Commander Erwin Smith, of the Attack on Titan series, is one of the best commanders in the anime world. As the 13th commander of the Scout Regiment, he is like nothing less of a brilliant leader. He’s what we all imagine a commander to be.
!! Spoilers Ahead !!
Erwin Smith could have his own series or… not. Here’s why:
1. Protagonist Qualities
If you’ve watched the Attack on Titan series, you know that Erwin Smith has the qualities of a protagonist. He’s smart, loyal, brave, and a tenacious fighter. Once he’s in battle, you would think he could never be defeated. He’s a commander because he’s in a league of his own and he’s got the skills for it. But could he really be a protagonist with only those qualities?
2. Erwin’s Past
An interesting protagonist always has negative traits that show their duality. Since his childhood, we can understand that Erwin has always been a do-gooder. He always questioned facts and never took anything at face value.
When he learns of the hard to swallow pill about titans from his father; that perhaps titans were the monster’s humans created themselves. He believes the theory to be true.
And so, he spreads the word.
But this results in his father’s “accidental” death by the military. In the end, Erwin realizes the problem lies not only outside the walls but within it too aka the government.
3. Erwin Smith’s Ultimate Humanitarian Goal
Everyone within the walls is unequivocally trying to survive. The Scout Regiment which consists of Levi Ackerman, Hange Zoe, Eren Yeager, and his 104th Squad, fight to save humanity.
During his early days in the Regiment, he spread the word about his father’s theory. So, it becomes his personal goal to prove that theory. While the rest of the Scout Regiment fought to save humanity, Erwin focused on his personal goals.
After becoming leader, he created a long-range enemy scouting formation which resulted in the least number of deaths while on a mission. On the contrary, while the strategy worked and proved to be a way of decreasing the number of deaths, he never hesitated to sacrifice his men for the sake of humanity.
4. Commander Erwin Smith
Undoubtedly the best commander of the Attack on Titan series, Erwin has led the victory in so many battles only because of his willingness to experiment and risk the lives of his men. His abilities are praiseworthy, although brutal, he makes sure every mission succeeds.
Some of his wins are shown in the Fall of Shiganshina Arc, the Battle of Trost Arc, the Attack on Stohess Arc, and so on. Despite his failures in various other arcs, he had acquired valuable information that proved useful later in the series.
5. A Fool’s Dream
His backstory depicted a few things that showed us his ‘true nature. When he was young, he made it a personal mission to expose the corrupt government. Erwin joined the Scout Regiment in hopes to do the exact same. While he worked on it, he became leader and his dream halted.
He had no choice but to fool everyone, including himself. His role as a leader changed his goal slightly. While deep down he wanted to overthrow the government, he also had to do it to save what was left of humanity.
6. Erwin Smith’s Love for his Men
Erwin Smith loves his men, the members of the Survey Corps and the Scout Regiment. But make no mistake, his unwavering decision to sacrifice his men is all for the greater good.
They all follow him, risk their lives for him knowing they might not survive because of his extremely good leadership skills. Erwin’s sharp and attentive mind that can create strategies spontaneously and lead them to victory, only fuel their admiration for him.
7. Life Beyond Death | Erwin Smith’s Legacy
Let’s be real. There’s no Attack on Titan without Commander Erwin Smith. Although chosen, he practically took it upon himself to lead everyone closer to the truth about the titans and the government. Without his role in the series, Eren would be jailed, and Levi would have never turned to the ‘good side.’
Not only has he uplifted the lives of those around him, but he did it because of his desperation to stop Titan domination. Erwin’s death was not in vain. It seems like his death gave him an incomprehensible peace that he longed for. Beyond this point, all we could hope for is that the legacy of his determination to succeed and bring about the uprising of humanity is passed on and achieved.