At its core, Attack on Titan is a story about how terrible human beings can be to each other. People are capable of both great courage and unbelievable cruelty, and these extremes are visible in every major arc of the anime.
Many of the relationships in Attack on Titan start out strong, but over the course of the series events unfold that challenge the foundations of even the best relationships. These stormy pairings struggle due to jealousy, mistrust, and imbalances of power, and ultimately are what makes the show so compelling.
10 Jean And Eren
From the beginning, Jean’s and Eren’s relationship is on rocky ground. As cadets, Jean openly mocks Eren’s idealism, while Eren calls out Jean by insinuating he is a coward for wanting to join the Military Police. Their relationship gets even more strained because of Jean’s infatuation with Mikasa and his jealousy of Eren due to her clear devotion towards him.
Over the course of the series, Jean and Eren slowly learn to trust each other, and Jean is one of the few regular soldiers that continues to call out Eren for his mistakes. However, after the events of Liberio, Jean’s and Eren’s relationship begins to deteriorate, reaching its lowest point during the shocking coup led by Eren and the Restorationists.
9 Eren And The Military
At the start of the series, Eren can think of little else other than joining the Scouts and seeking revenge against the Titans that killed his family. He idolizes the military, and proud to wear the uniform of a soldier. For their part, although the military authority is initially skeptical of Eren, it eventually comes to view him as a valuable asset.
However, over time, Eren’s and the military’s views of each other undergo a radical change. By the end of the Raid on Liberio, Eren sees the military as an obstacle to his goals, while the military views Eren as a dangerous threat to their power and the security of the nation.
8 Annie And Reiner
When they are both candidates in the Warrior unit, Annie and Reiner are not particularly close to one another. Then, when Marcel dies during the mission to recover the Founding Titan, Annie loses her faith in the mission, but Reiner is unwilling to give up. This disagreement pushes their relationship to the breaking point and leads Annie to act on her own.
However, after Annie is captured, Reiner feels guilt over her capture. Despite their disagreements, Reiner remembers Annie as a cherished comrade and blames himself for her incarceration. Although their relationship is strained, Reiner’s feelings underscore how strong the relationship is between the two Warriors.
7 Levi And Hange
As two of the highest-ranking members of the Scouts, Levi and Hange have a lot of respect for each other. Levi admires Hange’s passion, while Hange respects Levi for his dedication to humanity. However, the two do not always see eye-to-eye.
Although he admires her intelligence, Levi does not fully understand or approve of Hange’s obsession with Titans. On multiple occasions, he calls her foolish for the way she recklessly pursues knowledge about how Titans work. For the most part, Hange ignores Levi’s comments, and the two maintain a close working relationship all the way up to Hange’s promotion to the commander of the Scouts.
6 Levi And Eren
Eren greatly respects Levi due to his position as humanity’s strongest soldier. However, upon learning about Eren’s Titan powers, Levi treats Eren as little better than an animal. Levi views Eren as a necessary evil and tells Eren that he will not hesitate to kill him if Eren endangers the Scouts.
Still, despite his initial cold treatment of Eren, Levi eventually warms up to Eren and becomes a mentor to him. On multiple occasions, Levi puts his own life at risk to rescue Eren, such as when Annie captures Eren and Levi must fight to rescue him. Their relationship starts to unravel after the Raid on Liberio, as disintegrates completely when Eren and his Restorationists overthrow the military authority.
5 Eren And Armin
Eren and Armin have been best friends since they were children. Whenever Armin was bullied, Eren was always there to stand up for Armin and protect his friend. For his efforts, Eren earns Armin’s respect and admiration, which motivates Armin to do everything he can to help Eren achieve his goal of saving humanity despite his fear and insecurities.
Their relationship begins to take a turn for the worse when Armin must use his Colossal Titan powers to save Eren during the Raid on Liberio, killing many innocent people in the process. It’s at this moment that Armin begins to doubt Eren, and his doubts come to fruition during the showdown in Niccolo’s restaurant when Eren reveals his contempt for his friend because of his weakness.
4 Falco And Gabi
Despite her indifference toward him, Falco harbors deep feelings for Gabi. His infatuation for Gabi is the reason why becomes a Warrior candidate, because he knows that he will preserve her lifespan if he becomes the next Armored Titan instead of her. Meanwhile, while Gabi cares for Falco as a fellow Eldian, her initial feelings for him are purely surface level, as she is too obsessed with her devotion to the Warriors to notice his feelings.
Still, Falco is undaunted by Gabi’s lack of reciprocation of her feelings. He continues to put his life on the line to save her.
3 Levi And Kenny
Levi and Kenny may be related, but the relationship between the two fierce warriors could hardly be considered friendly. While Kenny takes care of Levi when he is a child, their relationship is strained from the beginning, as Kenny teaches Levi to be a cold-blooded killer before eventually abandoning him because he believes he is not fit to raise Levi.
After Kenny becomes the leader of the Anti-Personnel Control Squad working for Rod Reiss, the relationship between him and Levi becomes downright deadly. However, in one of the most memorable and sentimental scenes of the series, as Kenny is dying he reveals that he is Levi’s uncle and did what he could to make Levi strong. Their relationship may not be typical, but it’s still one of the memorable in the series.
2 Sasha And Conny
The relationship between Sasha and Conny is one of the most cherished pairings in the series. Sasha and Conny are close friends and their friendship is one of the few rays of sunshine in an otherwise dismal story. The two goofballs are constantly joking with one another, much to the enjoyment of fans.
While Sasha and Conny are close friends, they still do not pull any punches with each other. Conny practically threatens Sasha’s life when she tries to hoard all of the meat during a dinner before the battle for Wall Rose. To her credit, Sasha gives just as good as she gets by calling out Conny’s intelligence, like when she ridicules him for assuming he is smart enough to inherit the Attack Titan.
1 Eren And Mikasa
For most of the series, Eren’s and Mikasa’s relationship appears absolutely unshakeable. Along with Armin, Mikasa is one of the few people to defend Eren when he is discovered to be a Titan, while Eren’s will to live motivates Mikasa to save both him and herself on multiple occasions.
Yet, even the best relationships experience hardships, and Eren and Mikasa are no exception. During the scene in Niccolo’s restaurant, Eren admits that he hates Mikasa because she has no will of her own. This revelation from her savior and best friend rocks Mikasa to her core, as she is torn between her loyalty to her Eren and her feelings about the cruel person he has become.
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