Attack On Titan has put Armin into quite the unique situation in both the pages of its manga and the anime, with the formerly timid Survey Corps member now inheriting the power of the Colossal Titan, and with the conclusion of the story only a few days away, now is definitely the time to examine how this underdog became the franchise's savior. With Eren Jaeger becoming a threat to both the citizens of Marley and of Paradis, it seems as if the line between good and evil has been blurred that much more, but Armin's character has remained consistent.
With Season four returning to television next year and the manga set to end in around a week's time, expect far more spotlight given to Armin in both mediums.
The Underdog Emerges
Armin first emerged as the timid member of the trio between himself, Eren, and Mikasa, using his brain far more than he would use his brawn. With Eren normally flinging himself into any fight without thinking when they were kids, and Mikasa normally bailing them out, Armin was the only member of the future Survey Corps who wouldn't directly choose to physically respond to threats. His early days also saw him introducing Eren to the concept of the world outside of the walls, with Armin's parents injecting this belief into him as they died attempting to explore the outside world.
Armin's optimism and critical thinking were apparent from the very start, and it would help in forging the character that we know today.prevnext
The Wall Falls
When the wall fell, unlike Eren and Mikasa, Armin didn't lose anyone. His parents were already deceased and his grandfather was able to escape the carnage with the young trio. Though his grandfather would die in a future expedition that was essentially a suicide mission disguised as a method to "take back the wall", there wasn't a wave of anger in his heart in the same way that we saw with Eren. Armin set to work to save the world for purely altruistic reasons, whereas Eren did so for vengeance and Mikasa did so to simply protect Eren. It was in their training as members of the Survey Regiment that their characters continued to flourish.prevnext
War Is Hell
Once again, when the trio first slaps on their maneuver gear in a wartime scenario, Armin proves himself to be the most human of the bunch. Eren is still fueled by a need for vengeance that he holds deep within himself and Mikasa goes along with Jaeger. Unlike his comrades in arms, Armin has a severe level of self-doubt that cripples him during this time but manages to find himself after a few encounters with Titans, especially when Eren is revealed to be a Titan himself. It was in this moment, when Eren, Mikasa, and Armin were pinned down, that we were able to truly see the latter's true strength as he worked to negotiate with his own people to not kill his friend.prevnext
The Trio Of Titans
It's in the battles against Bertholdt, Reiner, and Annie in their respective Titans that Armin's character is truly forged, no longer drowning himself in depression, though self-doubt still remains a serious factor. Armin's most significant battles have always been his internal struggle against himself, with his lack of confidence perhaps being his biggest weakness. In being pushed forward by the likes of Eren, Mikasa, and finally Captain Erwin, the leader that we eventually see Armin become takes his first steps in battling his former friends as they attempt to decipher the secrets of the world in the process.prevnext
The Colossal Titan's Power And How It Doesn't Matter
As fans of Attack On Titan know, Armin eventually inherits the power of the Colossal Titan, but it's a power he despises and rarely uses, perhaps signifying his true realization that his mind is his true weapon. With Levi deciding to allow Eren and Mikasa to save their friend, feeding a struggling Bertholdt to Armin in his Titan form, the power of this member of the Nine almost seems like an afterthought to Armin simply being given a second shot at life. For all intents and purposes, the assault on Marley is the first time that he has ever actually used the power of the Colossal. Speaking of which....prevnext
Season Four Makes Armin A Killer
In the assault on Marley, Armin unleashes the full power of the Colossal Titan, whose mere transformation sets off the equivalent of an atomic bomb. With this action, Armin murders countless innocent people in a calculated move that is not stemmed in vengeance or any emotion whatsoever. Armin's cold, calculating thought process in this is that it's simply the best way to create a distraction that will allow Eren to escape and for the Survey Corps to pick up Zeke Jaeger based on their plans in the shadows. It is unfortunately a testament to the relationship that Armin holds with Eren, proving that Jaeger's short-sightedness and hatred of his enemies put his best friend into this terrible position.
When Armin reaches for Eren's hand on the airship, you can see that things are very different now, especially thanks to the following scene wherein Sasha is killed by Gabi. Armin mourned for Sasha alongside Mikasa, proving that though he has become hardened by war, his character as a whole has remained intact.prevnext
Armin Becomes The Hero/Savior By Default0comments
Unfortunately, Armin is now the true hero of Attack On Titan, thanks to Eren throwing in his lot with his brother Zeke to enact the "Euthanasia Plan". It's in this confrontation that we are able to see Armin's true character on display, wherein he isn't attempting to force his will on the world like Eren is, but is rather attempting to find the best way to peace with the least amount of collateral damage. Though Armin apparently sees the benefits in the Euthanasia Plan during the first finale of Season Four, it's clear that Eren is willing to do anything to make it a reality, which is something that Armin simply wouldn't do.
We've seen all the characters change and grow throughout the history of Attack On Titan, but it is only with Armin that we've seen a character grow stronger in character and in physicality. He might not be the hero we thought we'd get in the final adventure of the Survey Corps, but he is the one we always deserved.prev