|Attack on Titan character|
Eren as depicted in the Attack on Titan anime
|First appearance||Attack on Titan chapter 1: "To You, 2,000 Years from Now"|
|Created by||Hajime Isayama|
|Portrayed by||Haruma Miura|
|Aliases||Eren Jaeger (Funimation dub)|
|Relatives||Kalura Jeager (mother)|
Grisha Jeager (father)
Mikasa Ackerman (foster sister)
Zeke Jeager (half-brother)
Eren Yeager (Japanese: エレン・イェーガー Hepburn: Eren Yēgā), spelled Eren Jaeger in the Funimation dub, 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 order to defeat the Titans, Eren, alongside his childhood friends Mikasa Ackerman and Armin Arlert, enlist in the Military and join the Survey Corps—an elite group of soldiers who fight Titans outside the walls. As the story progresses, later learning it was his father's doing, Eren gained the power of becoming a Titan later identified as the titular Attack Titan (進撃の巨人 Shingeki no Kyojin). Eren uses this power to give his people an advantage to defeat their enemies while learning of their true identity and their own history.
In the anime adaptation of the series, Eren has been voiced by Yūki Kaji in Japanese and Bryce Papenbrook in English. In the live-action film adaptations, he is portrayed by Haruma Miura. Critical reception to Eren was initially quite mixed but grew more positive as the series progressed, though the character has typically proven popular within the Attack on Titan fanbase and anime in general.
Creation and design
Author Hajime Isayama created Eren to be "an ordinary youngster who gets paralyzed with fear when he sees a titan" rather than a stereotypical hotheaded protagonist often seen in shonen manga. 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. The character's Titan form's physique was modeled after middleweight mixed martial artist Yushin Okami. 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.
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.
In Attack on Titan
Eren is introduced as a hot-headed, vocal 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, despite constantly being chastised by his mother Carla. A year prior to the events of the story, accompanying his father to meet her parents, Eren helps Mikasa Ackerman in dispatching her captors, while developing his ideology. When the Titans invade Shiganshina, Eren is forced to watch his mother being devoured by one of the Titans and thus vows to kill every Titan henceforth. Enlisting in the military, Eren eventually places fifth overall in his graduating class. Between Shiganshina's fall and his enlistment within the military, Eren has vague memories of his father Grisha entrusting him with a key to the basement of their house before injecting him with a mysterious liquid.
During his first mission at Trost, Eren helps in the attempted quelling of Titans entering through the compromised wall before sacrificing himself to save his Armin Arlert from being swallowed by a bearded Titan. Several moments later, from within the bearded Titan's stomach, Eren suddenly transforms into a 15-meter class Titan that ragefully rips his way out and proceeds to attack the other surrounding Titans to his fellow soldiers' shock. Once his rage is spent, Eren emerges from his Titan form's neck when the large body collapses to the ground. Though he is initially distrusted by the military despite sealing the wall, due in part to his inability to control himself in Titan form, and the natural fear of Titans by all humans, Eren earns a place in the Special Operations Squad, a branch of Survey Corps under Captain Levi. The squad is assigned to watch over him and kill him should he lose control while in Titan form. Shortly after joining the Spec Ops Squad, Eren finds himself hunted by a female Titan who determinedly kills all of his squad-mates to get to him. With help of Levi and Mikasa, Eren is saved from the Titan, later revealed to be his 104th classmate Annie Leonhart. Though Eren defeats Annie alongside his allies, they are unable to get answers as they watch her encase her human body in crystal using her Titan form's hardening ability. Eren soon learns during a mission to reach Krista Lenz, revealed to be Historia Reiss, that their other classmates Reiner Braun and Bertolt Hoover are the human forms of the Armored and Colossal Titans who were responsible for the Shiganshina attack.
It was then that Eren learns he possess a power that the enemy Titans seek called "The Coordinate," subconsciously directing a group to kill and devour the Titan that killed his mother before having them attack Reiner and Bertolt so he and his friends can fall back. Soon after, Eren is sent with his friends to an isolated village while preparations are made for a campaign to retake Wall Maria for good, by making use of his newfound power. But Eren is then captured by Rod Reiss, who reveals the Founding Titan (the true name of the "Coordinate") was originally in his family for years since their ancestor Karl Frtiz created the walls and ruled the city from the shadows until it was stolen by Grisha. Eren also learns that his transformation into a Titan was caused by Grisha, another Titan Shifter, whom he unconsciously devoured to inherit the Founding Titan which Grisha obtained from eating Historia's half sister Frieda Reiss. Upon realizing Rod's plan to have Historia become a Titan and eat him to restore the Founding Titan to the Reiss bloodline he, Eren accepts his fate out of guilt for the people that died as a result of his father's actions while asking Historia to save humanity in his place. However, Eren finds Historia refusing to aid her father and frees him as Rod becomes an Abnormal Titan while Mikasa, Levi, and Jean arrive. Eren ingests a liquid labeled "Armor" that bestows him a new power to harden his Titan form, using it to save himself and his friends from being crushed by a collapsing ceiling before he and the Survey Corps head to the Orvud district where they confront and kill Rod.
After the old regime is ousted and Historia ascends to the throne in his place, Eren and the Survey Corps depart to Shiganshina to reclaim Wall Maria by sealing its breach with his new power. But they face an army of Titans led by Zeke, the Beast Titan, and his subordinates Bertolt and Reiner. The vicious battle ends with Erwin and most of the expedition killed, Zeke and his men forced to abandon Bertolt as he was devoured by Armin when he was made a Titan to save his life. Once Shiganshina is secured, Eren and his friends enter his old house's basement and retrieve some books and a photograph of Grisha with his first family: Zeke revealed to be Eren's half brother whose mother Dina was the Titan that killed Eren's mother. Upon returning home, learning that humanity exists beyond the walls and that their true enemy is Marley, Eren realizes he can only use the Founding Titan when in the presence one of Ymir Fritz's direct descendants as was the case with Dina, a descendant of the Eldian kings herself, in her Titan form and being touched by Historia. Furthermore, becoming distant from his friends as he has become accustomed to violence while voicing his displeasure at Historia making a deal with Zeke and the Hizuru that condemns her for the good of Paradis, Eren learns he would eventually die as a side effect of being a holder of one of the Nine Titans' power.
Four years later, assumed to have been fending off Marleyan infiltrators with the new Colossal Titan Armin, Eren was 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 while assuming the identity of Mr. Kruger (クルーガーさん Kurūgā-sa), a former Marleyan military officer who was Eren's namesake who gave Grisha the power of the Attack Titan, to use a Warrior candidate named Falco Grice for intel gathering before having the boy bring Reiner Braun to him during the festival held by Willy Tybur. After making a subtle threat to Reiner and the people around them, Eren listens to Tybur's speech and learns how the Reiss family's founding patriarch, the 145th King Karl Fritz, engineered Eldia's fall with the Tybur family while covering their act through Helos. Eren then hears Willy condemning him as a threat to the world order as the actions of Grisha destroyed a ceasefire which Fritz arranged with the Tybur family, the king having promised that the Founding Titan power would not to be used against the world as long as it remains with his living descendants. In the fight that followed as his group succeed in faking Zeke's death, Eren kills Willy and then his sister to gain the War Hammer Titan's power. But Eren's conduct throughout the mission though indiscriminately killing Marleyans, along with Sasha Blouse's death by Gabi Braun on his hands, results in his arrest for causing an international incident with his friends concerned over his new demeanor. Eren later escapes with a group of Survey Corps recruits to find Zeke.
Eren stars in the parody manga Attack on Titan: Junior High where he is presented as a student from high school who is obsessed with the Titans. 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.
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 on 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.
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.
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.
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