The world of Attack on Titan is brutal, vile, and vicious, making it one of the most compelling settings in manga and anime history. Without a doubt, a large part of that comes from the villains, known as the titans, who dominate the world from the very first episode.
One such villain in the Attack on Titan manga and anime for quite a long time is none other than the star of this particular Reiner Braun guide. Reiner Braun is one of the most memorable villains in all of manga and anime history. His fascinating motives behind his character gripped me from the moment I found out the truth behind who he was.
The best part is that his character only grows throughout the storyline, arguably turning into the secondary protagonist in the latter parts. His incredible, complicated journey is one of the strongest in any manga or anime to date. Find out why in this Reiner Braun guide. Just watch out for spoilers.
Bottom Line Up Front
Reiner Braun is one of the main characters of the Attack on Titan manga and anime. Spoiler alert, but he is one of the core villains in the series as well, being the Armored Titan.
His attack on the walls at the beginning of the series changes everything, and it only gets crazier from there. Over time, though, he experiences a healthy dose of character development that turns him into one of the protagonists of the series and arguably the main hero by the end.
Reiner Braun Overview
As noted, I just want to reiterate that there will be spoilers that abound throughout this article, including already in the headline alone. Reiner Braun is one of the most complex characters in manga and anime, a valid showcase for why Attack on Titan is so beloved.
He is one of the primary characters throughout the entire storyline, both before and after the time skip. This is somewhat rare since even some of the best cast members from the early days take a backseat when the series takes its controversial turn in the final act of the story.
Reiner is most known for his part in the Survey Corps. He is one of the trainees alongside the main characters, Eren, Armin, and Mikasa, in the early chapters of the manga. He also follows alongside them when they join the Survey Corps and is a notable part of the group under Erwin’s command.
Of course, he has another identity that he is known for, which is the primary source behind his notoriety in the series. There is more to Reiner than meets the eye when the story begins, allowing him to become one of the most famous and popular manga characters of all time, even for the already monumental Attack on Titan series.
Like many of the other main characters in Attack on Titan, Reiner’s appearance changes considerably throughout the series. At the story’s start, he is a young teen roughly the same age as Eren, Armin, and Mikasa when they join the soldiers in training.
He has the same general trainee uniform that everyone else wears, with not much else going on. He has short blonde hair that isn’t the best-looking and a generally rough facial appearance. Reiner changes considerably, though, in his other identity, which is a massive spoiler.
His other central identity is the Armored Titan. The face and hair on the titan resemble that of Reiner in his human form. The main difference here is that he now has metallic flesh that is literal muscle armor. He has one of the most striking and arguably best titan designs in the series.
Finally, after the time skip, his appearance changes once more, and Reiner looks much older. This is his most iconic look as a human, actually looking decently attractive. His hair is slightly longer, his beard is a nice touch, and his more grim facial expressions add complexity to the character’s appearance.
Key Moments in Attack on Titan
Many different key moments happen with Reiner Braun throughout the Attack on Titan manga and anime series. Since he is in the series from the beginning to pretty much the end of it all, this means that there are some massive spoilers inbound.
I will try to avoid spoilers unrelated to Reiner but just keep this in mind. I recommend catching up on the manga or the anime (or both, honestly) before continuing with this next part.
Destroying the Walls
It all begins chronologically with the first chapter and episode of the Attack on Titan series. Before this moment in the story, it is later revealed in flashbacks that Reiner and his friends were sent to the island where Attack on Titan takes place to destroy everything there, including the titan people.
As part of this grand mission, he had to take down the first of the three main walls that surrounded the country of Paradis, the primary setting for most of the Attack on Titan manga. As the Armored Titan, he transforms and blasts through the walls, letting in the countless underling titans to attack innocent people.
He then turned around and continued his escapades, destroying the following wall in the town of Shiganshina and unleashing more titans throughout the lands. While he may not be the most famous titan sight in the series, with that honor going to the Colossal Titan, but he is no slouch, either.
His shorter stature and beefier muscles allow him to tear through the stone walls with ease, making him one of the vital components of the mission to retake the Founding Titan’s power in Paradis. Unfortunately, the terrors didn’t stop there.
Betraying the Survey Corps Members
Reiner’s introduction as a human in the Attack on Titan series comes from his appearance as one of the training soldiers at the beginning of the story. Following the attack in the first arc of the series, he joins the main characters, Eren, Armin, and Mikasa, as trainees.
Before long, there are already some rivalries happening between him and Eren that would foreshadow what’s to come later down the road. Reiner also grew in his friendship with his pals. Eventually, he joined the Survey Corps as a trainee and lost his friend Marco right in front of him.
This would leave a scar on his mind that would be influential in his eventual betrayal of the Survey Corps and the reveal of him as the Armored Titan all along. Of course, the people might have realized that from the start if they just looked at the Armored Titan’s face, but I digress.
From that point forward, he is a constant menace for the Survey Corps, kidnapping Eren, trying to take his powers, and consistently being a problem for everyone in the country. For the most part, he is the core antagonist in the events that lead up to the time skip.
Becoming the Hero
After the time skip in the series, though, this is where Reiner’s story takes a significant departure. Years have passed, and it seems that he has settled down as a leader and role model for the next generation of Eldians who will take on the mantle of the titan.
He grows close to some of the new main characters after the time skip and acts as a friend and father figure to them. It is during this turn that Reiner is painted in more of a heroic light, even though he is still on the opposing side to Eren and the gang.
The switch to Reiner’s perspective turns him into the protagonist for the final arc of the series, eventually seeing him join forces with those who were once his enemies. In the process, they create an ultimate force of heroes that are there to take down the final, true villain of the Attack on Titan series.
Creating a Brighter Future
After getting past his trauma from the past, Reiner is able to be a significant part of the forces that are there to take down Eren. He plays a vital role in this fight, finally using his powers to do something good for the world’s future.
In this way, it is possible to see Reiner, ironically, as the true hero of the Attack on Titan series and Eren as the villain, especially given the twists and turns that happen. The complex dealings with his destructive tendencies and his rampant PTSD cases make Reiner one of the most compelling characters in the entire series.
Since he is able to overcome these issues eventually, he is able to help everyone successfully take down Eren once and for all, creating a brighter future for the world of Attack on Titan that will, hopefully, not be ruled by the fear of titans.
Special Abilities Explained
As one of the lead villains in the Attack on Titan series for most of the storyline, he has many abilities up his sleeves. However, it mostly comes down to two main components that make up his strength and why he is so dominant on the battlefield.
The first of these is his powers as a human and how his natural instincts allow him to be a powerful foe. The other has to do with the Titan powers that he controls as the Armored Titan. Both of these allow Reiner to be a strong force in the series.
General Intelligence and Tactical Mindset
First off, it should be acknowledged that, though he fights as a titan most of the time, Reiner is no slouch as a plain human. He has all-around stats that are far above the average person in nearly every single category, except for perhaps leadership.
Reiner is a strong soldier with a solid grasp of the delicate systems that the Survey Corps members use to take down titans. He is a surprisingly good titan slayer, capable of taking on foes even as a human, and has no problem defeating them when he feels like it.
The core of his capabilities as a human, though, comes from his mental fortitude. Reiner is always several steps ahead of everyone else, knowing just what to do for the part of the mission and fulfilling his goals. His strategic mindset is unparalleled and part of the reason that he has succeeded for so long.
Reiner has patience and intelligence that allows him to carry out plans that most people would fail to come close to accomplishing. He is not afraid to sit back and bide his time until the moment arrives for him to make his final move.
Because of the Armored Titan, though, he has some added benefits in the form of robust regeneration. Even as a human, he can recover from injuries quite quickly, which allows him to continue fighting at all costs. His stamina is exceptional, too, giving him the ability to outpace and outlive his opponents no matter who they are.
Armored Titan Powers Explained
That said, while Reiner is a solid human fighter, the bulk of his abilities come from his Armored Titan status. As one of the few wielders of the titan’s power, he is by far one of the strongest in pure combat scenarios alone.
He is a relatively short titan, being only 10 meters tall, but this is more than made up for in the strength and defense he has. Since his entire body is a shield of muscle that covers him, he can use that unbreakable armor both offensively and defensively.
This is seen in his attacks on the walls in Attack on Titan, allowing him to slam through and nearly instantly break walls that are much taller and thicker than even he is. He is also capable of tearing apart other titans and using his strength as a protection as well.
He is nearly an impenetrable wall himself, making his defeat nearly impossible. He can protect himself using his muscles to stop anyone from destroying his weak point and killing him, making him one of the strongest threats in the entire series.
Anime Voice Actor
In the anime adaptation of Attack on Titan, there is mostly only a single voice actor for Reiner Braun, even when it comes to the flashbacks and time skips. On the English side, for those who watch the dub (even as a dub fan for some shows, I don’t generally recommend this unless you need to hear the dub due to impairments), his voice is Robert McCollum.
McCollum is at least one of the few bright spots in the English dub. If you want to see him in better shows, I recommend checking him out as the Hero Killer Stain in the excellent My Hero Academia dub or as Jellal, one of the best characters in the Fairy Tail English dub.
On the Japanese side, the voice of Reiner Braun is none other than the renowned Yoshimasa Hosoya. He voiced some iconic roles in anime and video games, such as Joe in Megalo Box, Gaius in The Legend of Heroes: Trails of Cold Steel series, and Tokoyami in My Hero Academia.
There are a few key relationships that Reiner Braun has throughout the Attack on Titan series. These are the only motivations he has in life, which are the basis for everything he does. The most important one to him is his best friend, Bertoldt.
Both of them grew up together and went on the mission to take back the Founder Titan powers on the same team. Since they have little interaction with others, they have each others’ backs to the very end. They will do anything for one another and see each other as brothers.
One of the surprising relationships for Reiner is his short friendship with Marco. They grow close, even though they are secretly enemies, and Marco’s death has a heavy impact on the future of the Armored Titan and causes much trauma for him that is only worsened later.
He also has friendships with other team members, like Annie. His relationship with Eren is crucial to the series, too, but this is by far a more rival and eventually antagonistic relationship. They almost hate each other with a burning passion, always wanting to one-up the other.
The final major relationship for Reiner Braun is with the upcoming titan power successors after the time skip. They give him a newfound purpose in life and a role as a leader for the first time ever. His relationship with those kids also brings out a heroic side to him that wasn’t previously there.
Reiner Braun: FAQs
Question: Is Reiner Braun a Good Person?
Answer: This is a question that is going to be subjective. In the end, I believe that Reiner Braun becomes a good person. However, it should be noted that he killed many people in his time. You can argue that he was a kid who didn’t fully know what he was doing, but regardless, he more than redeems himself in the end.
Question: What Titan is Reiner Braun?
Answer: Spoiler alert, but Reiner Braun is the Armored Titan. This is revealed during the first half of the manga and anime series.
Question: How Old is Reiner Braun Now?
Answer: Reiner Braun is in his mid-20s or so by the end of the Attack on Titan series when the final chapter of the manga happens.
Which Survey Corps Member to Check Out Next
Reiner Braun is but one of the many Survey Corps members who make up the main cast of Attack on Titan. Though he is arguably one of the most important in the manga and anime series and is easily one of the best, there are many others that you should know about, too.
I recommend taking the time to check out the Colossal Titan next, who happens to have (spoiler alert) the real identity of Reiner’s best friend, Bertoldt. You can find out more about the face of the Attack on Titan series and the one who first appeared on the walls at the very beginning.