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OtapediaErwin Smith - Attack on Titan

Erwin Smith is the Commander of the Survey Corps, a branch of the military from the Attack on Titan series. Although quite mysterious, he provides to be a reliable and trustworthy leader. He is always in the front lines and is responsible for planning and executing expeditions beyond the walls.

Erwin’s goal is to protect humanity and he gladly takes the responsibility. He understood that having Eren Jaeger in his ranks held hope for the future of the world. With this, he is a soldier at heart and puts his own life before others, especially for the greater whole.

As a commander, he needed to make sure that the soldiers realized that they will surely die, but it would not be in vain.

“If you were told to die, could you do it?”


  • Name: Erwin Smith
  • Date of Birth: October 14
  • Height: 188 cm
  • Weight: 92 kg
  • Birthplace: Unknown
  • Appearance: Muscular and sturdy build. Blonde hair parted on the left side. Tall with stern facial features and thick eyebrows.
  • Assignment: Survey Corps

Personality and Character

Erwin shows his bravery and valor while charging head-on toward the Beast Titan. He fully understands and is prepared to sacrifice his own life in order to achieve his goals. This makes Erwin a highly respectable commander.

Erwin has a keen sense of judgement and perception, as he thinks very analytically.

As a Commander, he excels in combat, however, he is also quick to take the initiative and is able to keep himself level headed. He offers words of wisdom and judgement, albeit with a stern face.

According to the Attack on Titan Guidebook (p. 77), Erwin feels mixed emotions when recruiting people into the Survey Corps, as many soldiers die on expeditions. He expresses his feelings and confronts them with reality to make sure that they know what they are signing up for. However, as it is for good cause, he notices that every soldier and every sacrifice contributes to the bigger picture of saving humanity.

As he has an excellent judgement of character, Erwin finds Levi Ackermann, who ends up playing a critical in the Survey Corps. Although Levi was a thug in his younger days, Erwin sees that he is full of potential and asks him to join him on the 23rd Expedition beyond the walls. This event is further explained in Attack On Titan: A Choice With No Regrets: Part One, an OVA first released in 2014.

Levi originally joined the Survey Corps under orders from Nicholas Lobov to assassinate Erwin. It was apparent that Erwin withheld information that could knock Nicholas Lobov out of his position of power. The reward for killing Erwin would have been surface-world citizenship.

It was revealed later that Erwin was well aware of this plot. However, knowing that Levi was sent to kill him, he trusted that Levi would do well in the Survey Corps. Levi was seen as a natural genius with maneuvering gear and could use blades very well, even if he was not yet disciplined or trained.

On the 23rd expedition, disaster strikes, as Levi becomes the only survivor of his group after Levi ends up separated during an encounter with a Titan. Shocked by two important people dying by the hands of a Titan, Erwin accepts him in the Survey Corps to go on future expeditions.

Erwin Smith accepting Levi, a thug, shows not only his empathy, but displays his talent when it comes to judging the level of skill of those around him. Both of these characteristics are what make him such a good leader.

Erwin’s Back Story

Erwin’s childhood story is revealed in Season 3, Episode 3, in a conversation between Erwin and Pixis.

As the son of a history teacher in his hometown, Erwin was a naturally curious and inquisitive child who questioned the way the world worked. One day in his father’s history class, Erwin asked a question. The father avoided that question in the middle of class and continued as normal.

In a serious talk with Erwin later that day, he mentioned that the history books were contradictory and mysterious. One hundred years ago, humans were attacked by Titans and created the Wall for protection. However, written records of history were supposedly lost in the process. The father theorized that the king had altered memories of its people, making the masses easier to control.

Pixis also came to the realization that if the king hadn’t done that, the construction of the Walls could have not been possible [Season 3, Episode 3 Old Story].

As a young boy, Erwin was naive and told his friends about what he heard from his father. One day, Military Police came to question him. From that day on, his father never returned.

It was later revealed that Erwin’s father was detained, tortured, and killed in a faraway town, though it was posed as an accidental death.

Although he didn’t fully understand it as a child, Erwin realized that the rulers within the wall alter people’s memories to selfishly protect their power, assets, and way of life. People who threaten their way of living will be destroyed.

Throughout his life, Erwin is haunted by the thought that his father was killed by the “greed” of humans and the “foolishness” of his own son. From his father’s death, Erwin’s mission in life was to prove whether or not his father’s theory was correct.


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Attack on Titan