Before starting to write this, I didn’t think I liked Eren Jaeger. He is brash, whiny, overly confident, annoying as all hell, and overly aggressive. He is single-minded and idealistic to the point of frustration. Season 2 of Attack on Titan is my favorite season because (among other things) Eren is barely in it; four years wasn’t enough time to get over his instability and ear piercing screams. Even during his few moments in Season 2, I winced. There’s Eren. Annoying. Useless. Ugh. But after the recent episode of Season 3 of Attack on Titan, I’ve been seeing a lot more Eren hate than usual. And, for some reason, I’m not liking it.
People are saying Eren is pathetic but, to be honest, he has every right to be.
SPOILERS FROM ATTACK ON TITAN EPISODE 40 AND ON
People are complaining that Eren is a baby for giving up, for allowing Historia the chance to devour him for the sake of humanity. They are calling him horrible and the worst for reacting negatively to realizing his father murdered Historia’s family, turned him into a Titan, and (seemingly) stole humanity’s chance of survival.
Yeeeeaaaaah, that seems to check out...
Eren just realized that his life is a burden and a lie! He works so hard to save humanity but then realizes he is the thing keeping his race from thriving. Let the guy be sad! I don’t know how anyone can complain about Historia and Eren’s scene in episode 44; it easily was the best vocal performance I’ve seen this season. Eren regrets being alive; he is in the way of his own goal and his friends’ happiness— the one thing he continually fights for— and it shows in every breath and every word. This is a portrait of a broken man who just had everything taken away from him. Yes, he is crying. Yes, he is sad. And damn, he has every right to be.
I am not a fan of Eren, but as I started to put my thoughts together for this post, I thought why? He’s vengeful and crazy, yes, but he’s trying to save his people and always puts his teammates and friends first. He’s kind and reaches out to people who are having a hard time. He stands up for people who are weaker than him. He’s annoying and always being rescued, but Eren is not a bad guy. He’s willing to give up his life to save the human race. Without hesitation. Eren offers to forfeit his life for the greater good of the world without hesitation. I may not love Eren but I definitely can’t hate him; how can I hate a guy with such a compassionate heart?
This is also coming from the person who’s favorite character is Armin (unironically, I promise) so maybe I just sympathize with the characters too much. I never thought I would be the campaign manager for Leave Eren Alone 2018, but I think I am. His reaction to his tragedy is human. Because he is one. He needs a moment to take this heartbreaking news. But he will rise from this, like he always does, like the shonen anime protagonist he is, and he will do his best to work with what he’s got. He has to. Or else he’s going to be dead.