|Oh, no. None of you have done anything wrong. And you're not devils. It's just that you all have to die. There's nothing you can do now.|
|— Bertolt threatens Armin Arlert|
Bertholdt Hoover is one of the main antagonists in the anime/manga series, Attack on Titan. He is the true identity of the Colossal Titan, who infiltrated the military as a spy as a part of an unknown plot to eradicate the remainder of humanity, and the childhood friend of Reiner Braun.
He is voiced by Tomohisa Hashizume in the Japanese version of the anime and David Matranga in the English version.
The Colossal TitanThe largest Titan ever encountered, having first appeared in the Year 845 outside the District of Shiganshina. It is approximately 60 meters tall with a physical appearance resembling a humanoid being without any skin, exposing muscles and connective tissue. In addition, it has not shown any interest in consuming humans. It appears suddenly and without warning in a flash of lightning, and disappears in a similar manner in large clouds of steam, which
constantly pours from most parts of its body. It possesses the ability to release this steam at high pressure to defend the weak point at the base of its neck. Possessing a physical mass far larger than any other known Titan, it was easily able to kick down the Gate into the District of Shiganshina and thus is partially responsible for the fall of the Wall Maria. It displays cognitive recognition when it appears before the District of Trost in the year 850, as after kicking down the gate into the district, it destroys the cannon artillery atop the wall so that the invading Titans would meet less resistance.
Bertholdt comes from a mysterious location simply referred to as his hometown (or homeland), and began a mission to attack humanity in the year 845. Little is known about his life prior to undertaking his mission, other than the fact that Reiner and Marcel were his childhood friends. The exact nature of their group, and their mission is yet unknown. It is mentioned that their goal was to exterminate humanity, and that they are searching for both the Ape Titan and a "coordinate" which they believe may be Eren Yeager or possible to locate with the assistance of Historia Reiss.
At some point prior to attacking Wall Maria, he encountered Ymir's Titan form while traveling with Reiner and Marcel. Still in a mindless state, she attacked the three boys and nearly killed Reiner. Marcel ended up sacrificing his life to protect his friends, while Bertolt appears to have fled in terror and possibly abandoned the other two in the process.
Fall of Shiganshina
Bertholdt first appeared as the Colossal Titan in the year 845, shortly after the history of the world and humanity's situation have been introduced, along with Mikasa, Eren and Armin. Its mere presence is enough to cause considerable panic amongst the population, as it is tall enough to see completely over the wall that is supposed to keep all Titans out. Within moments of its appearance, it attacks, repeatedly kicking the wall gates to the point that they rupture and open a hole large enough for other Titans to pass through. It then disappears after causing considerable structural damage to the wall, but does not attempt to participate in any meaningful way in the ensuing massacre itself.
Joining The Military
Eventually, Bertolt joined the military, with aspirations of joining the Military Police and living in the safety of the inner wall. As part of the 104th, he was considered to be one of the best in regards to 3D Maneuver Gear, enough so that Eren Yeager came to him for advice when he was dealing with faulty equipment. After seeing Eren's determination and desire to join the Survey Corps, he considered himself a coward for wanting to get far away from them. However, Eren encouraged him, saying that after witnessing the attack on his village, no one would blame him for his decision. Eventually, he graduated in the top ten of his class coming in at third place, just under his friend Reiner.
Battle of Trost District
Bertolt reappears as a Titan five years later in 850, again breaking through the walls so that its brethren can once again devour the humans inside. It is immediately attacked by Eren Yeager, however, it first repels and blinds him with vapor from its high temperature body before vanishing completely from view.
When Armin, Mikasa and Connie made it to the headquarters, with the help of the Rogue Titan, Armin devised a plan to get rid of the Titans in the supply room. Bertolt, part of the second group, came in from the ceiling and killed his target in one blow. The mission a success and everyone resupplied, he and the rest of the group leave the head quarters. On the way out, he joins Mikasa and others on the rooftop as they watch the rogue Titan being attacked and eaten by other Titans. Reiner suggests helping it out, but ultimately it ends up not being necessary as the Titan fights his way out and kills the Titan that ate Thomas. After the Titan collapses, he is among the first people to know about Eren's ability. Bertolt joins the Survey Corps with Mikasa, Reiner, Eren, Connie, Sasha, Krista, Armin, Ymir, Jean and a few others.
Bertolt takes part in the 57th expedition of the Survey Corps. He does not take part in the Female Titan's plan to capture Eren.
Clash of the Titans
In the aftermath of the failed mission to capture the Female Titan, Bertolt is among the recruits placed under observation at an old mansion and suspected of being a potential accomplice to Annie. He is shown to have occupied his time playing chess with Reiner, and quickly becomes involved in the operation to investigate the Titans that appeared within Wall Rose. Reiner requests his assistance on the Southern squad headed for Connie Springer's village, which is later discovered to be deserted.
That evening, the Southern squad meets up with a squad including Ymir and Krista and the decision is made to take refuge for the night in Castle Utgard. At some point during the night, the castle comes under attack by Titans and the recruits are forced to defend the interior from the smaller Titans that have invaded. After Reiner takes off on his own to investigate, Bertolt offers a strange observation of his friend's "bad habit" of risking himself for others. When a Titan manages to break through a stairwell door, he comes to Reiner's defense with a pitchfork and helps fight it off. The two reaffirm their promise to survive and return to their home together.
After a second Titan manages to enter and injure Reiner, he helps Ymir toss it out a window. Afterwards, he begins to behave in a withdrawn manner and responds to questions about how Reiner was in the past with a strange comment about how Reiner has changed and is no longer a "warrior". However, he refuses to elaborate further on the subject.
Eventually, their superiors are killed by the attacking Titans and the rookies are left defenseless. This drives Ymir to reveal herself to be a Titan, using her powers to protect the others. He, along with Reiner, are shocked to recognize her as the Titan that had killed their friend, Marcel, several years earlier.
The group is eventually rescued by Hange Zoë's squad and evacuated to the Wall, with the intention of regrouping with their main forces. Injured and distressed over their ordeal, Reiner breaks down under the stress and confesses their identities to Eren while Bertolt watches in growing distress. The two are viciously attacked and almost killed by Mikasa, and Bertolt asks if they're to transform right now. Reiner obliges, saying that as a warrior, he must do his duty till the bitter end.
Critically wounded and terrified, Bertolt transforms into a partial Titan form and begins to attack the soldiers on the Wall while Reiner attempts to kidnap Eren. In the chaos, he manages to capture Ymir and a random soldier, swallowing them both whole. Afterwards, he counters an attack by Hange's squad through generating intense heat and steam, burning anyone that gets too close. He remains in a skeleton-like state, burning profusely to prevent any attack against him.
Reiner then roars to signal his distress. In response, Bertolt topples from the Wall and lands on top of a fighting Eren and Reiner, exploding upon impact. The resulting explosion wounds most of the scouts, and allows Reiner and Bertolt to successfully capture Eren and flee the scene. Bertolt emerges from his Titan form carrying Ymir and wearing the stolen gear of a soldier he devoured. Several hours later, he takes refuge with Reiner and their two captives in the Forest of Giant Trees. However, he is mostly silent during the following arguments and discussions, only speaking up when prompted by Ymir or Eren.
Bertolt responds to Reiner's strange behavior with great distress, and is shown to have known about it long before anyone else. He is able to bring his friend back to reality by informing him that he is not a soldier, but rather that they are both "warriors". Ymir guesses this to have been the cause of previous tensions between them that she had observed.
Eren later confronts him about his role in the death of Carla Jaeger, demanding to know what he thought when he learned about the suffering he'd caused. He responds with a vague comment about having felt sorry for him, horrifying Eren and leading him to scream at them both. Eren expresses that they are murderers responsible for the genocide of innocent people. Reiner irritatedly says he already is aware, and Eren tells him to stop grieving as if he's a victim and that he is no longer human, being responsible for turning their world into a living hell. A frustrated Reiner asks what Eren wants from them then, if he wants for him apologize or atone for his actions or admit that killing is bad. He says that the person Eren once knew is dead and if it makes him feel any better, he can scream all he likes. This gives Eren a new resolve, and he vows that they both will die horrible, excruciating deaths. Bertolt remains silent at this point, as Ymir finds Eren's assurance stupid yet amusing, but she questions Reiner on what the "ape-like Titan" was. Noting that Reiner and Bertolt both looked like gawking, excited children at his appearance, she reveals that the ape-like Titan must have been responsible for the sudden appearance of Titans from the south. She thinks that it might be what they need to return to their homeland. Realizing Ymir might know something, Eren frivolously questions her on who the enemy is, in which she vaguely mutters a reply but is interrupted by Reiner. Reiner asks whether she believes that their world has a future, shocking everyone. He says that, considering all she knows, she should come over to "their side" and return with them to their homeland. He insists that she is trustworthy, since they share the goal of protecting Krista and he can ensure her future in exchange for Ymir's cooperation.
Though she agrees to work with them, Bertolt remains unconvinced and warns Reiner that she cannot be trusted. He brings up the death of their friend, who was devoured by Ymir, though Reiner reassures them that she can be trusted since her only consideration is Krista's safety. Bertolt worries he may be slipping into his delusions again, but is reminded that Krista has value to them since she's a member of the Reiss family and may be able to provide them with important clues. They discuss their mission to find the "coordinate", which may or may not be Eren, and Bertolt expresses his eagerness to go home and never return to the human lands. Reiner responds by teasing him, demanding that he confess his feelings to Annie once they make it home. Bertolt attempts to protest, but Reiner claims his tendency to stare at her gave him away.
The pair notice a signal flare and realize the rescue team has already found them, and prepare to flee. While Reiner subdues Eren, Bertolt confronts Ymir over the death of his friend. She states she has no memory of having done it, but apologizes to him and asks if he hates her. He admits he isn't certain, but he can't hold her responsible since none of them wanted to devour humans. He asks how long she wandered as a mindless Titan, and implies that he and Reiner may have also spent some time trapped in their Titan forms in the past.
As the group flees, Ymir notices the signal flares and becomes agitated. She demands that they kidnap Krista, and attacks Bertolt when they refuse. They are forced to land in the trees, and she further physically intimidates and threatens Bertolt until they relent. Once Ymir returns from kidnapping Krista, he straps an unconscious Eren to his back and both cling to the Armored Titan's back as he runs from the pursuing troops
Realizing how close the troops have already gotten, he shouts at Ymir about having delayed them so much. He demands to know what they've been doing all this for, and whether she intends to abandon Krista inside the Walls to save herself. His words get through to Ymir, and watches the exchange between the two women intently.
A short time later, Mikasa manages to get onto the Armored Titan's back and attacks first Ymir (and Krista) before turning on Bertolt. To escape, he slips down onto the front of Reiner's neck and shouts for him to protect them. In response, Reiner cups his hands around his neck and encloses Bertolt and Eren safely against his neck. Eren, now awake, begins to struggle and ignores all efforts to calm him down. The other members of the 104th Trainees Squad climb onto the Armored Titan's shoulders and begin to shout at Bertolt in his hiding place.
He initially attempts to ignore them, as Jean Kirstein and Connie Springer alternately attempt to coax him out and confront him over his betrayal. At last, he breaks into tears and yells at them that he never wanted to kill anyone. He confesses to having truly thought of the 104th as his friends, stating that their time together was enjoyable. Even so, he refuses to surrender and return Eren, stating that "someone has to do it".
Before he can elaborate any further, Hannes screams a warning to the group as Erwin Smith leads a horde of Titans directly towards them. This forces them to retreat for a time, while Reiner attempts to charge through the oncoming horde in his Titan form. It ultimately proves hopeless, and the Armored Titan is quickly overwhelmed by the large group and forced to begin using his hands to fight. No longer protected by his partner, Bertolt is forced to defend himself when the soldiers return in force and attack him. Beginning to panic, he shouts to Reiner that they have to bring Eren back to their home.
He narrowly escapes another attack by Mikasa, and is confronted by Armin, who reveals that Annie has been captured. Taunting Bertolt, he asks if they intend to abandon their comrade and claims that Annie is currently being tortured by the military. This drives Bertolt into a rage, and distracts him long enough for a wounded Erwin to launch a surprise attack and free Eren. Wounded, Bertolt can only watch in shock as the soldiers begin their retreat.
He remains perched on the Armored Titan's shoulder as it begins to hurl Titans at the fleeing soldiers, slowly healing his injuries. When Eren's power as the Coordinate activates, he senses it and reacts with shock. The partners begin to pursue Eren once freed from the Titan horde attacking them, but this freedom is short-lived. Taking advantage of his new-found power, Eren screams at them to stay away and threatens to kill them. Both react with shock and horror, sensing Eren's power and realizing that it has directed the horde at them once again. Reiner initially attempts to protect him from attackers, but they are quickly overwhelmed and he is forced to fight on his own.
His screams draw Ymir's attention, causing her to hesitate in fleeing with the soldiers. Just as a Titan is about to kill him, Ymir appears and rescues him. The three Titan Shifters begin to fight together, while the human soldiers retreat back to the Walls. The narration notes they did not pursue, leaving his fate in the aftermath of the battle unknown. Eren later expresses the desire to catch him and make him pay for his crimes, suggesting that he believes they survived.
This is confirmed in an epilogue, which reveals that he survived and fled back to the ruins of Shiganshina District. The group, exhausted from their two-day ordeal, rest atop Wall Maria while attempting to make sense of things. He questions Ymir about her decision to save his life, and is shocked that her actions were motivated by gratitude for having been saved from her "eternal nightmare". Knowing that she faces an uncertain future when they return with her to their homeland, Bertolt struggles to hold back his tears while thanking her.
- Unnamed Titan shifter (as a mindless titan)
- Carla Yeager (Caused)
- Thomas Wagner (Caused)
- Mylius Zeramuski (Caused)
- Mina Carolina (Caused)
- Nac Tias (Caused)
- Franz Kefka (Caused)
- Tom (Caused)
- Marco Bott (Caused)
- Mitabi Jarnach (Caused)
- Ian Dietrich (Caused)
- Moblit Berner
- At least 17 unnamed Survey Corps members
- Nearly 10000 residents within Wall Maria and surrounding districts (Caused)
- Eren Yeager
- Mikasa Ackerman
- Sasha Braus
- Connie Springer
- Jean Kirstein
- Armin Arlert
- Hange Zoë
- Before he started showing more of his way of thinking and a bit of remorse, the audience thought he was the worst of the titan trio, apparently being the least conflicted of them and acting indifferent about his actions, fo example his cold and composed reaction when Eren reminds him his role in his mother's death. The fans accused him of being evil and amoral, even after he showed more remorse when talking to Connie and Jean. Later it's finally showed that he's not very able to put a value for life in general since he doesn't see anything good about the world or any decent reason to live, to the point of not even having a will of his own or indipendent thoughts and simply follow the orders of Zeke Yeager and whoever else sent him to destroy the walls and recover the coordinate. Some people came to the conclusion he was borderline sociopath and a bit suicidal who was only getting worse and more ruthless as his mission was getting more frustrating as well as seeing Reiner, Annie, Marcel, and Marco suffering too much while he was only shaking, running away, or sweating.
- Even after his death, much of Bertholdt still remains unkown and it's never revealed how his enviroment where he grew up has made him like that.
- There are parallels between Bertholdt and his enemy Mikasa Ackerman: they both know they live in a cruel world and they were both terrified by it. Their fears were replaced by control, self-awareness, and coldness. The difference is that Mikasa did it while she was still a child and found something to live for, while Bertholdt only really stopped trembling when he realized he was just standing there all the time while he let most of the dirty job to Reiner and Annie and would not stop them when they made foolish mistakes. Mikasa's faces the cruelty of the world while looking beyond it and sees beauty and love, she focuses on those things and keeps living. Bertholdt doesn't see this and has only a nihilistic view of life. He's often apathetic and even admits to have no reason to live for to the point he considers death as freedom. In his last moments he had no problem with killing countless people anymore and was even cool with Annie being fed to the pigs or Reiner failing and die, possibly because he didn't expect to live longer anyway. He burned Armin alive with no hesitation, despite he was one of his favorite comrades, thinking he was putting out of his misery. However, when he was defeated and was about being eaten alive, he still panicked and screamed for help.
- People think he became too self-indulgent, having no true life purpose or actual like for life and will to live. It's believed that his projection of conflict into Armin is the culmination of all the subtle gathering of suppressed thought. So he would have been impenetrable not because the audience are denied access to his mind; rather, he is impenetrable because he doesn’t do a lot of thinking, and when he does, it’s superficial. The kind of defence he muster to explain himself is truistic, yet with a total absence of context it is cryptic and morally ambiguous. When he doesn’t hide himself behind somebody he hides himself behind words.