How does AIT differ from basic training
- „Are you ready to die if you are told to?"- Volume 5, Chapter 21
Erwin Smith (エ ル ヴ ィ ン ・ ス ミ ス,Eruvin Sumisu?) was the 13th commander (団 長,Danchō?) of the reconnaissance troops. He was imaginative, intelligent, respected, and was a capable commander. Although he was keenly interested in the wellbeing of his subordinates, he did not hesitate to sacrifice them for the good of humanity and his men have shown themselves to be more than willing to sacrifice their lives at his command. He was also the inventor of the long-range reconnaissance formation.
Erwin is a gifted speaker. Before the court martial he was able to convince those present that Eren Jäger is not a wild beast and thus comes into the care of the reconnaissance troop. His eloquence often saved the Scout Troop from financial ruin and attracted new investors. Even though he was partly responsible for the death of Levi's comrades, he was able to convince Levi to join his division.
He's also an excellent strategist. The long-range reconnaissance formation was his idea and significantly reduced the division's losses. Much of his success has been based on his assumption that he always anticipates the worst. So he suspects that there are spies in his division. He also specifically addresses the recruits to assess their judgment. In one situation he asks Eren what Eren is seeing after the experimental titans Sonny and Bean die.
Erwin is portrayed as serious and calculating. He is also known for his foresight, which means that he plans far into the future. Although he trusts his men, he was the first to notice that there was a spy among them. He also draws the full potential of his comrades. So he entrusts Armin Arlert with many decisions and asks for his assessments.
According to Armin, he shares this attitude with Darius Zackly, Dot Pixis and Ian Dietrich. He is even able to get his men to sacrifice themselves for a greater purpose. This shows that his men have complete confidence in him. Levi shared this view, but over time his confidence crumbles. For example, when Erwin smiles after hearing from Hanji Zoe that titans were originally humans. This trust crumbles further when Levi learns that Erwin has become the commander of the reconnaissance force to investigate his father's thesis. In his final battle, however, he sacrifices his and the recruits' lives to give Levi the chance to deal the fatal blow on the enemy. Levi finds it difficult to save Armin's life at Erwin's request, instead of Erwin's.
Erwin has short blonde hair which is parted on the left side. His hair always looks neatly combed and gives a well-groomed impression. Erwin also wears thin sideburns in a darker shade. With his bright blue eyes, thick eyebrows and his angular face, he looks very serious and cool. His straight posture and gigantic figure also contribute to this. In the second attack by the Armored Titan, he loses his right arm.
Erwin was a curious and insightful kid who didn't take facts at face value. He asked why humanity had no memory of what happened inside the walls before they lived, for even if they had lost all of their records, the first generation could have educated their children. His father shared a theory with him that the king had changed the memories of mankind when they entered the walls so that he could better control them. Too innocent to understand why his father would not discuss this in the classroom, Erwin shared it with the other children in town, resulting in his father's "accidental" death arranged by the First Central Military Police Brigade.
From then on Erwin was convinced that his father's theory was correct. However, Erwin came to another conclusion: the government is not interested in protecting humanity as much as it is protecting its land and wealth, and that it will kill anyone who threatens that authority.
When he joined the scout team, he told others about his father's theory. He thought that once he became a member of the scout squad he would prove it, but after joining the squad he stopped talking about it instead. He realized that, unlike the other soldiers who fought for a greater cause, Erwin was fighting for his personal dream. After all, he found himself in a position where he needed to give orders and inspire others, and he learned to deceive his comrades and himself into making sacrifices that had nothing to do with what he really wanted.
In the spin-off A Choice with No Regrets: Part One you see Erwin for the first time in the underworld to recruit soldiers for the upcoming expedition, which Fragon later finds humiliating. Accompanied by Mike Zakarius and other soldiers, he meets Levi, who uses his [3D maneuvering equipment and beats up a gang of hooligans. Levi's gaze turns to Erwin's grin. Soon Levi, Isabel Magnolia and Furlan Church are being followed by the Scout Troop. Erwin can catch up with him and engage him in a duel. Mike is able to fend off Levi's attack on Erwin and advised him to watch out for his trapped friends.
Erwin asks Levi where he learned the fighting technique. But Levi refuses to answer the question and Mike bumps his head into the mud. Then Erwin introduces himself by name and wants to make a deal: Levi, Isabel and Furlan are spared handing them over to the military police if they join the reconnaissance force. Levi agrees.
With Keith Shadis, Erwin stands in front of the generalissimo, Darius Zackly, who praises Erwin's new long-range reconnaissance formation. However, the financial resources for the reconnaissance force are being cut. Erwin then asks Keith if he could change Nicholas Lobov's mind. When Keith refuses, Erwin makes it clear how important it is to recapture the walls by all means. Keith is impressed and agrees with Erwin.
Again the two men stand in front of Darius. He tells them that Nicholas Lobov has changed his mind. Erwin mentions that the three new recruits have great potential. Occasionally you can see him at the introduction of Levi and his companions. And also later during training. In preparation for the expedition, Erwin explains the long-range reconnaissance formation.
On the expedition, Levi and his companions killed an abnormal titan. Fargon and Sayram are very surprised. Erwin grinned at that.
On behalf of Nicholas Lobov, Levi and his accomplices search for the documents. Levi stands dope to have Furlan and Isabel search Erwin's luggage. When Erwin comes by, Levi gains time for his accomplices by starting a conversation. In an interview, he describes Erwin as the chief smack. Erwin praises Levi for his excellent fight and mentions that his comrades feel safe around him. He mentions that although his division is sacrificing countless soldiers, he will have no regrets in order to recapture their territory for the people. Isabel interrupts their conversation and Levi disappears.
Erwin takes command of the expedition. But a storm makes it impossible to fire beacons. Just the appearance of a titan brings chaos to the formation.
When the rain subsides, Erwin and Mike see a fog. Erwin realizes that the mist is the vapor of dead titans. As the fog clears, he sees Levi stroking Isabel's severed head. Erwin rides towards Levi and is thrown onto the ground by him. Mike draws his sword but doesn't approach because Levi is holding his sword to Erwin's head.
Erwin explains to Levi why he recruited him and his friends from the underworld. He pulls out the document that Nicholas Lobov was looking for. But it's just blank paper. He wants to collect evidence that Nicholas Lobov is embezzling funds and thus making it difficult to finance the reconnaissance force. Therefore, he wants to recruit people from the underworld so that Nicholas Lobov reacts to it and leaves a mark. So Nicholas Lobov comes into contact with Furlan and his friends in order to win them over. Erwin watched Nicholas Lobovs' accomplices and was able to follow the leads. With the Nicholas Lobov case resolved, Levi says his friends died in vain. Levi lifts his blade and wants to strike, but Erwin stopped it with his hand.
Erwin asks Levi who is responsible for the death of his friends and works to convince them: It is not Levi who is responsible for their death because he made the wrong decision afterwards, but the titans. You have robbed people of the vast green idyll. Like sunlight, it tries to give people hope, but some people try to stifle the thirst for knowledge and freedom while enjoying personal gain for themselves.
He confronts Levi with whether he wants to kill him in order to be banished into the blindness of the underworld, or whether he wants to fight by his side because humanity calls for Levi's abilities. Levi agrees and they ride back behind the walls together.
The case of Shiganshina
It appears for the first time in the manga when the reconnaissance troop returns from their expedition. Keith Shadis was the commandant at the time.
The struggle for consolation
You see him for the second time in the manga leading an expedition before the Wall Maria was brought down. He notices that titans are swarming for consolation. His expedition follows the titans to prevent the wall from collapsing. When they arrive, they rescue Eren, Armin and Mikasa after completing the mission to close the hole with the help of Eren's titanium power.
Erwin appears before Eren after waking up in a cell three days later under the supervision of the military police. He explains to Eren that his forces within the walls have caused a great commotion and that he is being watched by the military police as a result. He holds the key of Eren in his hand and asks him whether the secrets of the titans are hidden in his cellar, which Eren only answered in the affirmative. Erwin then lays down a plan for how Eren could use his strength to recapture Wall Maria and how they could get to the cellar.
The female titan
Now Eren is brought before the commission of inquiry.Nile Dawk would love to have Eren executed. But Erwin and Levi convince that Eren will be of use in the reconnaissance force. Darius Zackly agrees and orders Eren to join his troop.
At the crime scene where the experimental titans Sonny and Bean were killed, he asks Eren what he sees in front of him, however, Eren has no answer. Erwin asks him this question to test his powers of observation and to find out whether he could be the possible perpetrator. The equipment of the recruits is checked because it is suspected that it was used in killing the titans. However, no suspect could be found.
In the evening he gives a speech to the recruits, not to win them over to the division, but to show them the truth. He does not hide the fact that Eren is the new hope of mankind and that the division suffers from a chronic shortage of personnel because many soldiers are constantly perishing or have perished. This leads to the fact that many recruits leave the place and only the determined soldiers remain, albeit with horrified faces.
After the recruits have been trained and learned the long-range reconnaissance formation, they will take part in the 57th expedition behind the walls. In this mission, which Erwin leads, he shows his strength: his foresight. After the female titan escaped from the Fessler trap, he fears that this titan has turned back into a human and disguised himself as a soldier of the reconnaissance troop. He orders Levi to replenish his gas supplies. At first Levi refuses because he still has enough supplies, but then he obeys the order.
Storm on the Stohess district
The expedition fails and the cost is high. Therefore, Erwin has to answer in court. Armin believes Annie is the female titan. Based on this assumption, Erwin plans the mission with the other officers: Titan arrest in Stohess.
Clash of the Titans
Erwin stands on the Wall Rose, telling Dot that soldiers of the military police have been sent to support the Wall Garrison and the reconnaissance troop with the repair of Wall Rose. When he heard from a messenger that the wall had not been torn down and that the titan walkers Berthold Fubar, Reiner Braun and Ymir had been identified, he immediately dispatched soldiers.
When Erwin arrives at the scene, he is 5 hours late. On the assumption of Hanji Zoe, he rides with his whole force to the forest of the giant trees to free the kidnapped Eren from the clutches of the titan walkers.
Here he rides towards the common titans in order to attract them and to approach the forest of the giant trees towards the fleeing titan walkers. They are being pursued by Hanji's troops. Now they are trapped because they have Hanji's troop behind them and Erwin with a titan horde in front of them.
While Reiner and Berthold fight as titans against the titan horde, Erwin orders his soldiers to attack the two titan walkers. So he says that if Eren perishes, mankind has no future. He loses his right arm in battle, but orders his people to keep fighting. Suddenly they succeed in a surprise attack through which Eren can be saved. Immediately he gives the order to retreat. To the horror of the titan walkers, Eren unconsciously demonstrates the coordinate.
After recovering, Erwin begins to research the relationship between Christa Lenz and the Reiss family and learns that Historia is the illegitimate daughter of the noble Rod Reiss. The revelation is only to leave him confused as to why a regional lord like Rod should know any secrets about the walls. He informs Levi about it during a meeting, while Levi informs Erwin about how Hanji's experiments on Eren's Titan are going.
After the government banned all scouting force activities, Erwin Levi's team sends a message about the developments. When his messenger leaves, Nile Dawk visits him. Erwin ponders their shared past and expresses his distrust of the government in securing the future of humanity, much to Nile's horror. After Nile leaves, Hanji Zoe and Moblit Berner Erwin visit him with news of Erens and Historia's capture by the military police and their suspicion that Eren might be eaten.
Suspecting that he will soon get all the information he needs, Erwin Dot sends Pixis a letter informing the commanding officer that he is planning to stage a rebellion against the royal government. Pixis visits Erwin immediately to find out about Erwin's intentions. Erwin assures Pixis that, depending on whether his suspicions are justified, they can take power peacefully rather than violently. While waiting for his theory to be confirmed, Erwin tells Pixis the story of how his father died.
When Erwin finishes his story, Hanji and Moblit come up with the information they have received from Djel Sanes. Erwin informs Pixis that the Reiss family is the true royal family and that Historia will be the next to the throne. He plans to save her and then publicly install her as queen to force regime change.
Pyxis agrees to support Erwin's plan and leaves. When Pixis leaves, Erwin gives Hanji all the information he has been able to gather about the Reiss family. While he is there, one of his soldiers appears and informs Erwin that the First Central Brigade is making a riot in the city and says that Erwin has carried out a murder. Erwin orders Hanji to get out of here while he acts as the face of their organization. He informs her that she will be the next commander of the reconnaissance troop and thus puts the reconnaissance troop under her command.
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