[Fujoshi Friday] Top 5 Attack on Titan BL/Yaoi Pairings

Attack on Titan is, no mistaking, one of the most popular anime of all times and, although it aired on television quite a while ago, it’s still able to capture people’s interest with its epic soundtrack, amazing graphics and superb animation. In a memorable anime as Attack on Titan is, one of the key of success couldn’t be other than the vast range of unique characters appearing on the scene, that were able to drive its fans crazy with their eccentric traits, manias and, clearly, also the way they interact with each other. There’s a little something for everyone in Attack on Titan when it comes to characters’ interaction – from superior-subordinate to best-friends-forever kind of relationship – so it couldn’t surely lack of “requisites” for all the fan of BL and Yaoi culture out there!

Well, actually, there are many people who say there’s nothing to ship in Attack on Titan and, ok, maybe it’s not exactly overflowing with fanservice moments or super yaoi-friendly, but no one should underestimate a yaoist’s imagination and say that a ship isn’t possible when we all know everything is possible! With so many different male characters, who care for each other and tend to develop close friendships or respectful relationships too suspicious to be ignored, Attack on Titan isn’t definitely missing hints when it comes to shipping, or even multi-shipping. Indeed, some of the characters lend themselves very well to be paired, no matter if they’ve been seen together in the same frame only once or never.

Being aware of that, let’s forget about multi-shipping for a moment and let’s try to find out which the fandom thinks the best Attack on Titan’s BL/Yaoi couples are! Be ready to bite them all and watch out for spoilers!

5. Jean Kirstein x Eren Jaeger (JeanEre)

In position #5 we have Jean and Eren, and probably many of you are smiling, right now. Why? Well, because JeanEre is one of the most popular rivalry-based relationship among fans of Attack on Titan. Actually, at first, it’s pretty hard to see it, especially for the ones who’s never been interested in shipping before now or new to this anime fandom. Indeed, there isn’t so much canon material on this couple and their interaction is limited to the first part of the series, but the few shown is still enough to make people daydream about the fact there should be some kind of special, untold bond to tie them together.

Both Jean and Eren aren’t the easiest guys to get along with, being incredibly stubborn and sometimes unreasonable, so they end up fighting all the times – and they really play rough, when they do it. However, is this exactly how two people who can’t properly express their feelings behave in an anime love life universe? That’s what makes them a cute pairing in fans’ eyes. They like to imagine them as pretending to hate each other in public, while secretly making love in private. So, not a romantic kind of sentiment, but a controversial relationship, mostly based on the poor opinion they have for each other as to Jean, Eren is a “reckless bastard” he will never understand but still can’t help to be envious of, and Jean, for Eren, a “horse-faced” coward.

Maybe we can’t directly find proof of their secret love-hate bond in the anime, but try to keep this in mind while watching Jean and Eren’s fights in episode three or five, and you will surely understand why JeanEre was valuable enough to earn BL/Yaoi Attack on Titan fans’ sympathy!

4. Eren Jaeger x Armin Arlert (EreMin)

If we talk about finding hints for a BL/Yaoi pairing in a shōnen anime like Attack on Titan, no ship other than EreMin could have more elements to cling to, in its very canon universe. And you won’t need that much imagination to understand the reason why. Eren and Armin have known each other since they were little kids, with Eren being Armin’s savior from bullies who constantly picked on him, and Armin being the one who inspired Eren to join the Survey Corps and go to see the world outside the walls. They grew together, supported each other in the darkest of days, and shared all kind of experiences, good and bad, so that Armin came to know everything about Eren and vice versa.

With that in mind, the fact that a special feeling could have grown between them through it all, and shipping EreMin hard just comes naturally – as naturally as drinking water! Need some evidence directly from the anime? Then, what about the scene in episode five, when an Eren covered in blood and missing a leg sacrifices its own life and get eaten by a titan in Armin’s place? Or in episode ten, when Armin stands up for Eren, trying to dissuade his superiors from executing him? Plus, we have to admit that they fit very well also from an aesthetic point of view! A fragile and rational type like the blond Armin is surely the best uke a hot suicidal bastard like Eren could ask for… even if it’s always Armin who chases after Eren to wipe his tears anytime he cries!

3. Jean Kirstein x Marco Bott (JeanMaru)

Better known in western fandom as JeanMarco, this pairing has one of the saddest lov- I mean, story about a deep friendship in Attack on Titan anime ever, but aren’t heartbreaking stories the ones people will never forget about? Especially when one of the two characters dies, while the other one keeps on looking for some closure? It’s Marco’s death the reason for the huge change Jean underwent in the course of the anime, and it’s just because of Marco, who was an idealist, that someone as pragmatic as Jean could decide to join the Survey Corps and try to change the cruel world both of them lived in.

Isn’t this freaking romantic? So romantic that JeanMaru can be basically considered canon, as the same author Isayama Hajime has drawn them looking as a loving couple more than once!... Ok, maybe Isayama’s purpose was different, but we can also ignore it, as long as the fandom is happy with the thought of Jean fighting in memory of his lost lover, while crying in his bed alone during night. Well, actually, fans don’t even need to fantasize when it comes to JeanMaru, since the series is full of material, although Marco’s death occurs too early – and, unfortunately, before they could actually get married.

Starting from the fact that it was impossible to see Jean without his affectionate Marco, and that Marco was the one to cheer Jean up anytime he was feeling depressed due to lack of self-confidence. The best JeanMaru moment is undoubtedly episode sixteen, when Jean gets inspired to give up his ambition to live a cozy life within the walls and fight against titans by the thought of an angel-like Marco who calls him “strong” one last time. I mean, if that’s not love…

2. Erwin Smith x Levi Ackerman (EruRi)

Commander Handsome x Captain Clean-freak = A ship with no regrets. Here we are with one of the most controversial pairings in all Attack on Titan’s universe, but also the most loved one. Controversial because not anyone in Attack on Titan fandom can stand cold and calculating Erwin Smith, but loved because, c’mon, EruRi has this Commander-Captain dynamic that can’t absolutely be ignored! Captain Levi can hardly be imagined without his beloved Commander, and all EruRi fans agree and are completely fine with that! Plus, there’s that body size difference that’s definitely eye candy!

But what strikes us immediately is their specular personalities. Levi being warm-hearted and caring, though his harsh appearance could say the contrary, and Erwin being cool, composed and also quite heartless, at first sight. But Levi knows there’s something more with Erwin that no one can see, so he completely trusts Erwin and follows him in any decision he takes, even when he doesn’t understand what’s going on in his mind. He often says it, as in episode fifteen, when he justifies Erwin’s behavior. Commander’s thinking goes beyond their comprehension because he can see further than anyone else, or in episode nineteen, when he decides to move forward, trusting Erwin’s judgment, while his comrades were dying behind him.

It’s also true that Levi often ends up suffering due to Erwin’s decisions and that Erwin doesn’t seem to notice it, so there are many fans who think of their relationship as a one-sided love story, with Levi who had completely lost it for an Erwin-bastard who just manipulates him as a puppet. But there are also many many fans who doesn’t agree with that and think Commander Handsome just pretends not to care. Actually, there are many elements to support this theory, as the fact Erwin never uses honorifics when he addresses to Levi, showing him to have a certain degree of intimacy with Levi, or in episode twenty-five, when he impedes Levi to throw his life away while Captain was impatience to join the fight in Wall Sina. Well, it’s definitely not by chance that they are defined as a couple of old “husbandos”.

1. Levi Ackerman x Eren Jaeger (RiRen)

Aaand the winner iiis… Levi x Eren! Because we all know that a bit of superior-subordinate shipping dynamic never hurts in a Top 5 countdown! Also called RivaEre, this ship passed with flying colors thanks to its many fans who created a ton of situations around similarities and parallelism between Levi and Eren that can be found in the anime, and of course around their role of saviors and differences in personality. First and foremost, the fact that they were given overwhelming titles as “Humanity’s Strongest” and “Humanity’s Hope” when both of them never asked for it.

But what drives fans crazy is the fact that Levi entrusts Eren’s supervision to himself, and is the one who will eventually decide to let him live or die according to Eren’s behavior in the Survey Corps – but, of course, in fandom’s eye, Eren couldn’t be happier, since fighting next Levi was his dream since childhood. At first, Levi doesn’t trust Eren, but then he starts to understand they’re similar; Eren being just a fool kid with big hopes and dreams. So, Levi spontaneously becomes his mentor, guide and supporter. They have a cute moment in episode twenty-four, when Levi tries to cheer Eren up after Petra and co.’s death talking about Erwin’s constipation problems! We see a caring Levi also in episode nineteen, when he prevents Eren from being sliced by his squad and asks him how he feels. But actually fans like it better when Levi beats Eren up, because, you know… when it’s rough it’s better!

Not enough to ship them? Well, what about the fact reckless Eren becomes somewhat shy and submissive when Levi is around? Recurring fantasies of RiRen fandom see Eren as a poor, little thing, ignorant of the world and himself, who has so much to learn from his confident, experienced and sexy Captain! And maybe this is more than true, since Eren himself knows there are many things that Levi could actually teach him.

Final Thoughts

Here we are at the end of this slash adventure, between titans, life, death and a lot of imagination, that can turn also the most dramatic scenario in a world in which broken warriors can find hope and solace at least during night, in their lovers’ arms.

But we’re sure that Attack on Titan’s ship adventure doesn’t end here, so we’re looking forward your comments and ideas! Do you agree with our classifications or have better pairings? Who’s your Attack on Titan’s OTP? Share some love with us, and see you on the next season!

Dareka Nobody


Author: Dareka Nobody

I’m an Italian dirty little girl obsessed with Japanese language, culture, literature, anime, manga, games, but also with writing, reading, and travelling, in general. I lived in Japan and I’m about to be moving there forever. When I’m not working, I translate yaoi light novels for a hobby. I’ve recently started a partnership with the website Novelleleggere.org where I publish my works. I run a page on Facebook about my translation and I’m also a blogger who likes to write about her experiences in Japan. Akiba addicted and enthusiastic Honeyfeed’s writer!

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