If one asked the fans ofAttack the titans For their favorite character, most would probably answer Levi, Eren, or Mikasa. The mere presence of these memorable characters alters the course of the war between Eldian and Marley, and in Eren’s case, even the face of the planet.
But some will remember Commander Erwin Smith’s contribution to humanity’s struggle, his genius, his charisma, and his complexity as a character. Even among a cast of intense and strong-willed characters, Erwin stands out, and his final fight against the Titan Beast remains one of the most poignant scenes in anime. But despite his brilliance, Erwin has had his own share of failures.
10 His childish recklessness is what leads to his father’s death
When Erwin is a child, he asks a question in his father’s class. His father does not respond immediately, but privately explains that he has a theory: that the king altered the memory of his subjects. Erwin recklessly shares information with other children. When the Military Police find out, they have Erwin’s father killed. Erwin realizes that his father’s theory must be correct, at least in part, and dedicates his life to atoning for his stupidity.
Attack on Titan: Reiner’s 10 Biggest Failures
Attack on Titan: Eren’s 10 Biggest Failures, Ranked
9 Surrender the woman who loves her friend Nile
To achieve his dream, Erwin enlists in the Corps of Instruction as soon as he is old enough. He and his friend Nile Dok plan to enlist in the Surveying Corps together in hopes of starting a real search for answers. The two men meet a woman named Marie and they both fall in love with her.
Erwin chooses to hand her over, but Nile abandons his plans and joins the Military Police instead. At first, Nile advocates for Eren’s execution when Eren’s Titan powers are revealed and even arrests Erwin. Change your mind when government corruption is revealed. He and Marie have three children, and he is among the officials convicted of drinking Zeke’s poisoned wine.
8 His genius stratagems are initially rejected by the Commander of the Topography Corps
After joining the Scouting Corps, Erwin gradually rises through the ranks. When a Survey Corps base is invaded by Titans, Erwin approaches Commander Keith Shadis with a genius ploy that would allow the scouts to fight more safely. In his arrogance, Keith rejects the idea. It’s a failure on Erwin’s part, even if it’s temporary.
7 He becomes a demon to achieve his own selfish goals
After too many failures, Commander Keith Shadis realizes that Erwin is superior to him. Haunted by guilt over his mistakes, he hands over the leadership of the Survey Corps to Erwin. The decision is wise, since Erwin is much more successful in his missions than Shadis. Even so, Erwin continues to sacrifice his subordinates, all in the hope of proving his father is right. You also want to find answers about the Titans, about what they really are. While everyone else fights to protect humanity, he fights for a selfish reason. His actions haunt him until the day of his death.
6 the plan to capture the titan woman in the forest is a failure
One of the main antagonists of the first part of the anime, the Female Titan is perhaps the most versatile fighter of the Nine Titans. Fast and strong, she also possesses the ability to summon other Titans with a scream. His heir, Annie Leonhart, uses this power to provide reinforcements to the Colossal Titan and the Armored Titan during the invasion of the Shiganshina District. Erwin and the rest of the Survey Corps are aware of how dangerous it is.
Together with Levi, Erwin hatches a plan to capture her in the Forest of the Titans. At first, the plan seems to work. Using the special target containment weapon, they manage to immobilize the female titan. She summons other Titans with a scream, and they devour the Titan’s body, giving Annie herself a chance to escape. Throughout the expedition, he is able to transform a second time, killing many members of Levi’s team. He also defeats Eren’s Attack Titan and would have captured him had it not been for Levi and Mikasa’s intervention.
5 The ambush of Annie in the Stohess district causes great destruction
After the scouts realize that Annie is most likely the Female Titan, Erwin devises a plan to ambush her in the Stohess District. They are partly successful, as Annie reveals herself. But in many other respects, the ambush does not go well. The ensuing battle between Annie’s Female Titan and Eren’s Attack Titan results in a great deal of destruction. Not only that, but upon being defeated, Annie locks herself in a crystal shell, preventing the explorers from getting answers from her.
4 Erwin loses an arm while trying to rescue the kidnapped Eren
After Eren is kidnapped by Reiner and Bertholdt, Erwin quickly organizes an operation to track them down and rescue him. In the ongoing battle, a Titan leaps up to him, grabs him from his horse, and tears off his arm. He tells his soldiers to move forward even though the Titan is biting his arm, and the group recovers Eren, even if it costs them more lives. Erwin falls into a temporary coma due to the loss of his limb. He seems to be at peace with it, but he also acknowledges that it is a loss that makes him a less capable soldier.
3 During the battle of the Shiganshina district, he and his subordinates are trapped by the Titan Beast
The Battle of Shiganshina District is a major turning point in Attack the titans. Aware that the answers he craved are probably hidden in Eren’s basement, Erwin leads a large team of over a hundred scouts towards Shiganshina. Reiner, Bertholdt and Zeke are on the prowl.
Zeke traps the Scout Corps using an army of Titans, taking them completely by surprise. Meanwhile, Reiner and Bertholdt attack the scouts from the opposite side. The Colossal Titan’s transformation deals massive damage to his forces, and Hange Zoe’s squad is almost completely killed. In the end, Erwin finds himself with no way out. With no avenue of escape, he and his subordinates are showered with huge chunks of rock thrown by the Beast Titan.
2 Your final bet, while great, does not achieve its purpose
Recognizing his desperate circumstances, Erwin devises one last bet. In the latest operation by Erwin’s scouts, they embark on a suicidal charge that has only one purpose: to give Levi a chance to get close to the Beast Titan and assassinate him.
The brilliant plan almost succeeds, and Levi reaches out to Zeke and takes him down. But Zeke is rescued at the last moment by Pieck in his Titan Chariot form, so Erwin’s sacrifice comes to nothing.
1 Die without knowing what’s inside the basement
Despite dedicating his life to uncovering the truth, despite being convinced that the answers are in Eren’s basement, Erwin dies before he can reveal the hidden secrets of Grisha Yeager. His greatest sacrifice is to go to his death with the full knowledge that this was going to happen, and that his life’s work has been primarily for nothing.