|“||It's to late now... damned if I know what's right anymore... who cares, it is what it is... no choice but to face what I've done... as a warrior... no road left but the one that leads to the end.||„|
|~ Reiner to Eren before their fight|
|“||Yes right here, right now!! We settle this once and for all!!||„|
|~ Reiner before attacking Eren|
|“||I wanted to become a hero...!! That's why I always acted like everyone's big brother, too. I wanted someone to respect me.... That...that wasn't about my age or my environment...it was my fault. Your mother was eaten by a Titan because of me!!||„|
|~ Reiner to Eren.|
During the first season and the first half of the second season, Reiner has almost never truly acting like his true character and most of his personality as "big brother" that his team looked up to was nothing but Reiner imitating his deceased friend Marcel, which had created a multiple personality disorder, now cured but still suffers from trauma. He is both Eldian and Marleyan, born from an Eldian woman, Karina Braun, and a Marleyan man. He also has a Warrior cousin, Gabi, and other unnamed Eldian uncles and cousins.
He serves as a protagonist, while also secretely acting as an antagonist, in the series until the second half of the Clash of the Titans arc where be becomes the main antagonist. He is also one of the two secondary antagonists in the Return to Shiganshina arc (alongside Bertolt) and the main protagonist of the Marley arc.
The Armored Titan
The Deviant Titan that destroyed the inner gate of Shiganshina, allowing the other Titans to break inside Wall Maria's territory. Its entire body is covered in protective armor plating except for some weak points at its joints, which were used by Mikasa to damage it during its fight with Eren.
Early lifeReiner 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 Bertolt 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 the attack on Wall Maria, he was attacked by a Titan later revealed to be Ymir. In the chaos, his friend Marcel pushed him to safety and died protecting him. This event appears to have left him deeply traumatized, as he flashes back to it in moments of stress and expresses an almost suicidal desire to place himself into harms' way for the sake of others.
The Fall of Shiganshina
He first appeared in the year 845 as the Armored Titan, participating in the attack on Shiganshina. During the chaos of the initial breach, he entered the city in his Titan form and made his way across it to the interior gate. Once there, he charged towards the gate and smashed through it, allowing Titans to invade Wall Maria. At some point during the abandonment of Wall Maria, he passed himself off as a refugee and infiltrated human territory. He was seen with Bertolt as the campaign to retake Wall Maria was announced, wearing a shocked expression.
Joining The Military
Two years later after the destruction of Wall Maria he enlisted in the military and becomes a member of the 104th Trainees Squad. When Eren struggled with the Three Dimensional Maneuver Gear and began to look for advice from the other trainees, Marco Bott advised him to approach Reiner and Bertolt for help. Though initially unfriendly towards Eren and Armin, he quickly warmed up to them after learning of their being from Shiganshina District and still willing to enlist in the Survey Corps. He shared with them his desire to return to his lost homeland, and would become a surrogate big brother to both.
During hand-to-hand combat training, he advised Eren to take his duty as a soldier seriously. Noticing Annie attempting to sneak away from training, he intercepted her and goaded her into sparring with Eren. After seeing her easily dispatch Eren, he hesitated to take her on himself....but was goaded into it by Eren and quickly defeated. This introduction would lead to Eren and Annie becoming close, with her tutoring him in unarmed combat (though that mostly included him learning after being beaten down for her amusement) .
Reiner was noted by Keith Shadis to have exceptional mental and physical fortitude, as well as great ability to gain the confidence of his comrades. He would eventually graduate 2nd in the class, finishing just behind Mikasa
The Battle of Trost
As part of the defensive effort of the military after the second attack of the Colossal Titan, he eventually found himself with the front guard. However, with the supply team stuck in the headquarters, he was essentially immobilized with many of his teammates on a rooftop. Joining Jean's group in the rush to the HQ, he was among the survivors. With the subsequent arrival of Armin and Mikasa, by way of the Rogue Titan, he helped to clear and secure the supply room.
Initially skeptical, Reiner suggested they help the Rogue Titan when it was being overwhelmed by a group. Jean was hesitant and disagreed with his suggestion, stating they barely made it with their own lives and could use the opportunity to escape. However, it turned out not to be necessary when it broke free at the sight of the Titan that killed Thomas Wagner. He was among the first people to know about Eren's Titan form, when he emerged from the giant's body. Later this same day, after seeing what appeared to be Titan vapor from inside the city, he and a small group scaled the wall to see what was happening. Over the wall they found Eren protecting Mikasa and Armin from cannon fire, with a shield made from the torso of his Titan form.
Reiner is a passionate, fearless, brave, and honest person, with a strong sense of duty. Unlike Bertolt, he trusts others more easily. As a child, he used to be very weak and lacked any particular talent, in contrast with the other fellow Marley Warriors. However, he had shown devotion and loyalty greater than anybody else. This is how he was chosen to be the holder of the Armored Titan over Porco Galliard. During his infiltration within the Walls of Paradis, Reiner took his role as a soldier very seriously and encouraged others to do the same. However, he was also noted to have a kind heart and a tendency to always think of others before himself, taking on extra burdens for the sake of his comrades. He was stated to be the "big brother" of the other trainees. Eren looked up to Reiner, expressing that he wanted to become strong like him one day. His protective and brotherly behavior remained with him as the years passed and he became vice-commander. He has a rather complicated feelings about his younger cousin Gabi's high motivation and loyalty to Marley. The clueless Gabi seems to enjoy battles and killing soldiers and Reiner tried to hand in Armored Titan he is currently holding, to someone else, in order to save Gabi from a tragic fate she would never imagine.
However, he is also revealed to have serious emotional and mental problems as a result of his actions, displaying symptoms of dissociative identity disorder. While still loyal to his true cause as a warrior of Marley, he was unable to cope with the guilt and has begun to suppress his true memories in an effort to escape. At some point, he was unable to tell which identity was real. During these episodes, he forgot his true identity, believing himself to be a human soldier. There appear to be few differences between his "soldier" persona and his true self, though his true "warrior" self is more ruthless and fatalistic out of necessity. He harbors a negative and opprobrious attitude towards himself, referring to himself as a "villain" and a "short-lived killer" that only Bertolt and Annie can understand. Even so, he continually places himself at risk in an effort to reach out to Eren and Ymir, trusting them more than is wise. Reiner later realizes that during his days in the 104th Training Corps, he had based his "soldier" persona off of his fellow warrior Marcel Galliard's personality. Reiner kind of feels responsible for Marcel's death and it motivated him to complete his mission. It has been hinted that Reiner may had feelings for Historia Reiss, though it is unclear whether this was a former simple crush or something stronger. It is also unclear whether these feelings were part of his delusions, or genuine. Still, it seems that Reiner and Ymir recognized quite a bit about each other's motivations and shared a desire to keep Historia safe from harm. He used these feelings to manipulate Ymir into becoming their ally, but he also expressed more trust in her than Bertolt felt it was wise.
Reiner is also very protective to his loved ones. Bertolt was his best friend since his training days at Marley, while they were locked in the Liberio Internment Zone. Unlike Reiner, Bertolt excelled at everything he did despite his acquiescent and passive behavior. Reiner had a sort of rivarly with Porco Galliard and Bertolt saved him from Galliard's bullying. Reiner's psychological issues had caused friction between him and Bertolt, who was visibly bothered by the situayion, though it is revealed that Bertolt was vital in helping him maintain his grasp on reality. Reiner did not have a great relationship with Annie: his behavior similar to Marcel angered her, and he had doubts regarding her loyalty that he forced her to do what he wanted to support the mission. Regardless, Reiner felt the urge to save Annie when he thought she was being tortured, going as far as fighting against his commander Zeke Yeager. Reiner does not lack mercy, in fact he knew that Eren had the potential of being the host of the Coordinate and Reiner could have obtained a less dangerous host for the Coordinate all along by feeding Eren to a random Titan, then simply kidnap the clueless freed person from it. However, since it required Eren's death, he avoided such extreme measures until pushed too far, when he learned that Eren had the Foudning Titan's power. He reacted with great concern and noted that Eren is the worst possible person to possess it, given his personality. Reiner tried to kill Eren by throwing Titans towards his direction so that the Coordinate could pass to a "less destructive" individual. Reiner's previous hesitation suggested a lingering affection towards Eren, even after they become enemies. During the planned fall of Wall Rose, Reiner was shown to be more hesitant in destroying the inner gate and his suggestion to stop the advance of the Titans greatly bothered Bertolt, who was more prone to carry on and not letting feelings get in the way of their mission.
- Previous holder of the Armored Titan (as a mindless Titan)
- Numerous members of the Garrison
- One unnamed member of the Survey Corps
- Numerous members of the Mid-East Allied Forces
- Carla Yeager
- Samuel Linke-Jackson
- Thomas Wagner
- Nac Tias
- Mylius Zeramuski
- Mina Carolina
- Franz Kefka
- Hannah Diamant
- Marco Bott
- Mitabi Jarnach
- Ian Dietrich
- Ruth D. Kline
- Dina Yeager
- Numerous counts of Shiganshina District citizens
- Numerous counts of Wall Maria citizens
- Numerous members of the 104th Cadet Corps
- Numerous members of the Garrison
- Numerous members of the Survey Corps
- Hajime Isayama has stated in recent interviews that Reiner is his favorite character in the series.
- He has also stated that his biggest regret with his series, it was not writing enough interaction between Eren, Reiner and Bertholdt, to show the friendship bond Eren had with the two. Reiner in particular was the one Eren admired more than any other, even Levi. Isayama has stated that Eren considered Reiner to be always better than him and Eren himself looked up to him.
- In a post on his blog, author Hajime Isayama stated that the Armored Titan's physique was based on that of professional wrestler and mixed martial artist Brock Lesnar.
- He shares some similarities with Historia Reiss:
- Both Reiner and Historia are born from forbidden (legally for Reiner and only socially for Historia) and shameful relationships and never met their fathers during their childhoods. In Reiner's case, due to having a Marleyan father and an Eldian mother, as a relationship between Marlyean and Eldian is strictly forbidden, thus he was never allowed to see him. While Historia because of her mother, Alma, being fired and forced to abandon the Reiss household after Rod Reiss's wife learnt she was pregnant with Rod's child. In similar ways, both Alma and Reiner's father were terrified to suffer the consequences of the birth of their children: Alma to be killed because of the real position of the Reiss family (royals and Titan Shifters who erase memories from their subjects) and Reiner's father to be killed, along with his entire family, for having a relationship and a child with an Eldian. Both Reiner and Historia tried to approach their parents only to end up rejected out of fear and despised them for existing.
- According to Isayama's extra information, Reiner was the most popular boy in the cadet training, while Christa was the most popular girl. Their parody Junior High counterparts also nicknamed Reiner's "social grade" as "The Jock" and Christa's "The Queen Bee". In the story their positions might be what made Reiner attracted to Historia, as they both acted as examples of perfect people.
- Ironically, both of their personalities in the training days were nothing but fake roles to hide their true identities: Soldier Reiner, a carbon copy of Marcel Galliard that ended up with Reiner often genuinely believing his role was reality, and Christa Lenz, a forced name with a forced personality that had Historia lying to herself in her delusions that she had to help everyone and become a good heroic person, just like she promised to her half-sister Frieda Reiss.
- Both Reiner and Historia's sidekicks had their own reactions about their identities: Bertholdt could not tolerate Reiner losing track of reality and imitating Marcel, while Ymir could see through Historia's delusions, yet her Christa persona and fake smiles are the reason why she came to love her. Historia only came to realize the fakeness of her kindness and how she doesn't really care about anything in life only after she lost Ymir, who had chosen to save Bertholdt's life over following Historia, paying with her life in the process. Four years later, Reiner is a lifeless Warrior vice-chief who mourns over the loss of Bertholdt and waits for his imminent death. The last time Historia was seen, she was the new Queen of the Walls and acknowledged Ymir's death through a letter from the latter, that was delivered by Reiner.
- Most of fans are debate about his ambiguous sexuality.
- Some of them also believe Reiner is bisexual or heterosexual due to his fascination with Historia's kindness and twice mention that he "wanted to marry her", but its still unclear whether this is a simple crush or something stronger. It is also unclear whether these feelings are part of his delusions, or genuine. Since Reiner loses Bertholdt and Historia loses Ymir, some fans wishing that Reiner and Historia can ended up together. In parody version of Attack on Titan series titled Attack on Titan: Junior High, Reiner shown has feeling toward Krista (Historia) and his feeling toward her rivalry with Ymir.
- Out of the 4 Warriors on their mission, Reiner is the only one who ever made it back to the hometown Liberio, in their internment zone. Marcel, Bertholdt, and Annie never returned to their families. Bertholdt did return in the Marley cities to deliver Ymir, but never returned to his hometown.
- Reiner and Galliard had a conflicting relationship similar to Eren and Jean. The difference is that Reiner was like a mix between Eren and Armin, who would end up bullied by Porco and saved by Marcel. As a child, Reiner was as determinated as Eren and physically weak as Armin.
- Reiner and Bertholdt were always close best friends and Reiner looked up to Marcel, who was the most reliable and stronger among the Warrior cadets. Bertholdt and Porco were the physically strongest as well, while Reiner, Annie, and Pieck easily got tired. Since she was weak in physical training, Annie beat Reiner using her father's defense fighting technique.