Attack on Titan is one of my favorite manga and anime series. I have been drawn to it because it reflects the reality of the world—showing that everything is not black and white. The multitude of characters is significantly relatable. Throughout the series, I have developed a love-hate relationship with many characters, and sure enough, I am not alone.
Thousands of fans across the globe loved the show for its interesting characters like Yelena. She might not inherit any Titan Power, but her cunning and calculated personality definitely cemented her name in the story, especially in the final season.
Yelena’s backstory and character design are filled with intricate details and easter eggs, revealing her true motives and desires. Are you interested to know more about Yelena? If you are, then check out this blog. I will be discussing everything you need to know about her, from her history down to the most interesting trivia facts.
Bottom Line Up Front
Yelena is of Marleyan descent. Despite being Marleyan, Yelena advocates for Zeke’s ultimate plan to sterilize all Eldians to save the world. She wants to end the war and stop Eldians from causing more evil by helping Zeke in his plan.
As the leader of the Anti-Marleyan Volunteers, she seeks vengeance and power by influencing more Marleyan soldiers to join their cause.
At some point, she even convinces the Cadet Corps to be part of the Yeagerist movement. Aside from her wits and intellect, she is extremely skilled in combat as well. It clearly shows her fighting stance when in battle with other soldiers and warriors.
Who Is Yelena?
Yelena (イェレナ Yerena) is the founder and the leader of the Anti-Marleyan Volunteers. She was born to an unassuming family in Marley. She grew up to be impressed by Zeke’s power and capabilities. This is why she became an instrument to realize Zeke’s plan.
She was also among the first Marleyan soldiers on board the first survey fleet to Paradis Island. Once she arrives in Paradis, she immediately concocts her plan and spreads the fake story on her background. She deceives everyone by telling them that Marley’s troops invaded her homeland. Because of this narrative, she gained sympathy and gathered more followers to be part of her movement.
Yelena might look like a man, but she is a tall woman who stands 190 cm tall and weighs 63kg. Her build and physical features are often confused with being like a man, especially because she dons a chinstrap beard—which is later revealed to be fake.
Yelena: Appearance, Personality, Quotes, and More
One of Yelena’s most notable physical features is her blonde bob hair with straight bangs; her hairstyle seemingly looks like Armin. When I first saw her, I even confused her as a boy because of that. I bet many were also puzzled about her gender because of her androgynous features. She sports a rather unconventional style and build, more akin to being a man than a lady.
You might also notice her having a fake chinstrap beard. Before dissociating from the Nation of Marley, Yelena wore a standard Marleyan military uniform. Now, she dons a casual white button-down shirt paired with a dark blazer.
As a fervent disciple of Zeke Yeager, Yelena believes in his vision and holds him to the highest ground. While Zeke may often show emotions, Yelena, being his follower, is always calm and collected. She remains unfazed even when Jean yells at her for terribly failing on her task.
Yelena also holds herself accountable and always takes responsibility for everything she does. She may have a relaxed and upbeat demeanor, but her dry humor seems quite off.
Whenever she suspects that her peers are working against their goals, she would not think twice about punishing them. Her deranged zealotry often gets out of hand that she will come forth and kill anyone who gets in her way without any hesitation.
I have always been impressed by her forward-thinking thoughts. However, many fans also noticed that she was a sociopath. She seems to enjoy and bask in the destruction of her enemies’ airships. She felt no remorse as she smiled while looking at the demise of countless people on Paradis Island.
Yelena has become a popular character in Attack on Titan despite her limited appearance. Her fans love her not only for her appearance and personality but for her poignant words as well.
Her concept of good and evil might be tricky and somehow like a “lunatic,” yet she often leaves anecdotes worthy of pondering. These are some of my favorite quotes from her:
- “To me, it wasn’t a Devil, but a God; he gave us hope when we’re at our weakest.”
- “Violence is one thing you can’t take from humanity.”
- “It’s almost as if you’re saying you’re any different from me. Just what exactly is different between you lot and me… Saving the world… Is there a sweeter set of words that charms people more than those? Giving yourselves over to that exciting sentiment of saving hundreds of millions of lives, washing all the ill will down your throats like it never existed. That’s what you look like in my eyes right now. Let’s take a little trip down memory lane, shall we? Reiner Braun, by breaching Wall Maria, how many Eldians do you suppose were devoured by Pure Titans? Slipping into their world, sharing joys and sorrows with your ‘comrades’ here. You betrayed them. You murdered them. And now you pretend to be a comrade once more. Annie Leonhart, you slaughtered the Survey Corps in droves; you trampled the residents of Stohess in even greater numbers. Ah, of course, you Paridisians were all extremely heroic against Marley too. Armin, such a quiet and reasonable young man, yet you leveled the military port using the power you stole from Bertholdt Hoover. Civilian and soldier alike, just how tall of a mountain of corpses did you raise alongside your military exploits? And though I know nothing of your [Connie’s] valor in Liberio. I’m sure you magnificently annihilated the soldiers of Marley, who greatly outnumbered you and dyed Liberio the color of blood. Especially Jean, in order to slay the Cart Titan, you aimed at Falco and dauntlessly fired your Thunder Spear. Because the spear barely missed, Falco is still here. Then Sasha was shot by the little girl there, Gabi. I was saddened; Sasha was a good and noble person. But it surely can’t compare to the sadness and hatred of those who knew her like family.”
The last quote from her monologue was actually a striking scene that encapsulates a powerful message about her belief system and how the endless war has helped influence more violence than achieve the common goal. Upon hearing this for the first time, I better understand the character. That’s probably the reason why many fans can relate to Yelena.
Background and History
Yelena was born and raised into an unassuming family in Marley. Eventually, she became disillusioned with her own country. She was convinced that she could change the world, especially when she met Zeke Yeager. Together, they concocted a plan to fight Marley’s tyranny.
In this plan, she also wanted to make a name for herself by assisting Zeke in saving the rest of the world. Their plan was most effective when Yelena created a false narrative about her background and history. She told everyone that her homeland was invaded and conquered by Marley troops.
At some point, she even claimed that she was forcibly drafted as a soldier when she entered the Marleyan military. This is why many like-minded soldiers believed her narrative and joined her cause as she organized them into the Anti-Marleyan Volunteers to rally behind Zeke’s ultimate plan of saving the world and fighting the Marleyan nation.
Yelena and her troops were completely distraught at the onset of the Marley-Mid East War. They were feeling defeated to rebel against Marley. But Zeke became their saving grace and rescued them from the clutches of death. Because of this, she vows to be a devoted follower of Zeke.
As Yelena works with Zeke, she leads the Anti-Marleyan force. She is the first to be notified about the existence of Zeke’s half-brother Eren. She is also informed that Eren possessed two Titan Powers: the Founding and Attack Titan. That’s why she volunteers to go to Paradis Island as part of the crew serving a survey ship.
When she arrives at Paradis Island, she and her partner, Onyankopon, meet with Hange and Levi. They inform the two that Marley has not launched a full attack on the Island due to an ongoing war. Yelena then reveals that they were Anti-Marleyan volunteers rallying behind Zeke’s cause.
That’s why the Survey Corps form an alliance with them. Yelena shares their trade secrets and technology to help them retaliate against Marley in the incoming war.
After a year, the Anti-Marleyan Volunteers call upon a meeting to make a pact with the Azumabito family. This is where Yelena meets Eren and finally interacts with him for the first time. They begin to discuss their plans in private and come to terms with what they need to do.
Zeke and Yelena start sending numerous bottles of wine mixed with his spinal fluid to Paradis Island. She meets with Niccolo and informs him that the wine must be served to all the military troops, especially to the leaders and senior members. Niccolo unknowingly obliged, giving the wine to almost every military member.
After the plan is complete, Eren begins a full-scale attack on Marley. She wore a disguise to lure other Warriors into her trap while creating the best offensive setup for Zeke. After the Raid on Liberio, she joined the rest of the Survey Corps along with Zeke, Eren, Armin, Levi, and Mikasa on the airship.
War for Paradis Arc
Together with her Anti-Marleyan Volunteers, Yelena gathers a huge stockpile of Titan serums, which they stole from Marley. Dot Pixis seems suspicious about Yelena’s motives that he locks him in confinement. However, she seems unconcerned about the situation, citing that the Eldians and Volunteers will soon feast at the same banquet.
Pixis visits Yelena and informs him of his growing suspicion, noting that Eren started acting on his own without any authorization roughly ten months prior. This time frame conveniently coincides with Yelena’s attendance at an event in Trost District, which was near his residence.
Surprised by the information, Yelena quickly admits to meeting Eren and apologizes for keeping it a secret. She claims that the meeting was not about any malicious plans but instead her way of persuading Eren to take action on the current situation.
Pixis, still unconvinced, accuses Yelena of influencing Eren to follow Zeke’s plan and even points out that she is a bad liar.
Once the high-ranking military officials learned that they drank Zeke’s spinal fluid, they changed their alliances and joined the Yeagerist movement in fear of being turned into Titans. Pixis lost his power and succumbed to Yelena’s plans.
As soon as their difficult conversation ended, Yelena went to the cell holding the captured Survey Corps members. Griez begins to mock the memory of Sasha Blouse, which doesn’t sit well with Yelena. That’s why she shot him point-blank.
The conversation was abruptly cut since a member of the Yeagerist movement informed him that someone managed to infiltrate their ranks. The war of Paradis ensues as tons of airships arrive at their location. To guarantee Eren’s safety, she starts mobilizing her forces. However, the war slowly caved in Marley’s favor. Yelena was horrified to witness the Warrior Titans winning the war.
Just in the nick of time, Zeke arrived to help in battling the Warrior Titans. The Yeager brothers eventually made contact, which allowed Eren to take full control of the Founding Titan. His Titan massive body was unlike any other after his transformation. He immediately started the Rumbling by awakening the Colossal Titans hidden inside the Walls.
Yelena is dumbfounded as Zeke was unable to control his Titans. The war continues, and Floch arrests Yelena and the other Yeagerist volunteers.
Floch sentenced her to death upon knowing that she was fully aware of Zeke’s plan to euthanize the Eldians. In a quick turn of events, the Cart Titan kidnapped her along with Onyankopon and Jean. They were taken to Hange, Levi, and Magath.
Magath tries to pry information from Yelena on Eren’s whereabouts. However, she doesn’t budge. Surprised about her refusal, Pieck then reveals that Yelena is a pure-blooded Marleyan. After that, Yelena continued with her remarkable monologues.
Magath and Hange discover that Eren’s Titan might have reached Marley the morning following the incident. Out of anger, Magath starts torturing Yelena, breaking her arm in the process. She then cooperates and informs them that Eren’s next target might be Fort Salta, where the flying boats are stationed.
Because of her cooperation, she was later evacuated to a lifeboat with the people aboard the ship so Falco could transform into the Jaw Titan.
Interesting Trivia Facts About Yelena
She Played a Significant Role in the Raid on Liberio
The Raid on Liberio was definitely among the major turning points in Attack on Titan’s final season. Eren’s surprising transformation during Willy Tybur’s speech acted as the catalyst of the war. While Yelena played a significant role in ensuring that Eren’s plan succeeded.
She was mostly on the sidelines, but she was calculated. When she donned a disguise as one of the guards to gain access to the Warrior candidates, Yelena prevented them from transforming into Titans. This bought time for Eren to move ahead with his plan without any Marleyan warrior going against it.
Yelena was Among the First Marleyan Soldiers who Went to Paradis Island
Many fans thought that the setting of Attack on Titan remained to be inside the three walls. As the story progresses, the setting drastically evolves, and the scope of the environment broadens.
Soon after, the people of Marley, including Yelena, arrived at Paradis Island. She effectively convinced the other soldiers that Marley conquered her nation. This planted a seed of deception and swayed the people’s opinion of the nation.
Floch Sentenced her to Death
Floch and Yelena were once allies, but the tides constantly change during Attack on Titan’s final season. Being part of the Yeagerist movement, they both believed in Eren’s plan. However, Yelena has an ulterior motive for siding with Zeke.
Yelena lost her ace and authority when she lost Zeke. Floch arrested and sentenced her to death when he found out that Yelena was involved with Zeke’s plan to euthanize the Eldians, causing genocide and infertility to their kind.
Jean and Floch were just moments away from executing Yelena and Onyankopon. However, they were both rescued by the Cart Titan. Soon after, Yelena joined the ragtag survivor rebellion.
Yelena Survived and Lived on to Tell the Tale
Attack on Titan is never shy about showing the atrocities of the war. It isn’t about happily ever after and even features the death of many beloved characters. There was even a time when it seemed like the world might end.
In spite of all the trouble she caused, Yelena lives to tell the story. She is quite submissive when she loses her authority after Zeke’s death. In the end, Yelena fled with others on a lifeboat before Falco’s Jaw Titan performed its final plan.
Her Name is an Anglicized form of a Greek Name
Most names in the Attack on Titan universe have a deeper meaning, and Yelena is definitely one of them. Yelena is the English version of “Jelena” and a Slavic derivation of the Greek name “Helénē” (Ἑλένη).
This means “shining light”, which is quite fitting for Yelena. She was instrumental in Zeke’s plan and even became the shining light that saved Fort Salta.
Question: What is Yelena’s Sex?
Answer: Yelena is a biological female. However, she has androgynous features that would make him look like a man. Her hair is kept in a short bob with straight bangs, like Armin’s. She also dons manly clothes, such as a black suit and tie.
Question: Does Yelena Romantically Love Zeke?
Answer: Yelena and Zeke’s relationship is nothing more than an idol-fan one. Yelena regards him as a god, especially since Zeke saved him from imminent danger during the Marley Mid-East War.
As his ultimate fan, she follows his command without questioning or doubting him. She believes that Zeke will be instrumental in the world’s salvation.
Question: Is Yelena Eldian or Marleyan?
Answer: Yelena is Marleyan, and it was Pieck who revealed her true identity. Despite being a pure-blooded Marleyan, she is convinced that Marley needs to be stopped. She joins Zeke in his extreme plan of sterilizing all Eldians to ensure that no potential Titans will be born.
Question: What Happened to Yelena During the Rumbling?
Answer: She was always a huge believer in Eren and Zeke’s plan. She also held Eren with high regard like Zeke and even considered Eren to be the god who people will praise for thousands of years.
However, Yelena’s trust and faith in Eren drastically crumbled when she witnessed his betrayal of Zeke through the Rumbling.
Question: Who Made that Face in Attack on Titan?
Answer: Yelena made the iconic face to Armin. In the original manga, Yelena made that facial expression to express that she knew Armin was not following the plan like he was supposed to. Her expression became a popular meme in the AOT community.
Question: Did Yelena Survive the Rumbling?
Answer: Many fans expected that Yelena would die since most of the popular characters died during the Rumbling. However, Yelena survived the Rumbling. She is currently safe and living on Hizuru, though many Yeagerist members are hunting her down.
Yelena AOT Guide: Bottom Line
Yelena might not be part of my favorite character, but I won’t be surprised that she’s on your list. Her character is extremely stimulating and calculated; it is quite refreshing to see such a devoted person who’s willing to fight tooth and nail for her cause. Towards the end, Yelena believes in Zeke’s plan despite all the odds.
Even when she was captured, she managed to tell her peers that Zeke’s plan was right all along. She even convinced Hange of this fact. That’s why it wouldn’t be difficult to understand why she is your favorite. Her character also pushes forward societal norms and breaks gender stereotypes as she dresses the way she wishes.
As the story comes to a close, many fans like me are definitely excited to see how Yelena’s future pans out – for now, the only thing we know is that she survived.