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Attack on Titan is a series that practically revolves around secrecy and unleashing massive plot reveals on fans. Not long after [a different redacted] was just unmasked as a Titan Shifter, we’ve already gotten another episode where not one, but two additional Shifters were brought to light. It’s beginning to make more sense if we just put everyone who isn’t a Shifter together and name them for the sake of convenience.

Why [REDACTED] Being a Titan Comes Totally out of Left Field

But it’s not like this time around was that much of a surprise, especially with the characters involved. The series has been dropping hints like crazy ever since the first season, and if you’ve been paying attention, you probably didn’t even bat an eye at the bombshell. If you haven’t been keeping track, here are some of the clues that [redacted] were Titans the whole time.

[Note: This article contains major spoilers for Attack on Titan.]

Okay, since we’ve cleared all the spoiler-phobic folks out and it’s just us, let’s get down to brass tacks. You all know the reveal focused on Reiner and Bertholt, who outed their secret identities as Armored and Colossal Titans in the latest episode of Attack on Titan. The reveal may have come as a shock the way it actually happened (with the offenders just coming right out and explaining what they are) but many of us have just been sitting and waiting for the big light bulb moment since the beginning of the new season.

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It’s probably been quite a long time since you watched the first season (if you’re anything like me, since there was such a long gap between season one and season two), but the clues about Reiner and Bertholt have been there since the very beginning. Taking it from the top, you can go back as early as episode three of the first season where Eren and Armin are sitting, getting to know their squadmates Reiner and Bertholt for the first time.

Bertholt is content to tell Eren about his hometown, which we now know was essentially a cover to not give away his and Reiner’s identities as Titan Shifters. Both are from a remote town, supposedly, in the mountains of southeast Wall Maria. It’s the story they’ve woven together to make their backgrounds seem real and believable.

They mention raising cattle, (animals), which is a bit odd considering that it’s hard to raise them without a ton of grazing land. It seems at first glance like they’re just two average Joes, but there are smaller clues here like Reiner warning Bertholt in not-so-subtle ways to stop talking, hinting that he should be quiet at the moment so as not to build on lie upon lie—making it all harder to keep straight.

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The interactions between Reiner and Bertholt throughout several scenes are keen to clue viewers in who have been paying attention, in fact. They claim that their homeland was destroyed and describe meeting Titans for the first time in detail, but Reiner wants to go back to his homeland (which he can’t, because it shouldn’t exist.) Reiner talks about being a soldier at certain points, but that doesn’t make sense because he’s technically not a soldier yet. For anyone combing through the series with a magnifying glass looking for things that are out of the ordinary, these should shine through as red flags.

But if those things don’t, consider more deliberate clues, such as in episode four, where there’s a bit of a “group” motif going on. We don’t know that Annie is a Shifter just yet in this episode, but about halfway into the episode, we’re given a shot of nearly everyone we’ve met in the series, except for Reiner, Annie, Bertholt, Christa, Yamir, and Leon. (Mikasa and Armin also aren’t shown, but from previous scenes, we can already cross them off as potential Titans.) This is a glaring reference to the fact that something fishy is, indeed, going on.

When the Colossal Titan (Bertholt) makes its appearance and tears down the gate and takes out the cannons on the wall, it doesn’t swat at Eren at all. It only makes eye contact with Eren, before making an easily dogeable attempt to grab him and then warding him off with steam. It’s proof that there’s someone in there—and that someone doesn’t want to kill off the friend he’s made just yet.

For the next few episodes, Annie, Reiner, and Bertholt are conspicuously absent. When they do reappear in episode eight during the battle of Trost the three Titans-in-hiding are often shown together in the same frame—showing their connection visually to the audience. This also shows that—perhaps subconsciously—they stick together like this more often than not when things start going down because they’re allies.

The writers have been trying to spell out their association this entire time in subtle ways, whether you’ve realized it or not.

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Throughout those episodes, there are even more overt signs about where things are headed. In episode eight, Reiner takes it upon himself to suggest that the gathered trainees help Eren as he’s transformed into a Titan, quite possibly because he’s figured out that he is one of them.

In episode ten, Even tries to transform when he’s under attack by soldiers trying to take his life. Reiner sees the flash in the distance and understands immediately what’s going on, charging headlong with Annie and Bertholt to assess the situation. Knowing what we know now, it’s likely the trio had been watching the crisis unfold, ready at a moment’s notice to rescue him if the worst case happened and the soldiers opened fire.

Shortly after, Reiner and Bertholt opt to join the Survey Corps to protect, spy on, and help capture Eren while Annie goes off on her own mission to become part of the Military Police—but also does her part in trying to capture Eren.

In the most recent episode of Attack on Titan, several of the happenings from the latter half of season one are recapped, like Reiner being able to somehow escape Annie’s Titan hand, which shouldn’t have made sense given her ability to harden her skin. Likewise, we get a recap of Annie reading a message that was carved by Reiner into her palm and then heading toward Eren—with Reiner covering for her by saying he must have somehow scared her off.

There are other obvious tells, of course, like Annie’s Titan form looking just like her. (There aren’t many characters in the show with similar blonde hair or female bodies, so deducing Annie’s identity was easy.) Likewise if you look at the Armored Titan, it’s not hard to see that his hair and his facial shape are quite similar to Reiner’s. After figuring out Annie’s big reveal, it’s even simpler than before to figure out who Reiner and Bertolt really are.

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These transformations were never meant to be some unsolvable secret, as it’s made obvious throughout the series with these several clues and more. It’s a testament to how finely crafted Attack on Titan really is, however, that you probably didn’t realize many of these tidbits were actually hiding throughout the show, expertly placed throughout each scene. These aren’t all the clues, but a good chunk of them. The real fun is finding every single place where nods were made to the Titans’ identities.

Share the clues you’ve found with us in the comments below!

Attack on Titan can be viewed with English subtitles or dubbed in English on FUNimation in the US and on AnimeLab in AU/NZ.

Comments (2)
  1. I said this once and ill say it again i fucking LOVE this series. Been reading the manga since it started so i wont spoil anything. BUT i may have missed reading it in your article but remember in i think ep 28 or 29 when they were in Utgard Castle when Ymir was going through a box and found a can of food it had another language on it and Reiner kinda was shocked that Ymir could read it despite it being in another language. So that’s is really interesting for all you Anime watchers to think about.

  2. Actually these last chapters has given enough clues to resolve 2 big questions about this anime, and the conversation between Ymir and Reiner has a huge hint (and I’m not talking about Ymir reading things in another language), when It was the first time I read the manga I didn’t realized these clues, but now I can say without doubt that in this part of the anime there are enough clues to resolve all of the misteries, and in a few chapters there will be another huge hint, so be prepared….

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