to that of The Joker. Elijah Watson from Complex magazine liked the plot twist of Eren's titan form turning on the other titans that he called it a Worldstar moment. Bamboo Dong of Anime News Network was fond of Eren's Titan abilities as "there has not been anything as uncomfortable for me to watch as Eren chomping into his own hand, trying to transform. There is something visceral and real about Eren drawing blood from his own hand, and boy, it gave me the chills," and later praised his thoughts when fighting the Female Titan due to the portrayal of Eren's humanity despite being a Titan.
Other writers were more critical on the character. Nicoletta Browne of THEM Anime Reviews found him "a frustrating protagonist" based on how his angry fits and exclamations “can be seen as highly childish”. Elliot Gray from Japanator called him a "typical shonen manga lead" and instead found Mikasa and Armin more appealing. Similarly, Anna Neatrour from Manga Bookshelf called him “in many ways a fairly typical brash and opinionated shonen hero" and considered the manga design of the humans to be "drawn stiffly and not in proportion. For much of the time Eren and his comrades are yelling at each other, with facial expressions that don’t have very much variation". On the other hand, Justin Wu from The Artifice saw Eren's hotheadness as a positive trait of the character. Chapman found Papenbrook's child Eren forced but noted his performance once the character grew up was far better.
IGN found Eren started to have a notable character arc in the anime's third season as he learns from his past thoughts, but found it painful in comparison to other characters due to how harsh Eren is with himself. MangaTokyo acclaimed Eren's growth across the anime series' until the finale of its third season due to how he realizes the amount of enemies he has to face changing from having angry tantrums to a more collected mind seeking the freedom of his people. The Fandom Post noted that one of the major twists of the third season was discovering the relationship between Eren and Zeke, but lamented the narrative to focus more on Erwin and Armin rather than Eren and Mikasa. Another reviewer praised how the development of the characters and discovery of the truth behind Grisha also reflected on the childhood moments from Eren, Mikasa and Armin. IGN noted that while Eren becomes a darker character in the later story arc, he still remained ambiguous when he talks to Mikasa in a flashback about their bonds. His appearance as the Attacking Titan in the final frames of the opening of the anime's final season were compared to that of Hideaki Anno's Shin Godzilla movie (2016) by Anime News Network due to how threatening it looks.
In the Newtype anime awards for 2013, Eren was voted as eighth best male character. In Animage's Anime Grand Prix 2014 polls, Eren ranked as the fourth most popular male anime character, behind Levi who was voted the most popular. However, his Japanese voice actor ranked first among all voice actors, with Eren as his primary credit for that period. In the Animedia Eren was nominated for multiple categories including "Most Valuable Player", "Darkness", "Hot" and "Brave"; He only won the "Hot" award, but took high places in the rest. Anime News Network also listed his Titan form as one of the weirdest power ups seen in anime. In a Newtype poll, he was voted the 10th most popular male anime character from the 2010s.
Eren is featured in a variety of merchandise. In December 2013, the Good Smile Company released the Eren Picktam! strap along with straps of other characters from the series. The official Eren Yeager nendoroid and figma were also launched after the series' success. These figures exist via a variety of figurine and merchandise companies. Eren's figma was released in May 2014, and the nendoroid was released in April 2014.  In addition to figures, Bandai has released Eren plushes, a smaller one in December 2013 and a larger one in July 2014. Eren Yeager, along with many other characters from the series, also has a dedicated perfume inspired by his character traits. His perfume was released by Koubutsuya in fall of 2013 along with the perfumes for Mikasa Ackerman and Levi. In an Akiba Souken poll, Eren was voted as the most popular character from the series with 50,143 votes.
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