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The Titans (in Japanese: 巨人 Kyojin) are the central and former antagonists of the anime/manga series, Shingeki no Kyojin, known in the western world as, Attack on Titan. Within the Attack on Titan universe, these human-esque monstrosities had nearly brought forth the extinction of the entire human race, with most of the world having been lost and forcing the remaining human beings to retreat inside the confined walls of a massive city state.
Much like the Romero Zombies of modern day horror fiction, Titans are hinted to be an off-shot of the human race now cursed to forever devour the rest of humanity. Recent chapters of the series reveal that their nature is almost the same as that of Titan Shifters albeit their human bodies within their titan's nape are crushed and partially assimilated.
Physical Appearance and Characteristics
Titans are creatures closely resembling human beings, but with various deformities, ranging from either over/under-sized heads and limbs, massively fat stomachs, or even skeletal frames. As the species' name would imply, titans dwarf over any human being. All titans keep their eyes constantly opened, their mouths possess lots of molar teeth used to grind human flesh. Titans possess no visible reproductive organs, thus it is unknown how they keep increasing their numbers. Each titan possesses unique facial features and hair style, much like any individual person.
Strangely, despite their large size they are unnaturally light, with humans of average strength able to lift up their body parts without trouble. They also produce a high amount of heat and emit steam to control their body temperature. Due to lacking a digestive track, they don't require eating of humans to survive, instead they can absorb sunlight like a plant does. Titans also possess a high amount of regeneration which allows them to survive dismemberment, disemboweling, and decapitation while the back of their neck is undamaged. To exploit their weakness, the Three Dimension Gear were developed to target the nape of their neck.
Ranging from 3 – 15 meters in height, these Titans compose the vast majority and have wide variation. They all resemble humans but with lesser to greater deformities, some of them walk on two feet while others walk on all fours. They are also variable in regards of their level of activity and response to pain. Their only common feature is their mindless nature. They would always head towards the first human on sight, without further planning or reasoning, making them easy to deceive and lure into traps. However, they are still dangerous due to their sizes, physical strength and numbers. In the past, they were used by humans with the power of the Titans as cheap killing machines against the other nations of the world. Unlike the free Titan Shifters, the human bodies get a fusion with their normal Titan bodies and become prisoners.
The worst thing about these Titans is that they are still conscious and mantain their memories, but they lost their wits and ability to control themselves. They are forced to keep eating humans out of a strong and mad desperation to return humans once again, hence why they lose all interest on other people when they find a Titan Shifter. Notable subtypes of this category are Dina Yeager, Sonny, Bean, the Bearded Titan, the Gluttonous Titan, and the Peering Titan. All the Titan Shifters in the story were previously Pure Titans who devoured human Titan Shifters.
Ymir confided to Bertolt Hoover her experience as a mindless Titan for 60 years, showing how a Titan never ages. She explains to Bertolt that while she barely remembers faces and details, she felt like it was an eternal nightmare and was also aware of what was happening and felt bad for eating Marcel. So far Ymir and Bertolt are the last Titan Shifters that were eaten by normal Titans. When freed by his mindless Titan form, Armin Arlert was mortified for eating Bertolt to the point that he cried and vomited.
They have several size variants:
- Three Meter Titans: The smallest type of Titan. Due to their smaller stature, they are the weakest of the Titan types. Even farm equipment can gravely damage if not kill them, as Christa demonstrated. Sometimes they are feared more than the bigger titans, because their size does not grant their victims a quick death, but a terryfing, slow, and painful one instead. They are also the fastest of the three types. Most of them used to be Eldian children, toddlers, and adults of short stature.
- Ten Meter Titans: The most common type of Titan. They are medium sized in the grand scheme of things and can smash through buildings and are virtually immune to gunfire. Titans of these size require Three Dimension Gear to kill. Mammon and Dina Yeager are examples of this subtype.
- Fifteen Meter Titans: Formally the largest type of titan known, they were also the most dangerous. A single 15 Meter Titan can take down an entire squad of troops without effort, smash through two story buildings, and even withstand cannon fire due to their rapid regeneration.
They are still mindless Titans who used to be humans. However, they don't act like the average Pure Titan and are far more unpredictable. Any Titan that displays abnormal behavior or intelligence is classed as an Abnormal. Unlike most Titans which mindlessly attack and devour humans on sight, Abnormals often ignore nearby humans and charge to more important locations where they can do more damage.
Any Pure Titan might turn into Abnormal if they meet someone they once knew in their human lives, like the "Talking Titan" who mistook Ilse Langnar for Ymir (who worshipped the farud girl when it was a woman) in her reduced intelligence and tried to restrain herself from eating her; she purposely led Hange Zoe to Ilse's body and died under what she thought it was Ymir's body. Also Connie's mother greets her son when she sees him, as every Titan is conscious and suffering for freedom, either by death or by eating a Shifter. Notable titans of this type are Rod Reiss, the Talking Titan, the Jumping Titan, the Bigmouth Titan, and Ms. Springer. Rod Reiss's mindless titan so far has been the biggest titan ever seen in the series, being a 120 meters tall and crawling giant.
Also called Phantom-like Titans. First discovered inside Wall Sheena when the Female Titan tries to escape over it, these Titans have a similar appearance to the Colossus Titan and can be found inside the Walls. Although they appear to be alive, they are weakened and immobile due to lack of sunlight. A century ago, these Titans were guided by the First King's Founding Titan to create the three Walls through the hardening of their skin. They are 50 meters tall, the third biggest type of titans after the Colossal Titan and Rod's crawling titan.
The Power of the Titans
This power is the ability which allows for Eldians to transform into one of the Nine Titans. Unlike regular mindless Titans, these Titans are intelligent, controlled by the human inside. The holders are known as Intelligent Titans and Titan Shifters. The Nine Titans are far more powerful than regular Titans and have unique abilities. The Eldian humans who hold these Titans can transfor into Titans who have various unusual traits and skills that can be honed and directed with purpose. These Titans are usually stronger and/or faster than pure Titans and retain their intelligence during a controlled transformation. They generally do not have any deformations that hinder their skills, and often, resemble their human "pilot", but other times they barely look like their holders. A skilled human with the power of the Titans can move more quickly and regenerate parts of their body just by focusing, and even discard their body entirely and regain a new Titan form within minutes. Each person who inherits these Nine Titans is fated with the "Curse of Ymir", which limits their lifespan to only 13 years after first acquiring the Power of the Titans. During the last years of their life, their body will weaken until they perish. Their powers are given by other Eldians, who eat them in mindless Pure Titan form.
The Nine Titans are:
- Colossal Titan: Or Colossus Titan or just the Colossus, it is also known by the Marleyans as the God of Destruction. The largest and strongest type of titan, not counting Rod's abnormal 120 meters form, that is a mindless transformation. It is 60 meters in height. It is considered the most powerful titan form, although Zeke Yeager is the strongest Warrior and the main weapon of Marley against its enemies. It was Marley's absolute weapon of mass destruction. Bertolt Hoover is the very first titan ever appeared in the series and was the one which ended the era of peace which "humanity" was enjoying behind the walls of Paradis by destroying the gate of Wall Maria with a single kick, creating a shockwave that destroyed the first few districts that were near the gate. This power grants him incredible strength like no other, capable of causing monumental destruction with little effort or damage sustained on his body. Due to this size its body temperature is extremely high,to the point that it is constantly emitting steam. However, because this Titan is so large, Bertolt can only move slowly while in its form. Furthermore, Bertolt has the potential to, at need, release an explosive amount of energy during Titan transformation, with the potential to completely level buildings in a short radius of his transformation, killing everything in open area and generating a mushroom cloud of steam. It is also able to produce super-hot steam as a defensive mechanism due to their size hampering their movement. It is able to blow up entire places like a bomb. The damage of the attacks depends on how much power and strength is used. Bertolt Hoover was the holder of this power, followed by his unwanted heir Armin Arlert. Under Armin's control, the Titan looks much smaller and weaker. Furthemore, Armin does not have Bertolt's personal abilities, experience, and training to use the Colossus properly.
- Armored Titan: As the name suggest, this titan has the best hardening abilty as it can produce crystalline armor and can handle a lot of damage. It is 15 meters tall, and is more muscular built. It also possess a high amount of speed and durability with cannonballs just bouncing off their armored bodies. The only areas that aren't armored are its joints which are vulnerable to attack. Though not particularly fast, this form is strong and agile, capable of destroying a fortified Wall after a sufficient running start. While he is able to communicate through roars, it is unknown whether he shares Annie's ability to summon other Titans. Reiner Braun is the current holder of this power and having fathered no children, he will pass it to a new Warrior. Marley's best candidate to inherit it is the girl warrior Gabi, but Reiner wants to give it to Falco Grice. Both Gabi (resembling Marcel) and Falco (resembling Galliard) are cadets under Zeke and Reiner's training, along with Colt Grice, Udo (resembling Bertolt), and Zophia (resembling Annie).
- Attack Titan: Or just the Attacker. A 15 meter class Titan, its most prominent characteristics are its elongated ears, fleshless jaws and highly muscular build. Eren Yeager's Titan form has so far been shown to have fairly substantial physical strength, knowledge of martial arts techniques, and incredible endurance. Prolonged and repeated use of this Titan form has allowed Eren to gradually increase control over its initially unstable mental state. Under Grisha's control it had a bulkier body built. Unlike most Titan shifters shown so far in the series, Grisha's Titan body was very heavy-built. He used his Titan form to kill and devour Frieda Reiss along with her family, excluding Rod and Historia Reiss. Eren Krueger's Titan face is very similar to his human form and has long dark hair, like Grisha and Eren. He appears to have great strength, as he is able to crush a boat. His Titan form is also quite muscular. Eren Yeager eventually revealed the powers of the "Coordinate": A special ability which allows him to take control of other Titans. In his blind state of rage, he would subconsciously command them to relentlessly attack his chosen target until they are dead. This power was originally another Titan form known as Founding Titan, stolen by Grisha and now merged with this form. This Titan has also recently gained the ability to harden after Eren has consumed a jar labelled with the family name "Braun". Eren Yeager is the current holder of this power, as he was preceeded by his father, Grisha Yeager, and Eren Kruger.
- Female Titan: As the name suggest, this the only Titan form with female characteristics. It is a 14 meter class Titan. It posses immense strength and speed. A Titan shifter of athletic appearance with lean muscle and minimal skin, the Female Titan is a Titan of unusual power. It has the stamina and focus to maintain a running pace capable of keeping up with horses over a long distance. This Titan form also has the unique ability to harden its body parts by generating a crystalline substance across chosen areas of its body; allowing it to simultaneously protect its nape and fight, showing far greater agility than its male armored counterpart. Combined with refined martial arts techniques, it can perform incredibly deadly and destructive attacks. When cornered, the Female Titan's call has the ability to draw mindless Titans to it and drive them into a feeding frenzy. Annie Leonhardt is the current holder of this power. It is actually unusable for both Marley Eldians and Paradis Eldians.
- Beast Titan: As the name suggest, this titan that has animalistic appearance resembling an ape. It is also larger than the 15 Meter Titans, reaching a height of 17 meters. Dark fur covers the large majority of his body, with the exception of his face, hands, feet, and torso. His arms are also elongated, with long fingers and fully-functional thumbs. The proportions of his upper body are similar to that of the Colossus Titan, possessing a massive chest and small head, as well as unusually slim arms. It has great pitching skills and it is suggested that this form contains massive strength, for it was able to hurl chunks of the Wall from very far and was able to accurately hit members of the Survey Corps. The Beast Titan was also able to defeat the Armored Titan without seemingly any sustained damage. Very hard for Titan Shifters, Zeke Yeager in this form is able to perfectly communicate with humans by speaking their language. A very hard thing to do with a titan's mouth, but not totally impossible, as Pieck and Ymir did it as well, though not as much as Zeke. Zeke's real unique power is the ability to control other Titans, even at night, and freely turn Eldians into Titans with his scream, after the prisoners are injected by the Titan serum, created by Marleyans (This ability is Marley's secret weapon and does NOT belong to the Beast Titan: it belongs to Zeke ONLY, due to his Fritz blood from his mother's side, ancestor of Queen Ymir Fritz, the First Titan). It has been noted that Zeke is the "strongest" Warrior, but only in his own abilities and power: his titan form with another holder would be different. The Colossus is considered the strongest Titan, due to its massive power. Zeke Yeager is the current holder of this power and he will pass it to a new Warrior. Marley's best candidate to inherit it is Colt Grice, Falco's brother.
- Jaw Titan: Also simply known as the Jaws, this form grants the holder rather long arms, powerful jaws and sharp claws. It is suited best for quick people and can its teeth can crush most objects. It provides the Eldian with such great agility that the Titan appears to be "dancing". Ymir's Titan is a 5 m class Titan with long hair, very large irises and an agile, chimpanzee-like body. The smallest Titan shifter known yet, her Titan form has a mouth with all pointed teeth, as well as sharp claws that can either be used to grasp on to things or for combat. Its long arms and small, muscular body enable it to maneuver itself around with great speed and agility in the same environments as those with vertical maneuvering equipment, making it a formidable foe in battle. Unlike the other shifters who apparently gained their powers under a controlled process by the Marleyan governement (or Eldian rebels in cases like Eren's), Ymir wandered as a mindless Titan for 60 years, and only after eating Marcel Galliard did she regain her humanity and become a Titan shifter. Porco Galliard's Titan is bigger than Ymir's and possesses long, light hair and a thick beard at the chin. However, the face above the jawline is hairless, and his Titan's mouth takes a cog-like appearance in place of lips or cheeks. The fingers of this Titan apparently possess segments of hardened skin. Porco (who prefers being known by his surname), Marcel's brother, is the current holder of this power, after eating Ymir during her execution by the Marley government, preceeded by Marcel, who had been eaten by Ymir. Galliard was also previously a candidate to become the Armored Titan but lost to Reiner years prior the events of the series. Although his Titan has a beard, Galliard is actually clean-shaven.
- Founding Titan: Also known as Founder, Progenitor Titan, The Power of the Titans and the Scream. It is the greatest power of the goddess queen Ymir Fritz. It has The Eldian holder is able to transform into a 13 meter Titan with white hair. Little is known about the Founding Titan's first physical appearance beyond what is depicted in romanticized illustrations. In all pieces of artwork depicting Ymir Fritz's Founding Titan, she appeared to possess a very tall female Titan form with long blonde hair. The Marleyan legends says that Ymir Fritz was the first individual to receive the power of the Titans after making a deal with the "Devil of the Earth", making her the true Founding of all Titans. With her powers as the Founding Titan, she used the Titans to make great advancements for her subjects, such as cultivating barren lands, building roads across the world, and building bridges between the mountains. After some time, she died, and her powers were split between nine Titans, the first of all Titan shifters, and her power as the Founding Titan would be passed down through the Fritz family (and later the Reiss family) over the next two millennia. If the holder is a female, the Titan will be able to take female characteristics like the Female Titan. It was passed down in the Reiss royal family for generations. The last holder, Frieda Reiss, was said to have an "invincible power", but she died before she could learn how to use it. She devoured her uncle below the Reiss chapel when she was fifteen in order to receive his Titan abilities and secrets of the world. The "invincible power" is now renamed by the people of Marley as the "Coordinate", after the discoveries of the Titan Chemistry Research Society. The Coordinate allows the user to control Titans and potentially, humans. The Founding Titan belonged to the Fritz, later Reiss, family for many generations held by the monarchs of the Walls. This however ended when its Coordinate power was stolen from the real Queen of the Walls, Frieda Reiss, by Grisha Yeager in the year 845, the night Wall Maria fell, and it is now in the possession of Eren Yeager with the Attack Titan form.
- Cart Titan: Also known as the Quadrupedal Titan , Mule Titan , and the Cartman, it is a 4 meters tall Titan and has always been seen moving on its four limbs. Its head, canine-like mouth, and nose are notably oversized in contrast with its eyes and ears. It has an exceptional endurance and can handle long-term missions. Its holder is able to stay in this form for months without ever turning human once. Furthemore, it can use different equipment as the circumstances require, and can be used in a broad range of operations. The smart Marleyan woman warrior Pieck is its current holder. Her Titan has no female appearance at all, not even her long black hair.
- War Hammer Titan: Also known as the War Hammer, it carries a large hammer and is capable of producing hard structures made from Titan flesh. It has been passed down in the Tybur family for many years and was in the possession of Ms. Tybur, Willy Tybur's younger sister. They are the only Eldians of Marley who don't live in the internment zones and are recognized as honorary Marleyans, thus they are the only ones who are allowed to pass their Titan to their family heirs. They are part of the nobility and remained neutral during the Marley wars for generations. The Tyburs are planning to join the Marley military and the Warriors in the next attack on Paradis Island. Eren Yeager later stole the powers from Ms. Tybur by consuming her blood and spinal fluid, becoming its current inheritor.
Behavior and Goals
Some humans such as Eren Yeager, have the unique ability to summon and control a Titan body. While in this form, the human's normal body rests in the weak point at the base of the neck, connected via masses of muscular tissue, indicating a connection between the sentient and feral Titans. Certain Titans are noted to be Deviant-Type (奇行種 Kikō-Shū), acting in a way that is not normal for Titans, such as not eating humans directly but acting in a way to help their fellow Titans and easily controlled by Titan Shifters that have ability to control regular Titans.
Over 1,820 years ago, Ymir Fritz as came across the "source of all organic material". With this discovery, Ymir gained the power of the Titans, becoming the progenitor of all Titans. The power of her Titan, the Founding Titan, was the coordinating point linking unseen "paths" which united the minds of her subjects. What she accomplished with her powers is unknown, but after 13 years Ymir met her death, and her "soul" was split between nine successors. However, her memories would live on throughout the generations due to the abilities of the Founding Titan. Furthermore, all inheritors of her power would be doomed to die after 13 years as she did, in a phenomena that would later be known as the "Curse of Ymir". No Titan would possess more power than Ymir had possessed in life.
All Titans originate from Eldia. Every single Titan was a human being with Eldian origins who can become a Titan if injected with a particular serum. Only select few like the Ackerman clan, Asians, and certain royals are unaffected by this and thus will never be able to turn into Titans or Titan Shifters.
It has been revealed that the Ackerman family, who is a non-Eldian bloodline, got superhuman strength from being "byproducts of Titan science", hence why Levi, Mikasa, and Kenny are so abnormally strong and too quick despite being just mortal humans. In the old times The Ackermans were the sword and shield of the Fritz Eldian royal family, remaining close to the monarchy for generations, until they abandoned the Reiss family and became random poor people in following generations. Kenny was the last Ackerman to return in the service of the Eldian royal family.