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One of the most popular Attack on Titan characters as Jean Kirstein. The lovable and handsome soldier is a survivor, living long past the deaths of many of his comrades. He has a long history in the series, which we will cover in this Jean Kirstein guide. Overall, Jean is one of the most important supporting characters in the entire cast.
Introduced early on in the story, Jean is a character who joins the main trio of Eren, Mikasa, and Armin from almost the start of their military journey. He is with the main characters through most of the major story arcs and also plays a direct role in them. Here is everything you need to know about him in our Jean Kirstein guide.
Bottom Line Up Front
Jean Kirstein is one of the major supporting characters in the Attack on Titan cast. He joins early on in the story as soon as Eren, Mikasa, and Armin join the Training Corps. Jean also remains with them in their time in the Survey Corps. While others die during the major story arcs, Jean remains a survivor.
He is a major character all the way through the entirety of the Attack on Titan series. Though he wanted a cushy life originally, he eventually finds himself helping to determine the fate of the world. With a headstrong and serious attitude, he is a fan favorite in the community.
Who Is Jean Kirstein?
Jean Kirstein is one of the recurring characters in the Attack on Titan series. Outside of the core protagonists, such as Eren, Mikasa, Armin, and Levi, Jean falls just under them in terms of importance. He is there from almost the beginning of the story in both the manga and anime versions.
Jean is someone who wants an easygoing life in his harsh world, but he ends up joining the Survey Corps alongside the rest of the main characters. Because of this, he goes through hell on earth fighting the horrifying titans. But, in return, he also plays a significant role in the events that transpire in the series.
In the end, he is one of the few survivors to make it through the vast majority of the series and see everything that happens. As such, Jean becomes increasingly more vital to the storyline as time goes on. He can live for his friends and comrades who were not able to see those events happen.
The look for Jean Kirstein changes as time goes on in the Attack on Titan series. His character design centers around his general appearance before the time skip and then after it. This gives him two distinct looks that are very different from one another.
Training Corps and Survey Corps
When we first see Jean in the series, he is a younger teen who joins the Training Corps. Uniform-wise, he generally wears the same one that everyone else has on. This uniform is the classic tan jacket that bears the Training Corps insignia in two different places. The front side over the heart is a smaller symbol, while the back is much larger.
This jacket is over a whitish-gray undershirt with gray pants at the bottom. He wears long boots on his feet. When he later joins the Survey Corps, he trades the jacket for the one with the Survey Corps symbol instead. Jean has short hair that hangs downward but is well-kept.
It is an interesting light brownish-gray color on top with a darker part on the bottom layers. He is a naturally handsome guy with well-defined facial features.
After Time Skip
While Jean has mostly the same look for a large portion of the series, the time skip considerably changes him (and everyone else). He wears the signature all-black uniform of the new and moodier Survey Corps group. In addition, his hair is quite a bit longer. He parts it to the side and has an even more serious expression than before.
His personality of Jean is a severe one. He focuses on what he is doing and does not stray from that path. However, his carefree attitude at times betrays this serious nature. While he is thorough in his job, his true desire is to have as easy a time as possible in life.
This is why he wants to originally join the military garrison in the innermost walls to have an easy life. This part of him is always at odds with the Jean, who wants to do his work well. Usually, though, his serious side wins in the end. After the time skip later in the series, he is almost 100% the strict and uptight person with little remaining of his cheerful younger self.
Jean has a tough relationship with almost everyone that he knows. Given his harsh personality, he antagonizes and is prone to fighting with the other characters. But he really loves his squadmates and sees them as family, even if he will not say that.
His first major friend for Jean is Marco, whom he meets during the Training Corps days. They become best friends nearly instantly, and their friendship has a longstanding effect on the humanity of Jean.
Connie Springer is another lifelong friend of Jean’s. Given the strong personalities of these two, it should come as no surprise that they are just as much rivals as they are friends. They often fight and bicker, sometimes even about the smallest things.
The same can be said for Jean’s relationship with Eren. The main character of the series is set on his desires in life to eliminate all titans and will not back down from this goal. He is headstrong, and this clashes with the equally stubborn Jean. Jean is one of the few characters who points out Eren’s thinking errors at times. This turns out to be necessary for keeping Eren in check at times.
Reiner is another person Jean fights with at times. Overall, they see the value and strength in one another and have a mutual understanding. Finally, there is Mikasa. Though they do not necessarily have a relationship with one another in the series, that does not stop Jean from wishing it to be so. Jean has a huge crush on Mikasa from the moment they meet, which continues as unrequited love for the series.
The Japanese voice actor for Jean Kirstein in the anime adaptation of Attack on Titan is the talented Kishio Taniyama. Though his acting is quite good, most of his roles are for supporting characters. Jean is actually one of the most notable roles in his long career. Usually, the voices in the Japanese dub of American cartoons. For instance, played Fred from the Scooby-Doo series for quite a long time.
On the English side, the voice actor for Jean is Mike McFarland. One of his most notable English voices is for Kotaro Amon in Tokyo Ghoul. He also voiced the modern English dubbing versions of several popular Dragon Ball characters like Master Roshi and Baby Vegeta.
Jean Kirstein is, by and large, a normal person. He is thrust into the harsh world of fighting titans while lacking the supernatural abilities of someone like Eren and the fighting prowess of someone like Levi. Jean is a surprisingly good titan killer who learns through hardship.
Skilled Titan Killer
The main ability that Jean has is killing titans. He is quite talented with the ODM gear that the Survey Corps and titan killers use. He is very flexible and fast in his movements, allowing him to make sudden changes on the fly. This allows him to get around the titans and defeat them with ease.
When the thunder spears arrive later in the series, Jean is one of the best Survey Corps members at using them. He can accurately determine where to send a thunder spear flying with his brilliant reflex skills. Unfortunately, his skills in battle also extend to other humans as well.
Later in the series, humans become a major foe for Jean and the other main characters. For better or worse, Jean is one of the best human killers in the group. This especially worsens (betters?) after the time skip when Jean loses much of the laidback nature of his character.
Jean Kirstein may want a chill life, but he knows what needs to be done. In certain moments in the series, Jean takes charge of leading his teammates. When the going gets tough, and others freeze under pressure, Jean can make the right decisions to lead everyone.
This is especially seen in the difficult mission of returning to Shiganshina. While the other members are failing due to the struggles of fighting the titans, Jean takes over as the temporary leader of the Survey Corps at times. He does this again after the time skip, leading the way when many members are distressing over the unfortunate turn of events.
Since Jean is a major supporting character from an early part of the story, he is around for most of the main story arcs in the series. His history is tied intrinsically to the others, including the core trio. As such, there are spoilers abound that are going to be in this next section. Turn away now if you do not want any spoilers for the series.
Joining the Survey Corps
Jean Kirstein first appears in Attack on Titan when Eren, Armin, and Mikasa join the Training Corps. Like some other aspiring soldiers, he immediately has a memorable introduction. The instructor for the Training Corps, Keith, goes around and meets all of the teenagers joining.
When he gets to Jean, Kirstein reveals that he is joining the Training Corps to fulfill his dream of entering the Military Police. As part of the MP, he would get to spend his days serving the rich folks on the innermost walls of the island. This confident and selfish wish is met with a swift headbutt.
This attitude continues in his time with the Training Corps. He works hard where he needs to reach the top 10 in his class and have the option to join the Military Police. But for everything else, he ignores those parts since they are not necessary for passing the class.
This leads to an intense rivalry with the protagonist, Eren, as their ideals clash completely with one another. In the end, Jean becomes serious about his training and lands in the top 10 with a sixth-place spot. This allows him to pick the Military Police, but the Battle of Trost pauses that decision.
Making a Choice
The Battle of Trost is a horrifying wake-up call for Jean. He sees the horror of death and the titans for the first time. The worst part is that he discovers the body of his best friend, Marco, after the battle concludes. His death shakes Jean to his core and makes him reconsider everything.
With this life-changing event and his rivalry with Eren, he makes the hard decision to join the Survey Corps. He follows in the footsteps of the other characters in the cast of joining them. With this decision, he permanently loses out on the chance of a cushy life.
As part of the Survey Corps, he participates in the fight against the mysterious Female Titan. When Eren has to go on trial for turning into a titan, Jean takes his place temporarily to buy him some time. He plays a large role in returning to Shiganshina missions, fighting against the Armored and Colossal Titans.
He is instrumental in the decision to keep his former comrade alive to allow for the nearly dead Armin or Commander Erwin to devour them and turn into a titan to survive. He is one of the few soldiers who survive this deadly mission and lives to see a temporary peace.
After the time skip, Jean joins the missions to attack the nation of Marley. Initially, on the side of Eren and his loyalists, he eventually joins with the other main characters in the fight against him. He plays a significant role in defeating his former Survey Corps members and standing up to Eren and his plans for The Rumbling.
Though he wishes at times that he could have the relaxing and easy life he always wanted, he remains true to his resolve. He is rewarded for his efforts in the War for Paradis and the world with the opportunity to sit back and rest for the first time since joining the Training Corps.
Jean in Other Media
Jean Kirstein is a major character in the Attack on Titan manga and anime series, but those are not his only appearances. Attack on Titan has other adaptations, too, like the video game series from Koei Tecmo. In those games, Jean is one of the playable characters you can choose.
If you like him enough, you can play him in that game and some other mobile video games on Android and iOS. Beyond that, Jean makes an appearance in the spin-off manga and anime known as Attack on Titan: Junior High.
In this series, it is one of the few places where you can see Jean take a moment to chill. This is a more comedic series that is less serious than the main story is, even though titans exist there, too. If you want to see Jean in a different light where he can be a relaxed person, this is the place to do it.
Finally, there is also the live-action adaptation of Attack on Titan. These two movies take on some of the early story arcs but in live-action. There are issues with these movies, for sure, especially in its special effects department. That said, fans should check it out for a terrifying take on the series. Jean is in the cast of those two movies.
Fun Facts About Jean Kirstein
Here are some fun trivia facts about Jean Kirstein. You may not have known some of these beforehand, even if you are a diehard fan.
- Jean Kirstein is one of the most popular characters in the entire Attack on Titan series. The community chose him to generally be in the top five or six best characters in the series through the four official character polls that happened in the past.
- Speaking of popularity, Jean is actually the favorite character of Hajime Isayama, the manga’s creator. Or, at least, he was during the first few story arcs for the series. Once the series concluded, though, his favorite character changed to that of Reiner. The reason why Isayama liked Jean at first was because of his attitude of not caring what anyone else thinks. He would criticize and tell anyone off at any time if he disagreed with their decisions.
- There was a point that Isayama made Armin and Jean the same person with the same events happening to that lone character. However, this was changed eventually to divide them up into different people.
- Though not as infamous as the Potato Girl, also known as Sasha, Jean has a nickname, too. Fans have come to know Jean as the “Horse Face” guy in the community. This is likely about his facial expressions, which are not always the most flattering. Eren is the first to give him this spiteful nickname, and it caught on with fans nearly instantly.
- Isayama confirmed Jean to be a mama’s boy. He cares deeply about his mother, though we do not get to see this directly in the series itself.
Jean Kirstein Guide: FAQs
Question: What nationality is Jean Kirstein?
Answer: The nationality of Jean Kirstein in the world of Attack on Titan is Eldian. He grows up on the island of Paradis, which is home to the Eldian people. However, if you are wondering how this equates to the real world, it is possible that Jean Kirstein would be German in our world.
Question: How old is Jean Kirstein?
Answer: The age of Jean Kirstein at the beginning of the series is 15 years old. This is how old he and most of the other main characters are when they join the Training Corps. At the end of the series, he is around 19 or 20 years old at the end of the series based on the time skip and events we know that happen.
Question: Did Jean and Mikasa have a baby?
Answer: This will be a spoilery question and answer no matter, so fair warning. The end of the Attack on Titan manga shows that Mikasa has a baby with someone. Though it does not explicitly reveal who the guy is, it seems to be Jean. So, yes, it seems that they do have a child together. Perhaps the anime adaptation will reveal more of what happened here.
Question: Does Jean Kirstein die in Attack on Titan?
Answer: Please keep in mind that answering this question will inevitably be spoilers, one way or another. The answer is, no, Jean does not die in Attack on Titan. He survives until the end of the series and gets the happy life he always wanted. As for why you might have thought he died, there was a fake preview for a manga volume where he is shown being eaten by a titan. Instead, it was a different person who was eaten in that volume.
As you can see, Jean Kirstein is one of the most beloved Attack on Titan characters of all time. Though he makes some questionable decisions at times, he always knows what he is doing. And he serves the greater good in the end. As a result, he became someone that the community could cheer for.
With that said, Jean is just one person in the large Attack on Titan cast. There are so many different characters in the series that it can be hard to keep up with them sometimes. Thankfully, we have the full breakdown of everyone you need to know about in the series. This is useful for both manga and anime fans of Attack on Titan.